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Oogst

The Blob: downloadable 3D student game

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For the past four months I have worked together with eight other Dutch students on a game called The Blob. The game was a school project for an outside client. The station area of the city of Utrecht in The Netherlands is getting a thorough face-lift, as the station and many buildings around it are being rebuilt. Our task was to make a game that plays in the station area as it will be ten years from now, so that while playing, the audience is informed about what is going to happen. The game was to be played in a centre with information about the changes, but also be downloadable for players at home. This means the main target audience will walk by, play for a few minutes, and then walk on, but it should also be fun for people who download the game. The resulting game is The Blob. It is a 3D game in which the player controls a ball of paint rolling through the city. The ball can absorb coloured NPC's to become larger and change its colour. With the paint, the player can then proceed to paint the entire city. Almost everything is paintable: buildings, trees, cars and using the paint trace even the ground. The main goal of the game is to paint all 17 landmark buildings. Hardcore fanatics can also try to collect all 50 coins that are hidden around the level. The game is finished, so we are hoping many people will play it now! :) It can be downloaded here: De Blob - Dutch version, 97mb The Blob - English version, 97mb De Blob - Dutch version, 97mb - MIRROR 1 The Blob - English version, 97mb - MIRROR 1 The minimum system requirements for a nice framerate are about a 2ghz processor and 512mb RAM. This is the team that made The Blob: Jasper Koning: project lead/level designer/artist Fabian Akker: lead level designer David Vink: sound designer/level designer Gijs Hermans: lead artist Ralph Rademakers: artist Fahrang Namdar: artist Huub van Summeren: artist Olaf Jansen: programmer Joost van Dongen: lead programmer And our supervisor from school: JP van Seventer All of us are third year students in Game Design & Development at the Utrecht School of the Arts, except Olaf, who is a fourth year student in Computer Science at Utrecht University, doing the master Game & Media Technology, and Joost (me) who does both of these studies. The Blob was made using the libraries Ogre for graphics, FMOD for audio and ODE for physics and collision detection. 3D Studio MAX was used for modelling, Photoshop for texturing and Reason and Sound Forge for audio. Interestingly, the only library that gave some problems was FMOD, which is the only professional commercial product of the three. We got some errors that were officially untraceable ("the cause is earlier, the error comes at a moment where it tells you nothing at all, except that some unknown thing is wrong at some unknown point") and some problems with hardware accelerated audio, which gave strange volumes in combination with attenuation, while software mode gave good sound. Nevertheless, all three libraries have been a pleasure to use, because they made a lot of things possible that would not have been possible otherwise. We had only four months and only two coders for 25 hours per week per person, so we really had to do some efficient coding to get things running and complete by the end. This game was my first try at writing shaders that were really used in a game and I had some great fun doing that. The shots below are from the shader that does the paint-transitions. The pixel shader simply calculates the distance to the hit-point and blends the two transitioning textures according to that distance. Very simple, but it really works like a charm. :) Still not very complex, but a whole lot of fun, is the shader that gives the ball its squashy appearance. When the ball bounces or moves very fast, it slightly deforms, and while rolling it slightly sags. On screenshots this is quite a subtle effect, but when seen in action, it really looks fun. An interesting detail about this, is that it changes the feel of the gameplay entirely. Without the squash-shader, the game feels like playing with a ball made of stone. Then with no changes to the physics at all, the squash-shader makes it feel much more like a ball of paint. Nice to see how the player can be deceived about gameplay using graphics only. :D

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Looks great, is it inspired by the game katamari?

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I really like this, you've done very well in such a short time. I'm impressed with the performance and the completeness of this game. I also like the finishing touches like transparent buildings that occulde the view.

One point though, the mouse-pointer is not visible when the menu is displayed.

Well done.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
This should be featured on the front page asap.

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Quote:
Original post by joanusdmentia
Very cool! Perhaps inspired a little by the *really* old horror movie of the same title? [smile]

We actually only heard about that movie after choosing the name. We tried changing the name then, but could not think of anything cooler, so we left it at The Blob.
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Looks great, is it inspired by the game katamari?

A little bit, but none of us have Katamari, so we were not able to try it to get extra ideas. So it is only inspired a little bit by Katamari, but I agree the games have some big similarities.

[Edited by - Oogst on July 3, 2006 6:38:30 AM]

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Very well made game, extremely nice art. Maybe a bit difficult controls and you should be able to jump a bit higher (often got stopped by tiny objects on the ground). But concidering the time spent and it's purpouse it's an awesome game, Really cool graphics.

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