Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Team PPJ - Oct. 4 - Oct. 18

These past weeks were spent refining our greybox and protyping the gravity whip mechanic. On the design side, we continued to refine our GDD and brainstormed how we want the art to convey various aspects of the game to the play, primarily how gravity spheres look and how they communicate the influence they have on the ball at any given time. Some more refined concepts were made, primarily of the game ball, in order to find a unified aesthetic that we can easily apply to the rest of the objects in the game world.

As design lead, I felt that I did a poor job of communicating what tasks needed to be done and making sure each team member was working on their assigned tasks. Going forward I will be meeting with the design team in order to make sure everyone's on the same page.

Going forward, we will continue fleshing out our greybox and our GDD and hopefully begin playtesting with outside individuals, in order to nail down the functionality.

Some visual examples of progress made:

Capsule stage layout concept

D3 stage layout concept

AI character concepts

Thematic concept

Game ball concept

Player tool concepts

Player platform concept

Game setup concept

  • Good progress on prototype
  • More concepts were created
  • GDD further fleshed out
  • Lack of attendance at weekend meetings hindered progress
  • Design lead breakdown

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sanjay Balaji PPJ 2

These 2 weeks were spent on continuing on programming tasks and getting some of the core functionality working.

On Oct 11, we (the CS students), had a meeting with Salvage to show off a demo we had that involved throwing balls in VR as well as some "gravity wells" that would mess with the physics of the thrown balls.

I also spent a lot of time with Andrew working on programming tasks such as fixing bugs involving the way velocity functions when the balls interact with the gravity wells and dragging balls towards the player since we want the player to be able to do that.

For the gravity wells, there were some things we discussed and implemented to make the interaction with them better. We removed the force of the ball towards the player when the physics of the ball gets changed, so when the player throws a ball at a well, the ball will not return back to the player. Also, the function the the "hook" of the ball was changed so the interaction would be more "interesting".

For dragging the ball, we will want to implement a whip so the player can drag the ball with that. As of now, we have the ball come to the player without the whip, just manipulating the direction and force.

Demo work and prototyping: 4h
Unreal tutorials: 2h
Meeting with Salvage: 1h
Further work into gravity wells, and testing out other functions: 3h
Working on dragging ball towards player: 2h

+ Got a better understanding of the way Unreal's blueprints work
+ Demo works pretty well
+ Gravity wells improved, dragging is working in a preliminary state

- Missed a meeting due to a doctors appointment
- Gravity well interaction not ideal yet, needs work

 Total: 11 hours.

Mike Cancelosi 10/11/16 - 10/18/16

This week I did more design/programming work and didn't do much in terms of art. On Wednesday, we got a lot done in terms of designing. We discussing how applying spin to the ball will work in particular. On Sunday, Dilucca and I started to prototype the whip mechanic, which is still early in development but I think we are on the right path to getting it to work the way we want. I also started an asset list, so it would be easier to make a good gantt and get a grasp on what the artists will be doing for the next 9 months.

Pros: Got a better grasp on how certain mechanics would work
Cons: Didn't make any assets.

Hours Spent : 6 hours

Tyler Schacht, Oct. 4th - Oct. 18th

During the first week, I, with the help of Cory, continued to create concepts of the arena the player will be in while playing our game.  We decided that we need to playtest one of the simpler designs before we can continue with fleshing out the final arena design.  During the second week, I was trying to think of ways that will enhance the player experience, while also getting rid of the concern "What will the art team do?" that the faculty had mentioned.  Some of the ideas are an elevator that acts as a main menu that will raise the player into the arena after selecting "Play" and having a shock wave move smaller objects outside of the arena every time the ball hits a wall.  Finally, I spent the weekend having different people play different VR games (unfortunately, I didn't have our demo with me).


Total hours: 19
- Creating concepts for arenas: 3 hours
- Attempting to create 3D models for the newer designs: 2 hours
- Creating 2D visuals of the arena: 3 hours
- Thinking of ideas for the art team: 1 hour
- Watching others play with the Vive: 10 hours

Positives: I am REALLY getting into the game and how to design it.  I just have constant ideas flowing in my head on how to make the game better.

Negatives: Because I had people trying out the Vive over the weekend, I missed a group meeting.  Even though I have all these ideas flowing through my head for the game, I need to start drawing out concepts and I need to focus more on the core rather than all the extra juice.

Cory Zicolella, Oct. 4th - 18th

For these last two weeks, there was alot of design work done on my end for our game, as well as some concerting and the start of some grey boxing.  A good amount of my time was spent at meetings, but there was also a work done on my own time as well.

Firstly I created some matte-painting concepts for the surrounding environment to be placed around our game.  Some came out better than others.  We eventually decided on the art-side that cyberpunk will well suit our environment the best (out of our generated list of 10 or so), and that we definitely have space to expand if need be.

I also started some grey boxing for the environment.

That aside, there was also alot of progress made design-wise during the meetings about how certain powers/attributes will work, and how to tackle certain problems found with VR, such as holding your hand at an awkward angle.  Nevertheless, we fleshed out how 'putting spin' on the ball will work, as well as how gravity wells will look (instead of just plain spheres), after messing around with particles.

  • A good amount of design work was done!
  • The concepting about the environment lead the art team to a decision on how to proceed for our final vision, with plenty of room to grow.
  • What we started getting to work on to now will save the coders time later when implementing various tools.
  • Some of the matte-painting concepts came out pretty rough
  • Wish I had gotten more done personally
  • The majority of the art team never grouped for the meeting on the 15th, potentially setting us back
Time Spent:
  • Group meetings [Including discussion, concepting, GDD, Gantt, etc] (10 hours)
  • Concepting (4 hours)
  • Greyboxing (1 hour)
Total time spent: 15 hours

Ryan Badurina - Oct. 4 to Oct. 18 PPJ

I forgot to post for week 3 and create a habit of doing it weekly, so I'll post my progress for the last two weeks in this PPJ.

Week 3 was very fruitful in terms of work done, with the week following not so much due to "unforeseen issues" outside of school.  A lot of work was done in the design department and overall trying to identity the visual look of the characters and tools in our game.

 These are just some basic character concepts (designed for modular purposes) for the player / AI characters of the game.  How I've been envisioning the system because VR is limited in character animation, was that the head could be modified / changed based on player preference and the hands would house the controller tools they would use during gameplay.  As we only need to have the head and the hands to be modelled (head being helmet / headset and hands being the tools the player uses), we can technically scrap the body out of the equation to avoid any problems in the future, although we could add the body as part of the head.

Speaking of tools, I've been creating some preliminary Grapple Beam / Arm Cannon designs for the primary tool of the game.  When designing some of the tools, I've been testing how the player would wield the Vive controller in their hand to help get the feeling of actually throwing or shooting something from the controller.  There were various design challenges from my point in creating something that the player can see and also feel in a natural way, so I focused on designs that would make use of the controller to make a tool that felt right for the player.

Designs ranged from typical arm cannons that felt natural in a strange world to creating a tool that felt like Iron Man's Hand Beams to replicate actual hands.  There are various different ways that people use the controllers and play with them, so I wanted to play around with various you can use the controllers to alter the virtual world.  In order to get a visual look at the mechanics, I made created a model to help create a vision of what the tool would look like in 3D.

Just a quick mock-up of the first tool design and how some of the animations would work if we went with this design.  The first design features standard claw-like grips to help get the feeling of "grabbing" the ball, even though a beam would be used to grab and bring the ball to the player.  I think the design of the gun / cannon will be different than the designs above, but I feel like we're getting closer to achieving some type of vision for what the game world looks like.

Other things done include attendance at the weekly meetings and the prototype session, and overall play-testing of our prototype build.  I also helped with some GDD issues, such as fixing any grammar errors.

  -Week 3 GDD Session: 5 Hours
  -Week 3 Prototype Test Session:  4 Hours
Player / AI Concept Art:  3 Hours
Gun Concept Art(s):  3 Hours
Polish Concept Art:  3 Hours
Prototype Gun Model: 1.5 Hour
Prototype Build Playtest: .5 Hour

Total Time (2 Week Period):  20 Hours

  -Concept art done to help with 3D modeling in the future and identify the visual style of our world.
  -Current controls for our game feel natural and fun, if a little clunky right now.

  -Had to miss the usual Wednesday meeting because of part time work.
  -Family events and problems arose took up a lot of my time during Week 4 and prevented me from meeting with my team during the weekend.

Daniel Ingman Oct 4. - Oct. 17

These past two weeks were spent doing concept art, preparing presentations, and working on the GDD. I would like to have spent more time on concept art then I did, and I'd also like to get the GMAP team on track with their tasks, however I don't feel like I've been successful in laying out those tasks. Going forward I will be trying harder to keep everyone up-to-date and inline with our deadlines.

AI Character Silhouettes
Game ball concept 1

Game ball concept 2

  • Got a good amount of work done.
  • Fleshed out GDD further.

  • Didn't manage team as well as I could have.
  • Several members of team were not present for Saturday meeting, hindering progress.
 Total time spent: 19
  • Concept art: 6 hours
  • Model Mockups: 3 hours
  • GDD: 2 hours
  • Meetings: 8 hours 

Johanna Oberto, October 11-17

This week I unfortunately got sick and was unable to make the weekend prototyping meetings. I learned the inner workings of our prototype and how everything is laid out. I attended the planning sessions throughout the week and continued working on tutorials to learn blueprints, but otherwise was not able to contribute a lot to the prototyping process. As I recover, I'll be able to contribute more next week.

Was able to spend more time learning blueprints

Got sick, unable to help during prototyping sessions
Will have to catch up on what was accomplished this week

Time Spent:
-Weekly meetings: 3 hours
-Tutorials: 2 hours
~5 hours

Andrew DiNunzio - Oct. 4 - Oct. 11

This week, I spent more time working on the ball's interaction with the gravity orbs.

In an effort to make the ball hook more, I changed the way the sphere works a bit.

First, instead of multiplying the force from gravity by its dot product with its x-velocity, I instead applied a function to it, so it would not be a linear change from a dot product of 0 to a dot product of 1. I wanted it to be a concave down function, as shown on the right of the following picture:

The function I chose was f(x) = -(x-1)^2 + 1, looking at it in the domain and range of [0,1].
This did help increase the hook of the ball, but not enough. Since the second half of the orb didn't apply any force to the ball, I wanted to make further changes that I thought could improve the hook from the gravity orbs. With no force on the second half of the orbs, throws that should have had a significant amount of hook on them simply straightened out towards the opponent's wall.

So instead of removing the force on the second half of the sphere, I instead made it so that the x-component of the force applied to the ball would be ignored on the second half of the sphere. This resulted in the additional hook that I wanted, but created another problem.

It made it so that if the ball is moving too slowly, it could orbit (around the line along the x axis, going through the center of the sphere) on the yz plane. This looked really bad, so I changed it a bit again.

Working with Mike for this, we made it so that any force in the y-axis or z-axis (only on the second half of the sphere) would not be applied if the direction is opposite the ball's velocity (i.e. the dot product is less than 0).

It worked pretty well, giving me the hook I was looking for in some cases without oscillating. However, there was still an issue. If the ball traveled through the gravity orb (say, on the right side of the orb looking to hook around it to launch to the left), if the ball's velocity was still headed more in the right direction, instead of the left direction, when passing through the first half of the sphere, it loses its hook entirely.

We decided it's okay to leave it this way for now, since we do not want to do too many premature optimizations when the rest of the core functionality remains to be done. It is something that will still need a lot of work though.

Random thing we learned:
We also learned that scaling our orbs in the Viewport messes up the ball's collision (due to the way the orb's construction happens), and we have to scale the orbs using its Blueprint property (that I created) called InnerRadius instead.

Time spent: Total: ~7.5 hours
  • ~1.5 hours - Changing the dot product function to be more quadratic than linear, allowing for more hook.
  • 3 hours - Remove x component of force applied to ball when in second half of sphere, but still apply the other force components
  • 3 hours - Fix the oscillating issue of the ball by removing forces in yz plane if going against the ball's velocity (NEEDS WORK).

  • I'm learning what kinds of things I need to take into consideration with these gravity orbs. In the end, they may as well not even be called gravity orbs since the mechanism behind it is going to be significantly different from that of actual gravity.

  • We still don't have a satisfactory mechanism for applying force from the gravity orbs.