Saturday, 1 February 2014

Ryse and other CryEngine Projects

I have to admit I havent been playing with the engine lately and there is an update I havent even done anything with yet. That doesnt mean there arent more dedicated folk out there using the engine for wonderful things (be they work or pleasure).

Ryse: Son of Rome is an exclusive XboxOne title overflowing with visual appeal that shows off the might of the CryEngine and the talented artists. While there is alot to love about the current-gen engines, I still feel we will look back in 5 years and think these graphics are quaint. The animation and connectedness of everything have more rungs to climb and just the actual complexity of the world will continue to grow. That said, have a look at what can be done today by the Crytek gang with their own engine here. I love how they are using the tech from cinema like complex mocap to heighten the emotional impact of the game - to leverage the power of the modern hardware to that end.

Cradle is a new kickstarter open-world fantasy adventure game powered by CryEngine. I dont know if they will get their money or if the 'game' will work - but the sample environments are superb.

Here are some more pieces of cool crafted with the CryEngine that are more than worth a quick look - inspiration all around! Check CryDev for more, more I tell you, so much mooore!

Late 18th-19th century British warship. Environment Artist Max Mead - Final fly through of his final major project from his Game Art Design course at De Montfort University.

Scottish Landscape Scene by Martin Teichmann

Richard Piper walking us through details of his abandoned cinema project

Friday, 31 January 2014

Kung Fury and Trailer Thoughts

The lunch conversation turned to trailers the other day, not wonky 2 wheeler rusting steel things people use to move around bits of old engines but movie and game trailers. They continue to grow as an artform drawing in lessons from advertising, shortfilm, pitches, game cinematics and more.

I find it fascinating that after we come out of a movie at the cinema there is the expected discussion of the film itself, what we liked and what we didnt etc. But there is always another discussion about the trailers. What films did the trailers inspire our thirst for? The trailer is really an advertisement, but it takes a particular form for films and games that is about making a little contained mini-story for us to watch and be engaged by. There is no narrator talking about the good qualities of the film or celebrity endorsements, instead we are invited into a glimpse of the world depicted in the film, the emotion, the characters and sometimes a few of the plot hooks as well. The trailer seeks to intrigue us and show off the quality of production, effects, acting - sell the experience!

I love a good trailer because they do these things well. So lets look at a quirky example or two just to put something in this post more interesting than my ramblings. Kung Fury is a kickstarter film project, "a visually spectacular action comedy that has its foundation in 80s cop movies" that is full of fun and energy and heaps of cool. The trailer is pure excellent:

The trailer nails the genre they are targeting for the film and clearly invested alot of money/time/energy in this bid for more funding. For a longer 'film' we will have to see if the characters themselves can work, but in the 'trailer format' that isnt so important for a film like this - great stuff!


I cant help but throw a few more trailers in here that I found most fun recently, there is some stirring stuff here (music is critical for trailers like this) - enjoy...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

HabitRPG and more

When I slew my iPhone I made a bold leap over to a Samsung Galaxy S4 while I wait for the S5 or maybe get the Note. This change meant finding a Googlier or Androidier way of doing lots of things. Some changes were very simple, others more interesting.

I had been using Streaks on the iPhone in a semi-vain attempt at encouraging myself to at least spend a little time each day doing things I wanted to 'achieve' like being Creative (Drawing, Modelling), Reading (Books, Comics), Exercising (Stairs, Walking) and so forth. But the change in device meant I could explore a new way to do this and so I have chosen to test this stations destructive power on your home planet of Alderan. No, wait I was going somewhere with that.
I thought I could test out one of the growing number of sites/apps that gamify your life in some sense, turn doing tasks into quests with XP rewards and so on.

Here are some of the options: HabitRPG (the one I chose), TaskHammer, Challenge AcceptedChore Wars, Beeminder, LifeRPG, SuperBetter and EpicWin though not all are on Android.

So, I am not sure yet whether to make Create, Exercise etc Daily tasks (current plan) or just tasks I can click on - will see how that goes. I might die alot as I certainly wont be able to do all my dailies each day. Not even close really. Well at least this blog post will check off one!!

Here is me slightly setup with some things in each section to get me started. I may have to tweak how difficult I am making things for myself if I have chosen to use it aspritionally. Maybe I just need to shift one or two daily things to Habits so I an level up faster than I am killed off.

Regardless, the first few days of gamifying a piece of my life will be interesting and hopefully fun. I havent got much 'work' in there and not sure that I will - this might be for everything else.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Squarespace Logo

Check out Squarespace's Logo creator site!  They bring a very simple (but elegant) set of tools that essentially give you a logo name and a single icon. There is a library of icons which may have what people may need, the pig I used for a test OINKFROG logo was easy to pick from a selection of piggy icons (though there weren't any frogs). I couldn't upload my own pic, which is I guess the point - this is for people who don't need any more complex design work - just something simple and ready to go.

Here is what I made in a few mins (PNG version with the Watermark), I definitely noticed I was thinking design thoughts as I used the tools, which font, which icon, how are they arranged etc. If I had wanted to do anything clever like have the words cut through the logo or something then I am well beyond the design remit of the tools already. I cant see how this would replace any real designer or real design need, but it has its place for someone who wants to create something clean and neat when they arent armed with a designers eye for a mini project of some sort.

While there may have been some backlash from designers there is something elegant and helpful about the idea - see their blog statement

=== EDIT

Decided to make a slight change with a teensie piggy instead of the big one - places more emphasis on the word - not sure which I prefer :-)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Mcor Iris first prints

3D printing is in a real boom at the moment as innovators bring to market more interesting machines all the time. The Mcor Iris uses sheets of A4 paper glued and cut to build up the 3D models and with the 2D printer the prints are wonderfully colourful as well. Built Environment here at UNSW purchased the printer late in 2013 and after early January training we have done 3 full prints now. The video and photos below show the second serious test print featuring an array of sample models in one build. You will see the orange at several sizes, a coloured conrod showing stress levels and a small landscape. The last pic in the sequence is actually print3 which was a matrix of paper rings.

The sequence of images below show the models emerging from the solid chunk of paper that is a completed build. Like an archaeologist we need to pick away the unwanted paper exposing the juicy artifacts within. The more complex the model the longer this takes and care is needed with good tweezers to get right to the correct paper layers.

I did have difficulty with the 2D printing which is a whole step before the 3D machine kicks in. I think the humidity in our room (windows to the outside world) isnt helping. A few little issues with the second phase but I am getting the hang of things much more now. That said I did take a week to get this print done from start to finish. I think it would be cool to have the 2D printer integrated with the 3D machine - make it one process rather than two (maybe a future model will work that way). There is still a fair bit of handholding in terms of blades, glue, paper, etc etc - so it may not be suitable for students (at least not in larger numbers). Well before we can even entertain larger numbers of anything, the speed boost upgrade (coming soon) will help. The big print you see here took 48 hours to run after the 2D printing was complete...

The final products are superbly tactile and look lovely. Picking the parts out of the paper block is actually lots of fun so I am keen to try out some more types of prints soon - so we can get to the researchers and designers here and start using the machine with more purpose!