Rocks

Hi there, this is Oscar, artist in There & Back. When we were working on the concept art for the first level of the game, we thought of a dark cavern, filled with dangers.

After days of reviewing different visual targets, working in concept art and talking about how this very haunting place should look like, we came to a conclusion and started working on the models.

Crystals

A series of rocks that will be used in the creation of our first level

After a couple more days of modelling and texturing the models were successfully imported into Unity, and are ready to be used in game.

We will continue to update you on anything There and Back soon!

thanks for reading.

Oscar

The Main Character!

Hi! This is Oscar, artist in the game “There & Back”. You might remember our main character, the little kid in the bear pyjama? Well, we have been working hard on that little character trying to fit him more into our story and shaping him into what we believe is a relatable and engaging protagonist of our game.

If you need to refresh your memory, our concept art is on the low part of this blog.

First of all, we started by modeling the character. This is a crucial step in bringing an asset to the game, since every single polygon will be animated and in conjunction with the texture, will bring our little guy to life.

Here are some screenshots of the finalized model.

Now we had to go through the long process of UV mapping the character so we can begin to texture him. Painting a texture on a character is always a challenge, bringing his attributes to life on a 2d plane that will be projected into a 3d surface can be hard and takes many tries.

When the textures are ready, its time to apply them to the model and see if they fit. So many things can go wrong in this step, and tweaking is a must to come up with a finished model, worthy of being showcased in a game.

We will keep you up to date on our progress and keep you guys posted on how our game is coming along. Here are some finished shots of the main character of “There & Back”

thanks for reading!

Oscar

Designing an Enemy: From Concept to Model

Hey, Dominic here, artist and level designer for There and Back. I’m here to bring this blog back to life and to talk a little bit more about our enemy design (glimpsed in the last post!) and how I’ve been attempting to bring Oscar’s (our much better primary artist) horrifying enemy concepts into 3D.

First concept art of the Shambler.

Our basic enemy in the game is the Shambler. It works similar to the well-known Goomba of Super Mario fame, but with one difference. Patrolling back and forth on platforms in a predictable pattern, it is fairly easy to avoid and more or less acts as more of a mobile obstacle; unless the player lands in front of it. At that point, the Shambler will arch up, screech, and charge at the player, attempting to devour them.

As you might imagine, it’s a somewhat unpleasant thing.

Early enemy concepts and designs, by Oscar. I know this was already posted, but it's still relevant!

Our overarching goal for enemy design was to stick to a simplistic, but creepy look. Since the rest of our art (player character and environment) is going to stick to a dark and muted, but colourful style, we decided that making the enemies stand out would be best achieved by making them composed of thick, inky blackness. This also fell in line with our thematic goals, as the original concepts for our monster design sat in the area of what a child’s imagination transforms the shadows around him or her into.

For the Shambler, we wanted something that looked weak, perhaps a bit oafish, but definitely not unthreatening. We wanted the player to know that this was an enemy, and that it would kill you given the chance. The wide grin and glowing red eyes were distinct, unnerving and stand out from the rest of the game’s palette, not to mention the silhouetted appearance.

Initial blank and UV-mapped models.

The early version of the model definitely stuck pretty closely to the presented concept art, but after some feedback from the guys I realized I’d made one crucial mistake; our game is played on a 2D plane, and when the current Shambler model was viewed profile, the smile and eyes were barely visible. After some talking we decided the best way to correct was to tilt the face towards the screen; it might not look completely sensible, but neither does Goombas crab-walking everywhere, does it?

Close, but without a cigar.

So, with this goal in mind I began to tweak, tilt and twist, readjusting and stretching verts and faces, and re-mapping the model. I found these changes were actually an excellent decision (not that I doubted my team for a moment!) and really helped to increase the overall size and intimidation factor of the monster, while giving it more character at the same time. The face was suddenly more visible, and almost instantly our enemy had way more character. Even better, the Shambler’s ‘lil buddy from the concept art was part of the model now!

Way better, right?

I was far from done though. The 3/4ths perspective on the face just didn’t look quite right. It made the Shambler appear as if it was moving forward, yes, and its appearance was more defined, true but it still seemed a bit off. One big problem was the objects on its back. Composed of extruded squares with a different face painted on each side and transparent backgrounds, these objects didn’t have enough room on the UV and came out blurry, tiny, and quite frankly ugly. For now, I got rid of them, and focused on the core of the model.

"Heeeeyyy buuuuuuddy..." - My friend Jamie's opinion of this image.

By now I’d reached the full-on tweaking stage. Nothing remained now but to adjust here and there; moving the odd vert, merging some others, correcting 5-sided polygons (those are very bad for games, apparently!), and readjusting the UV map as needed. The ‘lil buddy became a little less smashed, and the mouth and eyes became more defined, as well as mobile and stretchable.

This still kind of creeps me out. So I guess I succeeded?

Of course, we’re still missing a crucial bit of character for the Shambler at this stage, if you notice from the concept art. Where’s all the stuff in his back? Why isn’t he all goopy and bubbly? As you saw in my earlier works, I had trouble making this look good. So Oscar gave me a really good (and really obvious) suggestion: Just take a flat plane, and attach it to the model’s back along the main “spine” edge up the middle. Make it transparent in the UV, and then draw in the objects sticking out.

And voila.

As you can see, it worked out really well! Suddenly our slimy little pile looks bigger, meaner and has a lot of character. One plan we have is to make four or five different UV maps for this character, with a different set of objects and patterns in the back for each one, giving this (fairly common) enemy a little more visual variation. We may end up changing this character more, but for now it’s reached a stage we’re all content with. Next up will be our second enemy, the Maw. Be on the lookout for that, as well as other posts by the rest of the team!

Cheers,

Dominic
http://thescrewdriversaint.tumblr.com/

Art Overload!

Well, we are currently pushing through the necessary evil that is video game pre-production documentation. It’s not really as bad as it sounds. Our team is just anxious to begin production. We have however created A TON of concept art in the process to help paint a better picture on how our game will look and feel. Below is early-stage designs on the main character, the enemies he will encounter, animations and menus. We’ll keep you posted once we can pass this paperwork hurdle. In the meantime, enjoy the art!

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Our site is up!

Welcome! This blog will follow the development and production of our game Every Bit Counts here at Vancouver Film School. Team Every Bit Counts consists of:

Randall Barilea – Level Design / Project Manager / Audio Lead / Programmer
Dominic Patrick O’Grady – Level Design / Artist
Jordan Fiander – Level Design / Lead Programmer
Oscar Aguirre Torres – Lead Artist / Level Design

We hope to give insight through our log entries on creating a video game. Thanks for visiting us and hope to see you again. Wish us luck!