Animation On the Way

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Since the 1st Intensive , Animation has involved a lot of back and forth between Blender and Unity, We are constantly testing the Animation before we do too much of it and we’ve made a lot of progress.

Adult Skihioti can now Walk, Run , Get Hit, Get Hit and Die and shoot from his Bow and Arrow.We even managed to go back to the Assets list and fix bug from the 1st Intensive. We now have a new list of things to complete until our next intensive and we’re still going full speed.

Towana and Tarte have also been doing some animations. Towana is doing amazing work with Adult Skihioti’s Lacrosse stick Animations, while Tarte is kicking some serious butt with the flying head animations. “Good work guys keep up the good work”!!!!

Last week Bronson and I worked constantly on Adult Skihioti’s Bow and Arrow animations,

and we are pleased to say that he can Run and Shoot and the same time, and more importantly, he actually pulls the arrows from his Quiver. It’s gonna be awesome

Now as we head close to the final Intensive, we’ve asked everyone to complete each of the tasks assigned to them. Hang in there Guys

New programmers are born

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

This week Bronson and Joachim gave our students Lisa and Nather a taste of programming in Unity.  Their first assignment was to modify Skahion:hati’s behaviour script so that he could fly.  Through this the students learned all about functions, variables, branches, and logic.  We were really impressed by how quickly the students caught on, especially Lisa who had no previous programming experience.


Skahion:hati flying like Neo

After a short youtube break, Bronson and Joachim presented their second assignment: create a log which must be knocked over using a tomahawk in order for Skahion:hati to cross a pit.  Nather and Lisa did an amazing job and finished the assignment faster than expected.  Through this assignment the students learned about 3D transformations and colliders.

Skahion:hati reaches the impassable pit

Skahion:hati triumphantly crosses the pit

We’re extremely proud of our burgeoning programmers!  Stay tuned for progress updates from the other Skins members.

After the First Intensive

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We’ve already made a lot of progress! After looking at all our assets, we have a list of things to complete until our next intensive, we’re still going full speed ahead!

Our industry guests had some great constructive criticism for us. We are still fine-tuning some of the details, but are working hard to breathe some more life into our virtual world, while getting our game mechanics down pat.

For next time, we’ve asked everyone to complete the following tasks:

  • Nather: texture various items from asset list, check priorities as you go.
  • Towanna: finish the Skahion:hati adult walk cycle.
  • Jerron: finish the digital inking for the cutscene files Nancy gave you.
  • Owisokon: continue to teach Blender to Jerron, and help with digital inking if necessary.
  • Tathe: our multi-tasker! You have a long list… You know what you have to do! If not, email us.
  • Lisa: fill the longhouse with more stuff. It should be packed full, as though people are living there!
  • Kahentawaks: you are animating our cutscenes. Please email Nancy for tasks if you have any questions.
  • Lance: have the female NPC modelled (low poly and high poly), UV mapped, and normal mapped by July 3rd.

The screenshots I’m posting are of Towanna’s fish (looks awesome!) and Skahion:hati mid-animation.
Keep up the great work; everything is looking amazing!!!

See you all on the 19th!

Unity, Digital Inking & After Effects

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Our 5th session and we are beginning to get back into the Unity environment! For the first time of what will probably be many, the team was required to split up while we learned our lessons. The reason for this was for both focus and efficiency: the students are now able to choose and improve their preferred specializations as opposed to being “jacks of all trades”.

Lisa and Nather joined programmers Chris and Bronson in a refresher lesson on Unity basics. Together, they were reminded of how to set up a  file, begin to model terrain, texture it, add trees, grass, wind as well as import assets from Blender.

Meanwhile, in the larger lab, the remainder of the participants began lessons on digital inking and After Effects. Each participant got their hands on a wacom tablet and pen as well as an example pencil sketch, which we all then began to “ink”. Basically, this means that the paper sketch was used as a template which was drawn over in much higher resolution with black outlines. This allows traditional pencil artists to convert their work into a more pleasing, non-pixelated format on screen.

After the sketch was “inked”, it was then grouped into layers for each body part. This was in preparation for animation, so that the character body, arms, and head could be moved separately as well as the boat and water.

The next step afterwards was to bring these layers into After Effects and animate them! First, Nancy taught the group the basics of this new and powerful software, including using live links with Photoshop so that images could be adjusted live (meaning an open file in Photoshop can have its colors adjusted, and the changes will instantly show up in the After Effects composition which includes said Photoshop file).

A lot of progress was made and a lot of fun had! Our next meeting will be for the week long intensive May 21st where we aim to complete rough cuts of the cinematics as well as a playable demo.

Looking forward to it!

Prototype Complete & Animation (Rigging/Skinning)

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Our compliments to all the Skins3.0 participants! Our 4th session is wrapped up and already a lot of progress has been made. We opened today with reviewing the paper prototype and filling in the few details that remained so that the programmers can begin fleshing out the map grid. A couple of key design decisions were settled, including placing the 2nd village at the highest point on the edge of a rocky cliff (in the style of Edinburgh Castle). However, since this village is in ruins, half of it has crumbled into the water below. This is a striking detail that will add some definition to both the story and the landscape.

Another important step forward was naming both the newly merged game AND the two villages. Seeing as the Skins1.0 production was titled “Otsi:! Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legendsand the Skins2.0 game was The Adventures of Skahion:hati: The Legend of the Stone Giant”, the participants of Skins3.0 appropriately titled their collaborative work “Skahion:hati: Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends”.

After settling on that title, the team did some research into past Mohawk villages and what their naming conventions were. We found two existing sites that had perfect names for our two fictional, neighboring villages. Skahion:hati’s original village where he heads off to fight the stone giant is now named Osquake, which translates to “under the rock”, the old village which has been terrorized and destroyed by the giant head is now called Onoalagona, which means “Big Head”, and the waterfall area where the battle with the stone giant takes place has been nicknamed Ohneka, meaning “water”.

Before getting into the technical animation lesson, everyone showed what they had made over the break and committed their files to SVN. We now have a rattle added to our list of 3D assets, made by Lisa, a club added by Lance, a beautiful intro animation by Towanna, more longhouse details by Nather and an update script by Tathe.

Seeing as everyone seemed to have a good handle on 3D modeling and texturing, we moved on to animation. The lesson began with learning to move an object (in this case, it was a 3D model of Pacman) using keyframes to animate its basic attributes of location, rotation and scale. Next, the students learned how to build a basic armature (or rig) for a simple object in order to animate the mesh bending – as an example, we all made a skeleton for our 3D Pacman so that he can do his trademark mouth opening and closing.

Last but not least, we set up a proper, full rig that was relatively simple to create using the plug-in “Rigify” that comes packaged with Blender. Almost instantly, any biped model can have a beautiful, easy to use rig applied to it with little hassle, though some skinning may have to be adjusted.

The homework for this week was, as always, to push forward with production!

Due date: May 8th

–          Tathe & Towanna will continue to refine their script so that we can officially book voice actors and recording time. Do not forget to include in-map lines and battle exclamations!

–          Now that we have a proper title, Lisa will be designing a new intro title card for the game

–          Nather & Lance will continue on various models for the game, as we will be beginning Unity next week!

As always, remember to take Jing screenshots for documentation and/or errors. You can always contact us via the google group email if there are any questions.

See you all next time!

Paper Prototyping and Texturing!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Everyone loves diving into the crafty, creative goodness of the paper prototype! As we got our hands dirty once again with pencil shavings and eraser bits, scotch tape and mactac, the game map of Skins 3.0: Extended Play began taking shape. We pulled out our story timeline and came up with solutions toward bridging some of the remaining gaps between the original Otsi:! and Skahion:hati stories.

Tehoniehtathe, our main game story writer, has sent all participants a draft of the story he’s written, and everyone will be sending him feedback to help make it even better. Towanna will begin to expand and refine the Skahion:hati story once the Otsi:! portion has been approved and finalized.

After our break, we watched the beautiful and inspiring short animation from Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Part I: “The Tale of the Three Brothers”. (Check out these sketches, too if you’re interested!) After a short discussion, Nancy led a review on Tortoise SVN, highlighting some of the new features which will make using SVN a lot more user-friendly. Case in point: less password entry!
Next, we moved on to showing off everyone’s progress.

All 3D modellers were to model an asset for the game, using the Student Asset List as a guide. Although we are never surprised by the immense amount of talent the participants of this workshop bring to the table, we were pleasantly surprised to discover the level of detail they decided to go into for this week! Lance made an awesome quiver of arrows slung across Skahion:hati’s back, using different modifiers for some beautiful stitching detail. Towanna made a diabolical “creepy tree” for the darker moods of our game, featuring twisted, gnarled branches, complete with a haunting, beckoning hand shaped right into them. Nather has revamped one of the longhouses for the game; as we were escorted through its length, the enormity of it loomed all around us. Vast and cavernous, this longhouse will soon house many beautiful objects, which will in turn breathe some life into it!

Our review on UV Mapping, Materials and Texturing will help participants polish their new additions to the game. The longhouse is hungry and waiting impatiently for satiation!

Homework for next time (April 24th):

  • Read and review Tathe’s story draft. Send feedback to the google group.
  • Perform SVN Checkout at home with Skins 3.0 address (email us if you encounter any issues)
  • Finish model(s)
  • UV Map (Unwrap) them
  • Assign Material
  • Begin Texturing!
  • Make sure to put game assets in appropriate folders on SVN.
  • In your uploaded Blender file, point to the files you need in their locations on SVN.
  • Think about the game map some more, and get ready for Paper Prototyping day #2!

Remember to take Jing screenshots of your progress, and send the link through the group email address. Show off your hard work and get feedback from the group at the same time!

See you all on the 24th

Get hands on Blender again!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Our meeting this time was mainly game design discussion and also brushing up on participants’ memories on what they learned in Skins 2.0. In order for them to be able to access their files easily at home as well as in the studio, we started off with SVN. Nancy had a little review on how to use SVN, what to do to get SVN working properly on participants’ machines. She also had a review on Jing and how useful it is to capture screen shots and save them on a computer or get a link to share it with the other teammates.

A good part of the meeting was a discussion between the participants about the game design and the cut scenes. They made a paper prototype of the game timeline to better picture what happens in the story. As a result, it was decided that the flying head is created some time in the early 1400s. Almost at the same time the people of the village in the story had made a request to move to a new land in order to survive from starvation. The village splits to those are for and against the move and a couple of years later, Skahion:hati is born. When he is a young teenager, he has to face the stone giant and defeat him.  A couple of years later, when the flying head destroys the village, he is the one that goes to fight him and that’s when Otsi begins.

The last part of this session was spent on reviewing the basics of modelling in Blender. I started with the user interface and the shortcuts for Blender. Then I talked about the necessary tools to know to be able to model. Some students like Nather and Lance got into working with Blender very quickly and were able to start producing artwork for their game. At the end of the session, the students were all assigned to model an asset from their game as homework for next time.

Things will get even more exciting next time as we get to continue working in Blender!

Skins 3.0 Extended Play Begins!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Yesterday we began the newest iteration of our Aboriginal Video Game Development Workshop.  The participants are a mix of people from the first and second workshops, as well as a few new people. This first meeting was all discussion.  Jason and I, in our role as producers, wanted to go over our goals for the workshop, and we wanted to hear the participants goals.  Happily, the two were nicely aligned: we want to finish the two games we’ve started. The first, for those of you who don’t already know, is called Otsì:! Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends. It’s a first-person shooter in which you play a hunter whose village is about to be attacked by the monstrous Flying Head.  The second, entitled Skahion:hati: The Adventure of the Stone Giant, is a third-person platformer in which a young warrior named Skahion:hati attempts to best a Stone Giant who is scaring away all the fish.

To refresh our memories, we did a play-thru of each game as they are now. This brought us to the big question: what was the best way to finish these games given our resources and what each game required to be complete? The story for Otsi is quite dark and the look-and-feel of the game was designed to reflect that.  Skahion:hati’s tale, on the other hand, about a boastful young man who is taught a lesson, is more playful and the game looks it.  But despite these differences, the two games share some important attributes.  For one thing, both stories take place in a time before European contact.  Their settings both included forest, water, and an Iroquois village of longhouses.  Both games feature a male hunter/warrior protagonist and an elder who gives him important information. Many of the props that were built for each game –including a canoe, Iroquois clay pots, lacrosse sticks, bows and arrows and a hatchet – could easily fit into either game.

We realized that we could integrate the two games nicely if we set Skahion:hati as the hero in both.  In level one, he is the same boastful young man who is sent to face the Stone Giant. He must use his smarts to best the enemy. If he succeeds, he moves on to the next level, in which he has grown up to become a strong warrior capable of facing the Flying Head. We will use the cool game mechanic from Skahion:hati in both levels. This will minimize the time spent on programming, where we have fewer resources. Two cut-scenes will be created to bridge the two levels. This will maximize time spent on storytelling, sketching and modeling, where we are resource-rich.  We will also work on creating more animations for the characters that we’ve already created.

The discussion ended with everyone taking on a task to be completed by our next meeting, in two weeks.  It was a very satisfying session! Next time, they will get back on the computers to work on Blender!

March 13th: Extended Play Student Notes

Posted by & filed under Education.

Homework for March 27th:

1. Cinematic Script for Otsi Opening Cutscene (Tathe)

2. Cinematic Script for Skahion:hati Opening Cutscene (Towanna)

Game Design Document (PRIVATE)

3. Modeling/Fixes (Nather)

4. Sketches for Skahion:hati Cutscene (Lisa)