[Dev Diary] MechKnight Chronicles - Dinosaur Games

(pictures will all be dropbox links)

Hey guys!

I started this thread to help document the insanity that will be MechKnight Chronicles.
logo_MKC.png
roy_atlantis.jpg

This is the first game from Dinosaur. A company I started with some friends and ex co-workers from Terminal Reality.
logo_Dinosaur.png

Before I get along with this thread, I want to put links where you can keep up with the development outside of this thread.
http://mechknightgame.com/
http://www.facebook.com/dinosaurdev

Also our proof of concept video we made back in July.
[ame=" Chronicles Concept Trailer. Dinosaur Games - YouTube[/ame]
and the art dump for that here.
http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=102325&highlight=mechknight

Shortly after the concept video was released, we became official Sony Playstation developers.
playstation-logo.jpg

We're working on Steam and Microsoft next. Ouya is on our list too as soon as the sdk launches.


I hope you guys stick around here and join us for the next year as we enter development hell with MechKnight. I'm the only artist on this project, so you guys are in for a real treat.
So now, onto the present.

Replies

  • skankerzero
    Characters, characters, characters!

    In order to get this project done with the amount of characters required you have to love and embrace modularity.

    As part of pre-production, I built base meshes for the different races in our game. These meshes are just for the purposes of massing. The t-pose chosen has the shoulder joint down 45 degrees and the elbow bent at 25 degrees. The hip joint is out 5 degrees and the knees/toes point out 5 degrees. All our characters will follow this pose in order to help with modularity of parts.
    pimp_01.jpg
    pimp_02.jpg
    The standization of the t-pose also extends to our enemy characters.
    pimp_03.jpg
    The standardization and accuracy of the t-pose will also help us with our transforming armor pieces. our game is going to be full of these, so it's very important that we get these angle snaps right.
    [ame=" Chronicles - Orge Backpack Transformation - Dinosaur Games - YouTube[/ame]

    Using our modular bases, we also just finished our first playable character.
    char_Tina.png
    Total time for her was about 5 days including our time for trial and error. We experimented with how we were going to accomplish the different anime facial expressions. We tried both pre modeled expressions and a full face rig. In the end, we will probably go with modeled expressions that are swapped out. We won't know for sure until we can start properly testing in Unity. We'll check back in with our results.
    tina_pimp_01.jpg

    Here you can see her 4 levels of armor and her texture.
    tina_pimp_02.jpg
    Her texture is a 1024 and will most likely be shrunk down to a 512 come run-time.

    Up next are the models for the Npcs and then the second player character. Then texturing everything!

    Hope to keep you guys entertained and informed. I'll be dumping knowledge in here for the next year as I try to stay sane.

    Keep in touch and ask questions. I'll try my best to answer them.
  • slipsius
    Your UV packing is nothing short of amazing, Jesse. And I love that ogre animation. I`m guessing Travis did that one?

    +follow!
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    I'd love to hear about the business side of things, like investor meetings.
    Also are you guys playing on using Unity 4?
    Awesome work so far, I'm always impressed with your break downs and how optimized everything is.
  • LoTekK
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    LoTekK polycounter lvl 11
    Crazy-tight UV layout, nice one! Though if the armor pieces are modular/swappable, wouldn't it make sense to split them off to a separate sheet(s)?

    Always enjoyed your breakdowns, so I'm looking forward to seeing this dev diary grow :)
  • skankerzero
    Thanks a lot guys!
    ZacD wrote: »
    I'd love to hear about the business side of things, lke investor meetings.
    Also are you guys playing on using Unity 4?
    Awesome work so far, I'm always impressed with your break downs and how optimized everything is.

    I'll try and get into the business side of things one day.

    Yeah, we're going to pick up Unity 4 here soon.
    LoTekK wrote: »
    Crazy-tight UV layout, nice one! Though if the armor pieces are modular/swappable, wouldn't it make sense to split them off to a separate sheet(s)?

    Always enjoyed your breakdowns, so I'm looking forward to seeing this dev diary grow :)

    Currently we're not sure if we're just going to do swaps or if we're going to create individual models for the different levels. We need to get into Unity and run benchmarks once we're a little further a long with our demo.
  • YBourykina
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    YBourykina Polycount Sponsor
    woo awesome job, love Tina, and super excited to see what's next! ^____^
  • benj666
    this is awesome I am a fan for sure. Also great to see the progress of it. Good job guys!
  • erroldynamic
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    erroldynamic polycounter lvl 12
    Sweet! Looking forward to seeing more, it's definitely interesting to see your breakdowns/workflow. The Tina model looks beautiful, some stunning texture work.
  • skankerzero
    The original models for the prototype video had hard shadows, but this time around it's more difficult to do since we're adding armor as the player levels up. For example, this character starts with no armor on the shins and then the shin armor is placed over it. Thus why there's no shadows under the straps.

    The overall shading and lighting on the characters has to be more generic in a sense.

    If we decide to export each level as it's own model, then I plan on revisiting the textures and adding custom shadows to compensate for the added armor.

    **edit**
    Teejay: I think I misunderstood what you meant. I'll go back over and take a look at the texture and see where I can add some hard shadows for wrinkles and such.

    Thanks for the crit!
  • cptSwing
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    cptSwing polycounter lvl 6
    Love reading tech breakdowns from you, so subscribed!
  • reverendK
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    reverendK polycounter lvl 6
    love the painted relections on the body-suit. +1 subscription
  • Teessider
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    Teessider polycounter lvl 5
    wow..that UV layout is amazing! Am I right in guessing you are mirroring UVs to save on texture space?

    This is inspiring! :D (as well as everything else on here)
  • skankerzero
    Teessider wrote: »
    wow..that UV layout is amazing! Am I right in guessing you are mirroring UVs to save on texture space?

    This is inspiring! :D (as well as everything else on here)

    Yes. The game is a sidescrolling brawler, so mirroring is not a big deal.

    As far as the head goes, we're still experimenting with how we want to approach it, but if I don't do mirrored uvs, then I'll put hard shadows in there for the hair. The hair is asymmetrical, so that makes placing shadows tricky.

    Right now the two head islands on the bottom right are for the closed mouth mesh and the open mouth mesh.
    tina_pimp_03.jpg
    We're testing to see if doing simple head swaps is more efficient than rigging the face to pull off the exaggerated anime expressions. 1,266 extra verts vs 22 extra bones.
  • Bonkahe
    Hey man, since its a game where you never see things that close, and its based on large facial movements, what if you only swapped out different textures on a series of planes just in front of the face, with picture of the various objects, using alpha maps to blend them with the rest of the face, idk just a thought.
  • reverendK
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    reverendK polycounter lvl 6
    I suspect the lack of depth would cause it to suffer if they used a sticker approach.
    If you guys do end up going this direction though, and you want to reduce the vert count You ccould try reducing the portion of the face that get's replaced to more of a stop motion approach.
    examples from coraline 1 2 3

    though to be honest I'm not sure if that wouldn't cause additional problems with unwelded verts sharing the same skin
  • skankerzero
    while it's a side scroller, our game camera will push in and out during gameplay.

    Also, if you check out the concept video, we're planning on doing some super moves where the player will appear very large on screen. We're also pushing the camera in super close for 'cinematics'.

    We really thought about the decal approach for the face, but after looking at the game design doc, we decided against it.
    Would have been so much easier though. :(
  • DockRock
    I have Been following your progress on all fronts (Twitter, Facebook, DeviantArt, G+), and I am super excited about what you guys are doing here. I would love to hear more about your experience with Unity for this project. As usual the artwork is friggin' awesome!
  • ablaine
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    ablaine polygon
    Awesome stuff, Jesse! Definitely following this thread.
  • hawken
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    hawken polycounter lvl 12
    I wrote a long reply to this but it disappeared. Basically: nice work, wish you guys the best, work more on the hands with colours, rings, nail art / whatever, so that the player reads human gestures from the character easily.

    Boobs could be enbiggened / exposed if you want more fans.
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