Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Father's Day Update

Firstly, to all those dad's out there, Happy Father's Day!  This is my dad:

My sister posted this one FaceBook to which is was commented:  "He looks like a Cuban community leader."
Quirky and a little silly, my dad is a great, supportive, and loving.  He's a tree surgeon and has is own own business; fortunately, he has been supportive of my career choices despite the fact a programmer in the game industry is neither carrying on his business or physically laboring.  Though it's hard for me to show it, especially since I'm not there with him on Father's Day, I love him.

Anyway, enough sappiness, this is a blog about game development!  Well it sort of is.  A lot of exciting -- I think -- developments have been happening in the game industry as of late.  Firstly, the next generation of consoles was finally announced.  I don't feel like going into tons of details on either console, but essentially, which one will I be buying at launch?  Neither.  I learned my lesson of purchasing consoles on day one with the Xbox 360.  Though I did enjoy that system, it's better to wait:  for developers to get the kinks out and for games I actually want.  Of all the titles announced at E3, the only one I really was interested in was Killer Instinct.  I'm curious to how they will treat the new characters; I'll have to wait for EVO to find out.  And despite all always-on Kinect issues, TV obsession, new yet disliked used game policy, I will probably end up owning both a Xbox One and PS4 at some point.  Maybe for research, but probably for things like Tekken 7 or the next Darkstalkers game -- if it happens.

Two different games, two only slightly different Ellen Pages.
I'm still slightly concerned with the future of gaming.  Seems like a lot of shooters and high budget and female protagonists that look like Ellen Page.  (I'm fine with female protagonist; I'm just curious as to how many will look like her and why Uma Thurman hasn't jumped on this boat to make a Kill Bill game.)  I'm just afraid my taste will get pushed out the door at some point, but I think that's a fear everyone has as they get older and technology changes.  I'd like to think I'll just adapt, but I'm not a soothsayer.

Surprisingly fun despite the number of features and characters cut.
 One thing that has excited me lately is the free-to-play model being introduced by fighting game companies.  Dead or Alive 5:  Ultimate, Tekken Revolution, and the Killer Instinct have all boasted some form of free to play.  Personally, Killer Instinct just sounds like a demo without being called a demo; you apparently start out with one character and can buy the rest.  DoA5U is approaching their game with a similar approach, but I'm probably going to buy that game day one!  So listen up:  if you add "Ultimate" to the end of a game and I brought the previous installment, I'll most likely buy this update in its entirety.  That pathetic note aside, the one that really excites me is Tekken Revolution.  Essentially, Tekken Revolution is a dumb-downed Tekken 6.  There's no tag capabilities, a reduced cast -- no Nina Williams or Zafina makes me sad though I have been enjoying Lili -- and even some gameplay elements such as bounds combos -- combos that are done by slamming the opponent into the ground, causing them to roll onto the back so you can deal more damage -- have been nearly eliminated.  There's also a coin and ticket system; said items have to be redeemed to continue playing.  You can purchase some if you wish to continue playing after your current set, which replenishes about every thirty minutes, runs out.  One thing they've done though, which I think is very interesting is they no longer display your number of losses to opponent online.  I'm not an online warrior by any means, and for some reason, this small change makes losing feel less frustrating.  It's such a weird psychological thing, but the punishment I get for losing online is negligible because I no longer have that shame being shown off to my opponents.  True, I can still be demoted and my rank decreased, but it still doesn't feel as irritating.  Overall, Tekken Revolution feels like an experiment, but there are some aspects that I hope remain in future fighting game whether they are free to play or not -- though if in-app-purchased coins are added to a $60 title that will be utter bullshit.

Next, I've been slowing working on my Mixamo to Unity pipeline, and I think I finally made some breakthroughs!  I essentially wrote a script that will convert the Mixamo rig into my own, custom rig!  Now, Mixamo does provide two scripts that will convert your skinned model, but they do odd such as applying a morph that deforms the mesh and doesn't export to Unity.  Fed up with this, I decided to write my own script!  I'm going to share this script to the public.  I will warn, however, that this script is definitely making the assumption that you export with the Y-Axis up and are reimporting back into 3DS Max.  It's a simple MaxScript that you run and it should rig the character for you.  Also, when you export, you need to make sure you only export the nodes starting with "mixamorig" and any meshes you want to export.  The customrig:Root node also has some parameters for switching, hidding, and snapping the forward kinematic limbs to the inverse kinematic limbs.  Below is an image of the rig on a green, nude character I will never use:

Not so strong Hulk smash?
My final updates are that Battle High 2's first update was finally approved for Xbox LIVE Indie Games and that I will be partaking on probably one of my biggest projects yet!  I'm not sure how much I can say at the moment.  I can probably say that it isn't a game, but is definitely game-related.