måndag 29 september 2014


This week we have been working on creating UV and diffuse maps in the 3D course. The theme I chose for the crate that I have been texturing was medieval; I decided to keep the style realistic and took inspiration from games such as Skyrim. I wanted the crate to look as if it was something that had been used for a while, not being brand new. Even though I wanted it to look somewhat old I still wanted it to look whole and as if it is still functioning well and being used in everyday life.
Since it is not meant to be opened it was not my goal to make it stand out a lot against the backgrounds but rather blend into the environment. I do not want the player to feel cheated by making it look like something that you should interact with.

Final Model with UV Checker

Taking inspirations from games such as Skyrim, I chose to keep the colour scheme desaturated but slightly warmer than the one usually seen in Skyrim. I envisioned a small medieval city that was welcoming and calm, a peaceful place where there might come trouble ahead, therefore I decided to use the colours that I did. The fact that the colours are not very saturated provides the chest with the aged look that I was going for. This is because wooden planks mostly grows paler, losing its saturation, over time. I felt I could use this to make my crate look as if it is something that has been used and worn, but taken care of and kept whole.

The colour scheme is quite monochromatic and the dominant colour is brown, even the grey metal has some red/brown tones in it since I did not want too much contrast to prevent it from being seen as an important object to the player. The reason for choosing the colours to be brown was that I wanted the warm feel of wood as it is something that I feel is very characteristic to the medieval time period.

Another reason for using the monochrome colours that I did was because I feel that other colours should be added by lighting instead as it will give a more realistic effect. It will probably also be easier to put it into several different levels of the game, were different light and colours might be used, this will make the crate more versatile and easier to adapt to different environments.
Since the crate is meant to be in the background rather than grabbing the player’s attention I chose to not use any accenting colours, apart from the metalwork that for the style requires a different colour. There is no real special meaning behind the colours other than having them support the medieval and realistic style that I was going for.

Finished Diffuse Map

The colours are quite cold, although not as cold as for instance, Skyrim, the reason for this was my vision of the peaceful medieval city. I wanted the player to feel calm but not cold, I was careful not to use too warm colours that might signal to a player that the scene is a dangerous place where a lot of action is right around the corner.

This week I have felt very much hindered by my experience, it has been challenging from creating UV maps with a program that decided not to work properly to creating a texture which is something that I have never ever tried to do before. I would have liked to do more with the texture but I feel that I am not yet experienced enough to create what I want. There were not as much time this week as would have needed due to other assignments and our exhibit at Dreamhack. I am very happy with how it turned out though, which is way better than it did when I started testing my way with it.

The texture added in UDK. It looked very different once applied  in UDK from Photoshop and 3Ds Max so there is room for some improvements. 

torsdag 25 september 2014

Super Dungeon Explorer

Super Dungeon Explorer is a board game for 2-6 players above 10 years of age. The game is built so that one or two of the players will play as the dark consul and the rest will play as heroes.

Die rolls is the most prominent feature in this game as it determines everything that happens in the game. There are three different types of dice, blue ones, which are the weakest, red ones which are stronger and green ones which are the strongest. When we played, the only character that ever got to use the green dice was the boss (dragon).

Die rolls are used before starting each turn to decide which “team” initiates the round, this being dependent on the Will of the character on each team that has the most. They are also used to determine if an attack will do damage or not, if the character being struck has less points in armour than the attack is worth, they will take one damage. If the character has armour that is dependent on die roll they will roll to see if they are able to defend themselves.

When a hero player rolls a heart or a potion, they either gain a health point or a potion, both which they can choose to give away to other players.

Health System:
Each character (including enemies) has a heart on the character cards that state how many health points they have. Every time a character is successfully attacked, they receive one damage token, which means losing one health point.

Many consul characters have only one life which means that if they are successfully hit they will die. If the consul player(s) have spawning towers left, they can however spawn the character again.

Hero characters can use potions to heal themselves or sometimes each other; they can also use loot cards for regaining health points.

Board System:
The number of boards used, which decides how big an area the game will cover and in the end also for how long each game will take, is dependent on the amount of players. As we played with three heroes we decided to use three boards, which also meant that we could use the boss. The consul starts by choosing one board and connecting it to the “information board” (a board which shows the progress of the game, when heroes get loot and holds loot, treasure and adventure cards). Then the heroes get to choose another board and connect it to the first, leaving the third board decision up to the consul, again connecting the previously laid board.

There are some boards with narrow paths that will force the character close together, and small rooms that can make the players move across the boards a lot more, slowing their advance. There are also bigger rooms that have obstacles such as lava which can be used to protect or to slow down.

Once the boards are set, the consul decides where to place their spawning towers and treasure chests (one of each on each board), taking into consideration obstacles and range of the hero characters’ abilities.

Spawning System:
At the start of the game the consul has a certain number of spawning towers; in our case we had two players playing the consul and three players playing as heroes, which meant that we had three towers.

Before the start of each round the consul gets to spawn four skulls worth of characters around each tower. The skulls is a resource that is used to spawn characters, different character types cost either one, two or three skulls to spawn, depending on their strength. The amount of skulls that they cost to spawn is synonymous to the amount of health points that they have.

In addition to these four per tower, the consul can spawn an extra amount of skulls if they have been collected through the progression bar.

Progress bar:
Every time any player deals damage, a token is moved one step on the progression bar on the “information board”. On some of them there are skulls, the amount of skulls that has been passed each round is added to the number of skulls that the consul can spawn. Halfway through there is a special skull that states that a mini-boss will spawn and when the end of the progression bar is reached the boss will spawn.

Loot system:
Each time that a hero deals damage on an enemy character, a token is moved on the loot area of the board, which is made up by a series of squares. Once the token is moved to a square that has a loot symbol on it, the player who dealt the damage gets to pick a loot card. The player can then choose to take it for themselves and use it to level up their character, put it face down until the end of the round when the group will decide together who will receive it, or they can choose to discard it to give a health point back to any hero player.

Levelling up:
The hero characters can, as said, level up by picking up loot or treasure chests; this can give them additional stats, such as extra attack power or armour, or abilities such as flight and immunity to knockback, poison etc.

The loot cards can be power ups that increase damage, will, dexterity etc. by adding additional dice to roll. There are also some revive cards that can be used to resurrect a dead hero player. There are four colours of “power up cards” that corresponds to each side of the character card; a player can only hold one card of each colour at the same time.

This system is essential to give the hero players a chance as the game progresses towards the boss fight.
The consul has no possibility of levelling up their minions; this is balanced by them being allowed to spawn a mini-boss halfway through the game and a powerful boss monster at the end of the game.

The characters:
There are several different types of characters, some are best with ranged attacks, some with melee and some with magic. This is shown in how many and what kind of dies the player can roll for each stat corresponding to each type of attack and the range that is stated on the character cards if applicable. This is true for both the hero and the consul characters.

How many times a character can move per round is also stated on the character cards. This is essential to strategize defences and attacks. How many actions per turn each character can perform is also stated, some special abilities might cost more than one action to perform while standard attacks only costs one action.

Each character activated can move the amount of squares stated on their card and attack any enemy player that is within their reach. Only one character can be activated at a time, they will choose one character to target and which attack to use.

The player will then roll the amount and type of dies that corresponds to the chosen attack. If the attacked player has armour that is decided upon die rolls, they will roll to see if they get equal or a higher number, which means they managed to defend themselves.

Most consul minions have a set armour value of one or zero, which means they automatically die if the hero player rolls one or higher.
Most interesting:
I find that the most interesting system is the levelling up system. In combination with the increased difficulty provided by the mini-boss and the boss it created a sense of progression in the game. It created a great build-up towards the big boss fight that inevitably would come.

The game designers managed to translate the standard RPG (role playing game) into a board game which takes you on a journey from quite easy to epic boss battle. In the beginning it is letting you get the hang of it, none of the characters are very powerful and it is looking good for the heroes. Then the game takes you through the levelling up, heroes gathering their strength and the consul rallying their forces, constantly building up tension, and finally the journey ends with a giant boss fight.

The best:
I find that the best part of the game is the build-up towards the boss fight in the end. Even though the game felt uneven a lot of the time, tension was increased throughout the game. This was aided by the social aspect of playing as teams instead of all players against each other. In the end of the game there was a lot of excitement, and even if the dragon we played with had very powerful attacks and a lot of health points, making it feel as if it would definitely win, we were on our toes and really excited to see who would actually come out alive.

The worst:
For me, the worst part of the game is how it is balanced. In the early part of the game it felt too easy for the heroes, playing as the consul we sometimes felt cheated as our minions were killed before we had a chance to use them at all, leaving us with little options.

The health system also felt very unfair as no matter how many times the heroes were damaged they would just heal themselves as they have so many ways in which to do so. It felt almost hopeless playing as the consul and it felt as if your actions were meaningless as they did not really have an impact. This was also apparent when the heroes started to level up their characters, getting stronger and gaining more abilities.

In the middle part of the game, especially when the mini-boss was spawned, it felt as if it was levelling out a bit. Even though all damage made was healed, the game felt more even. This could be considered a positive thing as it means that the players will play through the entire game; the heroes will be alive all the way through to the boss fight in the end. It did create a build-up towards the end that was interesting but I feel as if it could probably have been designed somewhat differently so that it would feel more even all the way.

Once the boss spawned, the table was turned on the heroes and it seemed inevitable that the giant dragon would win, which it did. One of our group members who have played this game before said that they had never experienced the heroes winning, so I believe there is room for improvement.

Target Group:
The age on the box says 10+; I think that this is pretty accurate, from 10 years up to younger teens. It is quite complex, many things to keep track of, but I believe that this agegroup could comprehend it and play it.

The cute, somewhat childish, chibi style is something that I believe could potentially scare away older teens and adult players which is a strong contributor to my opinions regarding the target group.

The type of game combined with the visual style of it makes me believe that it is not targeted at either a male or female audience. From my experience RPGs are usually targeted at boys, while cute art is targeted at girls, this is a combination of both, although probably more dominated by features that are generally targeted at boys.

In conclusion this was a very entertaining game; it made rolling dies interesting and feels important. Even if the balancing felt off and parts of the game felt really unfair it was enjoyable and had a great build up towards a climactic end.

The parts that feel unfair have their purpose though and I believe them to be necessary to make the players sit through the game from start to finish without feeling cheated. But I think that these parts should have been designed somewhat differently as they sometimes felt unfair, even though in the long run they were not.

torsdag 18 september 2014

Museum Assignment

This week we went to the Gotland Museum, after being given a tour we were asked to find an object that we wanted to model in the 3D-course and take reference photos of it.

I chose this chalice after discussing with my teacher, the reason I chose it was because I wanted to create something that would give me a challenge, while still being able to complete it. It was a bit difficult to choose as I felt that most things were either way too simple, for instance a couple of spoons that I found, or very complex. Of the items that I had found this one seemed to provide the biggest challenge and my teacher thought that it would be appropriate for the level of which I am at.

Front Modeling Photo

Side Modeling Photo


Texturing Photo

The style I will choose for this piece is the “set in time period, stylized, realistic” (Skyrim). In regard to this I will try to make the shape as close to the original as possible, so that it looks like a realistic style object and not a cartoony one. As I want it to look contemporary I will make it look as if it is quite new, as I feel the original actually does. It should not be broken or rusted, but probably look a bit worn as if it has been made and used in the world in which it exists.

Since I am making it in a realistic style I think that the challenge may lie in making it stylized, instead of going for too realistic, or worse a bad attempt at something photorealistic.
I do not feel as if there are any great risks of negative stereotypes with the chalice, the biggest one may be having it end up looking like any other chalice. I think keeping true to the beautiful shape of it might make it different from others.

There is one positive stereotype that I can think of and that is that a glowing chalice usually is something that a player may want. Shining in gold it looks expensive and important so the player will see it and know that it is something they should probably try to get. The soft shape of the chalice, with a flower at the bottom will help the player understand that it is not something dangerous.

Considering how inexperienced I am with 3D there are a lot of risks when it comes to modelling. The cup part of the chalice will probably be one of the greater challenges as well as the bottom where it is divided into a flower shape.  I think that construction issues concerning them can be best avoided by planning before doing. Trying to figure out how to do it rather than just diving straight into it and start testing.

Again with my inexperience in mind, there are some risks regarding the program itself. It has happened that I have suddenly been unable to perform certain actions that I wanted and I have not understood how. There are also limitations to my knowledge of how to utilize the tools available or even which are available. Up to this point I have needed to ask a lot of questions and for assistance when modelling in class.

What I could do to minimize those risks is to study the program itself and take notes of problems and solutions so I do not repeat my mistakes and remember the solutions they have provided. I also think that just practicing and modelling will help me avoid making mistakes as I become more comfortable with the program.

The little symbol on the front part of the foot, as well as the texture on the "bump" might also pose as risks as I did not manage to get really good reference photos. If I feel it necessary when I get to texturing I might go back to the museum and try to get better ones.

Creating a proper edge flow plan and using it will probably also help a lot when it comes to minimize risks when modeling as it will help me plan what needs to be done and how to do it. It will minimize the risk of any part being forgotten and needed to be added later, which might disrupt the entire model or workflow. 

Here is what I managed to come up with for edge flow plans (front on top, side on bottom).


onsdag 17 september 2014

Optimizing 3D

This week we have been optimizing our crates that we created last week. We were divided into groups of three and all got to optimize a crate made by the others and one that you made yourself. There is not much I can say or anything new to show of my medieval and my urban contemporary crate as my colleagues that were tasked with optimizing them found nothing to fix.

I believe that this is because of their simple natures, the medieval box, which Anita Stenholm was assigned, is basically just a box on which I have used extrude, I kept the vertices and edges few and did not remove anything, which could mess up the grid. 

The Urban dumpster that Rebecka Nyström was in charge of, is also very simple, just four standard primitive boxes and a cylinder placed and shaped to the silhouette of a dumpster. One thing that I could possibly do if I was to put it is a game is to decrease the amount of horizontal edges on the handle. The camera would probably not zoom in so much that it would need to be as round as it is.

The Sci-Fi crate that was left for me was another story though, it felt somewhat like a mess created by someone who has pretty much no idea of what they are doing. It took a lot of time and puzzling until I found out a way to fix the problems, which were a ton of n-gons. Although it was very much straight forwards after that, it took quite some time getting all tiny pieces to come together.

I had also managed to create some overlapping faces and there were some edges that had magically disappeared or moved. There was also a few overlapping vertices snuck in while I was trying to fix everything.

Due to the use of chamfer on almost all edges, I had ended up with all of those n-gons, the solution I used to fix them was to add an edge through the corners of my chamfered edges, ending in the corner of the adjacent squares. After that I target welded all the vertices in the corners to the centre edges now running straight through them. I repeated that for every corner, one side at a time, to finally check if there were any n-gons or overlaps left. I could have left the loops all alround the crate but it would result in many more faces than this solution.

Sometime when starting out I had managed to remove a large part of the inner square on one of the sides. Since it was not possible to undo so far, I made the best of the situation by finishing optimizing all the other sides, placing an edge straight through the centre and mirroring it. Sine I have details on my crate that has vertices very close to each other, I was unable to simply weld the two together. This meant that I had to target weld every single pair of vertices along the seam. 

The problem I had with three overlapping surfaces turned out to be due to a few overlapping vertices. Once that was taken care of the problem went away. I have learnt today that starting out with fixing any overlapping vertices first as it may help to solve many other problems instantly.
What I should have done was to wait with removing things until after today’s class. Since I did not know what would happen, I managed to create a lot of  n-gons, which I did not know what it was either. 

In the future I think that I will be able to avoid many of these mistakes, simply by now having learnt some of what problems can occur and how to find them. I should also complete my model before starting to remove things, or at least make sure that I have some clue as of what I am doing.