Posts Tagged ‘retrofuture’

Animation of the Artillery

Artillery of WinThatWar!

Original : Fisher Body craftmen

The animation of the vehicles is a perfect blend of handmade animation and procedural animation. I would like to begin with the latter type of animation, and here are the related elements:

> The movement of the vehicle is supported by the physical engine of the game. In this way, the vehicle follows the inclination of a virtual grid, a collision volume or, more simply, a deformed plan simulating the relief of the ground.

> The Artillery also needs to be able to shoot from different ranges and angles. Thus, the articulations related to the rotation of the cannon are animated by the code (what we call the “logic”) so that the shot adjusts itself directly to the position of the target, according to the position of the Artillery.

> The caterpillar tracks are also animated, following the movement of the vehicle. This effect is obtained by dynamically moving the UV coordinates of the model, in game, in accordance with the speed of the vehicle.

As a reminder, the UV coordinates are the correspondence between 3D coordinate (xyz) and 2D (uv) used to indicate where and how the textures are “drawn” on the model. In the case of the tracks, we could say that the UV “glide” on the 3D, giving an impression of rolling movement.

Artillery caterpillar continuous track

All the other animations are handled beforehand by the animator.

The animator is free to use all the other articulations available, except for the 2 articulations handled by the engine that we addressed earlier: the horizontal rotation of the turret and the vertical lifting of the cannon.

In the case of the Artillery, here are the elements created “by hand”, before the “logic” steps in:

> The animation of the installation. The vehicle is rather slow to get into siege position, and conveys the impression of a powerful weapon, which takes time to set up but is destructive. The disassembly is, however, much more short.

> Creation of shock absorption and a wave that shakes the whole vehicle when the Artillery shoots. This animation is achieved through the lifting of the mudguards, which is then synchronised with a shockwave effect, creating dust clouds.

animation joints and curves

And now, about shooting. This is when we add the particle effect which helps materialise the projectile, in the form of a plasma ball.

Finally, the death animation of the Artillery is simulated using the physical engine, called Mass FX. It is pre-calculated with the 3D modeling software and then reworked by the animator to get the desired result.

This animation goes with a smoke cloud and fragments spraying all around the vehicle. The destruction of the Artillery, alone, is not impressive enough to the player:

dislocation

This is pretty much the life of the Artillery. From the moment it leaves the factory to its death of the battle field.

This post about animation is the first half of a two-part article. The next post will be entirely dedicated to the Sound Design of the Artillery which, as you will see, is directly related to the different animations addressed here.

New year, new team, new trailer

Ok, I admit this title is not the most original I could find.
But, you know, the video is speaking for itself:

 

 

Putting aside logos and the lost territories map made from hexagons, everything you see in this video was captured in-game. As you may have noticed, there is a lot of changes concerning the Sound Design. Hey, we told you there was a reason for Jpeg hurting his car.

Next week, the post will be proposed by Philemon, so you can guess it will be a bit artistic one!

Airknocker is coming!

… and Winter is already there. That’s old, that’s a shitty joke and I’m sorry for that. Please Stay.

Today, let me introduce… “The Gun-Nut”!!

Well, actually, it’s just a AirKnocker and I’m not that sure naming it “The Gun Nut” would help to sell the concept.

AirKnocker_WinThatWar_02

As the name suggests, the AirKnocker is used to attack (and destroy) the air units. Our bombers don’t appreciate that much when they spot them on the ground, right before they disappeared in a puff of smoke.

So, the AirKnocker is a quite light ground unit an it makes it a very mobile vehicle, at least much faster than those lumbering tanks. Hey, no, we’re not judging the tanks, we’re happy to have them in our troups when we need some units to act tough !

Not content with its brand new nuclear fission engine which makes it that swift, the “Gun-Nut” (oh I have to stop with this name…) didn’t choose between wheels or catepillar, it chose both. And did I tell you that it has a 5000miles + autonomy? For sure, it won’t let you down soon.

But let’s go to the part that really interest you. We know it, speed and stuffs, that’s cool, but what you do want is to finally get down with your neighbor’s bombers that invaded your territory! Don’t you? That’s not a problem, our AirKnocker is here for that very reason. Thanks to its full 360° fast rotative cupola, which also lean to aim at the sky right above, assembled on an ultra-fast electric motor, it can deploy all of its four cannons in any direction in less than a second. Pulsed laser, high frequency shots and extremly short reload time… I wonder what you’re waiting for to make it your fav units in WinThatWar!? (Well, the second favorite, I hope Michel will always have the first place).

All of this to tell you that Philemon offer you this Concept Art, and we can’t wait him to make the 3D asset and replace the place holder which is in the game for now.

We wish a merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it, and happy holidays. Next blog post in 2016!

AirKncocker-preconcept-winthatwar

Utopiales and Art to Play: November fairs

Putting aside our recent penchant for recruitment and furnitures assembly, we are still (yes, we do!) collecting all your feedbacks to improve the game. And game fairs, show, conventions are the best for us. Really, it’s amazing to meet you all, watch your reactions while you’re playing WinThatWar! and talk about it with you. And, in November, we were kinda lucky since we were present at the Utopiales and Art to Play, both of these fairs taking place in Nantes.

Just like last year, the Utopiales public was really… young. Anyway, he also was very enthusiastic, and from the beginning of the afternoon, the kids were just there, staying at our stand, helping out and teaching the new comers how to play WinThatWar! That was really great for us to see the youngers able to understand the game and how to play it. Sometimes, at the expense of the elders! Hold on, don’t get mad, “elders”, we know most of you will become some really badass strategists as soon as the game will offer more features and options.

Utopiales Insane Unity

We neither regret the Art to Play weekend. At the contrary! You were so many to stop by our stand, 14yo young women to 60yo grown men, testing the game and tormenting us with your countless and unusual questions (Actually we love that, it makes us look deeper into the game mechanics, so please don’t stop!), and also encouraging us. Well, we won’t lie, this weekend was exhausting (like really, it killed us. 5 days later we’re sleeping on the tables at the studio. I barely exaggerate, promise) but still, it was really rewarding. We wrote a lot of your feedbacks and ideas on our notepads. Plus, that was a good opportunity to see if you’d like the tokens/strategy icons, as it was a brand new feature in the game. Unless I’m mistaken, i think you liked it, and the map general view have seduced many (mini-map “are so 2014” anyway.).

In short, if we should summarize those 2 weekends:

  • The younger are the players, the rougher they play. They just spend their time building turrets.
  • We can easily welcome 13 players at the same time on our stand, even if it’s only 2 computers.
  • Trying to give some explanations about our game when Matthieu Sommet (SLG – a french famous youtuber) or Ganglion (J-rock band) are standing on the stage, about 10 meters far from you, can be a quite difficult excercise. That’s why we just gave up our vocal cords there.

Art to Play Insane Unity

Again, thank you to every single player who came to these conventions.

Roadmap little changes

Hi people!

It’s been a long time I haven’t wrote anything on this blog. That’s why I take advantage of this post-return of summer holidays break to bring you some general news.

From movie the mummy found on tumblr

So! Insane Unity is doing well. Doom is still working on his network stack (which has quite progressed), and Philemon get back to a concept arts phase (which are also in a good way). Also… our two trainees abandoned us last week (sob).

Anyway, we’re still looking for financing and that takes a lot of time, but we’re doing our best to stick to our roadmap at the same time. And as you’ll see below, that was not as effective as we expected. Let’s see what we forecast for September:

  • HUD (tactical information)
  • Tutorial
  • Multiplayer over the Internet
  • Gameplay-guided music

Hum. Well, the HUD is functional, as you may already know if you receive our newsletter, but we’re waiting for Philemon to find a moment to draw some pretty strategy icons miniatures before we let you test it.

About the tutorial, we’re waiting to finish fixing every single interface issues. But, here is the point: Since I had loads of administrative tasks to handle these months, I barely made progress on the interface. Maybe I should buy a tie (just kidding). Even though, I found some times to work on the AI, and that’s the good news. Be patient, I’ll wrote a  post about that later.

Multiplayer over the Internet mode is working! Here is another good news, right? At least, one of us is doing his job, here: Doom. The connecting time between two players is just melting like an icecube on the top of an uranium battery, and the stack is getting stronger and  more and more efficient. Maybe Doom will also write a post about this in a couple weeks.

Last but not least, about the gameplay-guided music, we just have to integrate in the engine the loops CiD produced on Wwise.

I think I’ve nothing else to add. I just wanted to be honest with you and confess my mea culpa before sneakily going to modify the roadmap on WinThatWar! website.

Bye everyone, and thanks again for all your support.

Etham

Mineral 1 – Sharp Crystal

I won’t write a novel on this blog today, I swear.
We just wanted to show you this new modeled version of the Sharp Crystal.
Mineral PatchUntil now, the Crystal you could have seen in game was kind of a “test” model, allowing you to play the game while waiting for this new one.
The Sharp Crystal is a common ore. It’s the basic element for construction.

It’s really simple. For now, in WinThatWar! you just have to take care of the level of two resources. The first one is the Energy, created through generators, and the second one is the Sharp Crystal you have to extract through… well, through an extractor.

We chose as reference a particular ore : Ilmenite. A titanium and iron oxyde mineral.

ilmenite ilmenite
The hexagonal shapes are used to represent strengh and solidity. We hope it works!
We tried to make it very raw/unrefined, as it’s mean to be the most basic resource of the game. But at the same time we wanted it a bit sharp.

When it came to color it, we thought it needed to be Surreal, so the purple was perfect.
We really want the player (a.k.a you) to desire to find and extract this kind of cake made of Crystal.

Top View
It’s not really a retro-future style element, as you may have noticed, but I think it contrasts nicely with the retro-futurism style of the buildings, as the extractor, for example:

Extractor plus Mineral Patch

Hope you could find some on a distant planet. I think you could find it useful.

Cheers

Space Needle

Space Needle

Hello, folks

Today, let me present the air factory to you.

Thanks to it,  you’ll soon be able to produce all the air units you always dreamed about… well at least the ones we designed for the game (sorry to all of you that were already imagining themselves flying the Millennium Falcon, it’s not planned on our Blueprints list).

But let’s get back to the factory itself : I was inspired by the Space Needle, a huge tower located in Seattle. But also by the Hesperia Tower, an hotel on the top of which we can see a beautiful retro-future dome. Have a look here: Click-me.

early concept of the air factorySecond concept of the retrofuture air factory

We wanted this building to look like an airport combined to a shed, that’s why it’s equipped with a control tower. Just in case the non-existing-tiny-little-planes-makers would like to call back a defective serial number…

Well, I warn you, this is still work in progress.

About tools: we use Marmoset Toolbag to preview the model and materials. So it’s not  very representative of the final in-game model. We will do our utmost to visually approach this rendering.Air Factory standby model

 

Lights on: working factoryAir Factory working mode

 

I’m still not sure about the dome…

We don’t have emissive effect (also called glow) in our engine yet but we will work on it. It’s an unavoidable feature anyway!

The next step will be to add some more details to the model: antenna, vents, and maybe a dynamic windsock using physics, too.

Don’t hesitate to tell me what do you think of it. What could be better in your opinion. I’m right here, keeping my ears open just for you.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Philemon

Easter bugs hunt

This air unit has some issue to fly. It's a bit shaking up there.

This air unit has some issue to fly. It’s a bit shaking up there.

Two newcomers

If you’re following us on social medias or if you subscribed to our newsletter, you may know that Insane Unity team has slightly grown during the last months. That’s why we move in a new office a couple of weeks ago.

These some additional square meters were actually necessary, since we welcomed two trainees in addition of the four employees we already were.  Kevin and Yannick respectively joined us in early February and early March and they’re helping with the game development, including integration of the new units and buildings. And sometimes, these integrations are a bit…unpredictables.

Not an easter-egg, just some unmanageable units

grosbomberweb3An easter-egg in a video game, if some of you need a reminder, is an hidden  feature…which often has no more ambition than to troll the player, and which sometimes may looks like a “bug”. GTA or Half-Life addicts, for example, are used to it.

The following gifs could have been some easter-eggs, but they’re not. They’re not some jokes we put into Win That War! These are only integration failed first tries. Don’t worry, it’s all fixed now and you could enjoy this new units in the next alpha release.

Anyway, we thought that our dev-blog might also be used to show you some tests states, and the necessary  mistakes which come with it. That’s why, today, we wanted to share the backstage with you.

 

The artillery decides that today it wants to be a spin top.

The artillery decides that today it wants to be a spin top.

Another spin top issue. This  bomber is going to feel sick soon.

Another spin top issue. This bomber is going to feel sick soon.

Here you can see an average sized turret. Then a giant sized turret ghost appears.

Here you can see an average sized turret. Then a giant sized turret ghost appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At your service – The user experience

Insane User Experience

Hello everyone!

Looking at this blog posts, we can easily realize we write a lot about programming, but not that much about game-design. One facet of the game-design consists in thinking the user interface (UI). But writing about UI these days is so outdated! Now, people talks about UX, and UX only. Actually, it’s about the user global experience of the game. We can find lots of theories and recommendations all over the Internet.

Factory build queue
Factory build queue

The insane UX process

I have a practical approach about it :

  1. I reasonably code the UI. I want it convenient, plain and understandable.
  2. I test it, you test it,
  3. I improve it.
  4. And so on. Back to step 2.
Energy and Sharp Crysal gauges
Energy and Sharp Crysal gauges

 

The best feedbacks we had so far were from players who tested the game during some fairs (Stunfest, Utopiales)…even if it often makes us start all over again.

Our approach of the Win That War! UI

Why should you have to double-click while a simple click is enough? Why should you have to move the mouse till the very bottom of your screen while the menu could come up in its middle? UI is all about giving the player a nice experience,  that’s why I try to remain faithful to those principles :

  • every clickable component (no matter if 2D or 3D) has to react on mouse-over
  • every change in the game has to be visually and easily identifiable…
  • …and every visual change has to be the exact reflection of the simulation (damages, building progression, etc.)
  • at one time, necessary information only have to be showed up depending of the situation
  • in order not to penalize the player, the action has to be restricted ( ONE click, ONE button, ONE mouse-move…)
  • the more common is an operation, the more it has to be simple to execute.
  • for every action, we’ve integrated visual and sound feedback to easily inform the player that this action was taken into consideration.

Well, well, well…written like this, it may sounds really easy to do, but actually it requires a lot of work…

Feedbacks building tank traps
Feedbacks building tank traps

Since my latest post about UI, we worked on the conception of a brand new animated SVG-based panel. The UI is entirely javascript-coded.  And I’m using only 3 external libraries :

Jquery (I mean…How I’m supposed to do without it?)

requirejs (To fill Javascript major gaps)

snap (To easily manipulate the SVG)

 

 

 

The new alpha version of Win That War! will be released soon, so you could test it and send us your feedbacks. Then “back to step 2”

Brand new generators

Let’s end the week (and the month) smoothly, and with some pictures. Philemon worked his fingers to the bones this month, and after the air units, we now can show you some of the buildings that will be integrated in the future. So, we have a lot of pretty things to show you, and today our brand new generator is in the spotlight.

Once upon a time : Tesla

Concept generator 2 Insane UnityAs every creation, this generator was born of a mix between some selected references and our artist’s imagination. This time, he kind of felt in love with a nice monument which quite inspired him.

If you’re a geek-person, or if you have an inquiring mind (even if you’re an electricity specialist or if you are well up in general knowledge…it’s ok, no judgement) you might already have heard the name of Nikola Tesla. Tesla was a great scientist and an very creative man. He is behind many discoveries and innovations in the wide world of electric energy.  But Hey, nor you nor us are on here for a History class, and you probably could find loads of information about that dear Nikola all over the Internet.

Well, why are we writing about that ? Actually, because the Las Vegas “Tesla fountain” commemorative monument was the main reference used by Philemon to design the Generator. You can take a look here and here. You might well notice some elements you’ll also find on the illustrations below.

And there was the Generator

Concept Generator Insane Unity
As you can imagine, our generator is used to…generate energy.  As a power (or nuclear) station, once built, this building produces energy that will be used by your other buildings and units. However, be careful not to overuse its power, otherwise BOOM !

3D generator Insane Unity

Wait…we didn’t noticed him, but Michel (our robot-engineer) is on this screenshot. You, little scamp!

Have a nice weekend.

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