Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Saints Row the Third, the Third

Got some work done on my Saints Row 3 character portrait. Don't really know how I feel about the tattoo, it's kind of distracting. I might try and subdue it, or remove it altogether.

UDK Woes

So yesterday I buckled down and spent the whole day working on getting the main menu hooked up for my senior project game. Needless to say, I didn't get anywhere near as far with it as I would have liked, but I really figured a lot of stuff out - stuff I didn't expect to be quite so challenging. Granted, some of those things were due to my own stupidity (accidentally saving maps in the folder of an older UDK release and wondering why it kept complaining about external packages, and also not noticing when my debug log statements were showing up in the window amongst all of the other crap UDK feels like printing).

So it seems that taking the ActionScript 3 route was not the greatest decision - it's only been supported in UDK since the November release, so needless to say they're still working out the kinks, and some of the AS3 specific details are sparsely documented. Still, I truck on.

I ran into a couple major issues - one of those being that my custom GFxMoviePlayer class' WidgetInitialized method not being called. At all. Funny thing! This is supposed to be the official, supported method of having UnrealScript recognize the initialization of various components within a flash file (buttons, for example - so you can hook up event listeners and have UnrealScript handle the clicks). Totally busted. The developers are aware of this, however, and the problem's fixed on their end - so it should be out in the next release. Unfortunately, I have to get these things working now. More info here.

Thankfully, the link above suggested a convenient workaround, which brings us to the very rudimentary elements of flash-unreal communication. Using ExternalInterface.call lets you call any UnrealScript method within the custom GFxMoviePlayer class from ActionScript. Generally used as follows: ExternalInterface.call("myFunctionName","firstParameter","secondParameter",...)

Unfortunately, I hit another speed bump soon after - Adding event listeners in UnrealScript doesn't seem to work! So I could (I think) send the button objects to unreal, but couldn't do anything with them. Some forum posts suggested that the name of the event type had changed from 'CLIK_press' to 'CLIK_buttonPress', but it still didn't work for me. So at the end of the day, I decided to rely on the flash end to handle everything to do with the input, and just send data to unreal using ExternalInterface.call. I'm not sure how this would affect performance, but since it's a relatively unintensive menu system, it shouldn't be too bad.

At the end of the day, I ended up only managing to get a menu system with the Quit button working... but it's something.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snow Monkey

A japanese macaque!

(10:52:34 PM) jaein:

Sure, sure. My friend really likes snow monkeys, so I felt compelled to paint one. Didn't spend too long on this one, only about an hour and a half. Or anyways, that's not particularly long for me. Now I must shuffle off to bed, before this night turns into another late one - although I guess by most standards, it already is.

Saints Row the Third, The Second

No self-important opinions this time, just an update on my Saints Row character painting. Gonna take a break on this one, for tonight at least (although I don't know if that counts so much as a break, because I did spend the day on it). There's another quick grayscale study I'd like to do, so I'll hop on that instead. I'm still fairly happy with this piece, though, so I'll probably aim to take it to completion.

Ugh, tomorrow I have to focus on my UDK work again... I donno, I really enjoy working in UDK, but for some reason lately I've just been wanting to draw!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saints Row the Third

So as I mentioned before, I've been playing Saints Row 3 lately. Surprisingly awesome game - even though everyone I spoke to said it was good, for some reason I never saw myself getting into it. It's remarkable how it is in so many ways a clone of Grand Theft Auto, but in so many ways an entirely different, and better game. One of my friends compared it to tracing over someone's drawing and calling it their own. The more I think about it, the more I feel that a more accurate analogy would be to say that it's much like copying the general compositional framework of a drawing.

More than anything, the steal-cars kill-people run-missions aspects of Grand Theft Auto (which pretty much describe it fully as a game) are ultimately the foundation of a genre more than things that make the game itself unique. The only reason we see it as the latter is because it was, for a very long time, the only major title within its own genre.

Anyways, enough of that. Yesterday I started drawing my Saints Row 3 character, using several varying pieces of reference, along with multiple screenshots. Here's my progress so far.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Unfinished Figure Study

Sooner or later I'm going to run out of post titles - that is, if I'm not allowed to use the same name twice. Obviously this one isn't finished, and I didn't spend much time on it to begin with, but here it is. Reference is a photo by Marcus J. Ranum.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Underworld: Awakening and a Horsey

Today, in a reasonably rare feat of unnecessary house-leaving, I decided to catch a movie before going to my seven o'clock art history lecture. The fourth (or third, depending on who you're talking to) installment of the Underworld series. Now, I am not a film critic, and for this I am thankful, as I can therefore enjoy dumb movies without feeling stupider for it.

Underworld: Awakening was a good time, plain and simple. I didn't expect a whole lot from it aside from awesome werewolves and Kate Beckinsale in black latex and a corset. It certainly didn't disappoint! Sure, the story seemed stunted and unimaginative, although one twist they threw in really did leave me feeling mildly, and pleasantly surprised. It also didn't help that the ending was an obvious lead-in to a sequel, and ultimately made the story (which did contain a beginning, middle and end) feel halved and episodic. At the same time, though, it pleases me to think that there will likely be another Underworld film.

Oh, and my art history lecture was pretty interesting, too. Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael were the primary targets of today's class, and while they are interesting enough on their own, my professor (Brian Foss) definitely did a great job of adding to it.

Anywho, I also did a quick horse-sketch/study while watching the ninth episode of Game of Thrones. As a rule, I am horrible at drawing horses - and I don't believe that has changed. Tonight's sketch is exponentially better than my usual depiction of horses, but I think it might just be a matter of an improvement in the area of drawing from observation. Which is good too! Better, in fact.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Half-Done Figure Study, Finished

More or less.

I spent more of my evening than I intended playing Saints Row the Third, but by around one in the morning, I turned on the next episode of Game of Thrones and set myself to work. There are things of this painting that unsettle me, but I cannot put them to words. Similarly, there are things that I really like about it, but again I am not quite sure what they are. Perhaps it's the variance in colour for the flesh, but I'm not sure. Regardless, I think it's neat.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Revisiting the Half-Done Figure Study

Three-quarters done figure study? Maybe? Kind of deviating from the study I worked on during this week's Awesome Horse episode as I venture into colour. It's quite a bit of fun, I've found, to just splash colour onto a heavily-worked grayscale piece. I'm particularly enjoying incorporating a lot of blues into the fleshy reds on her face. Overall, I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm still enjoying it.

So why did I come back to it? Partially because I liked it, but partially 'cause Marc Scheff commented on it on wipnation asking if I intended to continue working on it. Yeah, I'm spineless and susceptible to the whims of those better than me. So what!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Sleepy Drawing Time

Ugh, I need to start getting to bed earlier - although it's unlikely that will happen. Going to sleep this late just seems to make sense right now. Aside from my irrational compulsion to stay awake in order to maximize chances of talking to a particular person, it works out with my class schedule pretty well. Not a bad deal, having my earliest class at 2:30PM... Although I suppose the biweekly meeting with my senior project advisor at 1:00PM counts, sort of. Still, that's pretty late.

Anyways, here's hoping I'll gradually be able to slip more detail into my work before passing out, with each attempt. I guess I should focus on the face less... No, that doesn't sound right. Faces are important. To hell with the rest! Oh, and I suppose this should be noted - reference used from http://kristhania.deviantart.com. Working off a low-res photo was really irritating, especially after working with the super-high-res ref earlier from Awesome Horse, but I liked the particular one, so I decided to... yeah... I think sleepiness just swallowed my ability to make coherent sentences.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Half-done Figure Study

Done while watching the Awesome Horse livestream today, using their reference image. Anyone interested in illustration or art in general should watch these streams, they're extremely interesting and amusing. I was running around a bit during the stream, and I was also working dreadfully slowly, so I only really got a chance to pay attention to the face. And now I am hungry, because I skipped lunch for awesome horse. I feel like I lose some of the energy from a study if I leave it, so I probably won't come back to this.. But I kind of like it, so I donno, I just might.

Sleepy Drawing Time

Dreadfully sleepy, but didn't want to go to bed, so I pulled a random picture up and tried to draw it. I've come to the realization that I'm locking myself into lines instead of shaping with value. Need to work on that. Leaving it this rough mostly 'cause it's nearly five in the morning and I need to go to sleep.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Carnival UI

It's ten at night, and I've got a group meeting with my senior project advisor tomorrow at 1:00PM. Looks like I ought to get something related to my section of the work done. Needless to say, I haven't been spending enough time on senior project this week, but the work that I have done has more than anything been related more to other group members' tasks. For example, testing out rigging and skinning on the character models, and sifting through one of the environments (that had way too many edges simply lying around doing nothing, and was not built to UDK scale).

So tonight, I'm going to try and bring in a Photoshop mockup of the game's login screen into flash and have it running in UDK. I'm a bit uncertain as to whether or not I'll be able to run it on my laptop and demonstrate it during my meeting but... That's unimportant for the time being. So instead, here's the design mockup!

Initially I was rather bothered by the fact that I had to work with that logo (credit goes to Marie Deslauriers). I'd made an alternate version, because I felt that the logo was lacking contrast and wasn't particularly readable. Still, general opinion sided with Marie's version, so I went ahead and did what I could to bring some contrast in, and keep the stone texture from overpowering the other elements on the page. Here's a comparison between her version of the logo and mine - they definitely cater to a different sort of game, mine (the right side) being somewhat more cartoony.

After a fair bit of critique from a handful of people (mainly Khuyen), I ended up changing a few details (as you can see below). That was mostly for my own sanity, since I genuinely did like the design, and wanted to see it brushed up as well as it could be - even if we weren't going to use it for the game's UI.

Anyways, it's time to get myself acquainted with Scaleform 4.0, and reacquainted with Actionscript 3.0. Thank goodness the November 2011 release of UDK includes support for Scaleform4, because I was not looking forward to having to deal with AS2.0. Not at all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Queen of Thieves - Part 3

I've been sketching and doodling and working away in photoshop somewhat this evening, and I don't think I can do much with this piece. At this point, I'm simply not fit to create a complex backdrop. It's been good practice, but I need to do (more) studies and whatnot. Anyways, tomorrow I've got to start working on bringing some environments into UDK for my senior project, and I don't see myself returning to this piece afterwards. It's frustrating as hell, since this is probably one of the first pieces I've abandoned after a significant amount of work and re-work in a very long time. Oh well.

Here's the resketched backdrop, along with an attempt at refining it. I brought in the tower from the old one, just to see how it'd work.. Probably a big mistake, since the perspective is completely different. I wanted to use that sort of separation to create a more dramatic angle, but here it's plainly jarring.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Queen of Thieves - Part 2

Ugh, I was feeling really good about this piece initially, but now nothing I do seems to sit well with me. I've been working on painting the background and throwing in colour, but it just seems terribly.. wrong.

I think I'll take another swing at it, but I don't expect it to turn out either - I've already lost a lot of motivation, and I'm teetering on the edge of just moving on. One more shot, though! We'll see how it goes.

Here's the current state of the background - the tower in the front's still pretty rough, I blocked it in to see how it would work with the backdrop. I think I'll take the background in a completely different direction. This one doesn't really give the sensation I was hoping for initially, of a thief hovering over a town full of victims.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Queen of Thieves

I feel like it's been a while since I've painted anything to completion. I have been doodling (largely vacating my bowels on a canvas and saving it off never to speak of it again), but my last painting was done over two months ago. Anyways, I felt a little inspired last night and started doodling - although this time, with a bit more of an idea in mind. Kind of. Here's the rough sketch and my progress on the value study.