Building an XNA Game Studio XBox360 Indie Game.

[page 0058] ~ There Under Breathe Couldn’t I:

Updates: – Adobe FlashPlayer Version and Substance Painter, version from
DownLoads: – .

The theme is, Water.

So if all you have is a construction worker in red overalls wearing a yellow helmet holding a huge crescent wrench, and water is the theme, it only makes sense to have the Hero be some kind of plumber.  But, not a Mario Plumber, I think Mario was a plumber, jumping around, collecting coins, where every jump he would make would sound like “More”, “More”, “More”, or so my dad would say, back in the day.  But now, I need a story line, for my plumber.

More Digital Tutors, and with that my PhotoShop has another trick that it can do, Scalable Vector Graphics.  And I have learned a little bit more about SVG’s and how they have less artifacts that build up to degrade the initial view of what was intended to be seen as the contents are scaled up and down within whatever application they are sent to, be it for a resizing web page or in this case a video game HUD.

So I looked into a possible purchase of Adobe Illustrator to use for SVG game art creation.  But one thing that I didn’t quite understand is what Adobe has done with their product line.  Everything has been turned into a “Rent a Product” with a Cloud memory, which to me is not conducive to the way I work.  I might use their product for a total of a few hours every couple of months, and the way it looks, I don’t actually get to buy the product, to then keep it and to use at my own leisure.  But it is more like a lease of an apartment, payable every month, even if you are just going to poke your head in the door to read the help file, during the month.  And further, it doesn’t seem to compare to the likes of a car lease where you could then buy it outright at the end, where it would have a set purchase price that would be paid into until fulfilled or at some point in time, be granted an opportunity to make a complete buyout.

With Adobes’ current business model, if I were to have used that product for, well, let me see …, I’ve been doing this game building stuff on and off since about 1980 till now, and at 30 bucks a month that would be, hmm, over 12 thousand dollars, payable to Adobe, for a product that I would use so sporadically that I would remain inefficient in its use.  It seems to be a rather high cost just to be able to keep my love alive.  Truely, I can not schedule my love to learn for what, nor for when, it will present itself, for the sake of any needs.  And as a hypothetical, if I wanted to use their product for a half an hour this month and then work on some Maya FBX file stuff for the rest of the month, get some textures ready in Substance Designer to then build some models, flipping them back and forth in between Maya and ZBrush using GoZ, then afterwards, see how those textures work in Unity on those models, so then, when I get back to an Adobe product to work on some small GUI HUD for the game like, “how many lives or medical packs do I have left”, which would take about a half an hour or maybe forty five minutes to draw something out, I would need to get another “lease” for that half an hour to use their product for just that half an hour, again?  There is no version that I can purchase and simply open and use when needed?

I really don’t get their sales, lease paradigm or business model.  Not happy.  So it looks like I’ll be stuck with my ol’ reliable PhotoShop CS4 Extended for the time being and if I need something in the future I’ll look to something else.  Until then, what I have, I will need to agree, has its own kind of special charm from out of the past and is even more charming because it is there to greet me and I don’t need to go out to rent it again.

But really, a lease?  I understand ZBrush with its deactivation and web reactivation after an upgrade, just to make sure I am me.  But a lockout with Adobe products?  That isn’t the way I work, play or test with others.  I might be totally wrong but that is what it looked like to me.  Whatever, good for them, I guess.  Maybe that’s how it works for somebody.  But if I am only going to open it up to get a little practice in during the month to hone my skills, I’m not going to pay anyone for a whole months worth of rental.  I wouldn’t be using it at all.  Then my skills would atrophy and my desire would wane.  The skills I have in other aspects of game design that currently use an array of different asset creation tools would become more prominent from their ease of access.  I bought them to use them and to keep them close in proximity.  And when I would like to use it, I would like to not need to feel that I must use it, as an obligation, to their monthly leasing business model, wow, so be it.

I can’t figure out if they or I are actually frugal or cheap.  It seems that they feel it is better to give somebody the newest and the best, apparently every month, or at their directed leisure.  But each time I would get around to opening up that application, it sounds as if it could have something of a different look within the API or a different feel in the implementation of the components.  But, I have done more than enough carpentry in my life to know if buying a Sawzall or a Hole-Shooter makes more sense than renting something that would have a different grip, shake, shimmy and feel each time I would show up at the job site.  For me, consistency, ease of access and reliability through stability is more paramount than someone else’s ideas of what cutting edge learning curves and perpetual changes in work flows can make, for me and of my desires, because of their products.

I think they were chasing the MicroSoft paradigm with the online web office suites of Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and the like.  And I really do believe they should rethink their payment schedule and their no buyout clause as they have what seems to be a much better than average set of tools to get some of the odds and ends jobs done.  And what is with the lack of a, “This is the total cost”, bottom line.  I mean, it’s like what they used to say, “Where’s the beef? & in (YouTube)“.  How am I to factor in any ROI(return of investment)?  The biggest question I would have is, at what point in time would I have paid enough to no longer need to continue to pay them every time I would like to open that Adobe product.  Would that be, ever?  It seems that they have no belief in customer loyalty because of the virtues of their product.  And if you get stuck in a mode of work that forecasts the reliance on that product then that end-user is stuck in the perpetual payment system.  To me it’s like going back to the days of the video arcade, paying at least a quarter every time you want to play a video game, where it’s all pay-to-play as you watch the quarters go away faster and faster.  Well, enough of that, no sale, this time, not my quarters.  Sorry Adobe Illustrator, it was not meant to be.

OK, I found it, Never Mind.
Adobe Illustrator CS6 & Full Versions.

So anyway, scalable vector graphics seem to be the best way to have interface components drawn in a video game screen because their definition and clarity remains consistent after being resized.  But after watching “Unity Mobile Game Development User Interface Design“, I was somewhat disheartened by all of the manual hot-fixes and work-arounds that are needed to get SVG’s prepared for and working in Unity as HUD interface elements.  It’s not like it can’t be done, but even to me it sounds like a little bit more ham-fisted knumbskullery than I would be willing to attempt, as a work flow or build process, even if I did have Adobe Illustrator helping me out.  There just seemed to be too much long winded file regrouping and curious guess work going on, although in the end it did work, or from outward appearances it seemed to work, as a resizable SVG.  And it is supposedly light weight enough to run on a Pad or a Tablet as an SVG in Unity.  Probably even a Smart Phone too, but I don’t know how small the scaling for all that, along with the other game assets, would come to the screen and find resolve.  Well, enough of that, too.

Then, after going through a short set of “Quick Start to Unity: Volume 1“, I started reworking my pipeline for the construction of a terrain in Unity.  I followed the same construction methods I had used from the old global settings of the save files I had previously used for my XNA HUD_On game to create my Height, Diffuse and Normal maps in GeoControl2.  But now, with the addition of Substance Designer Indie Pack, I can get a better Normal constructed to give to Unity, which catches the lighting better across the entire terrain.  I think I might be able to formulate some kind of dawn to dusk lighting set up, eventually.  And who knows, maybe even a dusk to dawn C# script.  And then, I could work on a day and night cycle of day-break, morning, afternoon, twilight, evening and night skyline lighting.  But right now I’m getting the shoreline of my maps smoothed out so the beaches are not so jagged and saw-toothed looking.  And for the next little while it will be a grand endurance contest against the dreaded ennui and its desolation fraught with tedium.  But after it is all done and said, it should make for some nice beach front scenery, for a video game at least.  And so it does, but now that I know how that works, kinda, I’ll need to come up with some type of “production pipeline” that can recreate that whole process for all of the processes with all of the differing tools that are needed to go on to get me to this point, again and again, to give me a finished terrain.  It’s nice to be able to do this once, with a lot of hunt-and-peck, but to have an actual work flow within a stable process that can produce the same effects, repeatedly, with consistent results to then be seen and felt as natural without caveat is a whole ‘nother story.

With that being said, and my terrain up and running in Unity, again, I’ll be jumping right back into the Digital Tutors “Introduction to ZBrush” to continue my adventures in that asset creation tool.  In this tutorial, their little whirlwind tour isn’t just a bunch of, click this then click that, then this, then that, but it’s more of a field trip through all of the buttons and settings needed to turn a lot of concerted effort into a nice looking sculpt of an angry worm where the tutorial uses a huge set of a lot of the most common and some of the less common sculpting configurations ZBrush has to offer.

It would seem that I am really digging into this Indie Game Culture thing with all of its conundrums, headaches, triumphs and trophies.

Now, where is that Plumber Hero and what is he up to …


April 22, 2014 - Posted by | 2014 [0050] to [00??], The Process | , , ,

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