I just passed another big milestone: all my maps are done.
One of my goals I made for myself when I started working on the game again last winter was to get a particular consistent look for all the characters and the maps. When I originally wrote BombSquad I had modeled a few maps in 3d and painted textures for them by hand, which looked alright but always felt a bit ‘generic-video-gamey’ to me (example). I decided I wanted to take the look of BombSquad in a more unique direction.
I love the look of real-life miniatures; things like stop-motion animated films or model train sets. Even when they’re not high quality, they have that physical, tangible appearance that makes them interesting to look at. When working in CG, whether for film or games, everything starts out geometric and perfect and it can be a huge challenge to make things look imperfect and dirty. However, with real life models you get that look ‘for free’. So to try and take advantage of that, I built all my maps in real life and then reconstructed them in 3d for the game, using the originals as textures and reference. Finally, I added some vignetting, depth of field, and various other filtering to my game engine to try to accentuate the imperfect, model-like look.
I’ve been slacking the past few weeks as far as posting goes (though ive made lots of progress on the game) so I thought I should post at least a small morsel of newness: This little snippet shows another fun effect that’s easy to add due to the fact that all characters are already simulated as rigid body ragdolls. Ice bombs are gonna be a lot more gratifying to use now. 🙂
Like I mentioned before, the upside of switching all animation in the game to be procedural (simulated) instead of keyframe-animated is that you get fun stuff like jiggling and whiplashing for free.. the downside is that you’re now essentially dealing with a robot in a simulated physical world, so you have to teach it to move itself around the same as you would with a robot in the real world: using joints and motors and this and that…which is fun but challenging. Here you can see poor Spaz with his new motorized legs not doing a very good job at walking just yet.
..So the last big-ticket item on my BombSquad todo list is to remake all the characters. I have an existing set of them, but half of them are celebrities I put in there jokingly for playing with my friends and the other half are a bit old and simplistic. Either way, I need to replace them all, and I’m proud to say I’ve got my first shiny new one pretty much done: Spaz the space marine.
I needed to run some tests to make sure BombSquad was behaving itself with lots of controllers connected, so I decided to make a video while I was at it. If the game is ultra-successful I might make back the money I’ve spent on all these controllers 🙂