Archive for February, 2010

It took me a little while, but I’ve finally got the box art “inked” to a point that I’m happy with it. Having the Olympics on the television has not helped my productivity. I find myself vegging out frequently during the afternoons and evenings, then working late into the evening to (or very early morning, as the case is today!). I’m happy that Chinese couple won the Gold for pairs figure skating… anyway, back to business!

The composition includes the game logo, shooter, and boss, along with lots of missiles, bullets, lasers and explosions. Admittedly, there could easily be more missiles involved, but I’d like to see how this turns out before we add more. You folks get to see our boss design here for the first time, I hope you like it!

In making this, I wanted to be sure to draw the viewer’s eye around the piece. Leading the eye well can give a sense of motion within a static piece of art. The color will affect where the eye begins, but I made  a visual path leading to and from all four main elements (logo, boss, shooter and explosion). My original sketch (which I should get to uploading over break) had the explosion to fill the space in the lower right, but didn’t show the cause of the explosion. This design adds the path of the missile that caused the explosion, which conveniently leads us up through the logo and back down to the boss.

I also needed to get a sense of depth. The shooter in the foreground is much closer to the view than the boss, who needs to be further away (because he’s enormous!) so we can get a good look at him.  The exchange of fire leads the eye deeper into the piece, and the convergence of the shooter’s fire towards the boss’ abdomen along with the scale differences in the missiles further communicate depth.

It’s worth noting that I used the term “inking” very loosely here. If I were to ink this for real, I would have paid much more attention to the thickness and dynamics of my lines (and it would have taken me months!). As it is now my stroke weights are almost all the same, and for good reason: I’m handing this file off to Kelley so she can stroke and color it up all pretty. Kelley has a great talent for illustration, and is much more practiced at varying the line weight to make an even more dramatic visual effect. In this case, we’re playing our strengths, distributing the work, and coming up with a stronger piece than either of us could have managed individually.

My tummy’s rumbling, so I think it’s time to grab some breakfast. Here’s the box art! (obviously it’ll be cropped to a rectangle when we submit it for real – but I like breaking the frame!) Enjoy!

In continuing our art tests, we’ve generated these images by re-positioning our camera and adjusting our shader parameters somewhat.  This is closer to how things might look in the game.

This image actually comes from a project we’re completing for another class, which conveniently served as a platform for this art test.  This is why we have the garbage-y looking particle trails behind the kamikazes.

I was working on drawing up some box art for the game, and the perspective of the tail fins of our Shooter’s ship was giving me difficulties. If you don’t believe me, you try drawing a fighter-jet’s fins from an awkward angle and from memory … it doesn’t work very well.

From memory? See, now, that was my problem. Always use reference material! And when you can’t find reference material that suits your needs, do what I did and MAKE your own reference material.

- 1 Paper Towel Tube
- 1/2 Cereal Box (Cheerios, in my case)
- Judicious Amounts of Masking Tape

- 1 Pair of Scissors
- 1 Utility Knife
- A little imagination

Not bad for a quick mock-up. :-D

The only problem? My productivity for today has taken a nose-dive (har har) because I can’t stop running around the apartment with this thing making airplane noises.

Shmup You! is a retro style game, mechanically, but not necessarily visually.  We decided that we desired a cel-shaded render style, to make the game look like a cartoon, complete with outlines.

But that wasn’t enough.

We wondered if we could make every bullet and beam that litters the screen a light source, and make the ships reflect all that light.  So we asked the question:  Can you mix cel-shade style with a Phong specular component?

Rather than construct the entire deferred system needed to render the final game, we constructed a forward render ’simulation’, in order to answer that question.  And the answer seems to be ‘yes’.

Dear readers,

You may have noticed that this blog isn’t very active. I apologize for this.

The fact of the matter is, we are spending this portion of the design phase in heavy contemplation of what we want Shmup You! to be. All of our attention (with the exception of the logos you’ve seen, and the occasional Flash Demo) is being poured into our design and technical documents.

When we do peek our heads up above our computer monitors, the white glow of our open LaTeX editor casts our shadow upon the floor, which we then see and are frightened by; a looming omen of the 15 more weeks of development time before graduation.

The fire is lit. I’m burning the midnight oil, crunching before crunch time. We’ll have neat things to show you soon enough. Be patient, be watchful, and be ready. Shmup You! is coming.