Saturday, 4 May 2013

Dodge in Dungeon World

I had my first session of a Role Playing game in countless eons last night night and had a blast. We were playing Dungeon World and it was fascinating to play such a cooperative story-telling game system. Right from the get-go we were collaboratively crafting our world and characters. Our icy island slowly came into focus, dominated by the volcano and its fire-drakes, kept at bay by the guano that forms the primary industry  of the only settlement. Can our characters come together to save the town from the dangers of the island (earthquakes and magical fire) and the ruthless mining company and those under their thumb and influence. We are an interesting bunch, young snow-elf wizard, loner dryad ranger, musclebound human fighter, the enigmatic shapeshifting sea-gnome druid and Dodge.

My character is little Dodge, a 13 year old thief who grew up on the streets of Coal Haven. She 'acquired' one too many things and needed to run, stowing away on a ship. She is a bubbly person by nature, laughing away at almost anything. She is small but tough and has a natural dexterous flair matched by her fancy 'borrowed' clothes. She finds herself struggling on the streets of this mining town, linking up with some of the fascinating characters on the edge of this tough society under the thumb of the Mining Company.

Today a few sketches of little Dodge landed in the sketch book, maybe she doesnt look quite young enough, but she looks fun and her hair is cool. I also like the dagger balancing that came up in the drawings, looking forward to bring that habit to the next session.

Thursday, 2 May 2013


I will work out a way to post some more info on Loch Dreagan game mechanics soon, in the meantime lets take a look at two clever pieces that deal with paths through space and time.

First, Universal Everything (a creative UK studio) have crafted a stunning video using a motion-captured dancer to generate digital forms in 3D space that was then displayed in all its glory in the Hyundai Vision Hall. Using mocap data from dancers is something I am keen to explore at some point as it is a lovely intersection of real physical prowess and digital wizardry.

And secondly a cool piece of javascript that visualises various PathFinding algorithms for us. You can set the start and end points, create a set of walls and then choose/tweek the various algorthms to see how they work and the various speeds. PathFinding.js is by Xueqiao Xu and shows us how neatly these complex pieces of code can be presented for us.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

More Monsters in 3D

While our testing of the MakerBot Replicator 2 continues I slotted in some more prints of the Loch Dreagan playing pieces. It is interesting to see how the Makerware software and then the printer handle errors in the models, having missing faces etc sometimes isnt noticeable in the final produce, other times it makes a mess (as I might expect).

Anyhow I have only done minor tweaks to the Loch Dreagan 3ds Max model to create these prints. The 5 piece setup takes 29 mins set to a tweaked version of Medium (8% fill, 2 shells and 0.2mm layers). I did start to think about adding some sort of representation of the arms, eyes and other details for the models, but maybe the playing pieces would be better to stay simple, keeping the detail for the cards and artwork...

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Crain Carnage Art

Just a quick post as I came across this amazing image by Clayton Crain for the cover of Minimum Carnage Omega and was inspired. I just loved that someone spent the time and effort to imbue a comic cover with this much complexity, detail and a nice dollop of cool. The image is fun, creepy, strong, dynamic and full of style - inspiring me to do better!
More Links: Clayton Crain's Site, and his presence on DeviantArt

[Minimum Carnage Omega cover via the Marvel Wikia]

Monday, 29 April 2013

Loch Dreagan CG plus PhysX Fluids and Fracturing

While I am still fluctuating on exactly which elements of the Loch Dreagan game will end up digitally crafted apart from aspects of the cards and the 3D models to generate the playing pieces - there are multiple other options. All of the card art could be rendered from 3ds Max (or similar) with the modelling and painting done in Max and Mudbox. The alternative is to stay in 2D for the card art with Photoshop doing all the heavy lifting. The other outlet is video, using 3D models to create a trailer for the game which could be one of two types, either a little narrative story that explains the story part of the game or a more promo-centric explanation of the game itself - almost like the vids you might find on kickstarter.

One of the intersections of technology I am still keen to include (if it fits somewhere) is the game engine. I would love to see the world of Loch Dreagan come to life inside CryEngine with the water, fog, lighting and more. It could still be quite viable to use the engine as the 'renderer' as that would reinforce my skills with those tools allowing me to better work with those using this technology for teaching and research at the Faculty (Built Environment, UNSW).


So as a segue from that thinking to some stunning tech by the PhysX guys that is simply remarkable considering that this is all happening in realtime. This wasn't computed over the weekend and then rendered over the following week, no, this all happens in the blink of an eye. While the trend in computing is away from firepower to tablets, super-thin and light laptops etc - it is this 'wow look what computers can do' that I hope finds a way to satisfy our desire for mobile with the grunt needed to do cool stuff. Windows Games and Workstations are the only markets that really cater to this and they are small segments of PC hardware buyers.

Anyhow, lets admire the amazing fluid simulations and algorithm driven fracturing that can be achieved...