Monday, September 29, 2014

Some Particle Flipbooks

I've been working on various techniques for making particle flipbooks easier to author. I've done some tutorials on fire and smoke (you can find them on my youtube channel), but I want to share a sort of gallery of effects I've managed to get and how I got them.

So, initially, I was trying to reproduce the look of GTA5's particles, so I tried baking out fluid simulations from Maya. The sim on the right was solved in 2d and was pretty quick to solve and render. The one in the middle was solved in 3d and was really really slow to work with. These two both have nice subtle animation, but they took forever to set up and to bake. The one on the right is generated completely from turbulent noise effects and masks in After Effects. I felt a lot more control here, and it was much faster to make (I'm very comfortable in AE, though, so your milage may vary).

These two effects were both hand made without a sim. The one on the left was made using the same kinds of noise effects as in the smoke effect above. The one on the right was animated as traditional frame-by-frame 2d animation in Flash and then modified in After Effects to add detail. I have a tutorial for how to do this on my Youtube channel, but suffice to say, it gives you a lot more control over the final look of the effect. That said, this technique doesn't scale well to effects longer than 32 frames long (or 64 if you're really patient). Because it relies on hand-drawn animation rather than tweens, as you double the length of the animation, you double not only the cost of keeping all the sprites for the animation in memory during the game, but also, you linearly increase the amount of work to make the effect in the first place, which is a problem that tweens don't have.

Anyway, feel free to ask questions if you have any. I have many many more flipbooks than these, but the ones here are fairly representative of the various ways I've tried to solve fire and smoke systems.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Definitions of a "Game"

I recently responded to a Cynical Brit video about Glitchhikers and "what it is to be a game". The post is a little long (I am given to a certain amount of pedantry), but you can read it after the jump.

 tl;dr: Brit thinks "games" need a failure state; I didn't agree. More after the jump.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Physically Based Shader v0.2

Just a quick demo on progress. You can also see my in-progress lens flare controller in this scene! I made this video to show off my progress at a Unite party. I'm actually a little bit farther than this level of quality now, but that will have to be for later. I've decided I'll be submitting it for free to the Unity Asset store shortly!