Work In Progress / Extraction Point

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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 27th Apr 2017 22:16 Edited at: 9th Oct 2018 00:21
**UPDATE: 09/10/18**
Level 1 of Extraction Point is now a playable demo, available to download today from the Showcase board!
https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/220128

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I might be tempting the curse of the perpetual development thread but here goes. Proudly, I present...



Developer: Avenging Eagle

Premise: You play an unnamed British soldier, deployed to a war-torn (and fictitious) nation in the middle East. After your Chinook helicopter is shot down deep in rebel territory, your priority is getting home, but your journey will show you a side of the war that might change you.

Background: Some long time members of the community might remember me from the FPS Creator forums. Back in my middle teens, I began a number of FPSC projects, some of which saw the light of day, many of which did not. Perhaps my most successful and well-regarded game was Acid Factory, which was originally made for a level design competition. After I uploaded a playthrough to my YouTube channel, it steadily amassed over 7,000 views and plenty of positive feedback. Acid Factory was made back in 2009, and every so often I've been checking in on both the progress of FPSC and of Game Guru to see how they are progressing. Earlier this year, I decided the time had finally come to throw caution to the wind and test out Game Guru.

Extraction Point is a scaled down version of a much larger story I wrote for an FPSC game that never was. FPSC wasn't able to handle the scope of that story and, although Game Guru is still lacking in many areas, it is more versatile in others and definitely more suited to this story. Extraction Point really represents a test for me, I have set very clearly-defined goals for this project to stop me losing enthusiasm. It feels achievable. Although, only time will tell if I can actually pull it off. Stay tuned for sporadic updates.

Features:
- 3 Several levels
- Multi-faceted characters
- Custom scripting
- Voice-acting
- Cutscenes (some video and some in-game)
- Immersive sound design
- Tanner Productions' customary cinematic presentation and polish

Screenshots
(The links died, please see the attachments to this post)

As we all know, our Game Guru creations wouldn't get made if it wasn't for the help of our extremely generous community. I will periodically update this post with a list of problems I need help with. I'd be very grateful for any assistance with them.

Things I need help with: (updated 28/05/17)
- Voice-actors, particularly Arabic-speakers.
- Can someone add BSPs hands to the stock RPG7 weapon?
- This sprite issue, which has appeared since the latest update
- Help complete this sniper script
- Writing a script in which the player gets up.
- This lightmapping problem
- Can someone rewrite entitybasic.fx so it actually displays back faces and uses alpha channels correctly?

Thank you, and stay tuned for more! (hopefully)

AE

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Gtox
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Posted: 28th Apr 2017 05:19
Assuming I've understood your issue correctly, you can use cullmode =1 in the fpe to display backfaces.
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granada
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Posted: 28th Apr 2017 08:52
Interesting story,hope it progresses well.

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Wolf
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Posted: 30th Apr 2017 11:40
Quote: "Assuming I've understood your issue correctly, you can use cullmode =1 in the fpe to display backfaces."


Exactly. Als add transparency = 2 if you have issues with disappearing foliage. The shader itself should be fine.

Quote: "Some long time members of the community might remember me from the FPS Creator forums. "


Jupp! Welcome back! I also vaguely remember acid factory.

I like what you did with this game so far and have high hopes in ya, being a veteran of the craft and all. Here is an observation:

This screenshot If you play with the fog (!), ambient and surface level sliders to mimic the exact colour and ambience setting of the skybox it would look much better. It also seems like the cameradistance on this is pretty high. Are you getting a good frame rate?

In general I'd say, good start! But I see you able to make this 4 times better

As for the lightmapping problem. Can you send me the helicopter? I'll have a look.



-Wolf

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Posted: 4th May 2017 05:33
AE,
Nice to see some of your work again. Good start! keep it up.

PAIN!
Me = noob



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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 6th May 2017 01:11 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:52


UPDATE: 06/05/17
I was away in Dublin for the May bank holiday, meaning I didn't get as much time to work on this as I would have liked. But then again, Guinness!

It's time I introduced the main antagonist of the game, The Shar.

(The voice-acting is temporary)

Because I actually want to finish making this game, I'm trying to find shortcuts for many problems. For instance, I probably should have spent hours modelling and animating a bespoke character from scratch, or paid someone else to do it. But instead, I decided a retexture of our old friend 'Masked Soldier' would work just fine. Although I have a tendency for perfectionism in most things, for this game I'm trying to think "It's not fine art, it's just a game". This is probably wise, given Game Guru's own limitations.



Coming into this project, I decided I didn't want to get bogged down spending hours modelling and texturing. Thankfully I already have a wealth of content from the model packs and certain select items from the store to help me. But in some instances, I have had to get my hands dirty for specific props. The first one is this military radio, which I intend to put in the store eventually. It's currently looking a bit clean, so I might do a dirty version to better match my opening level.



Lastly, I thought I should share at least one in-game screenshot; here's a different angle of the farmhouse I previewed last time. Astute viewers might recognise the kind of gameplay you can get up to here. Like much of the first level, it is tutorialised in-game, and I'm using my Dad and girlfriend (who are both PC gaming novices) to play-test sections so I can check for difficulty.



Next time, I hope to show off more of the work I've been doing on the HUDs and prompts.

AE
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Posted: 7th May 2017 18:22
The video sequence is really well made. I can feel the FPSC school of well working minimalism here

I assume that this is a more slow paced, tactical game?

This quickly rises to be one of my favorite W.i.P games on here



-Wolf
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Posted: 12th May 2017 17:42 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:53
Just to address some of your comments above...
Quote: " I assume from the description under the first screenshot that the helicopter has just crashed but it looks like it's been there for quite some time."

Yeah I see what you're saying. I've lightened up the ground underneath the helicopter now to make it look freshly disturbed, and I think decals will play a part in helping sell the effect too.

Quote: "Nice to see some of your work again. Good start! keep it up"

Thanks PAIN!

Quote: "The video sequence is really well made. I can feel the FPSC school of well working minimalism here "

Thanks Wolf! Although the scripts to control the sequence are a bit hack-y, they do work every time on my machine and should add a level of authenticity. Plus I've not seen any in-game cinematics using GG so I'm hoping it makes this game stand out a bit.

Quote: "I assume that this is a more slow paced, tactical game? "

It certainly won't be just shooting stuff. Although Extraction Point will principally be a FPS, the plan is to have puzzle-solving and perhaps even platforming elements to it too. There's limited scope in 3 levels but I'm confident I can develop on the skills taught in this opening level to provide some varied and interesting scenarios in the other 2 levels




UPDATE: 12/05/17
Just a quick one this week. I've spent most of this week working on some custom sprites and scripts called them. The reason for this is I want to have an objectives screen that pops up whenever players hit TAB. Because test game already uses TAB to bring up the console and sliders, I've currently got it set to CAPS but I've tested a full build of the level so far and amended the scancode to TAB and it works nicely. In the video below, you'll see the culmination of a few weeks work get custom sprites to appear. There's also some nice animated sprite work going on for the radio messages. I can't thank smallg enough for his help in getting these scripts to work. You'll also see some camera trickery too - that took ages to get right but I think it looks nice.



I'm going for a fairly minimalist design to my sprites/HUDs.

As well as the objectives, key prompts and radio messages, I've most recently been working on some dynamic weapon sprites for the HUD. The idea is they change depending on what weapon you are holding. I'm currently testing with stock weapons but these will change for the final game. The only thing I'm struggling with now is that they don't disappear when using the scope on the sniper rifle. Maybe they don't need to I suppose, but the stock GG HUDs used to. I've tried using "g_PlayerGunZoomed =" but to no avail. Anyway, here's the progress so far:



Still not sure about the scaling of the Health and Ammo HUDs and associated text. I was thinking of going smaller but I was worried about people playing on lower resolutions. What do you think?

I've done about as much as I can on level 1 without adding enemies and weapons etc. Until now I was holding off due to some inconsistencies in the AI behaviours but Lee's latest update seems to have fixed this so next week I will begin adding enemies so you actually have something to do in this map!

AE
Len the man
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Posted: 20th May 2017 19:43 Edited at: 20th May 2017 19:44
I love the pictures in your first post... In my opinion, the crashed helicopter model looks amazing, and I love the look of the terrain...

I think your story has good depth. I could get immersed in this kind of game really quick.

I'm working on a cowboy game - https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/216086
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Posted: 20th May 2017 21:12
Really like how this is coming along, especially with all the cool scripting that's going on, I'm a big fan of the whole camera movement wizardry
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Posted: 21st May 2017 01:08 Edited at: 21st May 2017 01:10
@Avenging Eagle, looking nice man.

Love the script work, not my strong point at all - lol.

Skybox with the mountains looks great - gives it that way in the wilderness look.

I think the crash looks good, maybe a few spot-fires, and some charred ground around it would help

As everyone else says - looking great!

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Posted: 21st May 2017 21:33 Edited at: 21st May 2017 21:35
Just saw this post looking good m8, got bored so did this for you (Shar v2?) can make him with or without backpack, glasses, can add ammo pouches, caftan etc FPE included has full range of GG anims can do other troops to match if you want any



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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 21st May 2017 22:48 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:53
Quote: "I love the pictures in your first post... In my opinion, the crashed helicopter model looks amazing, and I love the look of the terrain..."

Thanks Len! Your cowboy game is looking good too - interesting use of Game Guru and a difficult period/setting to do if only for the sheer lack of pre-existing content. Props to you for sure!

Quote: "Really like how this is coming along, especially with all the cool scripting that's going on, I'm a big fan of the whole camera movement wizardry"

The camera script is one of the few things I've written entirely by myself. There's a lot of custom scripting going on here but I couldn't have done 90% of it without the help of the inimitable smallg.

Quote: "Skybox with the mountains looks great - gives it that way in the wilderness look.
I think the crash looks good, maybe a few spot-fires, and some charred ground around it would help"

Thank you, that wilderness look is what I'm going for...at least for this first level. And like you suggested, I was thinking of adding some fire decals - I just have to make sure they are the right scale and blend well with the model.

Quote: "got bored so did this for you (Shar v2?) can make him with or without backpack, glasses, can add ammo pouches, caftan etc "

Nice work man, that's very generous of you I may come back to you later on when I need a few different enemy types later in the game. I'm thinking your character minus the hat but with the shades, caftan and maybe some ammo pouches might make a good 'elite' soldier later on. Hold fire for now and I'll let you know



UPDATE: 21/05/17
Haven't had as much time to devote to this over the past week or so because work has been hectic. IRL I work as a full-time videographer for Guide Dogs for the Blind and we had our big annual awards ceremony in London this week; cue some very peculiar working hours! Why does my job matter to this thread? Well, if you are finding aspects of this game or its presentation feel a little cinematic or borrow from the moving image, I wanted you to know that that'll be because it's what I do for a living! I'm an award-winning filmmaking with a degree and 13 years of experience under my belt (which is only slightly longer than I've been working with FPSC and its derivatives!). My aforementioned game 'Acid Factory' had quite a cinematic presentation I feel, and Extraction Point will be no different.

This week, however, I've been concentrating on getting enemies into the map. Like I mentioned before, I'm not scratch-modelling new enemies for this game, I'm instead relying on retexturing assisting assets to fit the look and feel of my game. I knocked out four variants in an evening, which should be enough to see me through the opening level. More complex enemies, however, are planned for later in the game.



Shout out to smallg, who has been (as ever) a lifesaver on the scripting front, helping me implement a workaround to get sniper enemies into the game. He's still finessing the finer details of the script but you can follow his progress here.

Aside from that, I've also been adding more entities to various areas of the map alongside the enemies. I've also settled on using BSPs excellent Modern Weapons pack for this game as it features everything I need, bar a melee weapon (although most gun have a melee key...but I'd quite like a separate weapon instead). Here's a new area I've not shown before:


5. The Shar keeps strict controls on shipments in the Pashnar region, and has established checkpoints like this one across the region. This particular one needs to be cleared out in order for the player to proceed.

Interesting sidenote, snapshots taken via the F10 method within test game in Game Guru do not capture onscreen sprites, so my nice ammo and health huds are missing. This is a shame because the 12.05 update broke the script governing them and I'd only just got them working again (again, thanks entirely to smallg!). Rest assured though, the sprites featured in the video in my previous post are still present in-game!

Lastly, I wanted to draw some attention to the interesting artefact I'm getting when lightmapping. The top image shows 'realtime' lighting, the bottom shows a 'pre-bake' which I did using the F4 occlude setting.
Realtime:

Pre-bake:


I swear I changed some ini settings to make the bakes look better than this but maybe that's another thing the 12.05 update overwrote. I don't get why the normal maps are so strong, both on exterior walls like this and on interiors walls, global spec isn't even set that high! Anyway, I'll have a play with the settings and hopefully I'll get it back to somewhere decent. Right now I really prefer the realtime lighting.

Thanks for all your comments, I will return in a few days when - hopefully - I'll have laid out all the enemies at the backend of the level.

AE
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Posted: 21st May 2017 23:57
Yeah deffo the realtime lights m8 i only use them now and with Lee working on the DX upgrade hopefully we wont need to bake, as to the characters np just give me a shout takes about an hour or so to do them have made lots of clothes to do variations and always making more i quite enjoy making them tbh so any requests on them i have np with, they are fuse initially with a lot of my own clothing so fine to use in your games but not sellable (clothing is i suppose as i make that myself) not that i have any interest in that still better than the planes rofl anyways if anyone needs im happy to make some and covert them to GG, beats talking to the missus lol oops dont quote that
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Blacknyt46
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Posted: 22nd May 2017 10:24
Your game is looking good! I'll be keeping my eye on it.
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Posted: 22nd May 2017 22:44
Quote: "IRL I work as a full-time videographer for Guide Dogs for the Blind"


'Mind telling us what it is you do there? Are you shooting the advertisments? Being a videographer for a service for blind people seems like an oxymoron to me.

Quote: "Interesting sidenote, snapshots taken via the F10 method within test game in Game Guru do not capture onscreen sprites"


If you install reShade to your game guru, you can take screenshots with the "print screen" key. You can deactivate all the effects while developing with that feature still active.

Quote: "Here's a new area I've not shown before:"


Decent enough! I'd add a bit more small detail to the lower, flat terrain. Maybe tweak it a little using the sliders as the image is not very unified. Things stick out a little.

Quote: "Lastly, I wanted to draw some attention to the interesting artefact I'm getting when lightmapping. The top image shows 'realtime' lighting, the bottom shows a 'pre-bake' which I did using the F4 occlude setting. "


You can just use the F3 mode, the F4 mode does not add that much as far as I know.
Now, what you see there is the normalmapping going haywire in the prebaked mode. Its an unfortunate quirk of GG that you can only remedy by weakening the NM. You'll get this throughout your levels.

For daylit, outdoor levels like this I can only recommend using real time lighting. Baking is more suitable for indoor scenes or nighttime levels with lots of lights. You'll of course know what you are going to need in your level and what mode will be best for you! If you are familiar with my GG work you'll see that all my outdoor levels are lit in real time while all the interiors are baked.

2 Observations:

1. I like BSP's weapons models, I enjoy modding and porting them to different rigs but am not the biggest fan of them "out of the box".
If I where you I'd hold out for EAI's new weapons that'd fit right in or you can always ask me to convert you a set of old EAI store/modelpack weapons.

2. Game is lookin' good but I feel that you would get much better results by giving it a few mild visual adjustments. As I mentioned before, try experimenting with some tanned fog colours to add a little colour correction. Its a little underdetailed at the moment, some rocks and shrubs might do wonders. If you want to add some postprocessing, I'd add a very mild sepia shader too.



This is a picture of ARMA 2 : OA that handled its desert environments quite formidable. You see how the buildings blend in better with its surroundings there? I think you can do that too

All in all, some good work here!



-Wolf



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Posted: 24th May 2017 12:05 Edited at: 24th May 2017 12:05
Quote: "Your game is looking good! I'll be keeping my eye on it."

Thanks Blacknyt!

Quote: "'Mind telling us what it is you do there? Are you shooting the advertisments? Being a videographer for a service for blind people seems like an oxymoron to me."


Yeah, I shoot video for their online and social media channels. So that's adverts about our fundraising campaigns, events, and services, as well as videos about our campaigning.

Quote: "If you install reShade to your game guru, you can take screenshots with the "print screen" key. You can deactivate all the effects while developing with that feature still active. "


My concerns about using reShade was that A - I couldn't get it to work initially, B - the drop in framerate and C - Extraction Point will feature some quite drastic lighting changes level to level due to time of day so finding a unified look could be tough. Having said that, I sat down with it yesterday and got it working. I tried washing out the colours a bit as you suggested and it looks alright - what does everyone think?

Original:


ReShaded:


I have already added some fog but its quite subtle and only visible at great distances. The problem is the terrain in the skybox doesn't quite match the textures I've used for the map terrain. It's also less hazy than I'd like. I'm going to try tweaking the skybox textures first to get them more similar to my terrain and the look I'm after.

Quote: "If I where you I'd hold out for EAI's new weapons that'd fit right in or you can always ask me to convert you a set of old EAI store/modelpack weapons. "


I'll admit that BSPs weapons were not my first choice, the quality of the artistry is fine but the actual selection of the weapons available is a bit different to what I would have wanted. I've been watching EAI's thread with keen interest but he's said he's not sure when the weapons will be done. I never owned his FPSC packs either so converting is not an option. So I basically had the choice of either sitting on my half-baked level until who-knows-when, or biting the bullet and adding weapons and enemies and actually finishing the level. I took the path of least resistance

Quote: "Its a little underdetailed at the moment, some rocks and shrubs might do wonders."


Yes I'm gradually going back and doing passes with more and more entities. I do need to sort myself out some small rock entities though and I have plenty of large ones. I'm just mindful of framerates, loading times and RAM loads.

AE
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Posted: 26th May 2017 03:09
I don't think reshade is necessary for such a change of screen colour. It will suck the FPS down if there's lots of effects on. you should just try messing with the ambience surface and fog sliders until you achieve the look you want.
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Posted: 26th May 2017 14:32
I agree with Bugsy, thats what I was getting at primarily (might have worded it improper), especially the fog can do wonders for a desert scene.
Keep in mind that people can remove the reShade suite and your game still has to look spiffin' without it

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Posted: 26th May 2017 15:14 Edited at: 26th May 2017 15:15
Yup as wolf said fog can do wonders fore a scene, try turning up the fog and bringing it in a bit closer, then changing it's colours to a sandy colour, then adjust your ambience colours, and maybe surface colours to a similar colour.

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Posted: 28th May 2017 22:43 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:54
Thank you, forum-goers, allow me to address your comments about ambience with an update.



UPDATE: 28/05/17
I've had several comments giving advice on fog colours and adjusting the surface colour sliders to achieve a better ambience. This is something I've been playing with since day 1, but without convincing results. Even with ReShade doing some subtle post-processing magic, I was still struggling to get a cohesive look because my terrain textures didn't quite match the colours of the terrain in skybox. Moreover, I felt the skybox was too clear for the kind of hazy skies you see in the middle east, where Extraction Point is set. This led me to spend some time this week editing my skybox to make it both sandier and hazier.



Plugging this into my level immediately gave better results, allowing me to push the fog and surface sliders further for more a convincing look.



Throughout the creation of this level, I've been trying to get into the habit of doing test builds to make sure it compiles right. Hint: It never does. However, I've done enough builds now that I know what files always get neglected by the build process and can sub them back in to make the exe playable. I hadn't done a build in a while so this week, I decided to build the current version of this level, 01_crashsite017 (yes, I'm already on version 17!). I'm glad I did as I learnt a lot, most notably that the A.I. worked way better in the build than in test game - enemies actually flanked me and followed waypoints when they were supposed to! I have no idea why test game can't do this reliably

This gave me the confidence to push ahead and drop all the enemies into the second half of the level as well. This is not a part of the level I've shown anything of up until now. The player, having established contact with base, is tasked with making their way to an extraction point located near Lake Qawra. The village of Qawra, on the shores of the lake, provides the setting for the final firefight and gives the player a chance to put into practise all what they have learned thus far in level 1. It also foreshadows a few aspects to be found later in the game.



Lastly, I also spent some time 'upgrading' the - frankly - awful stock explosion decal. Not for the first time on this project, my years of being sat in darkened room honing my After Effects skills on various films and visual effects projects are paying dividends now. That...and Video CoPilot's Action Essentials 2!



Next time, I hope to post more about the later half of this level, and perhaps show a gameplay video.

AE

P.S. I'm using Postimage for my images and it appears to be making them slightly more contrasty during the resizing process. Just bear in mind they are slightly more washed out in reality.
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Posted: 29th May 2017 01:22


What can I say? This is excellent progress.
The explosion is very impressive too!



-Wolf
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Posted: 4th Jun 2017 17:45 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:54
Quote: "What can I say? This is excellent progress. "

Thanks Wolf, I'm much happier with the look of this level now



UPDATE: 04/06/17
Is it June already!? I feel like Extraction Point is taking a lot longer than expected Level 1 is mostly done at this point and I'm happy with the way it plays. I've decided to flesh out the guy giving you instructions over the radio. His name is Major Thompson and he currently exists as a character in voice only, but I might see about having him pop up later in the game if I can get EAI's Task Force 341 to work. To that end, I've rerecorded all the lines in level 1 with a slightly different characterisation to match that of Major Thompson.

I'm still looking for voice actors so if you'd like so if you'd like to be a part of this game, let me know and I'll see if I can find a place for you. I'm particularly interested in British voices for troops in the intro cutscene, and Arabic/Middle Eastern voices for various characters across the game (not least of which would be the game's Antagonist, The Shar!).

The stuff I'm working on at the moment is not really screenshot worthy so, as promised, here's a quick gameplay video. It shows off a nice sniper script smallg wrote for me that allows for some ranged combat.



Throughout testing I've had the player set up with regenerating health but the original intention was to have a more classic style reliance on med-packs and food to restore health. I'd need to find a way to remove the red overlay and heartbeat sound if I wanted to do that though. I don't know if it's worth it, what do you guys think?

AE
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Posted: 5th Jun 2017 12:22
Realy nice,that sniper realy ads a lot to the gameplay.i am enjoying following this .

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Posted: 6th Jun 2017 14:25
Lookin' good there, darlin'!
Impressive use of near miss sound effects !
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Posted: 8th Jun 2017 22:07
Quote: "Realy nice,that sniper realy ads a lot to the gameplay.i am enjoying following this"


Thanks Granada! I'm glad with how the snipers have turned out. Now, if only I could get my RPG-toting enemies to fire at a distance greater than 1500 units...

Quote: "Lookin' good there, darlin'!
Impressive use of near miss sound effects !"


No worries, love!
Both the near miss sound and the sniper-bullet-hitting-flesh sound effect come courtesy of the fantastic Game Audio GDC Bundle discovered by rolfy. Most of the sound effects in there are staggering and I'm using many already in Extraction Point.

Random question; how do I enable realtime lighting in my standalones rather than relying on pre-baked lightmaps?

AE
Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 21st Jun 2017 22:30 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:55


UPDATE: 21/06/17
Despite not posting anything in over a fortnight, I'm happy to say I have been working on Extraction Point most nights since the last update. The trouble is, a lot of what I've been doing has been outside of Game Guru.

To start with, I spent some time testing out stuff for the intro cinematic, which will use a combination of 3D animation and basic Game Guru machinima to set the scene for the first level. I'm no stranger to machinima, having previously achieved something of a viral hit with my acclaimed Just Cause Top Gear series. I'm hoping to string some character animations together to give the impression of 'acting' rather than controlling the characters myself. My experimentations also led me to finally bite the bullet and buy EAI's Task Force 341, which I can honestly say I've wanted since it was announced (but was never in a position to justify it, financially). A couple hours of fpe editing later and I now have TF341 characters in Game Guru and arranged nicely inside my Chinook model.



I've also spent a lot of the last two weeks grafting on the second level of Extraction Point. Originally it was down as a part exterior, part subterranean level but I was struggling with my lighting options. Basically I can't have both lighting conditions with the current lightmapping engine. I even went so far as to write a couple of scripts to govern ambience and surface levels dynamically and it worked OK but it's not ideal, so I've basically given up on that and am splitting level 2...in two! In short, the whole 3-dynamic-lights-onscreen thing is a real pisser... Let's hope that gets fixed with DX11. This screenshot shows the progress of the rudimentary level 2, which takes place a few hours after level 1. I am keen to strike a very specific look here, and am continually tweaking the twilight skybox and ambient levels to get the right balance of dusky light, moonlight, and dark.



Whilst I was in the process of laying out the bigger entities of level 2, I was also aware I may need very specific entities for level 3 (formerly the second half of level 2), which takes place in an abandoned mine. I bought and experimented with Lafette's Cave Construction kit but to get the look I was after, I had to take the plunge and start modelling and texturing some new assets from scratch. Here's a render (not in GG) of a little scene I made featuring mine tunnel, support struts and rails, all 100% custom media, all with diffuse, normal and spec maps. I'm looking forward to getting these into Game Guru and developing a few variations.



Rest assured, I'm still plugging away at this and am making progress, albeit slowly.

AE
Gtox
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Posted: 22nd Jun 2017 10:07
Quote: "my acclaimed Just Cause Top Gear series"
- that was you? It was awesome!
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granada
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Posted: 22nd Jun 2017 18:59
This is turning out great,you have good all round skills and it shows in your work.

Dave
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Wolf
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Posted: 22nd Jun 2017 20:29


I'm impressed.
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Posted: 26th Jun 2017 03:53
this is becoming sicker and sicker. I cant wait to play a good ole modern shooter with gameguru!
synchromesh
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Posted: 27th Jun 2017 19:22
Not quite shore how your managing to get your lighting so soft and accurate but its impressive ..
The only person ever to get all his work done by "Friday" was Robinson Crusoe..
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reyandekcire
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Posted: 27th Jun 2017 20:23
Great sceneries and nice scripting works. I don't know if it's one of your inspiration but it reminds me Operation Flash Point (especially the "After Montignac" scenario), an excellent FPS with an outstanding mission editor... Anyway, i'm eager to see more screenshots. very great job indeed. keep going. Cheers
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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 30th Jun 2017 19:29 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:55
Quote: "that was you? It was awesome!"

It was indeed! It was all a bit of a shock to me that it became so popular - even the developers of Just Cause got behind it

Quote: "I'm impressed."

Thanks Wolf!


Quote: "This is turning out great,you have good all round skills and it shows in your work."

Thank you, Granada. I learned much from my years of FPSC even though I didn't actually put out many levels. I guess the lesson is that even your failures can teach you something!

Quote: "this is becoming sicker and sicker. I cant wait to play a good ole modern shooter with gameguru!"

Thanks Bugsy! Always been a fan of your work. You're one of the few developers who is not afraid to integrate video into their games, as I intend to.

Quote: "I don't know if it's one of your inspiration but it reminds me Operation Flash Point (especially the "After Montignac" scenario), an excellent FPS with an outstanding mission editor... Anyway, i'm eager to see more screenshots. very great job indeed."

Never actually played that, although I have heard of it! Funnily enough, I've not played an awful lot of modern shooters. But I have played a lot of good story-driven shooters, and that's where I'm getting my inspiration from. The story itself is what I'm looking forward to telling, not just have fun gameplay. Thanks for your encouragement



UPDATE: 30/06/17
In my last update, I said I would probably be splitting level 2 into two parts. Well, as I gradually add more entities and now finally some enemies to level 2, it's looking like I may split 2a in half as well! This should hopefully help with performance, and luckily level 2 has a perfect place to split the level. So what started out as one level on paper could very well now end up being three! If this trend is to continue, it may have major implications for the rest of the game. But I'm trying not to worry about that for the moment!

In level 2, I want to introduce a new enemy type. What Middle East game would be complete without some AK47-toting rebels!? While my previous enemies were created using retextures of masked soldier.x, it turns out that masked soldier.x does not feature the full compliment of animations that are present in some of the other characters. In particular, characters created in the character creator can look exactly the same as masked soldier but have an additional 12,000 frames of animation for different weapons. By creating these enemies in character creator, I am able to use these animation that are designed for assault rifles, rather than the standard pistol-wielding ones of masked soldier.x.



One slight problem though, the alignment of the AK47 was all wrong.



So I opened up the VWEAP.x of the AK and got tweaking. I've now arrived at something more realistic. Not perfect, but it'll do from a distance. I physically can't get those hands to match the AK without reanimating.



In addition to this, I also started playing around with the ai modules and adding different animation calls. Just by changing two numbers on the module_combatshoot.lua (and adding two additional animation references in the fpe), I've got some more realistic behaviour where the soldiers will patrol relaxed, with their weapon down, but then hunt you if they spot you, with their weapon up and their head looking around. I've tried to show this in this little video. I made the enemy view cones and view distances smaller to make them dumber but easier to see what's going on.



So here's some things I need help with:
- The firespot/muzzleflash on these new enemies is too far back, basically inside the weapon. Can I move this forward without reanimating?
- Does anyone fancy modelling a muslim woman character like this for me and applying the default GG skeleton. It would need to be good for both commercial and non-commercial usage, although you'd retain all rights to sell and distribute the model as you wish
- If you'd like to lend your voice to this project, I am looking for voice actors. PM me if you have a sample of your voice(s) I can listen to.

AE
Wolf
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Posted: 4th Jul 2017 15:17
Quote: "- The firespot/muzzleflash on these new enemies is too far back, basically inside the weapon. Can I move this forward without reanimating?"


As far as I know, and I know only few things about custom characters, you will need to move the firespot bone in 3d software. You should not need to reanimate.

Quote: "Does anyone fancy modelling a muslim woman character like this for me and applying the default GG skeleton. It would need to be good for both commercial and non-commercial usage, although you'd retain all rights to sell and distribute the model as you wish"


You'd have to ask the veteran 3d modelers around here. I can browse the marketplaces I know to see if I can find one cheap though.

Quote: "If you'd like to lend your voice to this project, I am looking for voice actors. PM me if you have a sample of your voice(s) I can listen to."


I have an accent and am by no means a voiceactor, but I could voice a char or two. Some recent stuff:

Kshatriya Wetwork (the voice at 6:20)

Redacted Hired Gun (the voice at the very beginning and throughout)



-Wolf
Bugsy
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Posted: 7th Jul 2017 17:56
Quote: "In particular, characters created in the character creator can look exactly the same as masked soldier but have an additional 12,000 frames of animation for different weapons."


AHA

I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING UP

this whole time i've been like "why dont my masked soldiers work with different guns" but AHA

have you noticed if using these chars with so many more animation frames causes slowdown when large quantities of enemies are present in the level?
granada
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Posted: 7th Jul 2017 21:05
Quote: "Quote: "In particular, characters created in the character creator can look exactly the same as masked soldier but have an additional 12,000 frames of animation for different weapons.""


I never new that .

Dave
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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 9th Jul 2017 21:42 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:56
Quote: "you will need to move the firespot bone in 3d software. You should not need to reanimate."


Ah. See there's the snag. Milkshape will only import meshes and won't recognise the skeleton of a .x model so I have nothing that can adjust this.
I will get back to you about voice acting btw, Wolf. I enjoyed your work on Redacted Hired Gun and Kshatriya though

Quote: "have you noticed if using these chars with so many more animation frames causes slowdown when large quantities of enemies are present in the level?"


I haven't personally but then I'm not one for putting loads of enemies in at once. Actually I've been quite surprised how little the framerate has dropped as I've been adding enemies in. I mean it's not great to begin with but it's barely dropped any more frames with these new enemies.



UPDATE: 09/07/17
Good progress has been made on level 2 despite some initial setbacks. As mentioned in a previous entry, this level takes place at twilight. The player wakes up without any weapons, forcing them to spend much of the level sneaking past enemies and avoiding detection. Being spotted by the new AK47-weilding baddies will almost certainly spell doom for the player, but it's been a challenge to tweak view cones and view distances to allow the player to sneak by unnoticed.



The basic layout of the village was completed two or three weeks ago, but as so much of the gameplay in this level revolves around platforming and non-gun-based gameplay, it was important to get all the path work and enemy placement done early before I started fleshing out the map. Here's a screenshot of your first sight of the village. Note the enemy patrol.



With the building layout done and enemies placed, I'm going back through and adding what, in the filmmaking world, I would call 'set-dressing'. While much of it is superfluous, it makes the village feel lived in. Why settle for a blank roof? Why not put a table and chairs up there with a chessboard and a bottle of rose water? It tells a story about the occupants of the building, even if you'll never get inside. One of biggest struggles on this game so far has been knowing what entities to put where to flesh out the world. But I'm getting there, slowly. Here's an aerial view of the village - it really shows off the twilight lighting conditions I'm going for.



My testing has not been without its problems though. This week I've encountered a weird fault with my character creator characters; they only want to spawn as a floating head (and a weapon if they are armed)! WHAT THE HELL MAN!? I don't know if this is to do with them being trigger-spawned but it's happening with my AK guys too.



The weirdest part though is that, although my AK enemies are spawning as a floating head and weapon, at some point in the level they are working and switching to full body creations. I don't why - maybe it makes a difference if I give myself a weapon? Or maybe they have to spot me and fire on me first? It should also be noted that this only happening on idle/guarding enemies; ones that are set to follow waypoints are full body from the moment they spawn.

It is peculiar.

Anyway, onwards and downwards!

AE
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Posted: 12th Jul 2017 18:25
Looks really great this!

I can have a go on the AK47 VWEAP firespot for you if you haven't got it sorted yet.

The full anim range (from CC or uber soldier) can be imported onto the masked soldier .x to get around the character head missing fun. Or could the uber soldier itself not be used with a different texture to fit the look you need?

Cheers.
Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 16th Jul 2017 21:13 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:56
Quote: "I can have a go on the AK47 VWEAP firespot for you if you haven't got it sorted yet."


I haven't got it sorted because I lack the software to open GG models with skeletons (I can only import meshes). If you're happy to have a look at it, that'd be great!



UPDATE: 16/07/17
This week I've been trying to split level 2 in two, as I said I might. The main reason for this was to increase performance, but the main upshot was a stopped getting lightmapping errors and missing torsos. Level 2 part 1 was fairly easy to create and resulted in a 7 - 8 frame per second increase. Level 2 part 2 posed more problems because I keep getting errors while initialising test game; according to the log, it always crashes at 'begin loading LMO files'. There's a thread in Bug Reports about it, but thankfully Preben has suggested a solution that I have still yet to try.

Not a huge amount of new stuff to show off this week, so here's some more pictures of level 2.
This first one shows another angle of the intersection seen in my last update. Even since this pic was taken, I've added a bit more dressing to this area.



I have to say, it took ages to get this skybox right, but I'm loving it now it's done. Twilight/dusk is so much more interesting than full night.



Level 2 ends at the entrance of an abandoned mine, seen here. Being abandoned, I don't want there to be any artificial light until the player triggers it. Getting the right amount of moonlight to make the level visible but not look too lit is a fine art. Also, I still need to do more working on the mine entrance before I can say this level is finished.



That's it for this week. Time to go underground for bit...

AE
JonRobbo
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Posted: 23rd Jul 2017 11:39
This is awsome, some of these in progress threads really inspire me to try harder as they make my efforts look feeble in comparison. Love the TG-JC video too.
Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 27th Jul 2017 16:39 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:57
At last - someone replies!
Quote: "This is awsome, some of these in progress threads really inspire me to try harder as they make my efforts look feeble in comparison. "

Don't be so hard on yourself, mate! If it makes you feel any better, I too get inspired by many other creators on here who produce outstanding work, way better than mine, as you'll see in my latest update...



UPDATE: 27/07/17
Remember those mine tunnels I posted a while back? Well I finally got them into GG and have been building the beginning of level 3, an abandoned mine, for the last fortnight or so. The first half of level 3 is proper good old-fashioned puzzle-based gameplay designed to test three skills that the player has learned so far. It's important to repeat gameplay loops taught earlier in order to make the player feel smart for knowing how to accomplish them, but you have to incrementally increase the challenge to keep them engaged. That's really the whole gameplay design philosophy behind this game - layering up fairly basic gameplay mechanics on top of one another and increasing the difficulty gradually.

Anyway, enough theory, here's the area I'm most proud of so far. As there's no gunplay during this section, I wanted it to feel like a level out of Half Life 2, which also had heavy puzzle-solving elements. The lighting is partly inspired by Half Life 2 (and HL2 ep2), and also by our very own Wolf's game, Shavra



This particular area calls upon the player's platforming skills. I had great fun designing the lighting to guide the eye of the player subconsciously around the space so they know where to go, how to navigate the world. Still need to add quite a few lighting fixtures across the level to motivate the lighting rather than simply having the lighting...there.



I'm currently putting some finishing touches on this door puzzle too. This level was originally laid out using Lafette's cave construction pack and several of his entities remain in the current build, despite the actual walls, tunnels, and supports being swapped out for my custom ones.



I am facing one slight problem though. When all the textures were in .png format, the normal and spec maps didn't work. But once I'd converted them to .dds, they worked well...a little too well.



The normal maps are causing specular highlights on entities all the time, even if there's no light on them. I can control this effect globally by reducing Surface Sun Factor...but that reduces the effect of the normal maps on the places they are lit. I suspect this could be caused by something in the shader file. Does anyone know how I can alter the shader file to stop this effect, so it's only light by actual lights in the level?

AE
GraPhiX
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Posted: 27th Jul 2017 17:28
Those screenshots look amazing very good work

I have had problems with the sun surface slider for quite a while never been able to sort it I didn't get one reply but 120 views

https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/217930
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Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 27th Jul 2017 23:43
Quote: "Those screenshots look amazing very good work "


Thanks GraPhix! I remember seeing your thread and watching your video but I know next to nothing about shaders so couldn't really shed any light on the subject. I was thinking of approaching Preben about it

AE
Bugsy
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Posted: 28th Jul 2017 17:44
yo this platforming area looks ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.

you're really getting the hang of lighting
Solar
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Posted: 1st Aug 2017 10:49
Wow! I absolutely love the use of lighting and the colors you use in your game!

This is going to be an awesome game, Avenging Eagle.
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Wolf
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Posted: 4th Aug 2017 16:37
This looks really fun to play Looking forward to it.

Quote: "and also by our very own Wolf's game, Shavra"


Hey hey!! Thats brilliant to hear



-Wolf
Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 24th Aug 2017 22:08 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:57


UPDATE: 24/08/17
I can't believe it's been four weeks since my last update. August has been a busy month for me both personally and in terms of work as I have many video projects on the go. Progress on Extraction Point has been disappointingly slow because of my lack of time, and a series of challenges and failures that have been difficult to overcome. I have to admit, my resolve has been somewhat shaken.

Much of the problems are to do with the second half of the mines level I was working on. Having challenged the player to a bit of lateral thinking within the mines, the second half of the level was always intended to add some key story elements and a balls-to-the-wall action section in an underground bunker/compound; this will give me an opportunity to add some varied combat situations and introduce new enemy types. However, constructing this underground compound has been full of challenges. I thought I would save time by building the layout of the base in FPSC and then using BotR's Segment AutoWelder to convert it for use in Game Guru. £15 and a week of tests later, I was ready to get the level into GG. I ended up having to build this base twice because the first iteration was too big and sprawling and was causing framerate issues.



I also knew I wanted to harken back to older FPS titles by having the player crawl through air vents for a bit to show them areas they will later fight in - I like me a bit of foreshadowing! This required me to spend a few days outside of GG making a load of navigable air vent entities in various configurations. These have worked out alright actually, apart from the fact that they are less than 5 units thick so don't shadow quite as expected.



Unfortunately I'm getting loads of lightmapping errors and I don't know what's causing it. Have I put too many entities in my base? (Doubt it, I've only done a few rooms). Is it a specific entity causing it? Too many lights? Is there a limit to the number of static lights one can have inside a AutoWelded map? On top of this, lightmapping is now taking 30 minutes to calculate so every change, every test is taking ages and I simply don't have a lot of time at the moment.



I also spent 10 hours or so working on my entry into the EBE competition, basically to try and take my mind off things.

All of these combined have started to take a toll on my enthusiasm for the project. Steam tells me I've clocked up 370 hours in Game Guru and most of it has been on Extraction Point since late March, plus there's been hours and hours 3D modelling, UV mapping, and texturing. I used to think about scripts on my way home from work, browse the forums several times a day, spend most of my weekends plugging away wherever I could - testing, fixing, refining, creating. Now it all seems like a bit of chore and my lack of progress is making me feel exhausted. Extraction Point was always planned as an achievable three level project to test out Game Guru, but as I hit performance walls I keep having to break levels up into smaller chunks. "Level 2" is now Level 2a, level 2b, level 3 and if I can't get a decent performance out of the compound, I may require a level 3b. I can see me having to split the last level in two as well. Here's my overall progress so far:

Level 1 - Crashsite - 95% done
Level 2A - Village part 1 - 95% done
Level 2B - Village part 2 - 70% done
Level 3 - Mines - 60% done
Level 4 - El Djem (Town) - 0% done
Level 5 - El Djem (Amphitheatre) - 0% done
In-cinematics - 10%
Pre-rendered Cinematics - 0% done, although tests have been carried out

The scale of what is left to do for Extraction Point is daunting enough, so I think I may need to put a pin in this project and rest for a bit before returning. I've got a holiday abroad in a couple of weeks so I physically can't work on it whilst I'm out there. I'm hoping the DX11 upgrade will solve many of the lightmapping and performance issues I currently face and that that in turn will spur me on to finish what I started. Until that happens, I fear I will only really chip away at these problems for a few minutes a night. I do take solace in the fact that I once spent 13 months of my life making a 70-minute film in my free time during college and my first year of uni. Many times I was demotivated but I kept at it and eventually finished it. Hopefully Extraction Point doesn't take that long though...

Thanks everyone for your support so far

AE
Wolf
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Posted: 30th Aug 2017 09:33
I think its save to assume that we all run into phases where we aren't all too motivated to go on. I'd agree with the notion that taking a break for the project will make it fun to develop again once you get back to it.
Avenging Eagle
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Posted: 8th Sep 2017 19:30 Edited at: 3rd Oct 2018 16:57


UPDATE: 08/09/17
Even though I said I might be putting Extraction Point down for a while to regain my enthusiasm for the project, I have instead spent the last fortnight focusing on a different area of the game entirely; the intro cinematic. Perhaps my resolve isn't quite as shaken as I thought. This involved figuring out how to create machinima within Game Guru, doing some VFX augmentation with Game Guru footage, and doing some more traditional full CG VFX shots. I love this kind of stuff and have a long history of creating visual effects but I never get to do it in my day job so it's made a nice change.

The one thing I am currently lacking is voice-actors. I particularly interested in British voices but I may yet take Wolf up on his kind offer of lending his voice to the project. However, there are many characters to voice, both in this cinematic and in the game as a whole. For now, I have temporarily dubbed all the voices with my own but this will change for the final cinematic. Even so, I'm proud to present the intro to Extraction Point!



If you would like to contribute your voice to this project, send me a PM or reply to this thread I've made in Geek Culture.

I'm now off on holiday for a couple of weeks so I will have to put Extraction Point down. I'm hoping that the rest will inspire me to make a big push when I get home to get this project nearer to completion.

AE

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