Undead Captain WIP (Week 1)

Work In Progress / 24 April 2022

This is a documentation of my first week's worth of progress on my newest character project, the Undead Captain; based on the original concept by Labros Panousis. (example below)

I start with a simple base mesh from Pascal ACKERMANN and scale/move things into the proportions I need for a specific character. The base mesh is semi-realistic but anything stylized is based in realism, so I like to start with somewhat realistic proportions.

After getting basic proportions down for the body and head, the first thing I like to work on is the face. I choose to work from the face down since a character's face is usually the focal point, and in a worst-case scenario will leave me with a completed bust if I run out of time to work on the full character. 

After getting the face in a decent spot I will start with overall primary forms for the whole character, in this case, the captain's torso of exposed ribs and spine, arm and shoulder muscles, pants, and facial hair. I use dynamic subdivision for nearly every single mesh I'm working with in Zbrush, it allows me to sculpt and model in a somewhat non-destructive way and allows for a preview of the high res sculpt without losing the ability to use modeling techniques with Zmodeler. 

Next, I will continue to add primary and secondary forms that define the silhouette; This includes accessories like his hat, straps, skull, earings, fish skulls, and side pouches. While making all these accessories I am making refinements to the primary forms that I have blocked out. (mainly his arm muscles and face) 

Next is a continuation of refining forms like the feet and leg muscles, along with making the rest of his accessories listed above. 

Finally, I add in his cape, which is the last element that defines his silhouette. Along with this, I will add the last secondary forms like fingernails and toenails, fish skull tongues, and smaller straps. 

Lastly, here are some back views of the captain and the base body's primary and secondary forms. 

That just about sums up my first 5 days of work, if you made it this far into the post congrats! Thanks for checking out my latest project and I will be sure to update this as I make more progress. 


General / 03 May 2020

I would like to first apologize for the lack of updates over the past 2 months. Working remotely has been challenging for me and my team since our game is networked and has specific requirements for us to be able to play and test the game. With that being said, we have proudly finished the game and are excited to show it at the online version of the senior show this year.

And now for the postmortem. There were many things that went right and wrong for our team throughout the semester. I think in general we did a great job of improving what we were doing wrong and by the end of the semester, we were in really good shape. We had identity problems with the game early on; we couldn't land on a solid game loop using our existing mechanics, so we decided to pivot as a team. We shifted from a golfer shooter to a more golfer brawler type game. Both of these ideas are brand new concepts to video games, so we struggled initially with landing on a solid direction to take it in. We eventually were pleased with the idea that the player's golf club is both their utility tool and their weapon. By doing this, we can keep all aspects of the gameplay for focused, instead of having to choose between 2 alternating mechanics that just didn't really fit together too well. 

One of the things that I think my team really improved on was our communication. Since we were working in a 14 person team, having organized meetings was difficult. We would have too many people just bouncing the same ideas off of each other and wouldn't get anything productive done. We switched to a more focused version of our regular meetings by splitting up into smaller groups. We had a systems and animation team, and then we had a level design and environment team. These 2 teams would each have their own meetings, this made communication a lot smoother and much less siloed. 

We made multiple changes like this throughout the semester to improve communication and overall teamwork and productiveness. I think the biggest step that I have made personally over the course of this project is my ability to lead. I had not really taken any leadership positions in my life before lead artist and product owner on this project. I was nervous at first but throughout the semester I learned how to address and resolve conflict, organize and manage a team, and carry the responsibility of the final product. I'm excited to enter the industry to apply everything that I have learned throughout the process of this incredible project. For anyone who is interested in learning more about the game, my school is hosting a showcase of all our games and personal reels on Friday, May 8th in a livestream at 8:30pm EST. 

Wired Visions Capstone Development: Just Golf - Blog 4

General / 05 March 2020

This will be a relatively short update this time since the last update was only about a week ago. Since then the team has been able to get grass and stones on the map. This will help define the golden paths and lanes in the level design, as well as add a level of polish to the art of the level. 

in addition to the stones and walls, we added a bunch of smaller props that give life to the scene. These include things like a treasure chest that opens and closes, a giant clam that opens its mouth, eels that shoot out of certain rocks by the cave area, and more. We also started adding props that will give contextualization to the world. These include things like signs that point towards the holes, exit signs, the entrance sign for the "park", employee-only doors, etc... We also finally have animations in, and although they are still in their blockout phase, we have a pipeline in place to get those all cleaned up in the coming weeks. Lastly, I re-worked the UI to fit our current game direction, here is an example of that.

 **The background image is NOT mine, it is a placeholder off google images** 


Wired Visions Capstone Development: Just Golf - Blog 3

General / 25 February 2020

BIG art update incoming...

A huge amount of art has been done since the last update a few weeks ago. This update will focus on the environment, lighting and VFX work that I have mainly been contributing to and managing. First, we have our map layout and sculpt in engine, complete with landmark models and smaller props to fill up space. A major decision we made was to cut the Jurrasic map because we deemed it out of scope. With the time we have left we would like to polish the current map as much as possible, which has recently been named "Plunder Reef", for its sea and pirate themes. Here are some examples of the layout, props, and theme we are going for. Just for a reminder, we are making a day and night version of the map, with the night version featuring glow in the dark paint, which is a popular theme among mini golf courses. 




In addition to the environment work, I got a few VFX in the game. For now, we have 2 main abilities: a bomb ball that has a large explosion radius, and an ice ball that freezes targets in place for a few seconds. Sadly I cannot upload the gif to artstation because they are too large but I hope to be able to show those soon. That about sums up the major things that I contributed to over the past 2 weeks The game is really starting to come together, and I am very excited to show more as it develops! We still have a lot of work to do to meet our alpha goals in the coming weeks, but we are on the right track so I'm not too worried. 

Wired Visions Capstone Development: Just Golf - Blog 2

Making Of / 04 February 2020

These past 2 weeks have been much more on the slower side than we would have liked. Our team received some valuable feedback and decided to get back to the drawing board in terms of mechanics. We made the hard decision to remove shooting from the game, although we will still be focusing on the PvP and fast-paced action we set out to accomplish originally. We spent an entire week trying to brainstorm new ideas and new ways shooting can be incorporated into golf, but we struggled to find that perfect balance between the 2 without making one or the other feel like a gimmick. So at the end of the day, we came to the decision to remove the shooting but still retain the PvP aspect by having players use their golf ball as their weapon. We are currently experimenting with mechanics that feel much more like Golf, instead of the mini-golf putting style we had last semester. Since we're removing shooting and using golfing as our main combat mechanic, we will have to re-make the club we currently have implemented. We will replace the single club/sniper hybrid with 3 traditional golf clubs with different powers; a driver, wedge, and putter. These will all behave differently and it is up to the player to decide which one to use and at which time. We do not have a set in stone game mode yet, but as we experiment with different mechanics and possibilities the game will start to unfold. In terms of an art update, our team managed to finish rigging and skinning the player model, so I am very excited to see some animations starting to get pumped out. We started some textures like sand, wood, and twisted rope for our first environment, which we decided will be underwater-themed! We noticed a lot of mini-golf courses have pirate and sea monster themes, so we're taking it to the next level and making our first map underwater. It will look kind of like the newest Mario kart game underwater sections, but it will not actually have any water physics. It will be kind of like the "Journey" cave scenes, where the lighting makes it feel like it's underwater even though you are in the middle of a desert. Once we tackle the first map we are hoping to move to a Jurrasic themed map, where we will try to re-use as many assets as we can. Here are some examples of the textures we finished. Thanks for reading! 

Wired Visions Capstone development: Just Golf - Blog 1

Making Of / 19 January 2020

During our first week back from break, we had some time to get to know the new members of the team. We held a large meeting with all team members and brainstormed ideas for the game. After about an hour and a half, we successfully came up with 2 separate game modes that can each solve the issues we were having with scoring and balance between shooting and golf. This was a huge step for us as these problems are part of our greenlight plan, so we really needed to solve those issues right away. In addition to that, we have planned out the semester so we have goals and deadlines to hit until the senior show comes around. But first thing's first, greenlight. This coming week we will be presenting our greenlight plan to be approved and edited by our professor. In preparation for that, each discipline has planned out what they intend to work on for the semester so as soon as we start working we can split into groups and communicate without issues. Besides general meetings that just about covers the first week of senor production for Wired Visions!