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Bill Loguidice's picture

The 10 Best Cartoons on the Air Right Now

Adventure TimeAdventure TimeI thought I'd mix things up a bit today with a list of my current 10 favorite cartoons (most of which are also my family's favorites, too), which I'd argue are among the short list of best shows on TV today, animated or otherwise. Interestingly, videogame culture/influence - not to mention, technology - has clearly made its way into all of these cartoons in one way or another, which I'll of course point out where relevant.

Here's the list, in no particular order:

Matt Barton's picture

Dev Diary 016: Match 3 Invaders with Animated Aliens

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.

Matt Barton's picture

Matt's Dev Diary 004: Lighting and Characters

Today I spent most of my time working with Blender. The first order of the day was to learn all about lighting. Blender has a dizzying amount of options for this, but I'm not even sure I'll need any of it so I didn't spend a lot of time here. UNITY has its own lighting system, and I'm not sure to what extent I'll be able to use lights I make in Blender anyway, but I figured the knowledge would be transferable in a general sense. In any case, it is fascinating (and addictive) to just experiment with all the lighting options and see how they affect shading and such. You can really get some nice shading effects with different kinds of lighting. Here's just an example:
Cube with LightsCube with Lights
The next chapter was on Character Animation, and the author pointed out two different people-making tools you can use. Both were free in terms of cost: Make Human and Daz Studio. While you can try to make humans from scratch, these tools essentially give you an interface similar to those seen in games like Skyrim where you can adjust and tweak your face, nose, etc. The exciting part is that you can export your creations into Blender. I may know next to nothing about modeling and animation, but even I can use these interfaces and my combat mode looks a helluva lot more feasible.

Matt Barton's picture

Facial Animation, PC History, and Vectrex 101

Lots of interesting stuff in my Google Reader today. First off, Racketboy has a Beginners Guide up with tons of images and text about the hallowed Vectrex.

Bill Loguidice's picture

A New Style of Videogame?

Characters and Visuals from Cecropia's "The Act"Characters and Visuals from Cecropia's "The Act"While industry analysts such as myself, and others like legendary developers Chris Crawford and Richard Garriott (AKA "Lord British") have been proponents of exploring sophisticated themes in gaming, be they mature, emotional or something else entirely, few games have actually bothered to make a legitimate attempt. Those that have, such as "Facade" have been more miss than hit in execution. A company called Cecropia has finally come out of stealth/start-up mode and been getting a lot of press lately about their first "experimental" game, "The Act", identified as an interactive comedic film experience. What seems to make this a bit different from the usual indie developer spin on things is that the company was started in conjunction with a bunch of former Disney animators, giving the experience legitimate visual impact, while the gameplay is designed around a simple knob to manipulate the emotions, personality and actions of the player's avatar.

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