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Matt Carr

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  1. This year's 7DFPS game jam is the first game jam South East Games (my cousin Shane and I) has taken part in, but I'm pretty sure it won't be the last. In one of those all-too-common moments in developing our larger game where we stopped, turned and began throwing around concepts for something smaller to make, we threw out "what about something like QWOP and Surgeon Simulator except its multiplayer archery". We liked it, but normally that idea would be put into some dying part of our brains and we'd return to working, but (un?)fortunately, 7DFPS was a less than 2 weeks away and that gave as an excuse to do it. 7 Hours - Hemisphere The weekend prior to the start of the 7DFPS, the organizers decided to put on a 7 hour version, the 7HFPS. This would be used to start getting things active early and help test their web site systems prior to the main event. At first I wasn't particularly interested in working on something for 7 hours, instead eagerly anticipating starting on our silly archery game. Then we thought of making a first person bullet hell game. It seemed simple enough for 7 hours and we created Hemisphere. 7 Days - Probably Archery I was a little worried about how development of Probably Archery would go over the 7 days since I got pretty bored making Hemisphere and that was only 7 hours. That wasn't the biggest concern though, because Shane had full time work on all week and I had contract jobs to work on. The amount of hours we could spend per day during the 7 days would be fairly limited. There was around 3 days where I could work for decent stretches of uninterrupted time on the game, otherwise coding bits and pieces here and there. Shane had to make art assets after work, but got most of what we needed done during the starting weekend. When thinking about how the game would play, we pictured awkward looking people struggling to get arrows nocked and fired in something resembling the right direction. As we built the game, it became harder to tell how it would feel to new users and felt less silly than we expected. Still, we wanted to keep the sense of humour so we had some very obviously inaccurate and silly aspects (players are balloon-headed sack people). Also by choosing to not research anything about archery at all and not worrying about accuracy, there are some aspects like the arrow being on the wrong side of the bow that probably annoy the hell out of people that know about archery, physics, etc. I'd normally be very keen on the idea of live streaming development of the game, but the erratic development times weren't ideal for that. I did enjoy sitting in the 7DFPS chat and watching various live streams over the course of the week. Playing the in development builds of games and having people in the chat test Probably Archery's multiplayer early was awesome. The latter half of the week once I started doing this made the experience much greater as I felt more connected to other people and the jam as a whole instead of working on some silly game in solitude. Ultimately I was fairly happy with how the game turned out. When I woke up this morning and decided to Google "Probably Archery" I was excited to see a couple of YouTube videos people had made while playing the game. Unfortunately one was prior to me updating the controls text to make it clearer that you could move the left arms shoulder and elbow joints as well, and the other was recorded before I fixed an issue where 3 people could be in a multiplayer match instead of 2 which would cause all sorts of issues. Still, just the fact that anyone played a game we made in 7 days and didn't hate it is exciting to me. Some brief technical points on how various parts of the game are done: The arms are rigged and skinned and have a few animations for hand poses ?The clavicle/shoulder, elbow and wrist joints are moved in code with min/max angle restrictions Hand animations are set to only affect finger joints and can be played without affecting the rest of the arms 2 pass arm shader draws translucent (arms fade when close to the camera to not obsure aiming vision) and opaque parts of the arms separately. This allows for proper depth sorting. 2 cameras are used, one to render player arms/bow/arrow and one to render everything else. This allows for higher quality shadows from the directional light on the arms as the camera farClip-nearClip distance is short, while also allowing other environment shadows to look good with effective distance for cascades. Bow string and hanging target rope is a quick script I wrote that generates a cylinder mesh of customisable quality and allows you to set Transforms as segment points. The bow string has a center Transform that gets attached to the hand when the arrow is nocked and drawn. The hanging targets have Transforms attached together with spring joints. Bow drawing sound is a looping clip that I mute/unmute based on whether the draw strength was changed in the last frame. Arrows have an Audio Source playing a whistling wind loop. This gives a really nice 3D effect as arrows fly past your head. Multiplayer uses Unity's built-in networking because of time constraints. We setup a master server and NAT facilitator on an Amazon EC2 server. When the player hits the multiplayer button, it will look for a hosted game with only 1 player (the host) in it and join. If it fails to join (the host has their Firewall blocking connections for example), it will look for another host, only trying that same one again after 30 seconds. If it doesn't find a host it will host a server. This is fairly simple for me to setup and for the player to use, but it has some issues. If the player is full screen and hosts, they won't notice a Windows Firewall popup asking them to allow access for the program. Besides connection/disconnection code, all networking calls the same RPC method sending though a byte array with the first byte being a packet type. I assign callbacks/delegates to the NetworkManager to be called when certain packet types are received. Arm collision is handled through capsule/capsule intersection tests (closest distance between 2 line segments vs the sum radius of both arm parts being tested). After moving a joint, collision is tested on that part of the arm and all parts down the hierarchy against the parts of the other arm. If they now intersect, the movement is ignore and reverted. When drawing an arrow and moving the left arm, collision is ignored to allow the right arm to intersect anything for gameplay purposes. After this, the right arm could be intersecting the left so intersection is allowed following drawing an arrow until there is no intersection. This allows the player to move the arms out of each other without issue, but not back in. We added Google Analytics events to the game so we can see stats of how many people play each version, play the single player, multiplayer, etc. I didn't mean to put 'COLOR' instead of 'COLOUR' in the colour picker text in the menu, but American spelling of color in the Unity code was messing with my head . Again, we're happy with how it turned out. It was hard to judge how it would play to a new user since after a short time with the mechanics, it became very easy for me to hit what I wanted. I think the game is a perfect fit for higher end motion control like the Razer Hydra, albeit with a separate control scheme where you only moved the hands (position and orientation) and the parent joints moved with IK. Having the WASD keys free also leaves the option for movement to be added if we wanted to develop it further and have larger scale multiplayer. Thanks to the 7DFPS organizers for putting on a great event. There are a lot of really cool games that were made during the week. I think I've played just about all of them at this point. We'll definitely get involved again next year and will hopefully have 7 days full time we can dedicate to making something cool. Probably Archery 7DFPS Game Page Probably Archery Web Player page
  2. For something a little different than just posting hours of video of me making an unnamed game, I thought it would be good to write something and talk about something different here for a change . First, I recently left my lead programming job to start doing indie development full time. The job was slowing and a combination of events created what felt like the perfect moment to pull the trigger on this. I'll post more about my experiences trying to generate in income to live on from the comfort of my home as I have more to write about, for the moment I thankfully have some great contract work that still keeps things in the black week to week at the moment. For this entry however, I want to talk a little bit about volumetric objects, specifically the volumetric objects I've created and added to my Advanced Surface Shaders package for the Unity engine. Volumetric Objects [media][/media] The volumetric effects I've created so far are 3 basic shapes: box, sphere and cone. Rather than create and modify actual geometry for these shapes, I simply render a basic mesh just to have something render and I extend it's size/bounding volume on the CPU when the object's attributes change to encapsulate the size of the object. At this time I also pass information about the shape to the shader. The shader is where the actual visual shape of the object is determined. Raycasting is used per pixel to determine the near and far intersection points (if any) of the volume and from that information the opacity of the object can be determined. The further the ray travels through the volume, the higher the opacity. I provide a visibility property for the shaders to determine how far you can see through an object before it becomes opaque. The effect also support the camera being inside the volume. [size=2]Click for higher resolution image One of the key features of the volumes though is the support for texture sampling. Currently I support only world space sampling which is useful for the typical use cases of dust and fog within the volumes, especially when they are moving or there are multiple volumes near each other or intersecting. This way the textures shown within them will remain "in place" in the world as the volumes move and the textures can appropriately "move" from volume to volume like pieces of dust moving from within range of one spotlight to another. In future updates I will support local space texture sampling with control over the direction of the sampling for effects like light enclosures casting shadows down the length of a spotlight cone shaft. To achieve the texture effects within the volumes I ray march along the intersecting section of the ray and sample the texture at that sampled position. [size=2]Image from the Volume ray casting page on Wikipedia I really love what can be done with these sorts of effects and just throwing an arbitrary texture onto a volume and seeing the results gives new ideas about possible uses that would provide effects I've never seen before. Over the coming weeks I'll add all the additional functionality I can think to add to the shaders for the package and provide variations on the shaders that are optimised by not doing what that isn't needed. For example if there is no texture used then there is no ray marching required and a far simpler path can be used in the shader to find the opacity per pixel. Or for cone volumes if there is no top cap required then calculations within the cone intersection test can be ignored. I'll post more about work I do in Unity and for the Unity Asset Store here when there's something I think is cool enough to share. I'm working on a new system at the moment that could be released in the next couple of weeks that I'll be sure to detail here . If you want to grab the Advanced Surface Shaders package for these volumetric effects and a host of other shaders (e.g. Triplanar texturing, cone stepped relief mapping, parallax occlusion mapping, skin shading, etc) then you can check it out on the Asset Store from here or go to the Unity forum thread for more videos and info.
  3. [color=#111111][font=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif][background=rgb(254, 254, 254)]It's been a while since I've done a post here in the journal. I didn't want to do a post per episode, but since there's been 6 episodes since my last post I thought I should do the update. I think that's all I'll write because well... there's 9 hours of video below. Yeah... Lots of good progress and cool stuff worked on so if you're one of the crazy (awesome) people that has time to sit through this stuff then this should keep you busy for a while .[/background][/font][/color] Part 13: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I setup the ballista so that it will interpolate it's animation based on the adjustable power and tilt I make the ballista play a shoot animation adjusted depending on the selected power and tilt Part 14: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I setup more intuitive controls for the ballista (and other weapons) for adusting tilt and power Part 15: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I identy the cause of editor freeze that occurred in the last couple of videos through a process of elimination and fix the issue Some small tweaks and fixes Part 16: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I introduce the Developer Console system I create an exploding barrel block I make the trajectory indicator remain full when changing size I ensure the ballista bolt ejects from the ballista at the correct angle Part 17: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I discuss my scene view camera technique I add and setup the new clouds model and skybox I add the WIP cannon model and setup the cannon mechanics I update some of the textures to higher resolution versions I add a custom inspector for the standard Transfom component allowing copy and paste and world space changes Part 18: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I create a Quick Selection tool to allow for fast selection of multiple nearby objects
  4. I've done another couple of episodes focusing first on getting the first iteration of the Dwarf model into the game and then creating a component copying editor window using reflection. I wrote up some thoughts on my experience doing these videos a little while ago and never posted them. I'll most likely update that and post it in the near future. There's a lot of benefits to doing this that weren't immediately obvious, and I think it will be much easier for me to articulate those in text than while rambling away while programming in the videos. Part 11: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I add the first iteration of the Dwarf model I write a script to reassign bones for skinned meshes to another skeleton I write the first step of an Actor script that randomly changes the playing idle animation Part 12: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I write an editor window for copying entire components or component values to another object I fix up the initial orientation of the fired projectiles I setup the platforms to be able to move up and down on a sine curve
  5. Keen to get some of the new artwork in and working, I've done another couple of episodes of Every Semicolon. One of these days we're going to need to name this game... Part 9: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I integrate some new block artwork, creating functional prefabs for each I modify the duplicate offset objects shortcuts to make the next prefab object in a series I setup a new test fortress with the new blocks Part 10: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I setup the ballista bolt projectile with proper collision and custom center of mass I setup the ability to change the firing angle for the ballista (and other future weapons)
  6. I decided to hold off on posting about episodes 6 and 7 (which have been online for around a month) until I'd done episode 8 and was ready to continue rolling along with this game. After episode 7 I knew it would be a while before I had the time to do so since the project at my day job was entering the final ultra-crunch stage. Now that's over with (WHOO!) I'm more keen than ever to keep moving forward with this game's development and the video series. Part 6: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I re-setup the scale of my assets and level I create a treasure chest block with code to spawn particles when it's destroyed Part 7: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I setup the first version of the Ballista model I create a number of shortcut functions for object manipulation including duplicating objects with various offsets, translating objects around, creating new child objects and deleting children of selected objects Part 8: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I create a projectile motion trajectory class to determine what the trajectory of a fired projectile will be I setup a 3D visualisation to show the trajectory while playing I'm actually planning on doing a whole lot of work on this over the next few days, possibly doubling my current number of hours (14 hours 36 mins).
  7. Part 5 is now online. I wanted to spend a bit of time on something other than the core gameplay mechanics so in this relatively short (1 hour) video I create a waving grass shader and an editor window to support mass placement of said grass (or any other prefab). Part 5: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I create some grass and write a shader to make it wave in the wind I write an editor window to mass instantiate objects within a certain region for mass placing the grass and future detail objects It's still early days so I'd love suggestions on how to improve the videos so that I can evolve this video series as it goes on. I'm definitely going to continue doing it for the foreseeable future as it's a great cure for procrastination and a way of keeping track of exactly how long I spend working on the game.
  8. If there aren't replies to this thread then I won't bump it in future and will just edit previous posts. Parts 3 & 4 are now online. I've created a [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGnrQPWOss&list=PLEE25C0EF8F65F406&hd=1&index=1"]playlist[/url] that I'll update as new videos are added. [b]Part 3:[/b] [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRDnN5ZQkPc&hd=1[/media] (I Recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. [url="http://youtube.com/watch?v=vRDnN5ZQkPc&hd=1"]Youtube[/url]). Some of the events in this video:[list] [*]I develop the initial elements of a camera manager to handle smoothly repositioning the camera [/list][list] [*]Made blocks have different damage states and be damaged based on collision velocity [/list][list] [*]Write an editor window to revert multiple selected prefabs [/list] [b]Part 4:[/b] [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXKd-CGFPuQ&hd=1[/media] (I Recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXKd-CGFPuQ&hd=1"]Youtube[/url]). Some of the events in this video: [list] [*]I spend some time on the 'blocks', making them something other than cubes and adding a stone block [/list][list] [*]I make blocks destroy themselves when their health hits zero [/list][list] [*]I create a couple of custom inspectors to manipulate and find scene objects [/list][list] [*]I add object following and look at functionality to the CameraManager and track fired shots in towards the target [/list][list] [*]I setup a system to determine when blocks are in an idle state to return the camera back to gameplay [/list]
  9. Parts 3 & 4 are now online. I've created a playlist that I'll update as new videos are added. Part 3: [media][/media] (I Recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I develop the initial elements of a camera manager to handle smoothly repositioning the camera Made blocks have different damage states and be damaged based on collision velocity Write an editor window to revert multiple selected prefabs Part 4: [media][/media] (I Recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. Youtube). Some of the events in this video: I spend some time on the 'blocks', making them something other than cubes and adding a stone block I make blocks destroy themselves when their health hits zero I create a couple of custom inspectors to manipulate and find scene objects I add object following and look at functionality to the CameraManager and track fired shots in towards the target I setup a system to determine when blocks are in an idle state to return the camera back to gameplay
  10. Before starting our new game project I had a thought: that I could record the entire process from start to finish and put it online as both a learning tool for others, and a way of receiving feedback on what I do so I too might learn some new things and improve the game before it’s released. This will be a fairly long series as while the game is not massive, it’s certainly not a small weekend game-jam sort of production. So far I’ve recorded 2 videos, one 2 hours and the other 4 hours long. Trying to talk to yourself while working for 4 hours straight and not devolve into inane rambling is difficult (so far impossible), but this is something I want to improve on as I continue with this series. I’d really appreciate feedback on any aspect of the videos, be it the game itself, the video production, what I talk about or my programming and development techniques. [b]Here is Part 1:[/b] [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGnrQPWOss[/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGnrQPWOss&hd=1"]Watch on YouTube[/url]) Some of the events in this video:[list] [*]I start a new Unity project and begin setting up the folder structure [*]I discuss some general concepts of the Unity engine [*]I write some basic scripts and show how to apply and use them [*]I show how to setup and use prefabs [*]I show some shader development and get fooled by Unity 3.5's new Linear lighting solution which sends me on a shader debugging session [*]I write a new custom editor window for measuring distance between objects [/list] [b]Here is Part 2:[/b] [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy0jPFANGpg[/media] (I recommend watching in fullscreen 1080P. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy0jPFANGpg&hd=1"]Watch on YouTube[/url]) Some of the events in this video:[list] [*]I develop the initial elements of a camera manager to handle smoothly repositioning the camera [*]I create the first basic siege weapon in the game, the catapult with placeholder graphics [*]I create the top and side aiming modes with placeholder controls and graphics [*]I create the first "bullet" and set it up to be shot into the fortress [/list] A little about me: I work full time as the lead programmer of a team working on large “serious game” projects in Unity and work on my own stuff (like the game in this series) on the side in my spare time. I’ve been working with Unity for around 3 years almost every day. I really want to evolve and improve these videos so any feedback is appreciated. Especially important is if you really [i]hate[/i] anything I’m doing, please let me know and I’ll try to change that. I'll also be posting each video on [url="http://www.gamedev.net/blog/633-every-semicolon/%5Dmy"]my Journal[/url] and will update this thread as new videos go up.
  11. Before starting our new game project I had a thought: that I could record the entire process from start to finish and put it online as both a learning tool for others, and a way of receiving feedback on what I do so I too might learn some new things and improve the game before it's released. This will be a fairly long series as while the game is not massive, it's certainly not a small weekend game-jam sort of production. So far I've recorded 2 videos, one 2 hours and the other 4 hours long. Trying to talk to yourself while working for 4 hours straight and not devolve into inane rambling is difficult (so far impossible), but this is something I want to improve on as I continue with this series. I'd really appreciate feedback on any aspect of the videos, be it the game itself, the video production, what I talk about or my programming and development techniques. Here is Part 1: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in 1080P. Watch on YouTube) Some of the events in this video: I start a new Unity project and begin setting up the folder structure I discuss some general concepts of the Unity engine I write some basic scripts and show how to apply and use them I show how to setup and use prefabs I show some shader development and get fooled by Unity 3.5's new Linear lighting solution which sends me on a shader debugging session I write a new custom editor window for measuring distance between objects Here is Part 2: [media][/media] (I recommend watching in 1080P. Watch on YouTube) Some of the events in this video: I develop the initial elements of a camera manager to handle smoothly repositioning the camera I create the first basic siege weapon in the game, the catapult with placeholder graphics I create the top and side aiming modes with placeholder controls and graphics I create the first "bullet" and set it up to be shot into the fortress A little about me: I work full time as the lead programmer of a team working on large "serious game" projects in Unity and work on my own stuff (like the game in this series) on the side in my spare time. I've been working with Unity for around 3 years almost every day. I really want to evolve and improve these videos so any feedback is appreciated. Especially important is if you really hate anything I'm doing, please let me know and I'll try to change that.
  12. It's been a typically busy work week so I've been waiting for the weekend to tear into this. It shouldn't take too long to get what I'm thinking up and running so I should be posting progress in the next couple of days.
  13. As an indie game developer it is hard to find the ideal marketplace for your current needs. Depending on your circumstances, the time and budget you have available will vary, as will the required monetary success. Thus far through South East Games' short existence, our focus, like most others, has been the iOS App Store. While it can't be denied that success on the iOS devices is possible, achieving it can be more difficult than the thousands of aspiring game developers that have tried might have hoped. While we're still trying to find the spare time to finish our current in-development iOS (and other platforms) title, I thought it might be worth testing the water in some other markets. First, the Unity Asset Store. [color="#E4E4E4"][/color] Unity launched their Asset Store as a built in window in Unity 3.1 in mid November 2010. Upon release I was interested in getting in early with some products in the hope that being early would have the potential to be successful whether the store ended up a viable marketplace or not. Unfortunately as is often the case, my full time job became too busy at the time and I wasn't able to complete the product I was working on. Over the past few days I've been reminded of the Asset Store once again thanks to a few blog posts showing some relatively successful products. First, Unity [color="#E4E4E4"][font="Georgia,"]showcased[/font][/color] their top seller on their own company blog. [color="#000000"][color="#5497dc"][color="#E4E4E4"][/color][/color] [/color][font="Arial"][size="2"][color="#E4E4E4"][font="Georgia,"]A&B Software[/font][/color]'s products are first-class and fill voids that the core Unity product releases with, namely an advanced GUI system and a 2D sprite manager.[/font] [font="Arial"] While[/font] ~$15,600 isn't a massive number when we're used to seeing news of the million selling iOS game or the tens of thousands of dollars Notch rakes in daily from MineCraft, it is still a very desirable number for many developers and it's on a store that has a fraction of a percent of the competition as other marketplaces. This is not a one in a million proposition. [font="Georgia,"] Lets take a look at the featured product shown in the first image in this post, RageSpline. I saw the creator's blog post detailing his successful first five days on the store after Unity's lead graphics programmer linked to it on Twitter (@aras_p). 61 sales in 5 days at $50 each is a fantastic result, and since that post it seems to have continued selling just as fast or even faster. For an experienced programmer, neither RageSpline nor A&B Software's products are difficult to develop, but they found holes and filled them. They've also both created polished products and have spent the time to create videos and showing off how to use their software and also the results it can achieve. I think this is a very important factor in their success. The way I see it, the prioritised list of things to consider when developing something for the Asset Store is: Find something people want that is not built into UnityDevelop a solid product with as much flexibilty (i.e. Inspector options, etc) as the design allowsCreate videos that show off your product's ease of use and results in the best possible lightBrand your product My final point there is mainly based on a hunch. Branding is obviously a significant aspect of many retail markets and I won't begin to understand the intricacies. A&B Software's Brady Wright has his 'EZ' branding and Juha Kiili can reuse the 'Rage' prefix on future products. If confronted in future with two competing products that do essentially the same thing, if one is branded with a name you trust from one of their previous products, that will be the one you choose. So now I will begin at step 1, looking into holes in Unity that I think could use filling. The holes may not be immediately visible. RageSpline is an example of a product that fills a void you previously did not know was there, and Juha came to it through chance when working on his own title. I have some ideas already, but comparing features with other game engines and reading complaints on the Unity forum seem like a good place to start the search. I will post back once I find the product and begin development. I'll also post any and all details on the submission process, sales, etc when the time comes. Also posted on the South East Games blog.[/font]
  14. Wow, very well done. I'm blown away at how well it works. This definitely should be added as an official style. It feels like classic GameDev but newer and cleaner, exactly what the site redesign should have invoked in the first place.
  15. Quote:Original post by zer0wolf Wow, congrats on getting 5 games out the door with your own company. Would you share a link for your company and games? Well... The 4 apps we've released thus far aren't anything to brag about. It's mostly been toe-in-the-water stuff thus far. 3 are games and 1 was a 1 hour dev time experiment which was App Store policy-ed into irrelevance. I'll definitely talk about them and South East Games in the next and future posts. I need to develop a new website hopefully before then though because currently the unfinished wordpress blog vomit at southeastgames.com isn't anything worth showing.