working title: MOLD

working title: MOLD

production blog

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Welcome,

to our developer blog of “mold”, an anti-retro Adventure game currently in production.

for First-Timers and all those brave men battling against the boredom of friday afternoons..

Click here to read from the beginning
( currently 78 posts in total )

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have fun!

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prealpha 0.03.64 gameplay footage – “baffled .. and tired” ;)

December 19, 2014

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Hi everybody!

It has been an awful long time since i posted an update, which could be either a sign of no or a lot of progress ;) in our case it’s fortunately the latter… we (almost) finalized the first set, animated a few characters/animation cycles, hooked up dialogs and interactions, and even home brew a finite statemachine based AI to add more dynamic life to the set. It’s slowly but steadily shaping up to a real game ;) who’d ever believed that?

actual gameplay of the prototype (recorded on a dated i7 with a modern (at the time of writing ;) ) GTX 780)

I hope you like it, and merry christmas!

production crunch report #10 — > its time to end the crunch ;)

October 6, 2014

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Hi everybody!

yep… it’s really time to call this production crunch “done” ;) Originally scheduled for January, the production got delayed several times and eventually stretched over the period of 6 months, instead of one. Well, we are all working on Mold on the side, so some delays had to be expected… I just didn’t expect this kind of delay ;) nevertheless it’s still our goal to get the third playable prototype up and running this year (but this seems a bit optimistic)

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But delays aside, there has been a lot of progress to be proud of… The most recent addition is Babette Kahns frog cycles she animated during the summer, and now, finally several months later (i had a very busy summer, and the rendering of the set and cycles took forever… (10K resolution for the background (20-30 layers), the frog is rendered in around 3K) seriously…. it took forever)) ….this is the beautifully animated, (slowly) rendered result

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production crunch report #9 — > the second set

September 9, 2014

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Hi everybody!

(Fortunately) the summer hit me hard work wise, and I had the pleasure to work on six different commercials over the last 3 months… Exhausting and a blessing at the same time ;) but this also means there wasn’t a lot of progress on the Mold front. Gladly I didn’t update the blog recently, so there is still a lot left to show ;)

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progress of the second set..

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This cave was completely built out of existing models/parts of the first set, which was a rather fast process (compared to everything else until now ;) ), It’s still missing quite a few props and the three characters (the 3 “uzaras” of the previous post), but the overall layout seems to work. The lighting and look still need some love, but its a start.

140908_Uzara_room_comp_v19

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production crunch report #8 — > character previews…

July 25, 2014

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getting some assets done…

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There is a lot of progress but my current job unfortunately doesn’t allow me to keep the blog up to date as well. So lets skip the text ;)

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The frog of the first set, sculpted by Thorsten Kesse in ZBrush.
140419_Frog_Main

 

two of the Uzara Heads, sculpted by Jerome White using ZBrush aswell,
140419_uzara_abgeklemmt

140725_Uzara_angry_Main.1

both did a great job in hitting the likeness of the concept designs and delivered some kick-ass models, so thanks for that!

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2 years.

June 24, 2014

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Hi everybody!

well… can you believe it? It has been two years since I started this endeavor, and unfortunately there are several years still to come (but I really try not to think about that ;) )…

it’s more like rebuilding a car from a rusty pile of “shh-whatever-car-that-was”…… it could take decades… Hell, I even think I’ll have to convince my future kids to take over the project some day ;)

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‘gone social.

FB-ThumbsUp_72

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I’ve finally created a Facebook page for the game… I thought it would never happen, but there you go ;) ( It’s fresh and totally deserted at the moment ;), so please help us a little to get the ball running, thanks! )

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so what’s the plan, what’s the “social agenda?” First of all, I really enjoyed seeing a lot of old faces again …. damn I’d even say the platform is disturbingly convenient. ;)

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I’ll continue to post on this blog of course, Facebook is going to be used for bigger announcements and all client-close-combat situations ;) Tell us what you think, and help us to improve the game!
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production crunch report #7 —> prototypes

May 16, 2014

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Hi everybody!

It took me almost two years to get to this point …ridiculous I know ;), but I’m very proud to be able to show off some in-game footage. The third prototype will be created in the next weeks, and will feature “almost final” graphics.. at least a good impression of how the game will look like.

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/edit 140519: I downgraded the animated GIFs to 10fps and a smaller size…  (to save you guys some bandwidth and cpu cycles ;) )

MOSO_prototype_montage_10fps

the most recent Unity prototype created march 2014

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MOSO_prototype_montage_old_10fps

early tests using Visionaire, starting around 2012

production crunch report #6 — > a brief look behind the curtain

May 12, 2014

 

I’m working on the text adventure at the moment (it’s about 60% done), but I try to work on the 3D sets regularly, to keep the tiny renderfarm busy. (every wasted night is a wasted revision ;) )

 

some stats  

some production stats for all tech savvy guys out there ;)

softimage, lowres geometry triangles in scene:                             ~    9 million
arnold, unique triangles (including displacements and Hair):    ~   89 million
arnold, visible triangles (including everything, like instances):   ~ 318 million

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Arnold peaks at around 14gb ram, which is pretty awesome if you consider the complexity of the set (basically every object is displaced (4K, but mostly 8K textures).

The rendertime is about 12 hours on a uptodate i7 to render a 5000 * 1500 frame, which means, for my final resolution of 10000 * 3000 it will be about 48 hours / frame. (Gladly I only have to render two, and not hundreds ;) (the two are split into different passes though)), eventually it will sum up to around 160 hours for this set (my guess).

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140511_spoanf_variationen_small_cropped

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It’s still a work in progress (Babette is working on the ship model, and I’m still tuning the look and overall set assembly), but we are getting close. ;) I’ll start working on the third prototype in a few weeks. (after the text-adventure), exciting times ;)

That’s all!
–s

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production crunch report #5 — > a quick status update inbetween

April 19, 2014

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Hi everybody!

I’m sorry for the lack of updated recently, stupid enough it’s not because we don’t have enough new stuff to show, more because I couldn’t motivate myself enough to write an update (which is the sad but honest truth ;) )

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progress of the first set..

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The shading, texturing and lighting of the first set is coming to an end, The original resolution is 10K wide, so there has to be a lot of detail to look somewhat convincing.

I’m still not really happy with the overall style, but its pretty hard to look at it objectively after 2 months staring at it. I’m currently working on the next set, but will most likely return to it in a few weeks.. (or when the ship model is ready to be imported ;) ). There are still several elements missing (mostly foreground objects, but also some “hero” objects). anyway this is the status-quo:

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140419_spoanf_v60

 

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prototyping the story….

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The prototype montage video is not yet finished, because I spend the last weeks creating a story prototype with the “interactive fiction” engine Quest.

(I know them as text adventures, but seems like IF is more fitting in modern times ;) )  It is a really nice way to test the story and complexity of the game.

.quest

production crunch report #4 — > the engine

March 21, 2014

140305_unity

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One important goal of this crunch was to test Unity as possible replacement for Visionaire,

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risking to “pull a Duke

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I’m thinking about switching to Unity for quite some time now, I even researched path finding, inventory systems and all the other good stuff ;) nobody wants to write him or herself. (at least not when you are more a storytelling type of developer)

Unfortunately even the most basic 2D adventure features were missing or were sub-optimal or non-existent on the AssetStore. So just getting to the point of having one room and protagonist (with UI, Inventory, click&point controls, loading/saving, etc.) would have been quite a task. Honestly, I got a bad feeling about the sheer mass of scripting I’d have to do,…. still … the plan was to give it my best shot no matter what..

Luckily I’m able to use the words “would have” and not “was” (which would also be impossible unless i get my hands on a flux compensator someday in the far future).

Chris Burton, a fellow CG Artist and filmmaker took the challenge and created “Adventure Creator“, an Asset for Unity which almost feels like Visionaire… well “almost”.. There is certainly more scripting involved, and some features are still inferior to Visionaires implementation, but overall this asset provides a lot bang for the buck.

The support is great (and very patient with us click-action-export-run n00bs ;) ), I’m pretty sure AC will mature even further in no time. (I bought it less than 3 months ago….. 5 or 6 updates with bug fixes and new features were released since.)

…. so Unity it is.

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why not Visionaire?

as much as I feel bad for not supporting my fellow “hamburgiens”, Visionaire currently lacks in some pretty important areas (at least for Mold)… the biggest arguments against it were:

  • no other platforms except PC and MAC(beta) (iOS in development, but (more importantly)….. ->
  • no public info on ETAs, development milestones, planned features or even bug tracking… When i started Mold, Visionaires version was 3.7.1….. now, 2 years later, it still is 3.7.1.

there are quite a few additional minor issues, (like: everything moves linearly (no smooth camera, or acceleration of any sort..) which affected my decision, but the “no communication” issue was definitely the major one.

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advantages and risks of using Unity

more features are usually a great thing.. but the ability to do more, often results in ..well… actually doing more.

Unity is a native 3D engine, so using a polygonal set in conjunction with some kind of projection mapping seems to be the best approach…. but the effort to set up all layers, render them in 10K, bake them to new square UV maps (almost like “batching” in unity, but manually) shouldn’t be underestimated.. seriously….

..on the other hand the results are pretty impressive (when you imagine how the final art could look like with it), I’ll post a gameplay video montage in the near future, so stay tuned!

–s

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