Back to work after a long hiatus

So I've spent most of the last 2 years working random jobs for money. And I started to feel like that's what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. So I had a couple crises, turned to religion with a bunch of questions, did some soul searching, then finally started meditating.

Now I'm back where I started, working on what impassions me most, which is game dev.

That isn't to say I didn't do any game dev over those years. I did. But not nearly as much as I could have been. I've realized that it's important to keep a balance between my work and play. Too much work and I become a dull boy. Too much play and I don't get anything done. But it's also really important for me to make sure I keep healthy, both mentally and physically.

Anyways, enough of my rambling. I just wanted to make sure I started this blog back up. Not sure if anyone will ever read it but it keeps my own morale up at least. Gonna try to keep it updated at least once a week, hopefully twice. I also want to give the website a complete overhaul using Ruby on Rails, but that may take me a while to get to.

Here's what I've been working on lately:

Looking Better all the Time

Spent the last week reworking the geometry of the windows. Had to add an outer wall to them so that they cast shadows. I originally deleted the outer wall for optimization, but if I kept it that way I would have to write a custom shader to have backfaces cast shadows. I think it's simpler to just add some simple geometry for the outside wall.

I also reworked the top arches, though they still need some work. They have some seams which I'm not too sure how to get rid of. I also need to rethink the layout of the bottom pillars. I think I might just make them like the new top pillars, in pairs.

I also tried a method of adding baked-in AO to the floors and walls, but it adds a lot of overhead in materials. Still thinking of the best way to do this. I'm going to look into decals next. But...

I also added a bunch of post processing effects from the Unity standard assets. That accounts for the stained glass you see, as well as depth of field, bloom, light shafts and ambient occlusion(which could be an alternative to baked in AO). I definitely went overboard with all the effects though. It lags pretty bad now, but it looks pretty don't it? I'll obviously pair down some of the effects and try to optimize it all as best as I can for the final build.

Starting to Build Derenor Castle

...For real this time!

Yes, I think this is the beginning of something great. It's starting to look like a real game!

Character Movement and Camera Setup Phase 1 Complete!

The character movement and third person camera are finally set up the way I want them! To non-programmers this may seem like a trivial thing, but you cannot believe how long it took me to get this working the way that I wanted!

I've started this from scratch multiple times and tried different approaches, but finally, over the last 2 days, I sat down and worked long into the night, and finally, it's done!

My setup mimics the camera from The Last of Us. The camera sits behind and slightly above the character's right shoulder, and pivots around the character while keeping the character's head in the same spot. While standing still you can orbit around the character, and when you start to move the character turns to face the camera's direction. The player can run, walk, go backwards, and strafe right and left. While going forwards the player can control the direction of movement with the mouse.

I know this is basically the default setup in Unreal, but coding it in Unity has given me a deeper understanding of 3D mathematics, and a new found respect for aspects of gaming that I've previously taken for granted.

I'll be adding a few finishing touches, like a button to switch shoulders, and jump, and then I'll move on to the combat mechanics! Oh boy! :D

Started Texturing the Throne Room

Just a quick update to prove that this project hasn't died. I know I don't update very often, but believe me a lot is still going on behind the scenes. My motto is still: "I'll finish this project even if I have to work on it alone for 10 years!"

Some quick textures on the throne room, after making the whole castle into a modular asset kit. Will be improving these textures and working on the textures for the whole castle over the next little while.

So much to do and so little time!

Lobby AO Shot

Lobby AO screenshot

Derenor Castle Interior Blockouts

Ballroom Architecture AO shot

King Leonid Sculpt

Latest character sculpt

Switched to Unreal Engine 4

So we got ourselves a new Level Designer named Chris Gault, and he's tipped the balance in favour of UE4, so we've now switched from Unity to Unreal.

I have to admit I think it looks a lot better already.


Finally got the blog up and running, to some extent!

Been working on the site a lot and I'm finally content to let it stay the way it is...for a while at least. Still have a few things I want to add, but I also want to get back to focusing on the game itself.

I've been greyboxing the demo level, set in the Castle of Derenor. All modular. You can see some of my progress in the screenshot below.

Stay tuned for more updates!