Legacy Game Project Update 01

Making Of / 15 July 2021

Hello There!


Here is some insight to what I've been doing during my spare time. The last few weeks for me has been waking up at 6am, work until midnight with breaks for taking care of the puppy, eating and occasional outside activities :P

In general I've been relearning how to code (ue4 c++ and blueprint), rig/skin, animate, sequences, VFX etc.... basically all facets of game-development so that I can basically just try and do stuff by myself as far as I can go time-wise.

I also decided to reboot my old UE4 project, scrap the old code and in with the new. Rewrote locomotion, got proper state machines for my locomotion states (not the animation graph stuff, actual state machines so that I can properly encapsulate the code for when you're in different states and not rely on millions of bool checks).


Generally code-wise, the project is in a much better and organized state than the previous one, which is a great.
and then I started adding in the basics again.

(all actors interact with the water (ue4 water plugin), playing sounds and particles now)


Such as:
- Creating State Machine Functionality for Locomotion
- Character Movement (3rd person movement + strafe aim mode)
- Character Actions (Jump, Sprint Jump, Mantling, Interactions)
- Interactable Objects (Pickups, Readables, Weapons, Switches)
- World Interaction (Sounds, Particles, Music, Water Shader + FX/SFX)
- Combo System State Machine (Attack classes + tweakable modifiers)
- Combat Juiciness (Hit FX/SFX, Hitstop, Screenshake)


It's hard to put everything on a list without it growing into a huge thing of tiny specifics.  Essentially what I want is a decent foundational framework that I can use to get started.


Doing this of for the last month also made me realize how little time I actually have spent concepting the world or the characters..


(character water sounds + splashes)


I do have some idea about what I want it to be but doing concepts (not that Im good at it) or creating 3d or levels can kind of come after I've created the basic functionality of most of the things. Like yesterday when I started making the basics of the enemy base class and I started thinking about what kind of enemies I want, and then spiraled into thinking conceptually what I want but also production friendly stuff.. 



(interactable objects basic features)


I realized that at some point soon I have to kind of decide on what bone-setup I want for the different enemies, it'd be good if I could rely on a minimum set of skeleton setups (4-5?) would be awesome so that I could reuse most of it and model/retexture characters. 


I guess I have to think about that some more or start dividing up my days during  summer for different department tasks XD Right now I'm just going off my own Trello board of every basic thing I need to get in before I get started blocking out the starting areas.


(fooundation for combat, combat state machines, hit-timing etc)


Oh well, the next thing I'll probably hop on will be basic AI Behavior Logic & States and it'll probably just be the weird straw-man idling , picking new locations to walk to within his zone and then following the player around trying to attack him if he enters the detection radius (and potentially sightline?) :P

Eeeeeither way, that's the update

If you've made it all the way to the end, congrats :P If you're interested in what I'm doing you can always join my patreon or twitch streams, follow me on twitter or here on artstation.

http://www.patreon.com/chrisradsby
http://www.twitch.tv/chrisradsby
http://www.twitter.com/chrisradsby

Until next time !
Warping Out!

//Chris Radsby

Hobby Game Dev & Progress

Making Of / 23 June 2021

Hello!


It's been a couple of months since I took a break from programming, however I'm back to it and actually decided to reboot my own project and make sure the foundation is actually better and less messy. There were a couple of decisions for this:

  • I went to fast into programming detailed game-mechanics (free climbing system with IK, Physics based ropes swinging)
  • The Foundation was bad. The walking, running, jumping all felt kind of crap
  • The foundation for some of the programming was bad

Here are some old gifs of that:


Onto the new

So I went back to basics and made sure the locomotion went from Basic UE4 

but I had to do some update to my character, so I redid the skeleton, rigging and skinning
(it's definitely not a fun part of this whole thing)


To this below, which generally allows the user to move around more smoothly. I also have an aiming mode so the character can strafe and aim. Later on I'm intending this mode for stuff like a rope-hook or something like that or throwing things.


With the basic "feeling" of the locomotion in I had to deal with the biggest issue I had in the last iteration of the project which was that my movement states or any state for that matter was handled by either UE4 Enums or by pure boolean checks. Making new functionality really messy.

https://gameprogrammingpatterns.com/state.html

Here is a good read if you like this kind of stuff, but essentially it boiled down to, whenever I made a new function for my character I had to manually ensure that the player couldn't access other functions whilst doing something else. Example, not sprint  when jumping in the air. This meant that generally I spent a lot of time just bug-fixing things.

The solution for this is to make sure that when a character enters a state , he's accessing functionality that only exists in this state , the easiest way to do this is to use a Finite State Machine. The main issue is that UE4 doesn't actually support it natively, so you have to rely on kind of a messy workflow using Enums, which work but it's a bit annoying to get a good overview of what you're doing.


So I got to work and actually got my hands wet with a code plugin called Logic Driver Pro and with the help of a kind soul (Alzahel) on discord I started to learn how to work this plugin since it's definitely not a plug and go type solution, however when understood it's pretty straight forward.

My character now enters the right state (as shown on the preview visualisation) allowing me to run certain function upon entering, In the state and when the state is exited. Which is perfect, whilst making sure the transitions to other states are limited. Extremely powerful and very helpful.

After this I decided I kind of disliked looking at the gray character so I made sure I brought over the cel-shading and my eye-tracking solution from the previous project.


That's pretty much it for the last few weeks of work, if you're interested in this stuff then you can always follow me on my Patreon to get more insights , check out my livestream on twitch where I stream Art and will eventually move over into more game-development as I go ( I want to hit a good foundation before I start streaming game dev stuff).

oh and if you have any questions just ask em below! 

Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

[UE4 Abandoned] Stalker inspired scene

Making Of / 08 June 2021

Hello!


I thought I'd do a little update here as well, I've just posted my latest environment. You can see it here:
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/lxWZL5


It was the environment we created during the 10 sessions of the www.twitch.tv/chrisradsby art-stream. Where we started completely from scratch and set this up. It's mostly using asset packs from the Unreal Marketplace and the main point of it was to teach composition and set-dressing. We did our own water-shader and mess around with particles. Setting up characters in the scene etc. It was all quite valuable stuff and videos are available on my patreon. www.patreon.com/chrisradsby if you're interested!


Next thing up will be a stylized interior made in UE5, which I'll be updating on here later this week.
Until next time!

Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby 

Winning the Artstation Challenge & Moving Forward

General / 30 March 2021

Hello!


It's that time again for another update, so what has happened in my life lately? Well!


We got ourselves a puppy a while ago, her name is Ginza. It was slap in the middle of the Artstation Challenge which severely hampered my motivation in the middle of the whole thing but I did spend the last week pushing more time into by forcing myself to do it even though I was exhausted by taking care of the puppy.

and I ended up winning.. somehow.

(alternative banner shot)

Generally if you didn't check my art-station challenge post, I've uploaded the final work here:
(https://www.artstation.com/artwork/nYBz4o)

The main purpose of this piece was to explore my ability to create soulful and striking art whilst limiting my color-range, and as usual with these challenges I tend to focus on very specific things I want to learn or explore for it. I also decided to go with my own concept design, the reason is because personally I feel like there is definitely value to learning how to create your own designs and not always rely on copying someone elses concept. At some point in ones artistic journey you'd want to make things that are solely your own and I hit this point for sure maybe 3-4 years ago where I started focusing way more on just...becoming better at doing this. 


Progression Shot:


So what is happening next? Well, as soon as my life calms down a little bit more I can start making art again, generally I'd want to put more of an effort back into game-development so I guess that is the stuff you'll see in the future.

I guess I'll give a shoutout again to my Twitch & Patreon. I guess if you're interested in my thought-process when I make art or learn some of the tricks that I use when working then maybe it might be a good choice for you to check out.

(Or if you wanna see the puppy on stream which is the reason most people come to it) 


and if you're wondering what we're creating on stream, here is a quick work-in-progress screenshot of that:


It's a bit different from other things I've been doing , we're making something STALKER like and we're focusing on composition & mood. We also talk about how to set things up from scratch as we go. The thought of it is to create several areas of interest which can be moved through with a camera that ends up inside of this abandoned military base, and we create composition and ideas on the fly by talking through things.

I usually stream on Tuesdays at 8pm CET and if you end up missing the stream I always update the videos to my Patreon page, I also update the Patreon page with secret sauce knowledge articles written by myself.

 So be sure to check it out!
Twitch & Patreon


Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

Art Streaming & Mentoring for the Masses

General / 17 February 2021

Hello There!

Some people have been wondering about what I'm doing on my art-streams so I thought I'd do a quick gathering of the topics I've been covering and some screenies from the stream. Essentially what I'm teaching in my streams is what I teached my mentees the last 2 years but I do for the masses instead.

If you like this idea, please consider joining my Patreon to help me in my quest of world domination & glory.

In reality it's a way for me to be able to fund me keeping on doing this in my spare time, buying UE4 marketplace stuff and reviewing them and if in the future it goes well, then maybe it could potentially fund me spending more time teaching/mentoring and maybe even some game-development. But hey...starting small, for now I'm just teaching people what I've taught my mentees whilst having a good time making art.

 You will also find articles I've written about this stuff as well the streaming sessions that are directly uploaded to the patreon after each session.

Here is my twitch, for the ones interesting in joining my sessions live. They are currently happening every tuesday at 8PM CET. 

(http://www.twitch.tv/chrisradsby)


Session 01 - Getting Started

1h Fundamentals

1h Starting Scene from scratch

In the first session we spent an hour going through some art fundamentals before we even started doing some art. Then we actually started working on the scene without any reference, just an idea of what could potentially be the Setting/Atmosphere and we did compositional work & talking through the thought-process as we went along.

We covered these topics:

  • Going through the basics
  • Choosing the Right Scene
  • Gathering Reference
  • Composition
  • Infusing Narrative
    • Using Composition to your advantage for your Narrative


We basically had something nice going in 2 hours :)

Streaming Session 02 - Continuing with Fundamentals

1h Fundamentals

1h Art in the Scene
 

In the second session we went through:

  • What to think about when making Blockouts
  • Blockout Techniques
  • Lighting Fundamentals and Why we do a first pass early
  • Planning / Organizing your work

And then we continued doing some art on our scene, found some weird Raytracing-specific issues, figured it out. Started talking about what the scene could turn into and trying a new compositional angle.


So yeah if you're interested in following the progress and learn together with the others then I suggest you hop onto the streams and the patreon!

Until Next Time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

2021 - New Avenues

General / 30 January 2021

Hey there!

The times have gone fast and 2020 has really been a great and fun year for me to learn new things and explore new aveneus as a game-developer. So for 2021 I have some big news to share with you guys.

I have decided to leave the Mentor Coalition. 

My two years together with the Mentor Coalition has been great, I love the opportunities Josh and his team has given me but now I'm readying myself for trying out a new format. This new format will rely on me regurarly streaming me creating art, having educational art & game-development streams and sharing some more exclusive access to some of my stuff on Patreon. In general, I'd like to spend some more time building my social medias and gaining followers that would be interested in getting mentored by me during streams but also later on 1-on-1 opportunities as well.

So, to start small. I will start up weekly Art & Game-development streams.

http://twitch.tv/chrisradsby

Every Tuesday at 8pm CET starting on February 9th I will stream when I work on my art or game-development.  It'll start with a once-a-week stream and eventually grow to something more.


I will also launch my Patreon. It'll be a slow start, but my followers on Patreon would get more access to some of the stuff I'm doing and open up more learning opportunities and maybe potentially help me fund some of the time that I want to put into doing art, mentoring and game-development on the side. If you've been following me for a while then you know that my interest in game-development as a whole have grown and I would love to one day be able to truly call myself a one-man solo dev, and hopefully you guys can be there to grow and learn with me.

 So if you're like me that enjoys environment art but possible also technical things like tech art or game-development in UE4? Well then maybe my patreon would be a good entrance-point for you to partake in all of that.

http://www.patreon.com/chrisradsby

So what is happening with my mentoring now?

 Well right now not much, I need to focus on getting these new things in order first. If you're still interested in me mentoring you then please contact me here on Artstation and we can talk about it. I would also like to thank all of my mentees that have stuck by me during the years of me mentoring, you guys have been awesome and it's been a lot of fun so I thought I would highlight some of you guys in my portfolio as well.


https://www.artstation.com/artwork/KrdZgG


That's it! Be sure to stay tuned as I'm going to update things here & on my patreon to reflect some of the new changes that are happening.


  Warping out!

//Chris Radsby

The World of Cyberpunk 2077 - Through the Lens

General / 22 December 2020


 

Hello there!

So I've spent the last 100 hours of my spare time playing Cyberpunk 2077. During this time I've really tried to enjoy myself playing the game and I found myself spending hours inside of the photo-mode. I've been trying to capture the world away from what you see in your regular cutscenes and frame them in a way that makes it look like high-quality main-content using the in-game photomode with no third party editing afterwards. These are shots that you might potentially just see for a moment during your play but never really consider twice. I'm here to give you that second look though.

There are no obvious spoilers inside here but I'll give a warning anyways!

If you look closely, if you spend some time immersing yourself in the game, spend some time in your car, listening to the rain falling onto your car roof you'll find that there is a lot of personality in Night City, lots of mystery and plenty of alluring areas to explore. 

It's a beautifully crafted game, despite its' flaws,  so tip of the hat to the craftsmen over at CD Project Red. 

My 100 hours have been well-spent in your game and thank you <3

 

 



New Horizons - What have I been doing this year and since my latest update

Making Of / 17 October 2020

Hello There!

This year has been interesting so far, apart from the horrors of the pandemic it's been a year of learning, self-discovery and new horizons.
Early this year I decided to once again to completely change 3D-package. I decided to move on from Modo and into Blender.

The way I do this generally is to just uninstall any other 3D Package I might have and concentrate fully on learning the new package. As for my art, behind the scenes my art has gone through some more changes, I've been learning how to rig, how to animate & going deeper into learning about how to set up VFX.

My two-three latest personal projects are basically the result of what I've been learning from January -> June a lot of which I've also covered here in my blogposts.



June marked a new beginning for me. It's the month that I decided to re-learn C++. I learned C++ in high-school, but back then the application for it was never learning it for video-games it was about creating PC Software stuff and it never really stuck all that well. Now however, I decided to relearn it and deep fully into trying to become a one-man army game developer.

I'll try and list my journey  of learning since June.

  • Programming: C++ Basics
  • Programming: UE4 C++ Basics
  • Blender: Creating Armatures/Skeletons
  • Blender: Creating Rigs
  • Blender: Animation
  • UE4: Learning Blueprints
  • UE4: Learning how to use the Animation Graph
  • UE4: Coding Health/Stamina Systems
  • UE4: Coding NPCs & Simple Behaviors
  • UE4: Dealing with Items/PIckups/Weapons
  • UE4: Player/NPC Attacks & Damage
  • UE4: Item/Enemy Spawning Volumes
  • UE4: Level Change, Saving & Loading
  • UE4: Setting up a Custom Character (from Blender -> UE4)
  • UE4: Setting up Multi-Skeletal Mesh Character for Character Customization
  • UE4: Created an "Eye-LookAt" function for my Character.
  • UE4: Implemented my own Freeform Climbing System that works with moving & rotating Objects
  • UE4: Learned how to use IK with the Animation Graph
  • UE4: Implemented more character traversal: Learned how to set up Mantling
  • UE4: Created my own "Rope Gun" a la Thief (Spawns a rope on location and unfolds into a longer rope)
  • UE4: Run-time Spline Creation for Random Awesome things you can do with Splines
  • UE4: Created my own Rope-Swinging System
  • UE4: Decided to learn UMG for UI/UX
  • UE4: Learned how to setup controller navigation in Menues
  • UE4: Decided to create my own Inventory System


This basically covers 3-4 months of me learning things on the side of the 8 hours I spend every day at work.

Game-development isn't at all fancy, it's nitty gritty and most of the time things just look whack and considering that, most of what I have recorded isn't probably interesting enough for you guys to look at for the blog, but I thought I'd just show two things that really had me feeling "wow, this is going somewhere".

Developed a new look at function for the custom character I implemented.


Of course there has been a lot of head-aches during this time and I think generally I've gotten a deeper understanding and appreciation for the work that others put into these things and since a lot of this stuff isn't very exciting to look at, here is a quick video-straight from the editor of me trying my own swinging system that I made from scratch.

Kinda cool huh? Blood, Sweat & Tears I guess! But it's been a lot of fun for me though! 

Now you know what I'm up to, and the reason I'm not actively posting art-blog things anymore. I'm busy learning more about game-development as a whole and I'm not gonna lie:

 I'm loving it :D

but there are still plenty of time left until the end of the year so let's continue working hard and learning new things eh?

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby  

Creating a Series Pt 16 - Legacy Project - Updating the Canopy Shader

Making Of / 04 June 2020

Hey there!

So I was kinda unhappy with my current versions of trees canopies, which is kinda funny since I've already released this scene "officially" haha but there is never anything wrong with upgrading your art & scene performance!

In terms of my needs for a visual look that works from all distances the original canopies were:

  • Obvious looking polygon cards
  • Inconsistent from all Distances (ie with the shadowing and AO acting differently form all ranges)
  • Probably a bit too "realistically shaded"
  • Not enough stylized control.
SO. I spent an hour early this morning reworking the shader


Here is what they look like from a distance with LODs included.


So the new shader does basically everything I want it to:

  • It makes the tree canopies shade more consistently across a distance, even with LODs optimizing the heck out of the trees.
  • The shader is more performant and runs faster than the previous shader. (Better visuals + better performance woop!)
  • The look is more unified and easier to deal with for production
  • I have way more control over the Stylization of the Canopies. (How bright, how colorful, how dark the shaded side is etc)
    • Ie I can change everything easier, so even if the shaded side is to dark I can easily change that and if I want them to not be as dark in the distance etc etc.


Here is a quick gif of time-of-day and how the canopy shading acts.


So I'd like to think this mornings efforts was a success!

Until next time!
Warping out!

/Chris Radsby 

Creating a Series Pt 15 - Finalizing the Forester Camp

Making Of / 23 May 2020

Hello!

It's been a while since I last posted , I thought I'd give some updates on what's currently happening!

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/6a96v0 

So most of you already know but I've finalized one area of my open world art project Legacy. I decided to go ahead and finalize it so I actually have something to show people when they ask about what I'm currently doing and planning for the future.

Super happy that I'm getting a lot of attention and love for this piece. I think this style is something that I've kinda been trying to do for a long time, ever since I made my stylized attempt at Konoha a long time ago.

I think what inspires me the most is games that I've enjoyed as a kid most notably Zelda Ocarina of Time and the tranquility of Lake Hylia.

The Nintendo 64 days, it's weird how they affected me that much to the point where I want to make art and worlds just like it. I think most people have some kind of trigger for the art that they want to make though and this is just one of mine. Together with Outcast from Appeal back in 1999. (which I'm also currently replaying with the complete visual remake).


Project Legacy

it still lives like you can see and I'll continue my explorations into the world I'm creating but I also thought that I would show some development stuffs while I currently have your attention.

Added the new sky/atmospherics, trying out the volumetric clouds and whilst doing this I just ended up improving the lighting and color-grading.




The birds are Morph Target animations (Blendshapes/keys?) that I modeled in Blender then used a script to apply the vertex positions into the UVs and then use UE4 to read them and blend between the morph targets. So that way it became a convenient Static Mesh + Material which I could easily feed into a particle system. Looking back I'm sure just using vertex-blended Sine Waves would be just as good but I wanted to try to get the workflow working in Blender and learn how to do it so I did haha.

I've also been looking into doing some small grass / moss type things so I've been looking into efficent workflows of setting that up inside of Blender. So far the results have been good but I've yet to figure out a super optimal way to do it though but the shading is fluffy and works at least.

I'm also tried making a Gerstner Wave Material Function that I can use to plug into my water eventually. I will probably only use it for oceans though and not lakes. I will eventually try to blend it with the Distance Fields along the shore to have the waves calm down and turn into shore-waves.

Oh yeah and I made this little camp tent, just super quickly with Blenders Cloth tools and some new wind particles that are more optimized.



For the next area I'm going to go something new. Even though I like the deserty stuff that I was working on I kinda need to transfer all of that into the single-level that I'm creating. Before I used World Composition to make everything which is good but it also made my life more annoying in many ways. So I'm gonna see if I can just create everything in the one single-level.


Oh well, until next time!

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby