Hey there! Thanks for coming back! If this is your first time reading, this is a series of dev logs to go along side my participation in Run Jump Dev’s hurdels. Here’s a little description of what Hurdles is and the collection of the previous 2 dev logs for context.
Sup. My name is James Thomas Lewis II, but you can call me Jamie.
My game pitch:
3 Kids in a Trench Coat is a cute and kind spatial puzzle game for mobile with a claymation aesthetic. The 3 kids are stacked on each other’s shoulders pretending to be an adult in a big’ol’coat are crashing an adults-only gala event at their local museum to take some dope (like seriously dope) pics with the latest traveling exhibit.
The goals I set last week:
- Research optimizations for posting videos in portrait orientation to Twitter.
- Watch 2 of these movies while inspecting and taking notes on how they light dark claymation scenes, and what they use as in world light sources (my local game dev meetup crew got super stoked about this goal, and suggested a ton of other movies I hadn’t thought of [Wallace and Grommit downward]):
- Nightmare before Christmas
- Corpses Bride
- Wallace and Grommit
- Sean the Sheep
- Missing Link
- Box Trolls
- Import the Trench Coat and try out cloth physics on it.
- This is to see if physics is even the way to do it. I may end up simulating the cloth behavior in blender just exporting animations instead of physics dictating (and randomizing) the cloth to movement with each jump.
- Fix animation issue where material continues to animate when floating while falling.
- Make a cloth material for the trench coat. I may decide to just make it clay too, but I love how some stop motion films make use of actual cloth amidst all the clay (@R25th taught me the word “flocking” [aka the lil fuzzies on felt]. I will make sure I include in my research).
- Write this week’s Dev Log (so meta, again, are you kidding me?).
What I accomplished last week:
I double checked twitter’s listed guidelines for posting videos and could not figure out why my videos where getting so messed up. I eventually just opted to post a still picture as my #screenshotsaturday and call it a day.
My wonderful wife agreed to watch ParaNorman and Corpses Bride with me while I took notes on how these big budget stop motion films were lighting darkened scenes.
From ParaNorman I learned learned lots. They seemed to always us an even, diffused light source (to simulate sun or moon light) and spot lights on characters (but not with the spot showing up in the environment). They also made use of lots of objects in the environment like headlights, vending machine lights, streetlights. They also occasionally silhouetted their subjects something that I may not end up using, but will consider because the images that were on the screen were really compelling and mysterious.
While watching the Corpses Bride, I noticed that the actual colors of objects themselves were what depicted what was light and what was dark and that shadows or lack of light were used sparingly. The color scheme had high value colors (closer to white) as the subjects and low valued colors (closer to black) as the backgrounds to make the setting seem dark. The subjects also looked like they had very intense spot lights hitting their foreheads and faces, and the images seemed to be very exposed and had a decent amount of bloom. The images also seemed to be de-saturated after the image was taken, but I may be mistaken.
I did import the trench coat into Unity and tried out cloth physics on it. So far, it hasn’t gone great…
… I may need to do the cloth simulation in Blender and just export the animation like I mentioned last week, but I do want to give the physics one more try.
I fixed the bug where the stop motion effect didn’t stop while the top kid was falling. By adding another state to the unity animator, was able to properly instruct the mesh when to animate and when to freeze again.
I finished my first attempt at a felt material. I’m currently oscillating between disliking it and finding it tolerable. I had to cheat a little because I couldn’t figure out why the depth I was trying to add for the felts flocking weren’t behaving quite as I expected. I ended up making that textures position based on the camera’s position instead of object UVs. This creates a pretty trippy effect when the you move whatever mesh the material is on, but it looks much better than the little fabrics getting stretched out on the mesh.
Wrote this past weeks dev log and added a mailing list and site analytics (sorry if those both you, you can opt out with this lil’ pink banner at the bottom).
What I want to accomplish next week:
- I want to give videos on Twitter another round of research and another try.
- I’d like to watch Kubo and the Two Strings, and take more notes on lighting in stop motion feature films.
- I’m going to implement a “kid behind trench coat” shader/renderer, so that you can still see which kid you’re tapping on.
- I’d like to highlight which kids that can jump this turn by adding an outline around the kiddo.
- I’ll be helping Run Jump Dev put on Vector Conference 2020’s online (I’m a chat moderator). If networking opportunities arise, I would like to tell at least 3 folks about 3 Kids in a Trench Coat, as well as hear about 3 new projects of devs in the region.
- Write this weeks dev log.
Thanks for reading. Come back next week for week 3 (the penultimate week of hurdles), and give me a follow on Twitter for more game dev stuff/if you want to see me tweet underappreciated jokes like this with little to no reaction from the outside world.