woensdag 27 juni 2012

Motion blur

Hello everyone!

Our brand new racing game is nearing completion! In fact it is going through a QA test session right now. Everyone here at XForm is playing the game and looking for bugs, glitches and other strange issues to be fixed. It's up to Stijn, Diederik and me to fix these issues and make sure the game runs smooth and is fun to play!
Most of the time I've been working on tweaking the gameplay and fixing little issues. I also worked on some special effects to enhance the graphics of the game. One of them is motion blur.
Motion blur gives the user the feeling of speed. It makes slow movement appear to have much more displacement than it actually has. We first used the built in motion blur effect of Unity, which gave us this effect:

Previous motion blur

It works by blending previously rendered frames on top of eachother with a specific percentage to create the effect. This works fairly well as long as the framerate is decent enough. When the framerate becomes to low, the whole screen gets filled up with blurryness instead of the slight blurryness between frames we're looking for.

So we needed a better looking motion blur effect. I got inspired by the so called 'Radial Blur' effect in photoshop. It is a fixed effect that does not really interact with the 3D world and movement. But it does look better than the standard Unity motion blur. It also gives the same effect whatever the framerate of the game is, which is good.
This is the motion blur we currently have:

Current motion blur

That's it for now! I'm going to continue with, as we say over here in Holland, 'Putting the dots on the i' ;)


vrijdag 22 juni 2012

Hell march Xform!

Hi everyone!

The last couple of weeks were quite busy for me, several releases for different websites... Which means a lot of testing and making new versions for these websites. Less time for new projects.

So in between these projects I'm working on something new. After my first project I haven't been working on projects where you were able to shoot stuff, but there is some change in that! For the ones that likes a good shooting game I got some good news! One of our new projects will be a shooting game!

New project?...

Together with my brother we are making a shooting game with many groups of enemies! Lots of shooting! But the difference with other shooters we made this one will add an extra tactic aspect!

Enemies will spawn from different directions mostly in groups.

Those groups with enemies are spawned on a position and every individual will get an offset which they need for pathfinding. Otherwise they will all walk in each other and you won't be able to shoot the one at the front or back to take him out.
With this offset I'm able to make a new dynamic node for him, so he has a target to walk to. I'm talking about pathfinding, but it aint really fancy pathfinding to be honest. :)
For this game the artist is making a path the enemy will walk with nodes. So for example we use "Path A" for "Spawner A", to keep it quite simple. We use this for more games, so it's quite familiar for many!

Main and dynamic path.
Here you can see the white line which is the main path and the red line is dynamic, because of the offset the enemy will get. So when there are some larger enemies we can give them a bigger offset!



vrijdag 15 juni 2012

To share or not to share

Hello all,

Ever played Farmville or Mafia Wars? If you never played it, then at least you should have heard about it once. And of course you all know that these games are very popular because of their appearance on Facebook.
Well, I have some good knews for you guys, because one of our popular games is also coming to Facebook real soon!

It's Go Kart Go! Nitro!, the game with the craziest animals ever seen in a browser game.

It's true! You're favorite browser kartgame is coming to Facebook.

Social network games like Farmville are all about collecting and upgrading stuff. But the most important thing of these Facebook games is: sharing.
By sharing Facebook users are able to interact with their friends. You can show off your recently gained superskills or ask your Facebook friends to help you by painting your new cow.
When you share these things on Facebook your friends will see a message on your wall/timeline. Of course they can click this message and it will automatically lead them to the game. Hooray for us developers! Because all these shares increase the exposure of our game. And more exposure will (hopefully) lead to more plays!

So therefore we upgraded Go Kart Go! Nitro! with a huge pack of achievements. Goats, paintjobs, presents, snails and superstars... Ready to be shared by you!

Super secret stuff to share...

So stay tuned for the launch of Go Kart Go! Nitro! on Facebook and share the hell out off it!


woensdag 13 juni 2012

Unity assetbundles and text files

Dear readers,

Since about 2 months now I've been working in Unity and I must say it's quite different from Flash with Away3D. Flash of course isn't specifically meant for games where as Unity is. There are many things that are much easier to do within Unity such as physics, shaders, debugging and more.

An important aspect in game development is separating the artist from the programmer. Not in communication of course. Sometimes artists *cough* Matt *cough* have the craziest ideas without thinking how much work it would be for the programmer and we have to hold them back. But separating them in work, for example: if an artist wants to make changes to his model then he should be able to make these changes and see them in the game without the help of a programmer. Also the artist should NEVER have to change or even see the code of the programmer. If there is a parameter (maximum car speed for example) that needs changing then he shouldn't have to change any code.

So how do we achieve these goals in Unity? Well we have a separate unity project for the artist. Here he can import models, create particle systems, set material, proxies, flares, etc. Then he can export what is called an 'asset bundle' (a single file) containing all these assets. In the game-project where my code is located, I load in this asset bundle and am able to use all assets within it with the proper materials set on models already. When the artist wishes to see his art in-game he can simply export his assets and start the game.

As for the changing of parameters, we have a separate text file in which most parameters are included. Changing the cost or maximum speed of a car then becomes very simple. In the game this text file is loaded and the parameters are used.

Using the asset bundles and text files we avoid getting in each other's way and making the development process easier for ourselves.

-- Stijn

vrijdag 8 juni 2012


Today is a special day here at Xform: it's Moustache Friday!
All Xform Employees need to grow or bring their own moustache. As you might know hair on the upper lip gives a man (or woman) a distinguished and manly look and makes him or her more attractive to the opposite (or in some cases the same) sex.
Although it's preferred to grow your own moustache, some of our employees unfortunately don't have this ability. They might have a few hairs scattered on their upper lip but not enough to form a real and manly moustache. But today we'll set these issues aside and together celebrate Xform Moustache Friday!!

Try to find the real moustaches!


donderdag 7 juni 2012

Machine of destruction

Hello everyone,

Another blog day! And another super awesome new project to start with! With all the Xform ingredients; guns, explosions, a lot of action etc! We just started with this project, so it’s all fresh and full in the making! But! I’m not going to talk about this game or show anything about it yet!
I’ll save that for later!

Couple of weeks ago I had to make something for another kick ass game! The idea was to make this absurd vehicle. So we decided to mix between an American truck and some crazy panzer vehicle!
For the silhouette of the truck I used a blue print of a truck and made it like I described before in an earlier blog, “Xform Car Manufacturing”.

When the truck was almost done, I started with the back of the truck. For that part I used allot of reference of Tanks, German Panzer vehicles, Dutch trailers, etc.

When this part was done, I put the two parts together, added a hell of a bumper, exhausts, weapons, etc. Some changes in the mesh so the back and the front would fit perfect.

As last I added some dummies so the programmer knows where to place certain weapons,
with the standard weapons the truck already have, he has 8 weapons! Ha! While a normal car has like 4 weapon slots, this one will have a double amount of slots!
Now this is done, you guys can kick some serious ass soon! Or off course be destroyed by this machine of destruction!
Get ready for tons of firepower, steel and Xform car manufacturing craziness!!!