Sweet Jams

Been quite some time since I last posted, so I wanted to write a couple lines about what I’ve been up to. First off, since it is such a rare occasion I bring another portrait in the series of member portraits from my space adventure that I’m always playing around with. This one is of Helaryn, a researcher/doctor who has had to put her biomodification research to the test in order to survive alone on a water planet after being left for dead during an evacuation. Certain attempts turned out better than others, but at least the water isn’t a problem anymore…

Since the last time I post the world has changed quite a bit, and all my studying has been online. Not ideal for sure, as previously simple things like getting some quick feedback is now a stretched out procedure, but I keep doing my best, and as long as I’m learning something along the way I can deal with the rest. For the most part I’ve not produced much that I would consider interesting to share, as I’ve been dipping my toes into many different areas trying to get a good grasp on the different aspects of developing games, without the goal of producing any finished product. Things like adding C++ and Java to the list of languages I’ve now worked in, getting more comfortable with Unity, and trying out Unreal, as well as learning different tools for 3D sculpting, modelling, rigging, animating, etc. One thing I attempted was to create a toon shader, which proved to be quite a bit more involved than I expected. As it turns out, there’s a lot more to consider than just clamping shadow values to get that cel shaded look. Here’s an example of my very first 3D model using the shader, alongside a more… professional and recognizable model made by someone far more experienced making use of the shader as well, for comparison (a good reminder that at least half of how well a shader works is in how good the model is).

While I don’t have too much to show; as the title suggests, I can share my first experience being part of a game jam! The global game jam this year was all digital, but despite that I had a great time with a few of my class mates and a new friend made during the game jam who provided us with some lovely tunes for our project. This year’s theme was “Lost & Found” and we somehow landed on an idea where you are a garbage collector in space whose cargo has been randomly scattered and needs to be gathered back up. I was going into the jam, fully expecting us to do our best, but not have a playable game at the end, and that would have been totally fine, as we’re all still fairly new, and were just there to have fun and see what we could come up with! I’m quite proud to say we did indeed create a game that actually plays, and even has 3D models, and animations (very simplistic ones, but considering we had 48 hours including sleep for creating the entire game, I’m just happy they worked!)

I modelled the character, and created the animations for it real quick at the start so we had something to work with, and then I mainly worked on the controls, the game manager, some of the UI, and piecing together the different scenes. I had a blast, and am looking forward to next year’s global game jam (and any other jams that might happen). You can find our game Kessler Syndrome over at https://globalgamejam.org/2021/games/kessler-syndrome-2