Sunday, June 17, 2018

Do Indie Game Developers Get a Bad Rap?

John Marine | 8:09 PM | Be the first to comment!
#indiedev #gamedev is often dismissed by gamers. They get a bad rap from a lot of people. Most of this is because a lot of indie games seem to lack the polish of AAA-quality games. However, the indie gaming scene is unique in that you don't have to have world-class talent and exorbitant amounts of money to make a game. Even hobbyist-level and casual-level gamers have produced games that can still be fun to play. Trouble is, some people think the only games that matter are those from major developers. It is as if indie gamers are not supposed to challenge even the best developers. This blog post shares my ideas in regards to how independent developers are treated vs. most of the major developers and games.






Do Indie Developers Get a Bad Rap?


To further expand upon my points, I want to share a number of different aspects about indie gaming and indie game development. So please read on to get my full thoughts.


The Appeal of Indie Gaming.

In any arena of competition, one is driven by the prospect of taking on the best of the best. Even those who don't have otherworldly talent are still able to keep pace and challenge the best. You see it all the time in sports. Take college basketball, for instance. You may be from a small university or college that no one even knows where it is (or cares where you are from), yet you can still defeat even the better teams in the sport. That prospect alone of being talented enough to defeat the bigger programs is motivation to be your best. Game development can be quite the same.

What may be one of the biggest independent games of all time is Minecraft. Look at the success Minecraft has garnered even in the wake of all the Call of Duty games and stuff. Heck, there is even a channel on Pluto devoted to Minecraft! If Minecraft was able to achieve this level of success, ANY game (even from indie developers) can reach incredible levels of success. Another game I want to mention in regards to the appeal of indie gaming is an emotional indie game called "That Dragon, Cancer." The game was about a father whose son is dying from cancer. I remember I was crying when I saw the trailer for that game. "That Dragon, Cancer" even won awards, and even the acceptance speech had me crying. Well-executed indie games can be just as incredible as even the best AAA titles. Some independent games probably introduce concepts and ideas that a lot of mainstream and well-recognized developers wouldn't be able to mimic or better. That is what makes the indie gaming scene mostly unique compared to mainstream developers.

Maybe the biggest deal about independent gaming is the different ideas and execution. So many different developers in the indie scene are all about procedural material and complete randomness. These indie games usually want to produce experiences different from the mainstream. These ideas show a lot of times with their work. Not many can appreciate the greatness provided in a number of independent games.


Hobbyist Indie Gaming.

What about hobbyist and inexperienced game developers? Some people don't even have the resources and/or time to make a AAA-style game. Can a game still be fun even if from a hobbyist developer? Absolutely. Trouble is, people think the only games that matter are major titles from major developers. So hobbyists don't get any kind of recognition or respect from discriminating gamers. The mindset is usually that a lot of independent gamers make came that are done in only a short amount of time and doesn't stack up to larger titles. Or, people will fall into the presumption that ugly-looking games don't equal great games.


The Indie Gaming Challenge.

Some people might even feel indie games are either ruining gaming or just flooding the gaming realm with substandard games. One thing that makes indie games unique is their varied and diverse ideas. A number of games introduce concepts mostly different from a lot of AAA games and game developers. Some indie games can be challenging. Sometimes, TOO challenging. It can also be challenging as an indie game developer when you don't have any real recognizable name. These reasons, among many others, is why not a lot of indie game developers prosper as much as they could.

Just like any arena, there are multiple entities with varying levels of talent. So you shouldn't feel bad that your level of talent is not at the level of various other developers. You work to the level that you are most comfortable with. You also should improve your craft when you can however you can. Indie games may not reach levels of success like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, Elliot Quest, Fist Puncher, Guacamelee!, or anything like that. They don't have to. I remember when some kids were trying to code for the OUYA Android gaming console. They were as young as 8 or even 12. Is anyone going to look at their code as being the absolute best gaming experiences? I doubt it. Again- success will come if people enjoy your work. Just don't be disappointed because you feel like an also-ran in the gaming realm. You are part of a scene that is unique, distinctive, and somewhat rebellious as an independent game developer.

One more thing to think about with indie gaming is their impact to certain platforms. For example, a lot of game developers have been a good bit intrigued on the Nintendo scene. Indie game developers made their mark on Sony systems, Microsoft systems, and even various computer interfaces. Those who market for mainstream platforms just want to share the spotlight with popular systems. Developing for such systems can cost a lot! I read it costs about $500 USD to develop [as a registered developer] for Nintendo platforms. For Sony platforms, a license to develop for Sony systems can cost you $5K USD! I am not sure about XBOX development costs, though. It is not as if indie games should be relegated to sites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, or sites like that.


Lessons from the OUYA.

What does the OUYA have to do with indie game development? The OUYA taught me a lot and helped me appreciate the indie scene. It made me see what even non-attractive names can still produce quality games. I am not expecting games to rival AAA games from AAA developers, and I don't only want to play games that everyone talks about. Some of the best titles may be games that are NOT talked about. Some games produced to the OUYA are excellent; some others are very cheap games that someone made over a weekend or something. Regardless, it helped me to realize what all is possible in game development and the level of skill of various developers.

SIDE NOTE: Games made for the OUYA are nowadays on the Cortex Store and for the Razer Forge TV.


Time now for some final thoughts.





Final Thoughts


Independent game developers may not get as much attention and praise, but they are very much a part of the fabric that makes up gaming in general. Indie game developers are in no way any disappointment. Indie game developers are not filler for gaming libraries. We are all a part of the vast and expansive world of gaming. We make and play games and put our hearts into all of our work. I just wish a lot of people would stop assuming that just because a game is made by an independent that it is not supposed to be as good as major titles. Maybe people don't want indie games to overtake various top-level games. I also wish people would stop thinking that games that don't look pretty or polished aren't good enough to be in gaming libraries. Okay- so maybe a game looks like a bunch of school kids designed the art in Microsoft paint. It can still be a good game as long as it is well coded and is engaging. Even a hobbyist or a casual-type game developer can produce quality games even if people think indie games aren't all that good. Some people even disregard indie gamers for lacking the polish to be great games. Just like top-level developers, even indie gamers have their own levels of talent.

In conclusion, I think indie game developers get a bad rap. Indie game developers shouldn't be so disregarded, but they are disregarded among certain discriminating gamers. Don't kick down the indie developers! Instead, give them a chance. Treat indie game developers like small businesses- they may not be the biggest names, but they are at least trying to make a living and establish a name. Even hobbyists and small teams (even solo game developers) just want to make games for people who play and enjoy. If you care so much about only top-level games and developers, support them and stop bashing the indie scene. Just don't get upset when indie games ultimately get equal or similar attention to top-level developers. Also, don't feel as if indie game developers can't cut the mustard with major titles that they have to *settle* for not-so-popular gaming platforms (such as OUYA/Cortex or Kongregate).

Respect every and all game developers- hobbyists to professionals, no/low budget to high budget, low income to high income, and entities like that.





Those are my views regarding whether indie gamers get a bad rap from gamers in general. Let me know what you think:

Do you think independent/indie gamers get a bad rap? Why do you feel the way you do about this topic?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Project Antoinette

John Marine | 11:35 PM | | Be the first to comment!
In my #gamedev adventures using @GodotEngine, I have developed "Project Antoinette." Project Antoinette is my development base made in Godot Game Engine to make a 2D platformer and various assets for platformers. I plan on making characters also with different abilities. Project Antoinette is not meant to be a proper game. Elements from it, however, may trickle into individual game projects. For now, I am simply trying to slowly learn the ins and outs of game development while trying many different concepts.

As of the initial date of this blog post typing (June 11, 2018), I have mostly followed different YouTube tutorials and Godot Docs notes to build my character and design worlds. What I HAVEN'T been able to do yet was code for collectable items and taking on coding enemies. These are only a few different platformer elements I have not yet perfected or mastered.

Project Antoinette does not resemble a proper game I am working on. Project Antoinette is more like my sandbox for trying different elements of 2D platformer games. There may be child projects that may stem from the parent of "Project Antoinette." That is what I am at least hoping for with this project. For now, I have a somewhat better understanding of what I want to do with platformers and how I hope to pace everything.

I will not post any sort of pictures on Project Antoinette until I make something actually interesting. Though in future posts, I may fill you in on my learning of game development using Godot with Project Antoinette as my base.





I am pleased for you all to continue to check out my work. Let's keep that relationship going, shall we? Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Godot Game Engine

John Marine | 8:59 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
I have never made any kind of game. Attempts at doing so have hit multiple snags, either trying to learn code or simply trying to build everything. The Godot game engine provides new hope for me. For most of this weekend, I learned from a tutorial series on how to make at least one kind of game. All that remains is to put my skills into practice and try to develop something special. This blog post is a look at the Godot game engine and what I hope to accomplish with it.






Godot Game Engine


Let's get to know Godot and get my thoughts on it.


A Brief Overview of Godot.

Godot is no Johnny-come-lately or overnight success. It was earlier in March 2018 when Godot version 3 was released. Godot is a completely free and open-source engine for making various games. I believe I read its programming language is a variation of C and C++. You can export games into various formats, including (but not limited to) Android, Blackberry, HTML5, and Windows Desktop among others. This game engine has come along very well as a free alternative to Unity. While game engines like Unity3D and the Unreal Development Kit are free to download, you won't have to pay anything for Godot or to use various resources.


Why Godot?

For most people, I would be asked about why I didn't create something with Unity. Unity is, after all, the most powerful program for making even basic games. One could even write a game using something like Visual Studio or Netbeans. To be honest, I haven't had the patience to learn Unity. Even with Godot's strengths and weaknesses, I seem fairly convinced that I can confidently make games using Godot. Godot just has a certain feel to it to where I felt more able to envision and create whatever it is I want to create for a game. I never felt confident *trying* to be patient with Unity.

Unity is more 3D based even with 2D games. Godot seems more pure 2D, though you can create 3D games with Godot. For those who do not have lots of money or skill, Godot is a true boon towards the game development realm. There is not too much a learning curve with Godot. Yet, at the same time, you don't feel entirely lost using Godot as opposed to Unity or any other game development kit. After seeing a few videos, I thought a good bit about how I can develop some kind of game. I felt as confident to make a game with Godot as I was in making 3D models using Wings3D. Anything to manifest and instill confidence is always a plus.


An Ambition Reborn... Again.

Every past attempt to try to make something has hit some kind of snag to where I eventually put it aside and almost never return to it. This time seems different with Godot. As I learn to better structure my visions, I feel better able to create something I can actually be proud of.

Let me share some back stories. It was back in 2012 or so when I bought an OUYA with the intent of making games. While the OUYA's success was mixed (some will say total failure), I saw potential in it to design games with. I do not own any kind of smartphone, and I rarely use my WiFi Android devices for gaming. I had a Google Nexus Player for possible Android TV game development. I did everything from buying new PC monitors and even an HDTV to simply try to get all of this to work. It was always a vision of mine to make a game. However, I was never on the mindset of it being a life goal to make a game.

With all of this said, Godot is not my last chance at making a game, but it is my best chance of making one. You can be assured that I will share my material across social media as well as here on "John's Creative Space" should I create something worth sharing.


For More Information...

So... do you want to try Godot for yourself? Please visit the following website to begin your game development journey with Godot: godotengine.org! You can visit this site for documents to help you with Godot Version 3: Godot Docs - 3.0 Branch.





I will keep you posted on all of my creative works. Until then, I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your day to visit my blog. Support is always special to me no matter how much it is. I am just glad you can provide your own support to help keep me relevant. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

My Assetto Corsa Teams

John Marine | 10:22 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
In #AssettoCorsa and with Content Manager, I assembled some teams. And in this "John's Creative Space" blog post, I will share you those team creations of mine. This continues my groove of car skinning for Assetto Corsa. You can view all of my work on my Weebly site, but I want to share my work here as well to keep this blog flowing.






My Assetto Corsa Teams


When creating liveries for Assetto Corsa, you can just create a basic skin for any vehicle. You and then program any number of racing suits for the driver and the team.

But before I show you my team liveries, let me share this with you...


Skins... AND Team?

I practiced looking at making a car livery along with making a team and driver set to make a complete team. This was my first practice:

Assetto Corsa team
This was practice on making a team. What isn't visible are the headphones on the teams underneath the tent.

There is an ac_crew.dds file to each skin in Assetto Corsa. The elements of that file determine the image details expressed by the team. Assetto Corsa offers a good array of default racing gear to where you feel you lack enough quality suits, gloves, and helmets. You kind of have to play around with the options of already-available content, but you should be fine unless you want to make completely unique racing gear.


Now on to my team liveries. I will share with you three teams I created.


Team: Victoria's Secret Racing.

Victoria's Secret BMW Z4 GT3 Team Assetto Corsa
This is "Victoria's Secret Racing" with some very sexy BMW Z4 GT3s.

My first team I attempted to put together in a team picture is "Victoria's Secret Racing." This is a team of thee BMW Z4 GT3s. The premise was to make a sexy set of paintschemes for a sexy race car. I initially planned on all cars to be black with pink accents. Eventually, I chose to make only one of them black with pink accents. The other two were two shades of pink and pink with white. The cars represent three different lines from the Victoria's Secret line. The first one is Victoria's Secret itself, the second one is the Juniors-oriented Victoria's Secret PINK line, and the third one is the Victoria Sport (or VSX) line.


Team: Sodexo Sport.

Sodexo Sport Porsche team Assetto Corsa
Three Porsche 911 RSRs make up this French team of the French brand Sodexo.

Sodexo is a company that specializes in quality of life services. It is a French company I learned of when I was hospitalized last year. I mostly know them for providing good food to stay nourished. In making my Sodexo team, I had trouble wondering how to utilize the template for the car. So I did my best and came up with the scheme you see for this team in Assetto Corsa.


Team: Roshfrans Racing.

Roshfranz Racing BMW M3 GT2 team Assetto Corsa
Meet this Mexican team of BMW M3 GT2s.

Of the three teams I am featuring here in this post, "Roshfranz Racing" is the only team based on freely-available cars in Assetto Corsa. So this is not downloadable content for AC. Roshfranz is a Mexican company that produces car care products. I picked to paint the cars black, but each team car features the three different colors that make up Roshfrans. Also among the sponsors is Volaris. Volaris is a Mexican airline.


Now you know about the teams I created. For more plans with my work, visit the next section.




My Plans With These Assetto Corsa Teams


Thank you for looking at my teams! I want you to know something if these pictures have interested you, though. I am thinking of providing my skins and other work to sites like RaceDepartment or NoGripRacing. I hope I can generate enough interest to be able to offer my work to all of you. So if I somehow get a good amount of interest, I will provide my work online for you to enjoy. Just be sure to thank me, of course!

All of the teams do not have actual drivers assigned to them. I'll leave that up to you in case you want to set up team liveries and such. To see all of my work work for Assetto Corsa, please visit my Assetto Corsa portfolio on JMDesigns.





I hope you enjoy my work here. Glad you could drop by! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Project Defiant

John Marine | 5:54 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
Project Defiant is the codename for my ambitious eBook project. Previously, I made two eBooks as part of my "Proof Posi+ive" series- both nonfiction. This other eBook project is ambitious for many reasons. For one, this is a fictional piece of mine. I will tell you more about this project I am working on.


About the Label: Projects


Blog posts in this category relate to certain projects I am working on. They will fall under certain names and do not entirely represent the final product when finished, if projects are indeed finished.







Project Defiant


Here is a look at the basics of this eBook fiction I am working on.


Basic Overview.

A young male bored with masculine fashion plans to try a new sort of lifestyle. He decides to try wearing feminine clothes and try to live life as a male in feminine clothing. His journey and his adventures lead him to many different changes in perception and in acceptance. He finds out more about himself, and perhaps also take on new responsibilities and new perceptions. All the while, he begins to take on a new personality and has new thoughts about himself and the world around him. How far can his experiences go?


The "Ambitious" Elements.

I feel like this is an ambitious project because it involves elements much different from what I normally would focus on. For one, a few LGBT-style references are exhibited. I also have introduced romantic and seductive elements. Needless to say, this one will not be as friendly to all audiences. However, if I am going to express these elements, I am going to do it smartly and not casually swear on a constant basis. I am also not going to casually throw around seductive references just to remind you that this is not some not-safe-for-work piece of literature.


Inspirations.

The main inspiration is in the beauty of male androgyny. The protagonist of my story is an androgynous male who is (to quote from the LGBT realm) passable, or the ability to be perceived as a member of one gender as opposed to the one assigned at birth. I have no actual inspirations. It's more just fantasy.

Conversely, you could say that the beauty of the male body being as enticing as even the most seductive females is a major inspiration to this project. This project of mine does have some LGBT elements to it, but this is not meant to be exclusively LGBT literature.


Now that you know about some of my project, let me explain a little progress.




Project Defiant: Progress (as of February 14, 2018)


When I looked at my previous two eBooks, I noticed I have typed more than 50K characters for my work. My novel currently is at about 63K characters. I am carefully planning my story. I seem more interested in trying to piece together individual experiences rather than properly structure a story from beginning to conclusion. Formal writing is not my forte. So I am somewhat casual with putting the story together. I am doing things like limiting contractions, avoiding double negatives, and stuff like that.


I may want to try to provide further details of my work on Patreon, including some details too good to share in a blog post or even in a free post on my Pateron page. Even if just to revive my Patreon page, I'll do what I can to share some extra details about my work. Want to contribute to my work through Patreon? Here's your invitation:

John on Pateron





Once I complete my project (or if I do), I will surely share my work with you all to enjoy. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Assetto Corsa Skinning

John Marine | 8:23 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Skinning for Aseeto Corsa cars is something I've done lately in trying to learn how to mod cars for this game. I have used GIMP for my skinning of cars. The really nice thing about this game is that all cars have templates for them supplied by the developer, Kunos Simulazioni. Part of the process is in trying to learn how to properly put in my material. I will share with you some of the skins I made for Assetto Corsa and what I have learned.

First, here is a decent skin I created:

Assetto Corsa skin
^ This is a 2016 Audi R8 LMS colored in my Moonlight Motorsports livery.

This skin was created by me after learning how to properly design liveries for cars using GIMP. Part of this involved some trial and error. Making a skin with GIMP is not really difficult; it is just not as efficient and intuitive as with Photoshop.

What are my recommendations? First off, save the PSD format template to GIMP's proprietary XCF format. If you try to save over the PSD in GIMP, you will lose the texture group information- and you don't want that. So try to save the PSD file into XCF before doing any painting in GIMP. Assetto Corsa uses the DDS format for textures. The recommended format is DXT1 for textures that do not use alpha channels. Use DXT5 format DDS for images that have transparency to them. Transparency options usually are reserved for things like windshield graphics and some car skins that are basically overlays to cars.

When you save a DDS file through GIMP, the car skin will appear light at first. It is as if gamma correction is provided when a skin is successfully loaded into the game or through some external viewer. Also, pay special attention to what layer is active in GIMP, because the active layer will be exported when you try to load the skin onto a car. So when you're done with all of the livery graphics, flatten the image so all visible layers are applied to the car. Make sure also to not have the wireframe layer active if a skin has a wireframe layer. What about the colors? The method I use is to darken the color lightness and add some saturation. Use the "Hue-Saturation" option from the Colors menu in GIMP. The settings I use are Lightness at -75 and about Saturation of 15. After doing this, the skin comes out properly when I upload the skins into Assetto Corsa.

So in review, here is the skinning process:
• paint your livery onto a given car
• flatten the image
• darken the Lightness of the image and add some Saturation
• save the DDS file in DXT1 format, and also generate mipmaps

If you have Assetto Corsa, I recommend using "Content Manager" to preview skins for cars. The program updates skins in real time, so you can edit the skins as many times as you like to sample your skin before playing it in the game.


Now for the trial and error process. Consider the following:


Skinning Too Light.

Assetto Corsa skin
^ This was a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport appearing too bright.

With this effort, the colors appear faded, like badly worn jeans or other clothes. The colors are not rich enough and real enough for my tastes. Actually, I had previously added more saturation just to make sure the colors appear right. Even still, there was that sort of gamma correction that made the colors appear brighter than they should be. I didn't want that kind of gamma correction hampering the quality of my livery designs.


Skinning Too Dark.

Assetto Corsa skin
^ This Mazda MX-5 Cup test car was colored darker than the original image.

There was a point where I sampled colors too dark. What I did was apply an all-black layer and gave it some opacity. This would darken my image without needing to apply Lightness or Saturation once I flattened the image. This worked well. However, it made some of my skins appear darker and less saturated than what they should be. So I then retired that method.


Lessons Learned.

Until I find a way around gamma correction, this is the method I use to try to apply proper color quality to my car skins in Assetto Corsa. The cars still come out beautifully once I import them into the game.





Happy new year, mates! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Second Life Plans

John Marine | 8:04 PM | | Be the first to comment!
Recently, I joined Second Life. Second Life is the most popular virtual world simulator today. I began thinking about offering creative work in SL after being active in Second Life. Currently, I have nothing to share. I do hope in the future to maybe offer some material to the SL Universe. Until then, there are no real plans of mine at this moment. I will keep all of you posted. Maybe in my "John's Blog Space" blog (my main blog), I will offer my thoughts on Second Life based on my first experiences with it this past weekend.

My biggest Second Life plans are to make avatars as well as making clothing for avatars. I may also consider making various props to be used by Second Life avatars. I currently haven't come up with anything. However, I do have a number of thoughts in mind for what I COULD create. So stay tuned!

Now you know what kind of plans I have in regards to Second Life.





Thank you for visiting "John's Creative Space!" I hope you can stay around to keep viewing my material. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

3D Track Modeling

John Marine | 8:17 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
(UPDATED: September 28, 2017)

As I returned to 3D modeling recently, I want to make cars and tracks. The latter is what I have mostly been doing lately in my return. This blog post shows practice runs of mine modeling tracks in Wings3D. It will give you an idea of what I hope to provide in the future for all of you.


LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S):

SEP 28 2017 - added another section, edits made






3D Track Modeling


When designing a race course, you have to consider designing a course in regards to making something that will be enjoyable and fun. Your ability to create a virtual space that serves as a quality race track is paramount to making something memorable. I tend to believe you need quality locations to challenge the limits of vehicles in games. Without fine venues, a car, nor its driver(s) will ever shine. So it pays to build some quality material in your own world and with your own level of craftsmanship and expertise.

A long time ago, I had envisioned making tracks for rFactor. Nothing ever materialized from my work then, and I lacked the skill and desire to make 3D models. It wasn't until recently that I decided to give 3D modeling another try. You may remember I discussed why I abandoned the 3D modeling scene some time ago. Now... I'm back!

I want to show a bit of my evolution in trying to re-learn Wings3D and Blender. I still use Wings3D for my modeling, but I am doing more of re-learning Blender to put everything together. The next section will show some practice modeling runs of mine.



Track Designs


None of my designs here will be part of any project, but I did practice designing courses. I have shown a few of my practice runs in pictures in my Facebook profile, but never truly worked on them much since. So what you are going to see are mostly practice runs with a slow evolution of my skill.

NOTE: I am now using Flickr to display some of my images.


Practice Run 1: Oval.

TestOval

A lot of racing fans would find oval racing boring. However, these are some of the most basic courses anyone can construct. Just think about it for a moment- you have some simple straights and a few corners. Completely simple to make. If you want to do more complicated ones, though, you'll have some extra work to do.


Practice Run 2: Oval With Objects.

TestTrackModel

This practice run was about designing a race course with objects. The objects on this course include a gate at the Start/Finish line, grandstands, and a garage. Even the outside concrete wall is a separate object. The advantage to a design like this is that if the performance is low, certain track objects can be removed to help improve frame rate for games. I probably shouldn't have made the outside wall a separate object, but I did. Remember- this is practice. This probably will not likely going to materialize into a track.


Practice Run 3: Road Course.

TestTrackRoad

One time, I learned a skill important in the design of race courses- the ability to bend geometry. I made a road course once that was mostly a bunch of rough cubes. Learning how to bend pieces allowed me to make smoother corners for tracks. As you can see in my test run for a road course, you can see the smooth corners.


Practice Run 4: Elevation Changes and Overpass.

TestTrackRoad2

(ADDED: September 28, 2017) This unusual-looking track was created to practice making elevation changes and an overpass. Careful placement of vertices were key in making this possible. Selecting individual loops were key in preparing this model and making the different elevation changes. Elevation changes, when making a race track, are paramount on how you actually model them. Providing too steep an angle can almost make a vehicle seem like it is hitting a wall. So you need to be careful to not make the angle too steep for whatever vehicle(s) may maneuver around it.


Please note that in all of my pictures and in my test modeling runs before my 4th practice run, the track itself is flat. I have not yet gone to the level of making modeling runs of race tracks with elevation changes or overpasses. Perhaps I will share those runs in a future post. Stay tuned to my blog for more on that front! Meanwhile, check out the next section.




Explaining the Workflow


How did I create these in Wings3D, and how can you make your own work? Well, part of my workflow is to design the basic proportions of the course followed by drawing points through the center of the different edges. The center line drawn around the track is then beveled using the Bevel function. Three colors are used to mark the outer section (usually grass), the bounds of the course (usually the white lines marking the edges of a track, and the road itself (usually tarmac or non-tarmac). It is also possible to extrude the outer portions of the track to put up barriers to help keep the car in-bounds. Or in the case of temporary circuits, what could be used to define the boundaries of the road and the outer part can simply be used as the barriers as you see on most street course tracks.

You can build your courses any way you please, but this is how I've come to learn how to design courses.



An Interesting Observation...


I imported a model of one car from one game and did a little experiment on it. When you make a basic cube in Wings3D or Blender, you get a cube that is about 2x2x2 units. Each unit from the basic scale is one foot (or one meter for Metric measurements). A car with a measurement of two units wide and four units long will require about two cubes under it to properly fit it onto the ground. When you make a 3D model or a scene, you can always upscale it to your heart's content. So in the case of a 4x4x4 cube, a car of 2x4 dimensions would fit onto it but wouldn't look too good on such a small surface. So you would need to scale it up by twice or thrice as much for it to be used as a model to race on a track.

You can start small but then raise the scale to make it better able to be used in a game or in any animation. If you are making a track for a game, be mindful of performance limitations of whatever device(s) you are developing for.


Other than that... have fun modeling!





That's all for this post. If I do offer something fun, I'll share it with all of you. Meanwhile... thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

A 3D Confession

John Marine | 3:21 PM | | Be the first to comment!
There is a reason why I haven't made 3D models for some time. Now, I must confess. I had never successfully made a 3D model from start to finish until 2016. This was nearly 20 years of trying then. Once I got going, I had a stretch of success making merely basic 3D models. Nothing of mine was too in-depth or overly complicated. One day commenting on a message board, I came across someone who made a 3D model of his own. It looked extremely basic and with not much complexity. I commented that his work was very good but could be better. Another person more qualified said it was a terrible model and would not sell well on (this site). If that wasn't bad enough, this other guy who ripped the modeler wanted me not to encourage him, as if he'll keep making crappy models that won't make any kind of profit for that certain site. Both of us weren't professional-style 3D modelers, but at least I gave the benefit of the doubt to this other modeler.

One thing about me... if you say something convincing or in a convincing way, I will tend to look at things a different way and either not be into it anymore or make me appreciate something more. The former describes me when it came to 3D modeling. Being part of one community sometimes makes you think differently trying to come up with content as a content publisher. You know your level of skill will or will not be enough to satisfy everyone, especially in certain communities. You can only do so much based on your level of skill.

Having said that, the impact of dealing with this incident has led me not to be as active in making 3D models anymore. One person or a group of people can be just enough to make you not care about something or have the same level of joy and confidence in trying to make something. Parts of me do want to get back into the flow of 3D modeling. Trouble is, you have to ease into it- almost like exercising. You know you are not going to burn 50 lbs. in a day or in a week. Thankfully for me, Wings3D is not overly complicated to learn and use. So any 3D projects I may take on probably won't be as difficult. They will only be difficult if I intend on making something incredibly complex.

To see the 3D work I've come up with, visit my portfolio of 3D work on my Weebly site here: JMDesigns - 3D Portfolio. And if any of my 3D models interest you, you can shop for them here on my Weebly page: JMDesigns - 3D Store.





I can't believe it's been months since my last post on "John's Creative Space." Most of that, though, is because I have mostly been working on material for the PC fighting game engine M.U.G.E.N. Stay tuned to this blog and to my Weebly site for more information on these deals. How do you do that? Just click on the items below this paragraph! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vector Practice

John Marine | 9:01 PM | Be the first to comment!
I have practiced vectoring lately. Vector art is a fine form of art if you are able to create quality material. A number of indie games even utilize vectored art rather than pixelated material. One major advantage to vector art is that you able to resize the art to be small or large without losing quality of the image. That is why a lot of today's games and art utilize vectors over pixels. Prior to recently, I have never successfully made any kind of vector art.

I took a picture of a high-heel platform pump and made a vector out of it. This was the result:

vector art practice
^ Original image on left, vector on right.

I tried vectoring an image while also adding some extra vectors for lighting detail. Check it:

vector art practice
^ Rather than fill in vector shapes, I instead made separate vectors to add some light details. I also modified the bezier curves to my liking to mold the vector image on the right.

Really, I think I can get better at making vectors. The real challenge for me is actually in trying to trace a basic outline and then try to make something look as detailed as possible. Some people make absolutely impressive vector graphics. I even have some vector graphics for logos for cars. I am grabbing skills from various vector graphic artists to refine my vector art skills. To be honest, vectoring seems like a lot of hard work, but it really isn't. All I have done was mostly take advantage of tracing and if need be, modify the vector paths.


Vector Plans?

I have taken on an interesting project. I am considering using Inkscape (the program I am using for my vectoring) to make MUGEN characters; but more importantly, I am also trying to design as many original characters as possible for 2D game projects. That even includes my host of original fictional characters. I may even come up with entirely unique personalities made exclusively though vectoring. So be sure to follow my work for more details.





I hope you got to enjoy this blog post. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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