working title: MOLD

working title: MOLD

production blog

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

feed_icon_72 FB-f-Logo__blue_72 Icon-72

 

Welcome,

to our developer blog of “mold”, a modern 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 91 posts in total )

or sort by category

News, gossip and rants
Concept and Story
Character designs (2D)
Character production (3D)
Set designs (2D)
Set production (3D)
Media (moving pictures of all sort)
useful stuff

… or jump back to the most recent posts

Please don’t overlook the green “Older Entries” link on the bottom right.

have fun!

All images are copyright to their respective owners.

what’s going on ?!

June 11, 2017

not enough to finish anything soon frankly, but we are still here ;) I’ll write about this issue in a future post, but for now lets focus on some actual progress. ;)

The Uzara talk shapes are 90%+ finished.

170610_uzara_sad2170610_uzara_angry2170610_uzara_abgeklemmt2

.

If you are following us on Facebook, you’ve probably seen our first phoneme test a few months ago, but if you haven’t, here you go:

the phoneme shapes were created by Tobias Schlage

.

irons in the fire….

December 9, 2015

…. and lots of ’em. :)

.

Hi everybody!

While it’s a constant battle to find a free minute for Mold, we managed to work on all (started) sets and assets quite regularly… but without – actually – finishing something. I wouldn’t call our desired quality level too high, just veeery high ;) which makes even small models quite the tasks and time-sinks to be honest.

.

“daddy longlegs”

.
Babette started this fellow some time ago (I just lighted, rendered this rough and noisy image, besides of the character design) and is currently animating the clips/cycles needed for the game (which look pretty funny and awesome already). There are still some shading and texturing issues, but it’s definitely on the right track and close to be finished.

Weberknecht_blog

.

“the aphid”

.
Babette also modeled and base textured this little critter, I continued with texturing and shading and got it to this (still not rigged) state. The character is extremely tiny, so it’s definitely a bit over detailed. (and we know it, but still, it’s so hard to stop at a lower detail level)

151201_blattlaus_shade

That’s all for this time, have a nice one!

–stephan

.

a tomato, with bad intentions

July 20, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

I finally had the chance (and free time ;) ) to detail, shade and texture the “dead mayors” watchdog. He is one of the obstacles the player’s going to encounter in Mold.

Now, when i think about, “Heinz” would be good name (you can clearly see his german ancestry ;) )

tomateHorror_shade_v015.0002
tomateHorror_shade_v015.0001

.

Beautifully sculpted by Tobias Schlage, with a little bit support from Babette Kahn.

Tomato_guard_03

the sculpt is a based on a design (and matches it pretty well btw. ) i did about a year ago.

char_tomate_guard

first slooow status update 2015.

February 19, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

This update is really overdue, sorry for that! I was extremely busy in December and January (not a lot of Mold I’m afraid…. but we all need to eat ;) ), followed by a (still active) cold / flu. But I’m slowly recovering and fighting my way back into the project – which is a pretty unpleasant experience….. there is always the feeling I forgot everything (the parts of the job which are not hammered into my muscle memory ;) like Unity for example) but it’s getting better…. slowly.

.

So any news?

.

We posted our december gameplay video on a hand full of Facebook groups and forums, and got exclusively positive resonance. Quite a lot people liked it, some even shared, reblogged or posted it on their favorite forum (Thanks all of you!!! it’s an amazing experience (and motivational boost) to see people talking about it) and this certainly increased the pressure to finish this massive undertaking of a game.

and to top the good news, Tobias Schlage (edit: changed URL), a young thriving artist volunteered to support us as rigger and characteranimator… awesome news, welcome to the team, Tobias!

pastenake_mouth_rig

heroTraube_walk_stop

The rare free hours I had left in January, were used to work on the animation cycles of our little green protagonist. Eventually I got to the point of finishing three Idle cycles, as well as the walk and walk-stop cycles.

 

 

.

and what’s next?

.

well, I still have to add a proper facerig to the protagonist, which has to work with the current rig and body animation. Eventually i also have to create all “run”, “interaction” or whatever animation cycles which are still missing…

Babette is currently finishing another tiny, flying side character to bring a little more variation into our fauna.

lastenfliege_flug

and I promised to create a more detailed breakdown of the prototype.. The plan is to create a few blog posts covering the main aspects of all techniques used.. so stay tuned if you are interested! (but don’t hold your breath :) )

It’s not carved in stone (depends on how busy we are in our regular jobs), but I’d love to start another production sprint beginning of April, to get the first three sets to final (and hopefully to progress a bit in areas like interface design)… but lets see…

That’s all for this time folks, we hope you like it!

 

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

October 6, 2014

.

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)

.

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

.

[vimeo 107003071 w=600&h=337]

production crunch report #8 — > character previews…

July 25, 2014

.

getting some assets done…

.

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 ;)

.

.

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!

.

production crunch report #3 — > leveraging everything…

March 15, 2014

140314_dummyset_fill3

.

Set assembly

.

The first thing that needs to be done is a very simple dummy set, which matches the 2D concept design… It serves as scale reference for all models and is used as a starting point to build up the set.

140314_dummyset

.

my current approach is very similar to real life kitbashing…

  1. create something (a rock, plant or whatever) using whatever method
  2. retopo, UVs, and bake 8K EXR displacement maps for parts or the entire object. (some are resized to 4K when appropriate)
  3. add it to the set, put a simple shader(incl. displacements) on it
  4. instantiate and fill up the set as much as possible (which is pretty much the only advantage “3D” brings to the table compared to painted or photographed backgrounds.. everything else is a lot more work, though)

.

140314_dummyset_fill1

140314_dummyset_fill2

.

soo….when your TODO list exceeds 500.000 items (like this project feels like ;) ) you begin to look for every opportunity and possibility to get something done… so to follow-up on point “1. create something”… these are the methods we usually use to create “stuff”:

.

…most models are created manually “new style”..

.

(sculpted in ZBrush or 3dCoat, then retopoed (in either ZBrush or 3dCoat), and finalized in Softimage) the following models were sculpted by Florian Stucki and (partially) myself:

.

140314_skullNbones

140314_huefte

140314_liegendSkelett

.

.

…some are created “old style”…

.

(an aubergine modeled by Babette Kahn in Softimage, which will be detailed later in Mudbox)

140314_frank

.

.

..and some are even created using automated photogrammetry….

.

(canon 7D, a good jacket, autodesk 123Dcatch, and a lot of patience)

140314_wood

140314_wood_close

140314_woodsand

the quality of the (photogrammetry) output varies a lot, but I’ve already processed around 30 models and most of them are quite useable. It’s a nice and cheap way of adding organic detail to the scene.

.

the final images (its broken down into several layers for the game engine) are rendered in 10K (wide), so the overall quality/detail level of all models has to be (and I can proudly say “is”) pretty high, (the cube with the 2 spheres on the left side is a frog dummy, in case you are wondering ;) )

at this point I started to test the set inside the game engine….
…. but more about that later…..

 

140314_dummyset_fill4

140314_dummyset_fill5

.

Status update.. (a long one)

November 21, 2013

Hi everybody!

a lot is happening at the moment. The project I was working on professionally is finished, so I’m finally back at Mold fulltime.

( /edit: I removed the info about my commercial project after thinking it over… this blog is not a place for EA ads ;) even when I was part of the vfx/3d team … )

so whats next?

131120_feige_mdl_v04_previewI fixed the model of the Fig (attached the arms, fixed some folds), and I reported a subsurface scattering bug to SolidAngle which wasn’t one ;) (well to my defense, I encountered an undocumented dependency of a rendersetting, which doesn’t make sense…. so it’s kinda a bug and they are going to address it :) )

I’m sketching concepts on a daily basis, and I’m constantly working on the story which is almost finished (but i don’t expect to finish it completely until the DVD presses are going to heat up.)

I’m in contact with a very talented artist / sculptor who is going to (will be hired to) model the first set / bashkit elements in january… (“in contact” sounds soo formal.. ;) it’s a good friend back from my “Fiftyeight3D” days, who happens to be a great concept artist and modeller) but nothing is carved in stone yet, so lets see whats going to happen ;) and hope for the best. (and for an affordable offer :) )

So my job in the next weeks/months will be to finish all necessary concepts and prepare everything for him until january..

Babette got contacted by a co-worker who happens to play in a band, which happens to have the exact style I was looking for…. so yeah! what a nice surprise and coincidence… lets hope we can work something out in the near/mid-near future…

what else? -> afanasy / CGRU (rendermanagment)

131017_afanasy_renderqueuei polished my version/update of the Afanasys softimage submitter during MPCs Fifa2014 project..

i addressed most of the issues of the original (the new submitter reads all necessary scene settings instead of requiring you to set it all manually (per pass)).

“Arnold” and “Arnold watermarked” were added as services, and custom Arnold settings were added to the submitter, it supports all softimage renderers (using the mental ray service) and Arnold / Arnold watermarked renderer on pass level…..

and finally….. the hole thing was polished to death to work as good as it gets, and to be as bugfree as possible. (because i simply needed it ;) )

new features:

  • reads all possible settings from the scene
  • SolidAngles Arnold was implemented. (watermarked and licensed)
  • the submitter automatically sets EXR to scanline and autocrop (Arnold)
  • I rearranged and renamed the layout (to a more common/useful style)
  • speed optimizations, and a few minor bug fixes
  • temp scene directory option (to avoid “too long paths” on windows)
  • added submitter-options: skip rendered frames, bucketsize, autothreads/thread limit, arnold_licensed?, tempScenedir

I’m in contact with the original developer, and I’m planning to share this update via GitHub asap. (low priority, but i think it’ll eventually end up in an upcoming cgru version). If you need it _now_, don’t hesitate to contact me, and I’ll send you the necessary files (you need to have at least some afanasy experience to update though)…

you can download afanasy for free at http://cgru.info/#downloads.html

Molds engine….

mhhhh… one of the most difficult decisions I still have to make…. I was using Visionaire for the prototype, and while i think this game could be made with it (with some limitation though), I’m very suspicious about the update cycles/progress of the engine. Don’t get me wrong… I really respect those guys working on it in isolation, guys who support Indie developers with an affordable and easy to use engine, but Unity adjusted their licensing recently, and I found ready-to-use solutions for almost all my problems in the unity store….

so the question is:
should i go for Visionaire:
easy2use but restricted to adventure elements, performance hungry, kind of simple, probably good enough, “i’m sure i can handle it”, win and mac only (Linux and iOS support were announced to be added in the not-so-far future, but to be honest, Mac support was announced back in 200? …. whenever…… so who knows when they really deliver… -> and that’s one of the main problems I have with it,,,)

– or

should I go with Unity:

extremely flexible (way more game design options), all thinkable platforms, way faster, 3D elements, ready-to-use assets, but also overall way more complicated/techy (i would need to do quite some reading) and expensive… ?

latter would mean to throw a little DukeNukemForever, and risk a delay (or even fail), but at the moment i think it it’s the only valuable option to proper execute all the ideas i have… so I’m heavily temped to create the proof-of-concept with Unity…

…but I’m still researching it, so lets see what I come up with in the next months… I clearly don’t want to risk the completion of the game for a few features, or additional platforms…… but Visionaire kind of worries me……..

if you have an opinion about this issue, don’t hesitate to share it.

–Stephan

%d bloggers like this: