vrijdag 30 maart 2012

Goalkeeper "Xform" performing at World Class ranking!

Hello all!
Today a new update for one of our new games, our soccer game!
Last few weeks I'm quite busy with implementing basic features in our soccer game. It's still in pre alpha version so everything is with placeholders and still in progress. The hardest part is to keep on track of what we need in an alpha instead of adding all kind of features that should be added later on. This way we can check if the game's basic is good enough.

One of those basic parts is shooting the ball and hope that you will score instead of saved by the keeper. And the both parts will sound pretty easy but sadly it will take more time then you expect. I've been working on the ball controls for some time now, just to get the feeling that the ball is easy to control and adjust when you want. Because our ball is no ordinary soccer ball... It's a special soccer ball! With some awesome features that every soccer ball would like to have! Haha!
It can be shot in a direction, but if you change your mind you can make it do an effect which will confuse the keeper and eventually (if you do it good) shoot it in the goal!

Our keeper can't be as good as the Dutch "van der Sar", Italian "Buffon" or Brazilian "Julios Cesàr" but it will still be a pain to get the ball in the goal!

I will explain a bit how we control his ball control in his goal. He won't have reflexes like the goalkeepers above but this one is very unique, because he won't need those reflexes! He will just dive in the right corner!
We divided the goal in 15 area's...

So our goal keeper will know in which area the ball will be coming to know what to do. In the beginning of the game the keeper will be a bit slower, but later on he will be at world class ranking and won't let any ball get passed him!

Don't forget the play our latest game Go Kart Go! Nitro!!!




vrijdag 23 maart 2012

Welcome to the world of game portals

Hi all,

At Xform we love to make games. But we also love to make money with our games. That's why we don’t keep the games for ourselves, but we sell them to game portals.
As you may know we produce both exclusive and non-exclusive games. Creating a non-exclusive game means that it can be published on more than one game portal. For example: Rhino Rush, Area Zero and Shootin' Cybertrash are non-exclusive and so they can be found on different portals.

Because we want to reach as many people as possible we’re always looking for new portals to host our games. Finding these portals sounds easy, because there are thousands of them. But at the same time there are so many that it’s easy to drown in the big browser game world. So if you want to sell your game and you’re looking for an appropriate game portal it’s good to make a list of things that are important for you.
When I’m researching possible game portals I take a closer look at:
  • The quality of the website (Design/Display of advertisements/Free of crashes)
  • The kind of games a portal is hosting (Flash/Shockwave/Unity)
  • Business model (How to make money with your game.)
  • Developer info (Guideline how to submit a game.)
  • Game requirements (What requirements your game should meet to make it to the portal.)
  • Contact info (Believe me, there are game portals you simply can’t contact.)
If you have enough information and think you’re dealing with a decent portal, you can start doing business!

Speaking of business: since the launch of Freestyle Snow Wheeling is already a few weeks ago, it’s almost time for a new Xform game. And this time it’s: Go Kart Go! Nitro!
The game will be launched next week, but take a look at these pictures:

Looks great, doesn't it? Well, I did play the game a few times now and it's really fun!
The new tracks, characters and weapons are definitely a great addition to this sequel of Go Kart Go! Turbo!. The game is even more wacky, so go play it when it’s online. It’s a non-exclusive game, so you may find it on many portals!

Have a great weekend!     


woensdag 21 maart 2012

Character Control

Dear readers,

Yesterday as I was sitting in the train on my way home, I sat next to our artist-intern Sander. As I didn't really know what to write for my blog yet I asked him what he would like to know in programming. He asked me how characters are controlled and how when a character is in the air it 'knows' when it's back on the ground again. So that's what I'll be writing about today :) Thanks Sander!

Controlling a character can be done in several ways and one way might work better than the other depending on what we need. I'll shortly describe three ways of doing it:
1. Through the setting of the character model position. Simply put: when the user presses the forward key we change the model position that corresponds to the character moving forward. Depending on the model we might play an animation for this as well.
2. Through the playing of animations. The problem with the first way is that it is difficult to get the animation and movement visually coherent. For example: the character may be moving faster than the legs are moving. We can match this, but due to animation blending it'll never be exactly right (luckily most of the times you won't notice it too much). Instead we can make the character move by playing an animation. In this case the artist actually moves the model as he creates the animation ensuring that movement and animation match. So if we want to move the character forward we play animation 'WalkForward' or if we want to make the character strafe we play animation 'Strafe', etc.
3. By using physics: creating a rigidbody and attaching the character model to this rigidbody. A rigidbody is a physics object and the advantage of using this way is that we don't have to check for collisions ourselves, the physics engine takes care of it for us. In the first ways I had not talked about this, but as soon as you have a character in a world you'll most likely have to deal with obstacles (which the model cannot go through) and uneven surfaces such as slopes. To make the character move in this way, we'll apply forces on the rigidbody and as the rigidbody moves so will the character model as it is linked to the rigidbody. Animations can be played as well but just as in the first way it will be difficult to get the movement and animation to match visually.

As for a character being in the air and detecting when it's back on the ground again. You could keep it really simply and keep your entire world flat (no slopes) so you'd know the ground is always at y = 0 (for example). In this way a character knows it's back on the ground again when it's y-position is 0 again (assuming the pivot point of the model is at the bottom). You could also start playing a landing animation when the model's y-position is at 0.3. Of course a flat world is a rather boring world. If you have physics we could also use the collision events. Whenever the physics engine gives us a collision event between the character and the ground we know we have touched the ground. In this way however we might be too late with our landing animation: we might want to play the animation before we actually hit the ground. For this we can cast rays: cast a ray from the character downwards and check if that ray hits the ground and what the distance between the hit point on the ground and the character is. If smaller than a certain distance, start playing the animation. Of course there's a lot more to this all (which you'll discover when you start working on such a project), but these are the basics.

-- Stijn

woensdag 14 maart 2012

Olympic stadium Xform!

Hello all!

Someone already made some sick awesome tricks on the frostbitten mountains of Freestyle Snow Wheeling?
Well, last week I had a week off, so no work time for me... But time to play that awesome game! Ha!

Freestyle Snow Wheeling!

Well this week back to work!! With a new fresh project. My brother already started with the project during my week off, with some place holder material I made before. So this week it's a good week for replacing the place holders!

I started with making the stadium for the game. First, I made a list of what materials I need in my stadium. For example: concrete, some iron, doors, windows, chairs, etc, etc.
With that information I decided how big my texture would be.
When I started with my texture I first made a mockup texture. Here I determine where I'm going to place my materials, which I made before.

This is how my texture looks like now.
(this is still work in progress)

After that, I’m going to start to model the stadium in 3d and adjust my texture if needed.
I made a small part of the stadium, from top till down and simply copy-past it till it was big enough. Bend the whole bunch till I’m satisfied with my mesh. And adjust the model where needed.

So that's all for now!
Don’t forget to check out Freestyle Snow Wheeling and get that sick score!


woensdag 7 maart 2012

Sneak Preview

Since a few weeks I've been working on a new project together with Stijn. I'd like to show you some of the work I did so far. I created the main character for this project from start to finish. For a change we decided to have a female as our main character. The model is made up of around 1700 triangles.

After modelling, unwrapping and texturing I started rigging and animating. I made several 'Walk' animations in different directions. I made all of these animations in the same amount of frames, the same duration. This is important for the animation blending when changing movement direction in-game. Doing it this way the legs and other bones of the skeleton blend nicely into each other without big noticable jitters.

I also worked on the environments and level design. We decided to create the levels the same way as we created the tracks of Burnin' Rubber. By this I mean the following. We create 'blocks' that represent an environment 'part'. All of these blocks can be connected and tiled with eachother to create a bigger environment for the game.

This is it for now, keep following our facebook and twitter pages for the latest updates.


vrijdag 2 maart 2012

Downhill carboarding!

All the time we have been talking about a "snowboard game with cars". And now the game is finished and released! It's called: Freestyle Snow Wheeling!
The last couple of weeks were very hectic, because all of the bug reports and other issues that had to be fixed. The last few days I was even dreaming of Freestyle Snow Wheeling. I was driving in my own car downhill of the mountain where I was during my last ski trip, making flips and spins to become world champion "Snow Wheeler"!

But let's talk about some awesome game mechanics! We added some nice challenging mini games! In the beginning you will think that those "challenging" mini games aren't challenging enough! But you will see for yourself that you will get a hard time completing them in the last mountain!
Those mini games are triggered by a special gate. So if you see a gate with some nice colors, drive through it to make it even more challenging! We got 3 different types of mini games and all with a different color. My favorite mini game is the time challenge. It's nice to drive through those gates hoping you can get to the next gate!

Shirley made an awesome trailer for all of you to watch! Go check it out on our Youtube channel!

If you can't wait to play it here is the link for the game! For everyone that always wanted to go downhill a snowy mountain with a car check the link below!!
Freestyle Snow Wheeling!

Slalom Mini Game

Lately I'm working on a new project. Can't tell you much about it... Yet. :)
But it's something completely different than driving a car or flying in a plane. The only thing I can say: you will be dealing with balls!