Thursday, February 28, 2008

How do you consume the media, or does it consume you?

There's a good discussion going on over at Raph's website concerning the death of PC gaming, and how the economy is going to affect digital vs phisical distribution. Here is what i think of it all.

We bought a Wii because the games offer more appealing options for my wife and I to play together, and it's cheaper. The graphics are fine. There's a baby coming, so you can forget about the PS3 or 360 until it's cheap on ebay. I'll buy any fun WiiWare game that's fun and under 800 points, to show love to small and indie developers.

I still like PC games, but don't buy them much, can't run half of the new ones anyway even on my kickarse Boxx dualcore/quadro (Oblivion fire particles, I'm looking at you.), and I'm willing to wait for the price to go down or get it used. (sorry pro devs). Games are a lot more expensive in New Zealand, and we can't buy from Direct2Drive last i checked. I'm a sucker for paypal though, hit my needs for $19.99 or less and you'll have me.

I'll probably buy the Orange Box at some point, but I've already purchased/played through Halflife2, so I don't know... Rome & Mideival2 Total War are very cool.

Unless we really really want to see a movie, we usually wait to rent a movie on DVD, or until it hits the movie channel.

I still buy music CDs, call me old fashioned. I like having a DVD on the shelf.

Books don't need DRM. There are a lot of great stories out there, and they cost less than anything else.

TV series? rent the whole season and watch in a big gulp. (Same with comic books and trade paperbacks.)

If someone ports Heroes of Might and Magic to Flash, Metaplace or Wii, my wife will buy it. Fun accessable games with 'hotseat' turn-based play, not a bad idea, what ever happened to those? My buddies and I used to play a lot of games like Warlords II and, what was it, Fantasy Realms or something, a D&D strategy game by SSI. Civ turns got too long and involved, Dominions2 is awesome if you can fly a jumbo jet while doing a rubic's cube.(I'm talking about hotseat multiplayer with a group of friends in the same room here, not single player. With singleplayer i'd play those games until 3am if i wasn't getting too old to stay up.) Mario Party? The computer always cheats. Always.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Baby Gonzalez at 5 months

Look at that face... How am I going to say no to that face? I love watching the development.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So yeah, how's it going?

Haven't posted anything in a while. Let's see, what's up with me lately?

Did another sonogram, the baby and Momma are doing really well. I should post a picture at some point.

Completed the task with Transmutable, the male and female characters are built and ready to go, and are also released under a Creative Commons license. I should post a picture at some point. Maybe even make the models available through this site, but it's available through the sourceforge thing.

Got into the A.Viary Beta, it's ok, photoshop on the web, i'll have to produce something cool with it to get access to the cooler features. Fair enough. If I do create something cool with it i'll post a picture at some point.

Got into the Twinity Beta. All you can do at the moment is walk around an apartment and place furniture. Can't import anything yet. Not sure if I can post a picture at this point.

Played around with sculpted prims coming out of maya into SL, have a nice selection of shoes and hats, might set up a shop with friends. Sculpted prims are the stupidest idea in 3D. It's like a cross between making balloon animals and sculpting with sausage. But hey, i'm a bored 3D expert and need an outlet... When the products are ready I'll post a picture at some point.

We bought a Wii ! I've already begun the mad dash to buy up the cheap games and download Virtual Console games. Making my way through Super Mario 64 again, i looove that game. Might get into Ocarina of Time.

Shaved my goatee off, so now i'm bare-faced. There will be no pictures.

A lot of other stuff is going on as well that wouldn't interest you.

There's a band called Iron and Wine, have you heard of them? They're coming to play in Wellington where i live, which is funny because the lead guy Sam Beam used to be an instructor of mine when I was in film school. Small world, eh?

Yup... And what are you up to?

Friday, February 8, 2008

New MetaTactics Forums up

We're moving to our own forums at our own domain name, which is actually a good thing since there are so many ideas floating around that we need to have a fresh start.

Come join the fun and help us make a fun Tactical RPG:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mashable links to Photoshop Tutorials

20+ Photoshop Video Tutorials

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Metaplace Tactics Logo

Team member Zerk is on top of things and is putting together a website for the Metaplace Tactics project.

For those of you who don't know about it, which is probably all of you, Metaplace Tactics was born out of the old forums, way back when the platform was first announced. With the death of those forums I moved us over to some InvisionFree Forums, where we've been creating design documents.

The game is a turn-based squad-level strategy game that has a 40s-50s Pulp Sci-Fi feel to it.

We need help, so if you're an artist or understand Metaplace Lua Scripting, let us know!

Anyway, the point is I made that logo. Like it?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

animation with bvh & obj - skin weights

This is part 2 of "A Match Made in Bl00dy H3ll."

I've touched on the interaction of obj and bvh formats before, but now I'm really starting to use it more and more. Not really by choice, mind you, but two of the worlds i'm spending a lot of time with are using it.

To recap, Second Life uses the bvh format for creating custom animations, and Transmutable's Tomorrow Space is using a combination of obj and bvh files for its avatars. Since I'm building their avatars, I'm getting to know the format quite well. :)

So yeah, one of the quirks of this has always been the fact that the mesh is in a file on its own and the skeleton is in the same file as the keyframes. This is woogy. That's a technical term...Woogy.

So a big question mark that popped into my brainhole was "But how does the client handle vertex to bone assignments, how do you bind skin? With second life you can just assume that it's in the binary somewhere, but if you're doing something on your own you have to come up with your own solution.

So here comes the SMAP file. This is a small textfile that Trevor came up with to define the vertex to bone assignments. It's not complicated at all really, what I'm doing is using maya to bind the mesh to the skeleton using rigid bind, then exporting the bound skin as an obj file. This has advantages because the process of binding skin assigns the mesh vertices to a series of Sets based on the names of the joints they're assigned to. In the export process, the sets are interpreted as groups within the obj itself. And there you go, a bunch of tidy little groups that are created when the mesh is drawn.

Small problem with that though, the vertices are all assigned numbers after they're imported into the client, so if you need to call the specific numbers of vertices and bind them to the skeleton you're going to have a rough time.

Aint no thang but a chicken wang.

You can do two things in Maya to pull that list. The best way is to use a mel command that lists the members of the sets. You'll need to listSets, then listSetMembers in a loopyloop, then just paste that output into a text file.

Another way is a little more hacky and not too tidy. You'll have to turn on the Edit Membership tool and select a joint. As you know, the edit membership tool is a visual way in Maya to assign vertices to the bones using just shift to add and ctrl to remove vertices from the list. The key to that is that when you select a bone with the tool enabled the appropriate vertices. Then you can just do a ls -sl; to get the list of selected points. I did a thing that selects each bone in order and spit out the list without having to worry about doing it manually.

Any questions?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Metaplace Screenshots and link to transcript

And here are those screenshots I promised, with built in dissection and commentary, so we can all geek out on how the graphics might have been done:

Other sites only have one metaplace screenshot. I have four, because I rock like that.

A chat room, ok, fair enough, it's alpha. It is using the metaplace flash client though, so that's pretty interesting. And it was loading up some graphics, where's all that?

Huh? Youtube in the client? Wait...huh? You can do that?

Holy Smokes, check that out. Nowww it's getting interesting, we see 3d avatars in a 3D space, dialog bubbles, some irc-esque functions, but in a visual way.

The only avatar available today was a girl, but more are on the way. We can see that some work went into the animations, there was an idle and a walk in four directions. I'm curious how many people will find it accesable to create 3d avatars and all their animations, but you don't really have to. Since it's all prerendered it's just an image, isn't it? So 2D animators would have an easy time of it. I wonder how a toonBoom studio->metaplace process would go down, i'd love to do a game like the old-school SCUMM adventure games.

That too, what the...

Ok i can see myself building a whole environment for my own little world thing, maybe a tiki bar type of thing, or an alien planet. I'm assuming that is just a single background image, so you could go nuts with the graphicage. Overlay on top of that little animated elements like grass blowing and flags waving, maybe some torches, hmmm...

Anyway, we'll have to see how things progress, and what other goodies the Metaplace team lets out into the open. Until then!

What do you think of the look? Leave a comment!

Oh yeah, and Massively blogs it here.