Sunday, April 28, 2013

IEEE GameSig Showcase: Demo Booth

We had a great time yesterday at UC Irvine for the Annual IEEE GameSig student showcase. This will be more of a photo post  - since we took quite a few! Overall, the event was very successful. 

Setting up

The XING: The Land Beyond booth 

Our first players of the day were the volunteers!

We got lots of positive reactions, and people lining up to play.

The Floor

Even our younger audience was having a good time!

Two thumbs up! Alright!

Photo with one of our amazing professors

 People played up until the very end of the event.

 Team photo before the teardown.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Interview with Gamereactor at GDC

This was posted yesterday on the youtube channel. Check it out!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stepping Into the Rainforest

Hello everyone,

I'm James Steininger. This is my first appearance on the dev blog! I'd like the begin by extending thanks to the Kickstarter community and our friends and family for making XING possible. We've really come quite a ways since November. 

Rainforest Environment Design

Immediately following the campaign, we spent considerable effort toward finalizing a development strategy as well as a game design doc. We decided to test out the new pipeline on the Rainforest Kickstarter stretch goal environment. John immediately got started working on foliage meshes and I started working on the architecture. I had hoped that I would be able to post these shots sooner, but I couldn't help myself from going back in for more layers of moss and ivy. Here one of my concept scenes of what we are aiming to achieve with the rainforest:

Environment Concept Design

This is another concept shot, where I showcase the stellar waterfall particle effect John made. We also thank John for all of these beautiful foliage meshes. You can also see my liberal application of moss to the scene. 

Interactive Map Concept

There is a method to the madness. I first started with a paper concept for the entire Rainforest level. Then I went on the computer to do a digital rendering of my paper concept. The digital layout is done in Adobe Flash so that I can make pieces of it interactive when I'm showing the concept to my team members. This screenshot is just a piece of the rainforest layout, with spoilers removed and locations translated to Xingish. 

Modular Set Design

After I feel confident about the concepts, I move to asset creation. I employ a modular building set methodology. The models are made so that they play nicely in a grid. That way I can be intensely mathematical while designing the layouts. But thanks to our wide multitude and diversity of meshes, the final product certainly won't look grid-like. These models are also using an upgraded version of our master material. Everything in the game (seriously, everything!) can be painted with 2 parametric overlays, like moss or rust, and then have rain, snow and now ice effects applied to it. 

That's it! We're always excited to answer any questions or respond to feedback. Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

John's Technical Ramblings

John here, ready to update on the technical side for those who are interested.

Before we dive in, I'd like to let you all know we are going to be showcasing the game at UC Irvine in Irvine, Califronia this Saturday at 4:00 PM (the 6th floor of Bren Hall) for the annual IEEE GameSIG competition we entered last year. We are simply presenting the game on the floor this year, so if you are in the area stop on by and say hello!

In the weeks following kickstarter (and after a long rest period - whew) we have really stepped up our production and have made plans to take us all the way into the rest of development. Organization has been a huge focus for us these past few weeks. Many of you probably already know or have heard this, but I'll say it again - Organize your work, especially if you are working with others! I wouldn't say we were too terribly unorganized prior to our cleanup this week, but every mislabeled asset adds up, and it is extremely frustrating to lose time and work due to organization issues. It may seem trivial at first, but man, does it add up quickly.

I'll save the beauty shots for James's post, but I'm happy to report that the Rainforest environment made possible by Kickstarter is underway, and is coming along quite nicely. I finally set apart some time to hone in on my foliage modeling skills, and am pleased with the results.

We are using a variety of tech to get the the end result you'll see in James's post. We are certainly taking advantage of the PC's power of rendering higher res texture's than you see on consoles - this is especially important with the Rift right around the corner. Our pipeline contains a "2k or bust" clause, where we render a 2048 x 2048 texture for every asset and reduce it accordingly, ensuring a vastly detailed world to experience. We are trying our best to make a visually stunning game while holding a maintainable stream of production, and with our new pipelines and guidelines I think we are arriving on a solution.

I'm happy with the way these fruit turned out, especially due to my "quick" method of box modeling - no sculpting required. The displacement modifier is rapidly becoming my best friend in creating organic structures and foliage.

That's all for today. Tune in next week for some take aways from our time at Irvine, and meet us there if you can!

Koriel's Dev Blog Sunday #1

Time for our first Dev Blog Sunday!

It has been 3 weeks since our Kickstarter ended, and we’ve been delving deeper into development ever since. Since it has been 2 weeks since our last post, I feel like that merits a longer-than-normal post

School vs. Summer

Just a little heads up for the next month: 
All 3 of us are actually still in school at the moment, so this next month will be a bit slower than the summer months to come (due to schoolwork + gearing up for John and my graduation). So far we've worked very well alongside our schoolwork, but we understand that the month before graduation can be more time-consuming than we are used to.

That being said, we still plan to do as much on XING as possible for the next month, i.e. continuing to spend pretty much all of our "spare" time working on it.

Working on the new XING World Map

I've taken on the task of designing the World Map over the last couple of weeks. It will be the glue the holds together all of the levels we have designed/will design. I can honestly say this is one of the most fun things I've been able to do on the project, because I get to become 12-year old starry-eyed Koriel again - drawing fantasy lands and imagining what it would be like to visit them.

I grew up loving Lord of the Rings, studying the giant map of Middle Earth on my bedroom wall. 
My Bedroom: You can see my beloved map of Middle Earth...
I built that Helms Deep model out of foam when I was  12 :)
I also made the tiny castle on the right (behind the leopard) out of clay

Even more recently I've been sucked into the world of Game of Thrones, and have looked over that map many a time after each new episode  Now it is MY turn to design a giant map that other people will be able to study and appreciate. 

I love finding and creating new names for the different places people will visit: making sure that each name has some significance and meaning attached to it.

Here's a sneak peak at a little part of the map. Of course, it is still a work in progress, so you will see more pieces of the map and details filled in as we venture into the summer.

Iztali: (meaning) Reality is the Dream - Mayan

A couple of the statues I sculpted this week :]

They'll be used as part of the level design in our Rainforest environment.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dev Blog Sundays

Hey everyone!

First of all, I'd like to announce that starting this weekend we will be making posts every Sunday. This will be our weekly catch-up day, in case we don't end up making other posts during the week. 

What We've Been Up To

We've been taking the past week to organize our development schedule after reaching our Stretch Goals on Kickstarter. We have exciting plans in the works, including some awesome new map designs for the game. We are also still in the process of now organizing all of our files and production pipeline, in order to be more efficient as we head into the summer.

200% Kickstarter Goal!