Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Character Creator: Animations!

Animations are in!

In some ways, this is a bit of a love / hate update. This is the update that highlights just how much is missing from our animations, and everything wrong with the set.

Children can only walk or stand. There is no hair for adult idling or running, in any style or color... because, if you'll remember, the idle was something I'd made myself. Thera only made run animations, not the hair styles to go with them. Then there are some animations that are broken or just don't work. For instance, the straight nose looks fine from the front, but when you're walking, it doesn't bob with the rest of the head. Some of the clothes are slightly offset.

And I also love the fact that I can see this in detail, as fast or slow as I want to; it was one of the reasons I'd made this tool at all, so I could preview all the gaps in this animation set, so I can see what was working and what wasn't.

This is coming close to being a usable tool now; there's still a good chunk on my plate before I can release it into the wild (messages to say when an animation sprite is missing being a big one, and the 'render' button doesn't do anything), but we're on track right now and I'm pleased with its progress.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Figuring Out Content Management

Yet another boring code section-- how to tell Unity what to do with the files / data.

I took the weekend off, took a break from coding to make some basalt column graphics for our terrain (it's not very good, but I'll probably fix it up in time). In the meantime, I paused on the character creator because I'd been hard-coding the icon buttons and the options and... while that 'game' is small enough to work just fine without it, having some system in place that loads in item data is going to be vital.

Trying out JSON data
I tried making the objects prefabs, and I've converted all the relevant data to JSON for the characters' clothing (again, focusing solely on the character creator). This is a new, foreign topic for me, and I'm still a bit shaky on it, to be honest. There's also XML and LUA as options, I know MySQL, and I might just seek out someone experienced with Unity and try to get them to talk to me about how they manage content... but I should probably just start with one method, see how it works, and go from there.

Sometimes I feel very apprehensive about tackling upcoming chunks of a project. The funny part is that I usually breeze through whatever I'm worried about, and it's things that I assume will be a breeze going in that stops me cold. The glamorous life of programmers?

Anyway, I'll be back with screenshots when I have something more exciting than JSON to screenshot.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Maybe if I keep repeating it...

I need to stop getting distracted by remixing / altering graphics. Color palette optimization, splitting dresses into skirt / blouses later...

(The LPC 'underskirt' looks amazing as a recolored blouse, by the way. Very Victorian. Absolutely using this in The Last Score.)

That is all.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Charactor Creator: clothing finished!

And the clothing section is finished! ... At least, the basics are, anyway.

Most of it, anyway. Here's what we've got:
  • Can click freely between the 'body' menu and the 'clothing' menu (top left icons).
  • Clicking on a clothes button changes what the sprite-guy's wearing.
  • Clicking on a clothes button changes the colors selection down below, so it automatically expands and contracts based on the outfit. I have a pink child's skirt, but not pink child's pants, for instance.
  • If you've picked blue pants, and then go to a skirt, the skirt will be blue, unless there is no blue skirt available. Then it will be a skirt of a random available color.
  • Clicking on a new body type will change the clothing options. Kids' shirts don't fit adult women.
  • Torso and legs are completely set up (this is so that I can figure out the best way to configure them without having to go back to all the other options and change everything fifty times during development.
What I still need to do for clothes:
  • There's currently a bug where going back and changing the body after picking the clothes will change the clothes selection in the UI, but not reset the outfit on the preview window, so you'll get a too-big dress imposed over a child's body, or a woman's legs sticking out of male pants.
  • Feet and accessories need to mirror the torso and the legs section.
  • Need to figure out how to handle capes, bodices, jackets, ect. Outer layers in general.
  • Most of the clothes need to have UI icons made and hooked into the system.
I also need to finish up with the 'current selection' UI thing, which is both in the character menu and the clothing menu. Right now those green outlines you see aren't hooked up to anything; they just hang out there as you move through the buttons. Annoying but not vital, and on my to-do list.

Once all that's done, I'll put in the animations, hook the character's direction up to 'rotate' buttons and the keyboard arrows, figure out how to render the sheets, and... ... well. Those are all the big points. It's close to being released into the wild.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hair Break

Tiny intermission: I was thinking about the hair selection of the LPC set, and while some are great, the variety for the girls is somewhat lacking. So I made my own (front facing only so far).

I'll probably turn them into proper hair sets later. I just wanted to show them off.

Okay, back to work.

Character Creator: Ears, pt. 2

"Alright, what smart ass invited the Thalmor?"
Ears are completely finished! Color corrections, new run and idle animations, men, women, children. Everything. Turned out, those long ears I did first were by far he most difficult.

Since run and idle animation versions did take a while, I'm going to do color corrections only on the nose types and fill in the new animations / child noses later. It should take me an hour or two. Once that's done everything body-related will be finished... for stationary figures, anyway.

Which means that it'll be time for clothes next. :rubs hands:

I do mean to continue adding support for running and idling. I'll probably continue in the background, but let's be honest, it's a big job. More hands on deck would be amazing, and if it's those animations that are the biggest thing holding us up, it may be better to make an error or certain pieces saying something like 'Hair [hairname] hasn't been developed for run! Click here to help!' if someone wants to use an outfit or hair that haven't been filled yet.

That way, we get our character creator much sooner, a specific 'to do' list, and maybe some volunteers who've played around with the game and like what they see. Worth considering.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Character Creator: Ears pt. 1

I've finished the female run / idle animations! On to the ears.

Pointed Long ears on female idle, in sienna.

At the moment, we have 'normal' (the base figure), 'large', 'pointed', and 'pointed long'. So, three new ear types to match my children, men, and women, eleven skin tones each. That comes down to 99 animation sheets between them all. As of right now, I've finished all female long-ear sheets! 11/99 finished, on top of a night of fixing / setting up the new female animation sheets!

I'm going to guess that it'll take me another day or two to finish the ears, if I can keep my focus like this. I've been working on this all day, so I admit, it's ambitious as a project. So, if we do the math...
  • 11/99 ear sheets (3 ears * 3 bodies * 11 skin tones)
  • 0/99 nose sheets (3 noses * 3 bodies * 11 skin tones)
  • 0/16 eye sheets (8 eye colors * 2 bodies)
  • 0/75 facial hair sheets (5 facial hair styles * 15 colors)
  • 0/960 hair sheets (32 male hair styles * 15 colors * 2 bodies)
The recoloring is easy. Some of these are nothing but quick recolors. Some of these are nearly identical from male to female. ... Even so, that bottom one is going to be a killer. The run tilts the head. Copy / paste won't cut it. Assuming the real work is eight hair redraws per hair style, that still gets up there in effort and time spent.

I'm afraid I may have to par the hair style selection down a bit to make this work. ... On the other hand, there are a lot of 'messy' hair styles. Like eliminating four of the seven blondes, I wonder if some of them won't be missed.

I may post pictures of all the different hair styles and see what you guys think of it, and I'll record how long the first two hair sheets take me, to get a better sense of how much I'll be committing to this. And if I'm very, very lucky, maybe the creator of the run cycle will have some hair already finished. I'll contact her in the meantime.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Character Creator: run, idle, and animations

So, exciting news! I've discovered an LPC run animation! Yes! Rejoice! (Thanks to BlueCarrot on for alerting me.)

I was going to do ears and noses next, but with the new materials, I decided that expanding my character animation base was the most important. After all, I'm going to need to edit the ears to my extra skin tones anyway, and so long as I'm doing graphics work, it makes sense not to go back to add in run functionality afterwards.

Then I decided to add in an idle animation-- head turning and blinking. Not the most exciting stuff, but the occasional blink adds to the movement of the game, I think. Plus, the standing / eyes shut graphic will be great for sleeping characters.

So, today I've added in the new animations into my LPC men's sheets, added an idle animation, recolored the new stuff to fit each of my eleven skin tones, and I've worked out the animator tree in Unity and tested / tweaked the files until they looked good.

Run / idle animations in progress. Notice the blink isn't in on the idle sets.

Finished! All eleven skin tones are in, for adult males. Note that my idle isn't actually a rapid head toss; the animation in Unity is mostly standing, some blinking, and a quick side-to-side, but it only uses those four graphics.
Unity animator, with conditions to tell the system when to play which animation. Tweaks still needed here, but it's coming along.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Character Creator: Eyes

Child version of the previous character.
Eyes were mostly easy, except that there are eight eye colors, and none for children. So I spent a little while matching eye colors to the child sprites. I'll need to do the same with the noses, and getting the skin tones to match.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Character Creator: Facial Hair

Facial here is in and running!

Given how like the hair it was, it's not a huge announcement, but it's show-off worthy.

The rest of my time today I've been spending going through the LPC menus, adding in a bit of extra hair styles (braids and curls!), and organizing the clothes.

Clothes are going to be a huge deal. So far it's been pretty simple: body on one layer, hair on another, facial hair on another. Clothes... coats over shirts. Armor. Accessories. There's so many combinations, it's going to be really difficult to keep them all straight. Also, part of the reason the clothes will take a while is because there's a huge variety, and my naming conventions allow me to write much more simple code.

So, that's coming. Eyes, ears, and noses will come next, though I'll need to stop and add in child options, and make new ears and such for my extra skin tones that I've added. I'm going to guess that this will probably be done by tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Character Creator!

Character Customization!
I'm still getting through the Amitriptyline withdrawals, but I'm reaching a point where I can think again, provided I manage to sleep. Harder than it sounds; I went over a week without as soon as I quit the stuff. Anyway, point being, more programming! Longer stamina! Things getting done again! Yes! Finally!

The screenshot above is actually a sister mini-project to The Last Score. The Liberated Pixel Cup art set is amazing, but because it was by so many different artists, it's also a little scattered. I wanted to be able to preview and study the characters, color combinations, look for gaps in the set, ect. While the existing LPC generator is great, I wanted to have more control over the UI, the colors / styles, and the animations. I want to be able to run the generator on one monitor and tweak the clothing sheets in Photoshop on the other.

So basically, this is a dev tool for myself that I'm going to be releasing soon online as a stand-alone character creator, which will make it officially my first "game". Later I'll cannibalize it for The Last Score, so players can have some control over who they start out with.

The body selection down to the hair color selection all work; eyes, ears, and noses are coming next. Then once I have that in, I'll add in the clothes, improve the UI, hook up the animations, and release it into the wild.

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day Update

First, a big announcement! I am off the Amitriptyline!!!

(Mandatory pause for wild cheering and applause.)

But, in all seriousness. Doing so took almost four months and left my head with what felt like a permanent brain-fog, shifted my moods around, altered brain chemistry... it was terrible. I still feel like someone kicked me in the head, and the fog's going to linger for a few more weeks, but things are going to be so much better. I'm planning on working on the game regularly again as soon as things settle.

In the meantime, I did manage to accomplish a few things before that final drug drop, so since I haven't been giving regular updates, I thought I'll share my recent progress log.

⦁    GUI style drag and drop re-enabled. The current action is displayed in the center of the box. GUI box works when dragged in all four directions, without disappearing on the top left quarter.
⦁    Disabled the tile transition graphics. They look beautiful, but I need to rethink how I go about this, and they confuse the issue while I'm working on drag-and-drop selection.
⦁    Implemented button toggle system, to show the current 'mode' we're on at a glance.
⦁    Till preview and job implementation is in. (I had to disable the 'register job controller' line because the Job Controller isn't currently on.)
⦁    Harvest job prefab created.
⦁    Harvest job preview in drag-and-drop implemented.

⦁    Updated the pine tree prefab-- not done, but good enough for testing purposes
⦁    Logged bug-- 'unique' placement on biome generator doesn't work.
⦁    Fixed biome generator placement; I hadn't implemented the different scatter types in the map generator.
⦁    Chop preview finished.
⦁    Mine preview finished. Large objects registered onto more than one tile have multiple 'mine' symbols. Refine this later.

⦁    Remade the Stone1 graphic sheet to have minimal hang over.
⦁    Tested the new Stone1 in Tiled to check and adjust obvious tiling patterns / problems.
⦁    Made some changes and edits.
⦁    Made three variations.
⦁    Made identical versions for Stone2, Dirt1, Dirt2, and Dirt3.
⦁    Tested these. (They need tweaks.)
⦁    Made another stone version with raised, ragged edges. They don't mesh perfectly, but will do for now.

... And then after the 28th, drug withdrawal symptoms again. But, be assured that things have been moving, and my head's going to be in a much better place, now.

Oh, and have a screenshot of that new stone. :)