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How to... build a strong art concept.

So you want to make some art assets for your game. The first on the list is a Steampunk Revolver for your main character to shoot up Cthulhu with. Quickly opening your internet browser you start with a Google image search. Ah, there is is!

It might be a good idea to find a few influences so you don't accidentally end up copying a famous design.

Just mash them up and you're ready to go! Off to your favorite modeling program.
But wait! isn't there more to building a strong design concept than that?

Of course there is.
One of the diseases of modern design is that of recursion. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. This is especially a problem with "historical" concepts. Over the course of that recursive process the concept becomes infected with modern design elements, and ends up looking very similar to everything else that anyone else has ever made.
If you want to come up with a really fresh idea, you have to get beyond secondary references and go look at real …
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Make your game models POP with fake rim lighting.

I was watching one of my son's cartoons today and I noticed they models were using serious amounts of simulated rim lighting. Even though it wasn't a dark scene where you'd usually see such an effect, the result was actually quite effective.

The white edge highlighting and ambient occluded creases give a kind of high contrast that is similar to, but different from traditional comic book ink work.

I'll be honest, I don't know if there's a specific term for this effect in 3d design, since my major at university was in traditional art. I learned it as part of photography.

You can find plenty of tutorials on "what is rim lighting" for photography. It basically means putting your main sources of light behind your subject so that they are lit around the edges. It can produce very arresting photographs, either with an obvious effect when used on a dark subject...

..,or as part of a fully lit scene to add some subtle highlights. See how alive the subject look…

Vinland MK 3

It's been a while since I posted here. I worked hard on Vinland; 1936 and got a playable demo up and running. But there were quite a few problems with it.

I could have continued with the project as it was and finished adding all the art resources, but the game seemed so flawed that it just wasn't worth the effort.

So once again I'm starting out from scratch. This time I'm going to be taking on board some gameplay elements that I've picked up from some other games I've played recently. I'm also going to avoid adding any art until the gameplay is all finished.

For now I'm using some stand in assets that I created this afternoon;

With luck I should be able to get the game to a playable state quite quickly. This time I'm going to get testers to try it out before spending any time on art assets.

Building damage

It's been a while since I posted here because I'm moving most publicity for this game over to a facebook page. You can see it here.

Right now I'm working on buildings, I've done a mock up of some to show the damage progression from pristine to bullet marked to fully destroyed.

There are some buildings at the back which are going to be used for a different map type, the "destroyed city" map. I hope to have several different map types, including winter and fall, desert and this one. It will represent later parts of the game where the defenders have fallen back to positions in their cities and are fighting desperate urban warfare. 

More rockets and tech timeline.

I greatly reduced the rate of fire of the rockets and made them smaller. A single 60mm rocket now takes up the same space as a machine gun. A single vehicle should mount a large number of rockets to take advantage of their power.

I also added a delay after a weapon is successfully fired. This means the rockets will fire in a staggered volley instead of all at once. I tried both styles and this looks better and creates less logic spikes.

I think it needs more smoke and I'll be adding some rocket trails too.

I'm still unsure of where to put the rockets in the tech ladder. In real life the Russians developed their rockets before the German invasion. They were first deployed in 1941.

These early rockets were quite small though larger ones were developed later.
The Germans designed and tested their first rockets as early as 1940 but they were not deployed until 1941. Larger rockets were introduced later.

The rockets weren't mounted on vehicles until 1943, by which time the Amer…


I finished working on the code for adding foliage and having some extra time I decided to experiment with the code for rockets.

The original idea I had was that rockets would be large vehicle components that can be fired very quickly, regardless of how much manpower is used for reloading.

They would use up a lot of ammo, so they would run dry after a short but devastating barrage.
The problem here is that it's easy to take advantage of this by adding a lot of ammo, which is much smaller than in bulk than the rockets.

There's also the problem of firing large caliber rockets. In real life rockets of up to 30cm were used, but I think that will be too powerful for the scale of combat in this game.

lol. Somehow that one trooper survived the mother of all explosions...

A 30cm rocket could contain nearly 30KG of explosive. That would be a very large explosion.

I've tried to balance the game by using a simple equation to make bigger guns more powerful, but hopefully not too powerf…

Special effects.

Right now I'm working on the game's effects. Explosions, physical reactions, sounds etc...

It's not easy to add really great effects without putting a drain on the Blender Game engine, so things will be as good as I can make them, but not at the expense of frame rate.

Here's an enemy tank being bombarded by rockets. Hits by enemy weapons cause a vehicle to shake and rock. Later there will be more effects, such as rocket trails and a big explosion when the vehicle is destroyed.

Here some infantry are getting hit by small arms fire. You can see the red section of their status bar increasing. This shows they are heavily shocked. When that happens their rate of fire and accuracy is decreased and they also can't move quickly.

Finally here are some PBIs getting hit by automatic 40mm cannon fire. Machine guns and auto-cannons are very effective against enemy troops out in the open. The large caliber model also does splash damage, increasing the damage and shock value it c…