Archive for category flash

catching up

Lots of things going on, but I didn’t want to talk about some of it until the details were more concrete.

The first big news is that I’ll be starting a new job with March Entertainment this Monday, as a CG Animator. Apparently there’s some difference between “CG Animator” and “Character Animator” that I was unaware of, where CG Animators deal with more parts of the pipeline, so I’m expecting to have as much fun on the projects coming up as I did at Rover. Bonus points: I get to work with Dimos again. Nothing like doing a project with people you already meld with. Anyway I’m animating on the first project, which excites me a lot.

Ever since Ollie finished I’ve basically been on an enforced vacation. I say enforced because I generally don’t do the relaxing thing — traditionally I use downtime to learn or catch up on personal projects. But instead of doing that this time around, I’ve been doing absolutely nothing. For a few days I sat on the couch and caught up on DVR’d TV shows, especially Heroes and Chuck. I bought and played through most of Prince of Persia on PS3, which surprised me — unlike the last three, the fighting is great and doesn’t detract from the game at all. In fact, I’d say the balance is perfect. Story’s not bad either. I’ve also been going through Final Fantasy XII. I never had a chance to finish it after I bought it a year or two ago and it’s been waiting on me all this time. It’s also quite good. It’s the first FF I’ve enjoyed this much since FF7, and that’s saying something. The voice acting is superb, the plot is great, the writing / translation is well above the normal level, and even for a PS2 game the graphics are extremely well done.

Not that I haven’t been studying up on things. I’ve been doing some rig tests in Maya, working out some issues in Blender, and learning waaaay more than anyone should about using cloth sims as rigid body generators in Cinema 4D than anyone should.

I’ve also been framing through the Bolt Blu-Ray, as I have time. In the disc extras they mention how they simplified the paint on the backgrounds to keep the focus of each shot prominent, like the old 2D cartoons used to do. You don’t notice it unless you look for it, but it’s everywhere throughout the movie. Certain things are rendered in high quality. Others are so simplified that when you pause the movie you can barely tell what they are. Paint strokes are visible everywhere. If you’re an animation geek and are interested in seeing this, check out the distant skyscrapers in the city. Also check out the scene where Buttons is looking for something to bash Bolt over the head with, when they’re both in the moving truck after leaving NYC. That particular scene really shows what’s going on. It’s amazing I watched through the movie and never noticed it, not once.

What else… A lot of Papervision playing. I’ve had a look at all the 3D engines for Flash and out of all of them I like the way Papervision renders triangles the best. A lot of the other engines have issues with gaps between triangles and quads, and none seem to have any serious benefits over PV3D. There are a few limitations that I’m still trying to get over, especially with the limit on the number of triangles. It’s a bit like the DS, which can’t draw more than 2000 triangles per frame. (Or faces; I’m not sure which.) Even on my dual-core laptop the number of triangles you can use is pretty limited. Note that I don’t say limiting — a ceiling on the number of triangles you can use just means you have to be creative in your use of them. There’re also other things to speed up how the system works — anything I do in PV3D will used baked lighting, for example. I also plan on being very aggressive on keeping poly counts down. I’ve also been reading up on BSP tree creation (finally understand how portals work).

That is, if I use PV3D.

I’ve had enough time to think about games I want to make, and what I would need to know in order to get them made. I know that everything has to be done in stages, and that to make the game I really want to make, I have to build a better foundation. I need to build something small and simple to see the extent of what something small and simple takes, in order to use it as a lens to look at a larger project. Kind of like how doing a short film is like a microcosm for a feature, or even a TV show.

Every so often when I’m really bored or full of insomnia I’ll hit up The Video Game Name Generator and write down some of the best ones, like Go Go Basketball Gladiator or Nuclear Transvestite Experience. I write down the ones I love for possible future games (or domain names). One in particular would be good for a short game. We’ll see how that goes. Either way, I’ll probably end up using Unity. 2.5 just hit, and I could make web versions of the game just as easily with it as I could do something up in Flash.

Oh, and I rewrote the first chapter in my book. I don’t talk about the book on here hardly at all, but it’s something that’s always going in the background despite everything else I’m doing.

Heh… I guess I didn’t do “nothing” per se, but I do feel a hell of a lot more relaxed. Oh, and did I mention that I did a quick redesign of my main site?

pure unadulterated actionscript geekery

Man oh man. One link clicked led to another, and suddenly I’m obsessed with PaperVision3D.

It all started with this link (which you’ve already seen if you follow me on Twitter): the The Eco Zoo. If you haven’t seen it, please clicky! It’s fantastic.

PaperVision’s been used for a number of neat projects, but the Eco Zoo is a work of art. So I started searching for stuff on the train in the morning (thank you, iPhone) and turned up a bunch of great links:

For those who didn’t know, you can either use the open source Flex SDK or, if you’re a student, you can get a free copy of Flex Builder 3 by sending them proof of enrollment. I did it; I got a serial in about an hour later, although YMMV.

Not that I have time to sit down and actually play with any of this… But it’s fun to learn about. Oh, and I like PaperVision3D because the API is very well thought out and very Flash AS3-like; if you don’t like it there are other options. There’s a nice comparsion on the four major 3D engines for Flash here (warning: it’s in French). Lots of talk about speed of object creation, memory requirements, and so on. It’s always good to be informed of options before starting a project.