Links: Voronoi – Symphony Of Destruction (And More)

So, lets get to the point here: Blowing stuff up is cool.

That statement probably will put me on a list somewhere — I mean virtually blowing stuff up is cool. In games, you hit something, and pieces of it fly apart, fragments go everywhere, cool particle effects, awesome sounds, all that feedback feels very satisfying. But sometimes, in a lot of games, that feedback is just par for the game. Like, a quick flash, some little sound byte, you reticle lights up, and it’s like, “OK, I did the thing.” but it’s not very gripping. To get that level of immersion, players need to not just see something break, but really feel it. Particles can only do so much – people want to see the result of their actions. They want to see stuff break.

Continue reading “Links: Voronoi – Symphony Of Destruction (And More)”

Links: Unity Sprites: Hues & Color Swapping

Old games, am I right? Back in those days, they didn’t have any of these fancy 256 color pallets! In those days, you had only a handful to chose from, so devs had to swap out color pallets like a Bob Ross Marathon! Nowadays, if you want something to be a particular color, you just…. do it. There’s actually a lot of good videos that talk about how colors and images were achieved back in the days of limited color ranges.

Now, most of us know that, back in the days of limited colors and memory, games would fake sprite variety by swapping pallets. It worked pretty well, and resulted in some pretty awesome effects. But, unfortunately, the old ways must die, and now, with retro visuals all-the-rage these days, getting back those effects can be challenging.

Never fear, because our good friend Google is here!

HSV & HSL Shader by greggman

Just like in your favorite image editing application, this shader allows you to modify the Hue, Saturation, Value/Luminosity, and Alpha of your sprite. But that’s not all! You can also set the Affect range, so it will only modify certain colors within your image! It’s pretty nifty, and a good base-line cover-all for whatever your needs are.

Daniel Branicki: How to Use a Shader to Dynamically Swap a Sprite’s Colors

Here, we get a little more advanced. What this tutorial shows us, is how to use a shader to change the individual colors of a sprite. With this, we can get pretty powerful, because we can have control of just about every aspect of our sprite. He even goes over a little “Damage” effect, just to show what you can do with this ability.

So here are a few tools to add to your toolbox. Keep these around, and you’ll have that old school game dev feeling back in no time.

Minus the awful assembly code. Yikes.

Link: Unity UI: Easy Tabs (no scripting) by Mateodon

Link -> Unity UI: Easy Tabs (no scripting) by Mateodon

The Unity UI framework comes with quite a number of tools for your disposal: Text, Buttons, Lists, Toggles, and so on. But sometimes you need a little more – something to spice up the interface you’re providing. Unity, surprisingly, has come up with a number of hooks in its UI framework, and all it takes is some simple trickery to turn these Buttons and Toggles into something completely different.

Enter Matt Graves (or “Mateodon,” his name which, I assume, dates back to his prehistoric ancestry). Matt used his dinosauric wizardry to combine multiple UI elements to create Tabs (much like the tabs in your browser (I mean, I assume they’re in your browser (What browser are you using, Internet Explorer 4?))) without a single line of code.

Give his site a checkout. He has a few good tutorials, and even has a YouTube channel.

Link: Subsurface Scatterings – Texture-Driven Water

Link -> Texture-Driven Water by Subsurface Scatterings

I’m a simple man – I like creating big effects using a minimal amount of processing power. Sure, you can go and make something look “Industrial Light & Sound”-level good, but sometimes simple is better, depending on your situation. And one thing that’s gotten better and easier with age is Water Effects.

I came across Adeniran Moses Adeagbo Jr‘s blog while looking up some water normal maps, and his demo for Texture-Driven Water, where, not only does he utilize normal maps for creating some nice looking water (which, for most engines, is child’s play), but he pulls out a bit of refraction and Schlick’s Approximation to really get some great reflections out of it.

As a fellow Jerseyan, I gotta show some recognition for what this dude is doing. So, please, check out his site for some great tutorials.

Links: Blender Tools – MeshLint and Magic UV

3D Modeling is nothing to shake a stick at. You can’t even shake the whole tree at it. May different tools out there exist to make modeling “easier” by honing in on a very specific style or feature, like Crocotile 3D or Wings 3D. But, when you’re trying to find an end-all-be-all to all forms of modeling, you go for the big boys: Maya, 3DS Max, and, of course, Blender.

A problem with all these heavy-bliters is that their toolset is huge! Tiny icons surround the boarders of your screen, and many, many more tools hide in secret little menus. Most of the time, I find myself knowing what I want to do, and I’m on 18 different tabs trying to figure out the damn workflow!

Well, like any good craftsman, the best solution to having too many tools is to add more tools.

Continue reading “Links: Blender Tools – MeshLint and Magic UV”

Link: Making Stuff User-Friendly

Link: Engility Corp – Making Stuff User-Friendly

Did I ever tell you guys about the time I took my Virtual Reality work on the road to Washington DC, and had a booth for the internal Engility Trade Show convention? That’s totally a thing that happened. My Virtual Tour demo of an FAA Facility with the Oculus Rift won 2nd place Best In Show, too.

2017 EGL Trade Show (58).jpeg
“OK, you’re flying the plane inverted now, which is cool, but not recommended…”

Afterwards, I was asked to help provide content for a blog post on the Engility website about, well, making stuff user-friendly! I provide a little insight into the world of user-interfaces in real-world application, and blur the line between what makes a user interface work for a professional business application and what works for gaming applications.

Go ahead, give it a read if you’d like. This might be seen as me just tooting my own horn, because I’m liking an article I wrote on another blog on my own blog, but, hey, if that’s the case…

… toot toot.

(PS: I’m glad I got second place, but I also lost to a bunch of guys dressed up as scientists from the movie Starship Troopers. They had robots.)

Video: Will Smith Shares His Secrets To Success.

This may be a potato-quality video, but it speaks volumes. Everything he speaks is what I’ve been working my entire life to accomplish. His motivation, his determination, his stride to be “unrealistic,” and his ability to keep loving life, and take its challenges. That’s what I’ve been telling myself for years, and to hear it from someone who had the passion to make it to the top, that just solidifies it more for me. And I hope it means something to you, too.

I do not, however, share his passion for treadmills. They are machines made to kill, and kill they certainly do.