Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Team PPJ: 5/30 - 6/6

This week we finalized everything that needed to be finalized and practiced what needed to be practiced.

We'll be spending the upcoming week practicing even more, because there is never enough.

As far as actual development work, it's been slower this past week. We're planning to push out an updated build to Steam in time for the Summer Sale, but as far as what we'll be showing at the showcase that's been finalized for a week or so now.

We also played some fun games as a team to cool down after 9 months of hard work.

It's surreal to think that this is the last full week we'll have as students as Drexel, but shit here we are.


Mike Cancelosi PPJ: 5/30 - 6/6

This week was mostly spent on preparing for our presentation. We did a few dry runs, and I focused on trying to memorize my lines.
 
Hours Spent : 5

Pros: I think I've pretty much got it down. I'm not too worried about blanking for the actual presentation.

Cons: We wanted to get a push to steam on Sunday that we never ended up doing

Monday, June 5, 2017

Daniel Ingman PPJ: 5/30 - 6/6

This week we did some team bonding.

We played some games and went out to dinner (we also held hands seriously it was great).

We did some presentation practice and put together our postmortem, which you will have the pleasure of reading.

Overall, this was the cooldown week for us. We were productive for the presentation but actual development took a pause this week.

As Cory mentioned, we plan to continue development of Shadow Circuit after graduation (after a short break at least).

Time spent: 2 hours
  • Presentation Practice: 1 hour
  • Postmortem: 1 hour
Pros:
  • We played some fun games and had some laughs
Cons:
  • None

Ryan Badurina PPJ: 5/30 - 6/6

So, not a lot happened workwise this week, especially if you've seen some of the other posts.
Overall, while I did look for a little bit at the various audio files to see which ones would work, I ultimately had to put them to the side because of priorities with 1) other classes and finals, 2) do some job searching, and 3) spend the weekend with my team just being casual and having fun.
I think it's safe to say that not much work from many of us was done regarding the game, but I think after working straight through for the last 9 weeks, we did kind of need this break.  We haven't had a team-based relaxing day for quite a while, and we wanted to use our regular meeting day to spend it together before graduation.
Over the next week if time permits I'll look more fully into the audio files and see how I can implement those into Shadow Circuit.  But for now, since our current build is pretty much locked down for this term, we can focus on finishing up Drexel with bright smiles and knowledge that we will definetely continue this in the future *cough* without the annoying deadlines *cough*.
Time:
    -Audio Implementation: 1 Hour
    -Presentation Practice: 2 Hours
    -Team Bonding Time (Squeee!):  8 Hours
Total Time: 13 Hours
Pros:
    -Got to bond once again with the teammates without a care in the world.
    -Graduation approaches, and with it freedom (but also loans).
Cons:
    -Aside from the team being separated due to home distances, nothing else.

Cory Zicolella PPJ: 5/30 - 6/6

I practiced the presentation a bit. Nothing special.

Mostly the team chilled out, had some actual fun sand didn't discuss the game and worrisome bugs for once.  We got a headcount of who will be continuing after graduation, and I am one of them.  We plan to push an update before the Summer Sale to Steam.

Good time, 10/10.

Tyler Schacht PPJ: 5/30 - 6/6

I haven't done anything for the project this week other than just practice the presentation a bit.  As a team we also played some games as a kind of farewell.  But, we are going to be working on Shadow Circuit over the Summer outside of school.

Total Hours: 1
- Presentation Practice

Positives: Good team building for the events after Drexel

Negatives: I didn't realize we still had PPJs until the night before because most postmortems happen after you are done a project.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Team PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

This week was a hell of a week to say the very least.

First and foremost, we can officially declare any mode of capturing footage that isn't from a first-person viewpoint dead. After 6 hours on Sunday and 40+ hours of work previously trying to make the sequencer work and ending with nothing to show for it but a BSOD, we were left slightly insane and more than a little frustrated. Seeing 40+ hours worth of work wasted is sure to make even the most patient man consider murdering an innocent.

Other than that, we did successfully capture updated footage from both the first-person perspective and an outside perspective, with more energy this time.

As well, our build has been cleaned up, all models and textures are implemented, and it's ready for the showcase as far as we can tell.

Pros:
  • Final build looks pretty good
  • We're on the home stretch finally
Cons:
  • lots and lots of time flushed down a great big toilet
  • i am ill

Tyler Schacht PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

--- Normal PPJ ---
   So this week I worked on the main menu a little more, but unfortunately it will most likely not be making it into the Showcase build (not that you would see it anyway to allow more people to try out our game).  I'm still going to try to push for it to be implemented for Senior Showcase.  It will probably be pushed to Steam at a later date.
   A lot of classes have deliverables this past week so I have had to work on those as well.  Not only that but as you may have guessed from reading everyone else's PPJs, the UE4 Sequencer lost us a lot of time.  We spent 14 hours working on solely capturing footage and about half of it was unusable ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Total Hours: 17 hours
- Footage Recording / Team Meeting: 14 hours
- Main Menu work: 3 hours

Positives: I didn't go completely insane after literally every single thing went wrong.

Negatives: I wish I could've had more time to work on the main menu to have it in the trailer.


--- Post Mortem ---
I'm extremely happy that I was able to partake in Senior Project.  Even though it was extremely difficult and challenging trying to balance all of my other classes with this one.  The experience was well worth it.

3 Things that went Right:

- I could not have a better team, all of us really meshed well together and were able to meet multiple times a week to hammer out designs, issues, art, coding, etc. Then there was Stefan who wasn't able to meet with us all the time, really guided us in the right direction of how to properly use VR in a game

- Our motto in the beginning was "Under-Sell, Over-Deliver" (I believe that was coined by Stefan).  Where we present a pretty basic gameplay, but then over time start adding things.  This was extremely useful to us.  The main mechanics of our game Gravity Whip and Gravity Wells took so much coding time that almost all of our "stretch goals" were never able to come to fruition.  We still had to cut things, but this mentality saved us from being under more stress and not having to cut as many ideas.

- How could I have almost forgot STEAM.  Our game became the first ever game to be commercially available on Steam Early Access (Mirrors of Grimaldi only made it to GreenLight).

3 Things that went Wrong:

- Creating a VR game for the HTC Vive was a great experience, however, probably shouldn't have done it for a Senior Project... but I would still do it again.  Half of our team were not able to really work on the game for a good portion of time since they didn't own Vives, there was some spots they could use but not too often.  Plus setting up for presentations was a nightmare for me at least (even drove through a blizzard so we had a Vive to set up for the Beta Presentation)

- When trying to record something.  Something. Will. ALWAYS. Go Wrong.  Multiple recording sessions that would take 10+ hours and we would get only 3 minutes of usable footage.

- Trying to get feed back from a VR game when almost all of the faculty hasn't even looked at our game through the headset was kinda frustrating.

Things that I Learned:
- I learned about the process to actually publish a game onto a big platform, such as Steam.

- I learned how one has to set up VR games.  Such as, no HUD or else that messes with the player's sight.  It acts more as a smudge on glasses rather than the usual HUD that most are accustomed to in traditional 2D gaming.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Cory Zicolella PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

We must get steady footage via Unreal Engine 4's sequencer.  For the Vive.  With objects that instantiate after game start.

Three hours pass.
Four.
Five.
Six.






Needless to say, the sequencer, and everything about it, belongs in the deepest, hottest layer of a special hell.  And now that half the art team has gleefully wasted six hours of time that could have been devoted to other things, I ended up doing what I usually do and edited the showcase trailer with normal patented OBS technology.

Angry ranting aside, I was pretty busy this week, as was most of the team.  I remade most of the videos used in the showcase, remade the trailer entirely using the new footage we gathered (which by the way, there have been a myriad of small quality of life improvements to the game itself this last week, and it overall just looks and feel better), and made an updated (finally) video for our website, as to replace the very very old video we have autoplaying right now.

Many many hours went into this week, and at least half of them were put towards something which in the end, wasn't usable.  Unfortunate.

Hopefully in the last weeks we can really crank out the small list of things we have to do.

Postmortem:

This project was a really great experience overall, I feel.  For me, it meant I got to work with a larger team than I ever have before, and really got to know the problems that each team faces as we move forward through development, and learn how to solve those issues and come to a resolution as a dev team (speaking about game issues, not inter-team issues).  Some positive highlights were:

  • Being one part of a large team, where everyone matters
  • Frequent meetings that were productive and necessary into making the game what it is today.
  • Learning how to develop for VR
  • Techniques in how to better time manage
  • Getting a better grasp of the initial process (concepting/revision/scoping)
  • Gaining a solid foundation for VR (mechanics first and foremost, art after)
  • Affirming the CCI team is fundamental into allowing the game to function.
  • A unique style identity for our game
  • An early access release on Steam!!!!!
Some negatives that came out of the project were:
  • Time management.  While also a positive to learn how to do it better, that also means that for a large part of the project, it was done poorly.
  • Integration.  Many of the things we made/planned to make took awhile to actually become included once we initially got the hero assets in.  It is a larger issue now that we have a list of relatively small final touches to do.
  • Accessibility.  For the team members, given that we are developing for the Vive, not everyone has access to it or knows how to set it up properly.
  • Basic things we know needed to be implemented either aren't finished yet or won't be in the showcase build.  While they're important, some things just aren't completed as easily as you'd like, and the game will suffer somewhat because of it.
  • Sound.  Sound design has been a plaguing issue for the team, particularly this term.
Things that I learned:
  • VR.  Everything virtual reality.  Going into this I didn't really have an understanding of what modern day VR was, how good it worked, or what could be done; I actually had very little interest in it and saw it as a gimmick; then again, I only knew of the Oculus.
  • Design strategy.  Early on, we wanted to focus on story within our game.  Stefan shed some light on the situation, stating we have all these great stories but absolutely no mechanics to speak of.  That's when it dawned on me that mechanics have to be done first and foremost in order to have a game and not a book.
  • VR-specific design.  Create solid good feeling mechanics first, make sure models are high poly (for things that are near the player), high framerate performance, and proper utilization of what the hardware offers.
  • Team communication.  I feel I've always been good at this; but Wetware really let me know what it feels like to be part of a functional team, with little snafu's and general friendliness.  We all can joke around when we want to, work when we need to, and someone is around to guide us if we need help.  I haven't really found that in a team before now, and I was starting to feel like this idea never would be a reality.
  • It's important to destress.  Our team really hasn't had a chance to just hang out and not do work, aside from a singular meeting.  While work is incredibly important for the vitality of the game, it is equally important to make sure that the team also has a chance to be normal people too.  The one time we just had fun was really memorable, felt great, and was a good motivator for the last half of the term.  If I had to change one thing moving forward, it would be to have these on a semi-regular basis.  Far too much of our time is knowing one another strictly in a working state, which isn't necessarily the best.

Ryan Badurina Postmortem & PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

[Postmortem can be found after production update.]

PPJ:  F--- Sequencer.  That's all I have to say.

I was able to finally get the project working properly again this week (it was an issue with data caches stored by UE4), and was able to do some work and help out with recording footage for what could have been our updated trailer.  I proposed the idea of using Sequencer earlier in the term to get gameplay recording from third person angles as opposed to the first person angles of a VR Player Camera.

While it helped somewhat, Sequencer proved to be unreliable for recording footage in VR.

Some of the objects we needed to record were objects that only spawned during run-time, aka objects that weren't inherently a part of the arena level.  Also, while recording, the frame rates dropped significantly, making playing the game normally extremely annoying and slow.  Finally, rendering out footage still proved to be a non-explained and frustrating process.  We spent several hours getting this stuff ready for recording, and it netted us zero reward.  We did get some nice 1st person and real-life camera shots, but we were hoping for footage from more of a birds eye view as opposed to the player view.  We decided to drop the sequencer stuff for this term as it is frustrating and not worth the time in the current VR environment.  Hopefully in the future it will be more VR friendly and allow for the recording of "spawn-able objects."

In the meantime, I'm currently looking over and importing / programming in various sound effects for some of our assets, as a few of them are either out-dated or need to be fully implemented.  I wasn't able to fully get into this for this week because of my project issues and because of recording, but with Sequencer being dropped I can work fully on the sound for our game for the rest of the term.

Time:
  -FIXED THE PROJECT!!!  FINALLY!!!:  4 Hours
  -Team Meeting(s):  9 Hours
  -Trailer Recording:  4 Hours
  -Source Control:  1 Hour
  -Sequencer Setup:  1.5 Hours
  -Sound Research & Import: .5 Hours

Total Time: 20 Hours

Pros:
  -Project finally reopens along with the level.  Stupid stored caches,

Cons:
  -Sequencer recording was just a waste of time.  I feel ashamed for even recommending it this late into the term.
  -Audio was pushed aside in favor of the BS Sequencer.  Will be working on it for the next week.




Postmortem:


This probably has to be the best project I have worked on while at Drexel.  I knew it would be a serious time, considering this would be a main portfolio piece and valuable experience for the future, and I'm happy I joined this team when I did.

For over a year, I have been working with these guys in trying to develop something that we could be proud of, but also something we would want to play ourselves.  From our summer days in a small apartment work-shopping ideas to the winter days in a high-tech computer lab for developing and programming our game, we have been very busy and hardworking to make sure that our game was simple, yet effective.  We had debates on how somethings should be done, but overall we found a compromise or solution and continued moving forward.

The highlights of working on Shadow Circuit?:
  -Working with new technologies and software to bring our game to life.
  -As much of a design challenge as an art and programming challenge.
  -Awesome and friendly teammates who constantly remained connected and communicative.
  -A great CCI team who were just as much of the design process as the DIGM team.
  -Releasing our game on Steam, something I never imagined would actually happen for me at Drexel.

Some things that didn't go well/wish we could have done:
  -Weren't able to implement other features to enhance the game experience.
  -Some of us, like myself, lacked the proper hardware to properly play the game.
  -Some topics or assignments we should have been done earlier, aka research and do before the last minute (like myself with Sequencer).
  -Because I was commuting, I unfortunately was not able to communicate in person as often as I would have liked.

Overall, what did I learn?:
  -Virtual Reality and new technologies and (relatively) new software (Unreal Engine 4).
  -More about animation for assets other than humanoids.
  -Modularity in art assets.
  -Playtest, playtest, playtest.
  -ALWAYS communicate with your teammates, both in and outside of development, so as to show you're working and so you can build your relationships with your teammates.

Lastly, would I like to continue development of this game?

Absolutely.

But I gotta be realistic; once most of the work for my classes are done, I'm immediately polishing my portfolio and sending in my Resume to various companies in the hopes of getting a job.  All of the other guys on the team are taking time off, but I need to get my stuff ready for job searching.  Once I'm out, the loans come out in full and I gotta have a means of paying the interest rates.

I'm not against continuing this work, though.  This experience was incredible and I'm happy to have worked with these lovable guys in bringing our game to life.  Even if I decide I need to leave the group as a developer, I'll still remain in contact with them as a friend, and as someone who is happy to have met them.

God speed, everyone.  If you have a dream, pursue it, and make it come true no matter what.  It will be hard, but it isn't impossible.  If it can be done, you can do it as well.


Daniel Ingman PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

[POSTMORTEM CAN BE FOUND AFTER PRODUCTION INFORMATION. IT IS THERE, I SWEAR]

This week I implemented the new AI model and its new texture.

AI model in-engine

AI model w/ animated texture


As well, we spent a good amount of time in meetings and capturing final footage. This was a god-awful process as we were able to figure out that capturing footage from anywhere other than the default headcam view in VR is next to impossible. Placing a separate camera in the scene and piping footage from that takes the view away from the player rendering them blind, so that didn't work. We tried using Unreal's sequencer toolkit, but it failed to capture any movement of the whip, spline, or ball, and eventually caused a memory leak in my computer and gave it a BSOD. 12 hours well spent, so thanks for that.

Hours spent: 23 hours
  • AI texture final touch-ups: 4 hours
  • AI implementation: 2 hours
  • Footage recording: 14 hours
  • Presentation practice: 3 hours
Pros:
  • I got more sleep this week, thank goodness
  • AI model is present.
Cons:
  • A lot of hard work that could have been spent on other things went to waste.

With that out of the way, let's dive right into the postmortem.

Overall, this was a very positive experience for me. Being able to work with a team that got along very well and worked very hard was a rare experience and I'm glad it happened to be my senior project team. A lot of things went very right during this quarter, as I shall list:
  • The team got along very well.
  • Communication was strong and constant.
  • Meetings were productive and frequently attended by most team members.
  • The CCI team was a design equal and not just a workforce.
  • The core mechanics of our game came out very strong and fun to play.
  • The game is visually striking and has a strong identity.
  • We released on Steam Early Access.
In terms of what went wrong, a few things did. Mostly:
  • Some topics should have been handled earlier (better recording of footage primarily).
  • Time management was an issue for me, personally.
  • Vital portions of our game did not make it into our presentation or the showcase build.
  • Basic game mechanics of our game don't function yet (menu, etc).
  • Some team members didn't have access to the required hardware that they needed in order to properly work on the game.
So what did I learn from all of this? Well,
  • Think of your game in terms of mechanics first, then fill in the gaps with your setting/story.
  • Find people you like to work with but also whom you can trust to do their work well and deliver on time.
  • Do lots and lots of concept art, frequently.
  • Create a style guide.
  • Playtest and iterate often.
Whew. This was a great experience but a draining one, to say the least.

Mike Cancelosi PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30


This week I did some polishing, quality-of-life iterations to the game. For instance, spinning the audience, fixing the ball textures, and helping others implement art into the game. We, unfortunately, spent some time trying to fix the repo after breaking it, but that's bitbucket for you. Also, we shrunk the stadium as we had received a lot of feedback that says it is too large.

Hours Spent:10 hrs

Pros: Got done a lot of little things that needed to get polished.
Cons: Lot of bugs/bug fixing.




-------------------POST MORTEM----------------------

Can't believe we are already here. What a year.

I think Senior Project was a tremendous success. I do not feel as if I wasted my time here. I learned a lot and am excited for what's next. All I needed was a portfolio piece out of Senior Project, and I feel as though I have a great one. There was a lot of work done, and I think it shows!

Steam! We got our game on Steam. I think that's something to brag about ( which I absolutely will to future, would-be employers.)  While our Steam build needs to be updated, I think the game needs to further improve before I start trying to apply. I feel as if the game is in between a great and amazing piece and I think a summer of work will bump it up. 

I think the best decision we ever made was to under-scope. Every project I've had at Drexel was over -scoped. People wanted to focus on world building and storytelling but never attempted to make the game fun. We made the time for iteration, and that's what really made the difference. For Shadow Circuit, we spent the time to prototype, and honestly, that made it all the better. While I'm glad for the game we got, I still wish have tried other ideas; namely the pirate ship battle game, and the one where the player would control a miniature army on a table. I think those were cool ideas worth taking another look at. 

For the first time at Drexel, I really felt like I was designing a game. And that was awesome, thanks team.


Of course, there were things that we could've done better. Namely, time efficiency. On our Sunday meetings, everyone would get there at around the same time, but would'nt really have a plan. We'd spend a lot of time talking and warming up, and once we did we'd get sidetracked. With Sundays, both sides of the team would be there, so it was 10 people in the room. This was not always needed, and more often than not, a couple people would work while everyone else sat around talking and waiting for something to do. I think if we had kept doing the biweekly scrum updates where everyone is specifically assigned something, we would have gotten more done. There were many weeks where I didn't know what someone had been doing, or if they been doing anything. 

There was a lot of time getting used to the new software. This was expected, but there were a few times that well into production, I'd find out a coder doesn't know how to a very basic part of the engine, or an artist doesn't know how to upload to the project. 


All in all, I'm proud of what we got done this year, and I look forward to working on Shadow Circuit more... after a small break. :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Team PPJ: 5/17 - 5/23

This week I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. But that's beside the point.

The main event this week was the DIGM side recording a metric buttload of new footage for use in our presentations in order to capture our most up-to-date build. We got lots of good footage that includes a simultaneous view of the player from the outside, so that viewers can see how the player's movements affect the world. It looks good and should be good.

The main menu scene is looking super duper cool, as are the new tools. They got a good look to them.

Menu Scene
Team-themed Controllers
They gloo


Finally we spent some time making a cool poster for the final showcase. It's more colorful than our previous one for sure.

Draft 1
Draft 2


Alright that's enough for now I'm going to bed.

Pros:
  • Lots of cool visuals happening inside the build now
Cons:
  • I am sleep deprived

Mike Cancelosi PPJ: 5/17 - 5/23



This week I worked on the menu scene art assets. I laid it all out, and it is looking nice. I also did a preliminary lighting job on it, and it is looking pretty great.




Hours Spent : 10 hrs
Pros: Menu is looking great!
Cons: Would've liked to test it in scene but I couldn't get to a vive this week.

Tyler Schacht PPJ: 5/17 - 5/23

This week I spent more time on the Main Menu scene.  Cancelosi and I were working on it together.  I got many of the functions in with the main menu however, I am going to need to get help from one of the coders to integrate the widget interaction component into the main player tool.  By using the main tool already, this allows us to place a ball in the main scene so that players can get the hang of the gravity whip mechanic before even starting the tutorial or the main game.
The rest of my time was taken up by recording footage for new Showcase videos and the trailer.  There was a lot that went wrong, source control issues, files corrupting, resetting up Vives, etc. etc.

Work in progress shot (smiley face isn't final)

Total hours: 13
- Main menu: 5
- Slide Rehearsal: 2
- Footage Capture: 6

Positives: Main menu is coming along nicely.

Negatives: Having a hard time remembering lines and the footage capture took so much longer than it should've.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cory Zicolella PPJ: 5/17 - 5/23

This week was quite the experience in dealing with technical difficulties.

Me, as well as half of the art team essentially were stranded in project manager hell for about 7 hours; it all stemmed from a single file being committed but not yet pushed to the build while a push occurred.

Needless to say it was a pretty lengthy setback and one that cost more than the alotted time of the meaning, and forced all the planned work (such as capturing material for the trailer and showcase) further into that night.  And even after we just gave up and moved entirely to another PC, the build we were creating crashed, so the footage we were left with to use includes all the debug scripts.

With all that being said, this week I utilized what footage we managed to get. I made all of the videos we will be using in our showcase, which includes both real life and game footage so people can better understand what the Vive VR is like if they aren't familiar.

The art team also collaborated and had several dry runs of the project to hopefully get that in order for ouyr next presentation.  It was needed as practice always is.

Overall, this week I'm pretty happy that I was capable of making the trailer even with a very small amount of debug footage.  This just means that next week we'll have to definitely get clean video that I can use, and preferably more of it, in order to make a nice draft 2 trailer.

Ryan Badurina PPJ: 5/17 - 5/23

Some good news, but overall, a noticeable lack of productive progress this week.

I was able to get the project working again on my personal computer, but unfortunately the arena level won't load correctly because all of the assets are not downloading for me.  This seems to be an issue relating with source control, as we had a lot of issues with it during our weekly meeting over the weekend.

This is what happens whenever I load the project on my end, and why I cannot do any proper work for the game at the moment...


Hello darkness my old friend...


The level does load on the replay lab computers, but unfortunately I have been unable to have the time before the meeting or after it (due to classes) to go into the level, record new sequencer footage, and create unique GIFs of the gameplay from cameras other than the player camera.

Time:
  -FIXING THE PROJECT!!!:  7 Hours
  -Team Meeting(s):  5 Hours
  -Trailer Recording:  1 Hour
  -Source Control:  2 Hours

Total Time: 15 Hours

Pros:
  -Project finally reopens,

Cons:
  -Level isn't opening.  Can't record s---...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Daniel Ingman PPJ: 5/17 - 5/23

This week I implemented the new tool textures into the build. They're nice. They have glowy bits that shine in the darkness.



Controllers in-engine

 
Material network (almost done, few more maps to put in)
They are currently playable in-game, and within the next few days will switch to correspond with the team that the player selects. Right now the tool takes a colorless default team color.

In addition, our team spent a great deal of time recording new footage for our presentation. It will be far nicer to have up-to-date footage as well as synced footage of the player in-game.

Finally, I spent what little time I had left making our showcase poster look cool.


Total time spent: 16 hours
  • Final textures and implementation: 6 hours
  • Recording footage: 6 hours
  • Final Poster Design: 4 hours
Pros:
  • Tool textures finally in
  • Recorded a wealth of new footage for our presentation
Cons:
  • Recording footage took far too long
  • Git issues/build issues
  • So much to do, so little time

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Team PPJ: 5/9 - 5/16

This week was a pretty productive week all around. Our biggest priority was nailing down a better way to capture footage of our game that doesn't involve shaky headcam. Spoiler alert: this is pretty damn hard to do and there's practically no resources on how to do it. We're pretty sure we've arrived at a solution using Unreal's sequencer tool, which is usually used to record cutscenes/cinematics (but we could easily repurpose it for our needs).

On the coding side, an "easy mode" AI was created in order to allow the player to select difficulty levels, and it's now possible to score against him as he won't grab the ball %100 of the time. The main menu also got some work done, and it's coming along nicely.

Going forward we'll be working full time on recording gameplay footage and people actually playing our game in the Vive in order to deliver the best presentation we can.

Pros:
  • Good work done
Cons:
  • Didn't have sequencer solution figured out in time for the presentation

Daniel Ingman PPJ: 5/9 - 5/16

This week I got a good amount done on the tool and AI textures. They'll be ready for implementation this week (at long last). The only thing that needs doing is a finishing touch of corporate branding. I have set up a material in UE4 that will allow me to swap out differing detail maps while keeping much of the base texture the same.

All the maps I export


In addition, I spent quality time with the team tuning up our presentation and prepping it for launch. We've taken a lot of good criticism to heart and while it's still rough we think we'll have a good thing to show the faculty.

Overall, a productive week.

Total time spent: 10 hours
  • AI Texture: 4 hours
  • Tool Texture: 4 hours
  • Presentation work: 2 hours
Pros:
  • Good, productive work.
Cons:
  • A massive paper from another class is looming.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cory Zicolella PPJ: 5/9 - 5/16

This week was more focused on the presentation on my end.  I've had a rather heavy workload from my other classes, so I've had to pay more attention to them lately.

That being said, I started organizing everything having to do with ordering our shirts, as well as helped edit the WIP video.  I started re-cutting from that same footage to create a new backer for our website, but I realized what I was given was a debug recording and after I'd spent some time on it I realized it would be better to wait until I had non-debug footage that looks like it didn't emerge out of our garage of tricks.  I also plan to create gifs once I get similar footage.

We also spent a few hours art-side going over the presentation, the notes from last week, and tuning up our showcase stuff.  It still needs work and updates, but it should overall be an improvement from last week.

Moving forward, I plan to create iterations of our final trailer for the showcase and help anywhere else as much as I can.

Tyler Schacht PPJ: 5/9 - 5/16

This week has been rough.  Most of my classes have a lot of larger scale projects due this week.  I never feel like I have enough time.  I was working on the main menu scene just kind of blocking out where things should go in UE4 and then I have started some extremely beginning phases of needed geometry.  Then as a team we fixed up and rehearsed our Showcase slides.

Total hours: 3
- Main menu: 1
- Slide Rehearsal: 2

Positives: Nothing really positive to report

Negative: I feel myself slowing down because of all of my other classes.

Ryan Badurina PPJ: 5/9 - 5/16

A lot of work done, yet in the end UE4 f---s me over.

So, after much debate, we needed to find ways of recording in-game footage without using the Player Camera.  I was able to record the actions of the "Actors" of the scene using the Sequence Recorder and effectively create a "Replay" of the gameplay for use in cutscenes.  For our case, we would use this feature to get real-time gameplay from camera angles other than the player, something we were hit with in the past.

Unfortunately, I spent much of the past two days trying to get the recording to work, yet Unreal isn't linking the cinematic camera as the main output camera.  Sometimes when I try to capture video the engine crashes, and the most recent crash actually corrupted the project, pushing my work back and forcing me to delete it for redownload from the server.  If I had proper images to help convey my progress I would, but unfortunately the crashes removed much of my progress of what I hoped to accomplish.

Time:
  -Record Gameplay with Sequencer: 1 Hour
  -Edit Recorded Gameplay for Export: 4 Hours
  -Attempt to Export Gameplay to video file: 3 Hours
  -Presentation Work and Rehearsal:  2 Hours

Total Time: 10 Hours

Pros:
  -We have a means of recording in-game footage without using the player camera.

Cons:
  -Sequencer hates me for trying to render out stuff it doesn't like and crashed my project in the process.  Set back until I'm able to properly record footage.

Mike Cancelosi PPJ: 5/9 - 5/16


This week I started final textures for some arena assets, like the spiral and lights. Unfortunately I don't have pictures on this computer, I'll upload them when I can.

Hours Spent : 8 hrs

Pros: It's looking good!
Cons: Spent a little too much time trying to match the color scheme.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Team PPJ: 5/2 - 5/9

A common theme this week amongst the DIGMs was that of midterms. It was week 5 so it was to be expected but yeah, that's a big thing that happened. It meant that people who were usually more productive found themselves a bit less so than usual.

What did get done was good work though. We had been having issues with the collisions between the ball and the arena, and we were able to work out a slightly jankytm solution that ended up taking care of that issue. In a related area, a couple CCI members worked on adjusting the physics of these collisions in order to prevent dead balls.

A large amount of billboards for the outer environment were made and implements and they just look darn good. As well, the textures for the AI and tools are near complete.

We were able to get in touch with and meet our sound dudes, and they are on board with our timeline and should have some more sound effects in the next couple of weeks.

Overall, a slower week than usual. However this week is going to be a busy one in order to make sure we have good stuff to show to the faculty.

Pros:
  • Moderately productive
  • Sound dudes on board
Cons:
  • Midterms

Daniel Ingman: 5/2 - 5/9 PPJ

This week I continued work on the AI and tool models. However, I was severely hampered by a large amount of work from other classes. Therefore, I'm still not finished with them and will be using the next week to get everything ready for implementation.

As well, I looked into the creation of an animated texture for our AI robot's face, but didn't get very far. Initial experiments are promising and I think I'll be able to get something cool in the next couple of weeks.

I also met with our sound people on Sunday and caught them up to speed. They said they should have some good stuff in a couple weeks, which is convenient because that's about all the time we can really afford.

Also I talked with the head of VR club about finding a solution for capturing mixed reality, which is definitely a big thing since it means we won't have to show shaky headcam anymore.

Total time spent: 9 hours
  • AI texture: 2 hours
  • Tool texture: 2 hours
  • Showcase presentation work: 3 hours
  • Animated texture explorations: 2 hours
Pros:
  • Moderately productive this week
  • Sound dudes back on the track yo
Cons:
  • Midterms/Papers ('tis the season)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tyler Schacht: 5/2 - 5/9 PPJ

This week I worked on fixing up the collisions of the arena.  Since the beginning of the project we have been generating the collisions for the capsule by using the mesh and converting every face to be a collision surface.  We used the "Complex as Simple" option in UE4.  For better results, I created a bunch of convex shapes that border the capsule.  By doing this the game should have a better grasp with collisions.

Total hours: 2 hours

Positives: We now have a much better way of collisions.  Plus, I learned that this is a much better system for calculating collisions

Negatives: I didn't work on the goal as I intended.

Mike Cancelosi: 5/2 - 5/9 PPJ


This week I worked on developing an alpha for the billboards to switch between multiple advertisements. It isn't currently implemented, but as Cory is just about to finish all the advertisements, it should be shortly. I also began texturing the lights that going around the stadium, but they are very preliminary.


Hours Spent : 5
 Pros: Billboards should look real nice when they are implemented
Cons: Been caught up with other classes and work, havent dedicated as much time as  I would have liked this term.

Cory Zicolella: 5/2 - 5/9 PPJ

*claps hands* This week was all about actually getting those ads onto the billboard I made weeks ago.  This proved harder to do than anticipated, largely because the billboards and art I made weren't scalable in a uniform fashion.  It is a lesson learned, and next time I will think ahead so this issue isn't run into again.  I also ran into an issue where Maya wasn't cooperating,  so I had to take time to troubleshoot that; luckily, it is fixed.

Had I made uniform canvases for the ads in Photoshop the corresponded to the UVs of the billboard, I wouldn't have to extend the art because the edges of what I made would reach the edge of the UVs.  Alas, this was not the case, and so all of my time was devoted to making these ads somewhat presentable on the billboard, mostly because this week I also had midterms which ate up alot of previous project time I had.

*Note:  All billboards will be placed somewhere in the mid ground, not front and center.  Some ads are meant to be placed on the stadium walls, closer to the player.  I'll be tackling that next.  These are also alot darker than they'll appear in game.


I plan to extend the LED effect on this one to the yellow edges, I just wanted to get the others done as priority,












Ryan Badurina: 5/2 - 5/9 PPJ

I'll be honest.  This week was chaotic.

Midterms happened with many of my classes, some in person and some online, some in the form of project-based homework, so all of my time was spent in other classes rather than with Senior Project.  I was able to work with my teammates on some presentation work, but that is about it.

Side Note: Creating locomotion animations for game engines is VERY time consuming.

Time:
  -Showcase Presentation Draft: 2 Hours

Time I would have wanted to spend:
  -Asset Material Updates: 3 Hours
  -Code Team Color Changing to Objects: 4 Hours

Total Projected Time: 9 Hours
Total Actual Time:  2 Hours

Pros:
  -Nothing.

Cons:
  -Midterms.  Nuf' said.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Team PPJ 4/25 - 5/2

In terms of productivity, this week was mixed. Some members of the DIGM side were more productive than others, but some experienced a notable lack of progress this week. Some were due to midterms and others were probably fighting aliens or something. Regardless, this week was subpar in terms of productivity.

Next week we plan to make an executive decision whether or not the ionizer will make it into our showcase build. If it's not feasible to include it then, we will be pushing its addition to a later date, post-graduation. There's enough code there that it could be an interesting mechanic, but there are still critical VFX and sound assets that need to be implemented in order to allow it to function properly in gameplay, and with much of the DIGM team hard at work on other high-priority fixes the fate of the ionizer looks grim. Tomorrow's meeting will be where we make our final call on the ionizer.

CCI-wise, there has been good progress. Performance is back up, documentation is being steadily produced (including a brand-new test document), and AI adjustments are being addressed.

We plan to partner with VR club in the next two weeks in order to gather more feedback.

Pros:
  • Good work on the CCI side this week
Cons:
  • Subpar work from the DIGM side this week

Tyler Schacht 4/25 - 5/2 PPJ

Not much to comment on at the moment.  Waiting for certain assets to be completed so I can further work on the main menu.  In the meantime I was looking up how to make better textures (not really helping tbh).

Total hours: 2 hours

Positives: Can't really say there was any.

Negatives: Spent time and it hasn't helped me in the slightest.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ryan Badurina: 4/25 - 5/1 PPJ

Welp, midterms came around faster than I thought.  Back into the grinder.

My weekdays were spent working on assignments for other classes such as Digital Media Seminar and Social Problems, while I spent half of my weekend taking a much needed vacation away from school and away from Family problems.  I needed to clear my mind and become fully ready to finishing the last few weeks of the term.

I did look into the Goal Materials, and the naming structure is currently a mess, as it's difficult to tell where each material is and what it holds.  However, I was able to dissect some of the Goal Materials (which uses a few) and find the pieces that allow me to alter the color of the various parts.  I'm still trying to work with the inner goal material, but I was able to get the outer goal material ready for when we program team colors into the game.



Original Material.



Dissected Location for Team Color changing.



In level results.

Again, not too much progress on my end, unfortunately, but there is progress being made, and the goal looks a lot more pronounced that it had before.

Time:
  -Arena Goal Material Update: 4 Hours
  -Team Color Changing Research:  1 Hour

Total Time:  5 Hours

Pros:
  -Steady progress is being made despite the business of the term.

Cons:
  -Still busy as usual after f---ing up my credit count.  I blame Drexel for not being specific in regards to Co-op credits...

Mike Cancelosi 4/25 - 5/2 PPJ


This week I did nothing.  I feel bad.

Hours spent: 0

:(

Daniel Ingman 4/25 - 5/2 PPJ

This week I didn't get a lot done. I continued exploring substance painter and I did make progress, but I had to re-UV the AI model in order to prepare it for an animated face texture and besides that it was slow progress on the textures themselves. In addition, I had a larger-than-usual amount of work from other classes this week which most definitely drained me of free time (that and Subnautica).

Next week I'll be pushing hard to finish and implement the textures for the AI and player tools.

Total time spent: 8
  • AI texture work: 2 hours
  • AI UV rework: 2 hours
  • Tool texture work: 4 hours
Pros:
  • I got some work done
Cons:

  • I felt very unproductive which ain't good for morale

Cory Zicolella 4/24 - 5/2 PPJ

This week I put my foot on the brakes slightly, as I had other work stacking up from the increase in production over the past couple weeks.  If my predictions are correct, all my other class work should start to taper off in another one or two weeks, allowing me more time to allocate towards the project.

That being said, this week I did alot of background work.  Firstly, I created the post on the Shadow Circuit game page, which took about an hour of my time to get the correct language and being able to fill in the gap of time where the team hasn't responded to those who have paid for the game.

Following this, I did alot of work researching the possibilities of screen printers for shirts, when it comes time for that.  Better to get the research and decisions in earlier, rather than later, and leave time for shipping.  That took three hours and I made a spreadsheet of it all for internal use.

Then, the last thing I did was I created one more ad, using a combination of new media and old matte paintings from around week 2 of term 1.


Even though I know I did less this week, I still felt productive, and I think that's important to keep morale high and productivity going through these last several weeks.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mike Cancelosi 4/18 - 4/24 PPJ


This week I was caught up with other things so unfortunately i didnt get much done. I did iterate on the lights in the arena, give them a dynamic glow effect.

Hours Spent : 5 hours

Pros : glow looks cool

Cons :  Very unproductive for this class this week.

Team PPJ 4/18 - 4/24

This week was another productive week (I'm going to have to think of a new way to start team PPJs). We started the week early with a playtest session hosted by Drexel's VR Club, in which we gained some valuable feedback and were able to observe new players jump into our game for the first time.

More work was done on our new main menu. A majority of this work was back-end functionality, as that's something that Tyler has been running into snags with. However, he's making good progress. Cory diligently continued to create promotional material to populate our background cityscape with, and I can tell he's having fun. Soon we'll have a large variety of colorful billboards to choose from. As well, we began the process of color-changing materials that will match the team you pick at the start of the game.

On the backend, the CCI team made good progress in performance improvements. We were able to discern unnecessary lights as the cause of performance issues, and a summary cleanup was able to swiftly fix those lights and restore a good measure of performance. While we're not quite up to a standard 90fps, we were able to get up to the range of 60 - 70fps on the lab computers, which is a big milestone. The CCI team has been diligently working on documentation (as always) to prepare for their Tuesday presentation.

All in all, a good week. Our current build is still unstable, but we're planning to push a new stable build out to Steam by the end of the week.

We also made some money off Steam, so uncork the champagne and bust out the fancy cigars

Pros:
  • Large improvements in performance
  • Lots of visual progress
Cons:
  • Current build still unstable

Daniel Ingman 4/18 - 4/24 PPJ

This week, I spent time working on the AI model and the subsequent textures. I plan to use substance painter to texture the AI character, but since I'm not familiar with the program I mostly watched tutorials in order to learn the basic functions and begin some preliminary tests. I'm giving myself one more week to learn the program, otherwise I'll be going back my standard texturing workflow.








Otherwise, the AI model is UV'd and ready for rigging, and this week I'll be handing off the task of rigging to another teammate.

Total time spent: 12 hours

  • AI model tweaks: 2 hours
  • AI model UVs: 2 hours
  • Substance Painter tutorials: 8 hours

Pros:

  • Learning a new program is fun and exciting

Cons:

  • Learning a new program is also time consuming

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tyler Schacht 4/18 - 4/24 PPJ

This week I spent a decent amount of time banging my head against a desk trying to figure out how to have multiple widgets to work together.  Basically, I want to have it so our options are on different monitors (so it works well in VR) and if one option is "clicked" the other options change if it was affected off of that click.


Blueprint to change just the teams (multiple function calls not shown)

Total Hours: 10 hours
- Coding / Searching: 8 hours
- Design: 2 hours

Positives: I was able to figure out most of the Widget situation.

Negatives: Due to how long it took me, I wasn't able to work on art for the main menu

Cory Zicolella 4/18 - 4/24 PPJ

This week I did plenty! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

So I started out this week with doing more ad-work.  It was split between multiple days, but this is where I started.  Much the same processes as last time.



Following this, I did the trailer draft!


I also helped create the WIP for this week, and the CCI team on the side by searching through old footage and snagging good clips for gifs to use in our documentation.  Along with this, I organized the playtest data and exported it so the group had access.

So, all in all it was very busy, and I had much to do.  I'll let the work speak for itself this week.

Ryan Badurina: 4/18 - 4/24 PPJ

A lot of research is currently being done in terms of handling team colors and how selecting a team in he main menu will change the various assets to reflect those teams.  I polished up and created different Team Plate Assets that represent the three teams of our game (extremely simple job).

I've also been continue my team-color updates to various assets already in the game, like the goal.  While the physical goal is going to take a bit more time to work with because of the number of materials and textures on it, I did do work on the Goal Net and find a way to manipulate the color to match the selected team.



The original complex material for the net.



Add a simple multiply and vector, and viola!



In-game/in-editor effect.

The means of changing the color is there, not it's just a matter of programming the color to change based on the selected team.  There is still a lot of work ahead of us for this, and I'll continue helping with this until something else arises.

Time:
  -Presentation Polish: .5 Hours
  -Arena Goal Material Update: 1.5 Hours
  -Team Color Changing Research:  1 Hour
  -Team Plate Adjustments: .5 Hours

Total Time:  3.5 Hours

Pros:
  -Steady progress is being made on the art side in making a more cohesive artistic approach.

Cons:
  -Progress is rather slow as we figure out the best way to program team colors into the assets.  It may require direct manipulation of textures outside of the engine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Playtest link!

ShadowCircuitBeta_Test1

Team PPJ 4/11 - 4/18

This week, the DIGM team is back in the saddle in full swing. Several critical assets have received updates and attention that they sorely needed. We created some cyberpunk billboards for our outer city, the AI model gained a new, updated model, the UI is being rebuilt with Unreal 4.15's new functionality, the player platform material has been updated, and the transition between main menu and arena was improved. All in all, a productive week for the DIGM side.

The CCI side is focusing on documentation as well as performance updates. Since the transition to 4.15.1, we've noticed that our framerate took a serious dive. The DIGM and CCI side spent a good amount of time investigating this and hopefully we'll have it running at a silky-smooth 90fps by the time the showcase rolls around.

Here's a nice compilation of images from this week:

fast

(ad space)

dfajk

waffle man

choose your fighter

in russia, tv watches you


Going forward we'll be continuing to polish our art assets as well as address performance issues.

Also, if any of you senior project people are reading this, we're demoing our project at VR club tomorrow in the Mocap room, 9pm. Come try the game and fill out an exciting survey!

Pros:
  • DIGM team was very productive this week
Cons:
  • Exact causes of performance drops are still unclear