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 92 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.

proogresss

June 26, 2017

Hey everybody!

Babette continued to work on Set assets (and some animations we’ll show soon), beautiful and precise as always

a work in progress of “Franks bridge”170412_HaengeBruecke

based on this old concept I made
franks_bridge

woa… it’s really time for an update ;)

June 10, 2016

.

….it really is, sorry for the long silence! We are slowly ramping up again (after a, granted, slow last half year). And to kick it all off again, lets start with something positive ;)

.

the main menu

I’m working on this one for quite some time…. well, way too long for a main menu if you ask me ;)

Menu_beauty_Main_v39_smallstill a work in a progress, but it’s getting there…

.

the original image was rendered in 6K, so there has to be a lot of detail pretty much everywhere (and detail always takes massive amounts of time)
Menu_beauty_Main_v39_cropa 1:1 crop of the original resolution

.

I’m still adding details and stuff (like those carefully placed cans ;) ), but overall, we are close of putting this scene into the engine.
160706_menu_dosen

That’s all for this time!

.

post {-posthum} silence…

August 21, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

The last six months were.. well… pretty crazy,….. I got one job after another – some even overlapped – and being a freelancer, ;) I usually take what I’m able to get, especially if I get offered such amazing opportunities like this year. So my progress on Mold was comparably trivial so far in 2015. Unfortunately….

.

;) anyway…
soooo besides the tomato…

…what’s new?

.

The second set progressed quite a lot and is pretty close to be finished. A few details here and there, the low res geometry and last but not least the characters are still on the todo list.Uzara_room_comp_v44_small

.

The third set (strictly speaking it is the first set you encounter in the game) is coming along as well… it’s basically as far as the second set and primarily misses the characters and some additional look development (it’s not good enough to show yet, obviously ;) )

.

and I’ve continued to work on the main character’s animations, this is the movie I use to test the cycles before everything gets implemented. Some clips (and all phonemes and emotions) are still missing, though.

.

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

.

techniques behind the prototype #4 “inside Unity”

August 9, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

I’d like to close this prototype overview soon, so this will be one of my last posts on the subject. It’s time to make some ground on the production side, get some stuff finally done. (Hear, hear! ;) )

I’d still like to write a dedicated post on the frog, but lets see when that happens.

The primary goal, ‘le grand objectif’, is to finish the first three sets this year. (sounds crazy slow if you think we’ll have to do ~35 sets in total…. totally crazy…) – Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’m still hoping for a miraculous increase in efficiency ;) so the journey continues. But this manual effort/process with a decent and consistent quality was and is very time consuming, and nothing will ever change that.

.

150405_unity_ship

.

You can clearly see how “fake” the set is ;) lowres geometry and some sprites positioned in 3D space. That’s basically it. (yellow and red labels represent hotboxes, orange ones are triggers in the game)

150405_unity_scene_overview

.

and that’s all I got for today. Hopefully these screenshots give you some insight or ideas of how this kind of projection mapping works.

Have a good one!

.

.

techniques behind the prototype #3 “projection mapping”

March 31, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

Before we were able to continue our tedious workflow, we had to first build the lowres geometry. It’s constructed with simple grids, in a similar style as the layers we outputted before. These objects are formed and located as close as possible to the highres geometry.

150313_dummy_geo_andShip(the projection mapping geometry of the toy ship.)

.

every object got its own UV space, which were combined and packed into groups (shown via different wireframe colors in the image above) depending on their relative screensize (objects far away get less UV space).

150327_ship_uvs(the UVs of the ship)

.

.

one tool to bake them all….

Instead of creating all camera projections in Softimage with secondary UV spaces and a slow and user-unfriendly bake-tool, we decided to do it all in Nuke. (which was a massive timesaver, and one of the better ideas of this workflow ;) )

The lowres geometry and camera were imported via FBX without any problems, and were added to the test-layer-comp. (the big colored backplanes show the bake outputs)

150320_comp_final_prepare(a monstrosity of a comp tree)

.

We had to add dozens of new corrections and vector paints, because the way back (2 compositions) for a simple correction was way too time consuming. To make the layers work correctly inside of Unity, we eventually had to refine quite a lot. (but it’s still not perfect)

In our first attempt we baked everything in 4K, but we later learned that some GPUs/platforms don’t support it yet, so we regrouped everything and exported 2K maps just to be safe.

.

this is how the baked texture of the ship looks like:

150327_set_06_2K_ship_baked

and this is result, the textured FBX model.

150329_ship_FBX_model

.

Well, that’s basically the workflow before we move on to the characters, and later the realtime business of things.

.

techniques behind the prototype #2 “lookdev, forever ever”

March 24, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

We are going to continue from Part #1 and cover the next phase of our set creation process, before we move on to the characters. In hindsight this post feels a bit negative ;) but I’m sure optimizations will be found, and efficiency will rise eventually. (it’ll have to ;) )

.

fighting the darkness

Even after constructing and sculpting masses of polygons, we are far from being able to add it to the game. The next step is texturing, shading and of course lighting. You can see a wireframe and gray-material rendering of the lighting setup below. (Softimage, Arnold)

.

150314_lighting_spoAnf

.

Eventually it took about 50 shaders, 20 area lights and one HDRI (mostly for reflections) – and months of spare time work ;) to get the look and atmosphere we wanted. Image composition, color corrections and other fixes, were done simultaneously at Babettes company after working hours. Thanks for the opportunity, Optix Hamburg!

The highres set was split into several layers before rendering (to avoid occlusions between them). To continue our example from last time, this is how the toy ship got layered. (don’t mind the green background, it’s just better to show these dark elements on a brighter background (it’s not used to key the footage ;) ))

.

150313_ship_layers_thumb

.

The 3D lookdev phase was heavily coupled with 2D compositing, meaning we had to handle massive 10K resolution comp trees as well. And yes, they got big, real big… which brings me to the last point of this part.

.

worst workflow i could think of

Seriously… but still, I can’t think of any better way to do it, but this doesn’t make this workflow any good ;)  Small “mistakes” added to the problem, naturally.

One example: during the lookdev phase, I decided to add a separate rim light pass for compositing (like i do most of the time..) …which doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all, but after we split the set into over 20 passes/layer we now had to manage over 40……. a bad idea after all.

Every pass got rendered in 10000×3000 resolution, some with multiple states. The frog had around 400 frames alone (and took 2 weeks to finish on 3 PCs). The big passes took about 5 days to complete (on an up-to-date i7) for one frame i might add, so you can imagine how painful previews were (even at lower samplings and resolutions).

.

thai massaging pixels

But the true fun is just about to begin ;) Every pass was rendered with AOVs (separated diffuse, reflection, indirect diffuse, etc. layers) and needed to be pre-combined before it could be used and passed through the lookdev comp. (it would have been way to slow and memory demanding to have all AOVs in the final comp, so we seperated both tasks).

The reason to output AOVs in the first place was the possibility to apply post noise-reduction to some of the channels. (like indirect diffuse, or indirect reflections which tend to get pretty noisy in Arnold)

150320_comp_precombine(the AOV pre-combine comps)

.

Working in this high resolution is never fun, but requiring to render 40 precombine comps and 20 lookdev comps everytime you change something, is even worse. Especially because this tedious procedure isn’t done yet. (we even added a checklist about it to the comp trees ;) to avoid errors)

150320_comp_lookdev(the fairly small lookdev comp)

.

Before we could output the final textures used on the projection mapping geometry, the images had to be test-combined, tweaked (again…) and eventually baked to a square UV space, but this part will be covered in the next post.

.

have a good one!

.

techniques behind the prototype #1 “lets build it”

March 14, 2015

.

Hi everybody!

This will be the first of a hand full of posts dedicated to the techniques used in our last prototype. I’ll try to cover everything important, but feel free to suggest areas we should cover in more detail. Just let us know! (via posts on our Facebook page, or by commenting here)

I’ve already written a little bit about parts of the production in earlier posts, but lets start from the beginning to give you a complete picture of how we did it.

If you want to read all posts dedicated to the production sprint (resulting in the prototype), please click here.

.

design and prep

As always, a concept sketch is the first thing to do. I prefer to draw on paper, so most of the elements were drawn separately, scanned and then placed/transformed digitally to form the final concept. I’ve altered and changed it quite a few times (especially before the story was locked down) but eventually settled with this:

.

140211_spotlightAnfang_new_layout_15c

Next, we built a very rough dummy set in 3D to define some of the proportions, which 1. enabled us to test the set in unity very early, 2. makes it easier or even possible for multiple artists to work and contribute to the same set.

150305_SpoAnf_dummy

.

.

all elements, one by one

We split everything into several sub groups, modeling tasks if you will, and started to distribute them between Babette (Kahn), Florian (Stucki), Thorsten (Kesse) and myself. Lets take our little toy ship as example.

Ship_v02changes

Babette started modeling the ship after we locked down the set layout and collected some references, and after a few nerve-wracking iterations of changes (sorry ;) ) she ended up with this great result:

Ship_v04

Every single element was built with basically the same emphasis on detail and quality, which (no surprise here) took up most of the production time. A stylized approach would have saved probably 3/4 of the work (this number would be even higher if we didn’t have as many animations), so if you start to work on a game, keep that in mind ;)

we’ll cover the rest of the creation process next time, so stay tuned!

.

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 #9 — > the second set

September 9, 2014

.

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 ;)

.

progress of the second set..

.

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

.

%d bloggers like this: