Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Great Canadian Appathon Game! "Snorewhal"

Hey you! Long time no.. game?

This month I guess I can say is the month of {attempting} to pursue some of my resolutions and in some aspects, I feel I've taken a few years back from leaving these to the wayside.
However, there is always {somehow} some goals achieved, whether it was something you wanted to achieve or did not realize how underrated they are.

Besides finally getting a part-time job (All the better to juggle along with my class schedule! Lovely...) I have been participating in a game jam almost every week. On top of that, I want to study abroad, get an internship, design as many games as possible, keep up my vlog, yadda yadda yadda, the list goes a continuous mile and makes a circular loop that whips my ass for being a failure in life.

This year I decided to partake in The Great Canadian Appathon despite never developing and publishing an app before this.

This years theme was fantasy and our team decided to go for a game that did not focus on the typical cliché side of fantasy (e.g. Legend of Zelda). Upon a member mentioning "narwhal" and another member wanting to focus on the aspects of dreams we combined the idea of a narwhal traversing through his dream.

We decided to use the mechanic of a phone's accelerometer to control the movement of whale, which would be played  as a third-person adventure obstacle course. The objective was to reach the end of the level but keep yourself afloat by collecting balloons to sustain yourself. If you do not collect enough balloons, you will start falling and once you reach the ground it's game over. Furthermore, you must avoid the sea urchins as you go through the course.

The role I had was designing the narwhal. I used a variety of software to sculpt and animate the narwhal. I used Sculptris to build the mesh and exported the file as an obj to be rigged and animated in Blender.

Making Mesh in Sculptris and using a reference via Google Images.

Designing and animating weren't too bad by following a reference , a Blender rigging tutorial and an Blender animating tutorial that can be exported to Unity.

Example of rigging and animating in its idle state.

The main issue I came across was texturing the animated narwhal. As an obj file, it is easy to add a texture on the narwhal OBJ file on Photoshop CS6 but it was not animated.

When finishing painting the model in Photoshop CS6, it exports as a texture file which can be dragged onto the model via Unity. This only works with .obj files.

When googling the alternatives to solve the issue, I decided to attempt unwrapping my model via Blender. That proved to be a chaotic process as modelling in Sculptris (depending on what you are modelling) uses a lot of polygons that can be hard to control and reduce as well as it was not symmetrical to marking the seams to unwrap (or creating one long seam) did not work properly.

A possible alternative to this solution was creating multiple seams for the model (as someone did with a tree) but that seemed too time consuming and also made me realize I am not at an expert level when it comes to unwrapping unless it was a super basic mesh.

The way I somehow solved this is by texturing within Unity. I imported the animated narwhal file (.fbx) and added a more cell shaded texture and .jpg texture onto the whale which worked to some extent. It was hard to tell until I added various lighting on to the Unity scene.

The biggest improvements and changes I'd make is creating everything in one piece of software instead of transferring it to various pieces of software to do various tasks for a mesh. I am looking into more Blender and Maya for this.

More will be added as the appathon is not technically finished.


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