Most sane developers will tell you that making a game on your own is frankly a terrible idea. They will tell you that it is likely to fail, it will play like crap, it will look like it plays. The first advice that most sane developers will tell you is to form a team if you want to finish anything. This (quite possibly insane) developer is telling you that it doesn’t have to be that way and, in many cases, teams are a sure way to fail.
Let me first preface this argument by saying that if you are looking to make the next World of Warcraft or Call of Duty on your own, reference the first sentence then promptly close this window. I am about to tell you a few truths about working alone and working in teams, all of it under the prospective title of “indie” development. » Read more..
To the developers who have recently contacted me for trial copies of Decal Creator for the latest version of Maya,
Thank you for inquiring about Decal Creator. Unfortunately, Autodesk’s obsession with breaking plug-ins with each release of their software has put me in a position where I can’t afford to support all versions all the time. I do have the source code license available if your studio is interested in purchasing that but I would suggest trying a previous version (like Maya 2011) if you have a copy available at your studio.
The source license is quite affordable for any development studio, small and large. Also the license is a site license which means you can compile and distribute to all of your artists within that studio without additional fees. Of course, having the source code also means you can simply rebuild Decal Creator whenever your studio purchases the next copy of Maya.
I can promise you that it would cost a while lot more than my asking price to pay an engineer in your studio to develop a comparable tool.
I apologize for the inconvenience, but I just don’t sell enough units to keep buying every copy of Maya that comes out.
Thank you again for showing interesting in Decal Creator…
Rigging is a pain but the animation turned out okay. It took me all day to get the rig set up for this guy. I admit that I may have gone a little overboard with the rig, but I was hoping to only have to visit the rig for this model once. The is intended to be a “spawn” animation for when the player drops one of these on the map. It’s very rough, but it should hold for now.
I do find myself sometimes lost in the brainstorming processes. I know, this is supposed to be the fun part right?!? It is fun, but I get more satisfaction from working on something tangible. I guess you could say that I am a bit jaded (never been one to disagree with that statement) and the brainstorming process is a place that I’d rather not be.
If you are brainstorming then it means that you have no clue what you are going to do next and that is just scary. I have worked on so many start up projects with countless people and it never gets past the brainstorming phase. Everyone has their own vision for what they want, everyone wants to make their own game, everyone knows what is best for the team. It’s kind of fun to stand back and watch it all unfold like a popcorn flick, but after a few dozen of these it’s time to put that movie down.
In between my small but necessary brainstorming phases, I like to pause and try to work on 1 or 2 pieces of content that I am fairly certain I will need for the next project. It helps me break up my many responsibilities between the modeling, texture mapping, painting, sound design, engine and game programming, special effects programming, and everything else. Somehow I have to make time for all of them and I rarely have time for pipe dreams.. *cough* I mean, brainstorming. I guess I am a little down on the concept of brainstorming because I’m only “really” good at programming, and just barely keeping my head above the wake on everything else.
I hate to not be good at something, but I just don’t have the time for all of it. Still, every now and then I seem to find the inspiration to do something that I am remotely proud of; today it was a turret that I plan on using for my next project (if that ever comes together).
Yes, I have started a new project. It’s been a while since I’ve had the fire in my gut; Seizonrenda’s complete failure on XBLIG was a crushing blow for me. I am still debating exactly what platform to shoot for in this next game, or if I should even use XNA. If I do go the XBLIG route again, I think I’ll have to keep my target audience in mind and accept that I may not be 100% happy with a $1-$3 game design, but I’ll do my best…
I spent some time this weekend trying to get Maya to render it’s lighting to a texture. There are countless resources out there for baking Direct Lighting or Ambient Occlusion but if you are looking to get Final Gather into your texture, the information tapers quickly. I did find one way to make it happen, but it’s far from ideal. This technique is only useful if you plan to render a simple model with local lighting, like a small detail object or vignette. If you want to bake an entire scene this would get ugly…
Step 1: Populate the Final Gather Map
Open your scene and make sure that it renders as intended in your render window.
Go to Render Settings -> Render Using [ Mental Ray ]. Make sure you are using the correct renderer. This is likely the case if #1 is rendering properly.
Now, in Render Settings -> Indirect Lighting -> Final Gather Map, set Rebuild to OFF.
Just below that Rebuild option should be “Final Gather File”. Type in the name of a temp file that Mental Ray can use to store it’s cached samples. Any name will do as long as you have write access.
I would also “Enable Map Visualizer” so you can see your sample points.
Now render the scene from multiple angles. Each render of your scene will add more sample points. You can see these being populated if you enabled map visualization.
Go back to “Rebuild” and change that value to FREEZE. This will lock the Final Gather samples that you’ve collected, using them in your texture bake.
Step 2: Bake
Any baking that you do here (and in your preview renders) will reference the frozen file that you pre-constructed.
I won’t get into the details of how to bake because there are plenty of in-depth video tutorials on this part. I only wanted to show that it is possible to use final gather in your light maps. This approach however is not suited for large environment light baking…
This is short blog to remind myself how to do this. The steps are easy, but the arguments are a little tough to remember. The important thing to remember is parameters are processed in the order that they are parsed.
Render from wherever (Maya, Max, Photoshop, etc), a sequence of images.
$cmd> dir /B /OD *.png > anim.txt
NOTE: this will force the images to be listed in the order that they were rendered instead of the file name. This is done to avoid issues where frame10.png sorts before frame2.png
Okay, I have a feeling that this post is going to feel a lot like a whining session since I don’t have any hard numerical data to support my bullish cries. What I have to say certainly feels like the truth however.
Maya 2009 was the first venture into 64bit, but it wasn’t until my recent brush with a dieing computer that I had access to a 64bit version of Windows. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for an x64 version of the Maya 2009 plug-in and here it is.
I did some digging around and couldn’t find a really helpful tutorial on making textures tile easily. There are some really complicated ways to do it that will likely produce better results than what I am about to show you but this is a nice quick fix that is sure to work 90% of the time. This technique assumes that you’ll be using some kind of noisy texture like dirt, tree bark, gravel, wood chips, etc. If you are using solid colors or cartoon shading then you might be better off just hand painting the edges to tile properly.