Dev Diary 016: Match 3 Invaders with Animated Aliens

Matt Barton's picture

Rigging the InvaderRigging the InvaderWell, here we go again. Today I was working with Blender to try to rig up some basic animations for my alien baddies. After a few false starts, I was able to make some bones and rig the alien. There's probably a better way to do it, but I just made used the forked rigging system to quickly make bones for each of the...tentacles? Teeth? Not really sure what those things are! I did notice a substantial hit to processing power once I implemented the animated versions...Considering the simplicity of the animation, I am concerned about doing anything more sophisticated--it appears that making Unity browser games requires substantial skill in optimizing such things. I clicked the options to reduce keyframes and compress the animations. I got some errors (not show-stopping) about some vertices with unassigned bones (huh?). My ignorance concerning Blender is pretty galling; while I'm able to muddle through and get stuff done, I realize that I'm only scratching the surface. I should probably plan to spend more time with my Blender book and perhaps find a good video tutorial series on using the program more effectively. The problem is that a lot of the Blender material focuses on stuff that isn't really useful for my purposes, such as lighting and shaders and such. All I need really is to create good-looking models, UV maps, rigs, and animation.

But anyway, here it is. As always, I'd like to get your opinions and ideas about where to go from here. I guess the next step will be making two different kinds of aliens for the top and second rows.

Unity Web Player | WebPlayer

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Salty Pretzels
Salty Pretzels's picture
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Joined: 02/28/2012
Hang in there Matt

Hi!

Er.. I didn't saw any significant drop in performance (my baby: Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, 2 GB Ram, Geforce 9600GT a.k.a cutting edge in 2007). I did detect a teeny-tiny frame drop here and there but I wouldn't have even picked up on those if you wouldn't have pointed out it in your dev notes. Not that you should have kept this from us, I'm just trying to say that it's hardly noticeable.

As for good Blender tutorials, well... Blender is constantly changing so it's hard to find any substantial and complete tutorials on the game asset making side of things. I used 3ds Max 9 before Blender and things aren't THAT much better on the commercial software side. Unless you're willing to pay for tutorials, of course.

The best I can recommend is the Blender Cookie Video tutorial series. Very professional stuff and if you aren't picky about 480p then you can watch it for free. (side note: Isn't free beer the best kind of ale?) Oh and you can categorize videos by difficulty (beginner, advanced, bard... etc.) and they have a nifty mini series for quick tips on some of the quirks of Blender. It may not answer all of your questions about the black magic of bone animation but you should at least take a brief look of their alien character rigging video and maybe the creation of said alien if you want to pick up some hot tips on low-polygon modeling.

This was lengthy and possibly full of grammatic errors but

Hang in there Matt! The game looks amazing! You're getting there!

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Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Thanks, Salty! I'll be sure

Thanks, Salty! I'll be sure to check out those tutorials; they look pretty much exactly what I was looking for. If they're as good as the 3D Buzz videos for Unity were, I'll be rigging up a storm in a week.

BTW, I was able to confirm an occasional bug when hitting a match 3. Sometimes it just doesn't seem to catch. I'm going to go back through the code again and see if I can find a way to stop that from happening. One thing I thought about was that maybe the tags are getting reset before the function kicks in to recognize and destroy the match. I don't understand why it only happens so intermittently, though. I'm confounded by that several times so far; usually my experience is that something either works all the time or never. This "once in a blue moon" stuff just baffles me.

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TripHamer
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Joined: 07/31/2010
Level 1 bug

Ran into the level one bug where it doesn't advance to the next level...happened at least twice. I haven't see it on any other level so far....only the first one.

I'm thinking that maybe something happens when you play more than one game and something doesn't get reset the next time around?

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TripHamer
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Joined: 07/31/2010
Oh and a...

Oh, and a bug on the forums, it kept posting an error when I tried to submit my last post so naturally I hit the back button and tried again before just going back to this thread to repaste what I typed and saw that it did post 3 times, even with the error popping up for the forum software. :)

The error:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function drupal_submit_form() in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/akismet/akismet.module on line 707

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