Flash and Unity development

Autodesk Character Generator: Lilith

Posted by robotheadgames on October 29, 2014

Lilith was a protagonist I made for a Flash game called Punkin Smash. Basically it was Atari 2600 action with prerendered 3D graphics. Originally it was done in FlashLite as to be playable on the iRiver Clix MP3 player. It also ran well on Nokia phones. Later, it was easily ported to Flash 6 to run on the Sony PSP which was relatively new at the time. It was quite cool showing off this game running on PSP hardware.

I’ve thought of updating this game in Unity to run on PS Vita (or, well, most anything). While it’s a bit late to make a Halloween-themed game this year, Lilith may make a reappearance in the future. I decided to recreate her in Autodesk Character Generator. (See my first post on this program for more details about it.) Anyway, Lilith’s dress wasn’t going to be recreated in Character Generator but it was quite easy to make a new, different, cool character based on the sprite version:

New Lilith model in Unity.

New Lilith model in Unity.

I also thought she looked good with gothic, rather zombie-looking makeup. Maybe at some point in the game she could turn into a zombie…

Zombie Lilith

Zombie Lilith

Finally, I thought it would be funny if, as a zombie, she was taken to the hospital, where she tried to disguise herself as a doctor and create mayhem and mischief…

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Autodesk Character Generator: Creating Penny

Posted by robotheadgames on October 22, 2014

A little while back Gabriel Walter suggested Autodesk Character Generator. It’s an in-browser character designer that exports rigged, 3D models for 3ds Max, Maya or Unity. It seems like it’d be an excellent, quick way to get realistic 3D characters into your games.

Before she was pixels or voxels, Penny was one of the first human models I made in Max. She was originally supposed to be a villain turned into a Most Interesting Character a la Strong Bad. As evident in the model there’s little distinguishing about her besides having a pointy face. I decided to recreate this Penny (only more realistic) in Character Generator.

Autodesk Character Generator 1

You start with a preset model, there are a few of choices of humans, orcs, aliens, what have you. You can choose Bulk or Gorn anatomy if you want. Penny started as Eva.

Autodesk Character Generator 2

Faces can be morphed between two different presets per feature. Penny is mostly Lena and Cathy and some Amy. Pointy enough but real and she seems in character. You can choose different ethnic features or make them old, fat or zombies.

Autodesk Character Generator 3

Choosing a skin. Nice range of skin tones. Here the variations per the chosen skin set the amount of makeup, 3 choices that went from natural to drag queen. This is the middle choice. She looks a bit like Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto to be honest.

Autodesk Character Generator 4

Hair choices aren’t great. Unless you want short hair, emo hair or 90’s hair like the girls from Friends. Penny can’t have her bangs. But in her transition from 3ds Max to voxels, her hair also got bobbed anyway. And there’s a nice range of colors per style so she gets her purple hair.

Autodesk Character Generator 5

Body choices tend to the real life. This is a pretty good approximation of Penny’s original form.

Autodesk Character Generator 6

You may want to make your own clothes. I got something close to Penny’s original purple top and capri pants outfit, not the gothic lolita dress from the sprite/voxel Penny. She looks like she shops at TJ Maxx. The inclusion of military fatigues will be useful for some games.

Autodesk Character Generator export dialog

Choices for generating your character which will live on the cloud and be editable and downloadable. You buy points which enable more features.

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Low poly Penny imported into Unity and 3ds Max. Job done. Actually she looks a bit like Lena Dunham.

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Let’s Greeble! 5 Minute Cities with Greebles in 3ds Max

Posted by robotheadgames on October 20, 2014

In my first post on #5 minute cities, I mentioned the Greeble plug-in for 3ds Max. It’s a great way to add detail or even build whole cities, realistic or sci-fi. And it does take 5 minutes, and even less just to greeble. Just install the plug-in, available here for Max versions up through 2015, and select Greeble from the drop-down Modifier list. That’s it. I started with the Greebling tutorials on Digital Urban, first to greeble a skyscraper and then a whole city.

Greeble Towers

Greeble Towers. Make a shape like a cylinder, cube, tube or cone, then greeble, tweak, rinse and repeat. Tapering, twisting or skewing towers prior to greebling them can generate all kinds of interesting contemporary or futuristic shapes which are a nice alternative to boxy buildings.

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And a whole city (or part of one, really). Just make a plane (the tutorial suggests 10×10 segments) and greeble it. A bit crowded, but rather convincingly like the slightly lower-rise blocks of Manhattan. I like how the little greeble blocks on top add realism, like the HVAC units and other boxes and gizmos found on top of tall buildings.

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Copy and rotate your blocks and tweak greeble values like Seed and Max Height for variety. Add your towers in. The plainer buildings can be greebled again for more interesting geometry, though it’s starting to resemble to surface of the Death Star. (This may be good.)

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Finally, terrain objects can be greebled. Take a plane, apply Displace using a bitmap (similar to doing it in Bryce), apply Quadify Mesh and then Greeble. Since, greebling adds polys, the plane can’t be too high-res. (40×40 segments worked well.) Decreasing the number of segments and tweaking Quadify (or using Subdivide instead) can generate interesting architecture ranging from the dystopian to the downright alien.

Happy Greebling!

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Mouse Platformer: Flash and Unity Engines in Review

Posted by robotheadgames on October 9, 2014

And some thoughts on all 4 demos and their engines…

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Demos can be gotten from the Box widget at top right or here:

Edward Engine in Flash

Unity 3D

Unity 2D

Flash with Flare 3D

Reviews and engine links below the jump…

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One platform game, two more demos: Unity 2D, Flash with Flare3D

Posted by robotheadgames on October 8, 2014

2D Unity? 3D Flash? What is this witchcraft? A lot seems to have changed since I first posted my platformer demos. My recent progress in building a true 2D platformer in Unity 4 has already been pretty well documented under the Platformer tag. But I’ve also built a demo using 3D graphics and 2D movement using Flash, FlashDevelop and Flare3D.

The new demos can be gotten in .zip format from the Box widget at the top right or here: (Unity) (Flash/Flare 3D)

Screenshots and experiences follow…

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Posted by robotheadgames on September 16, 2014

I will be crossposting some of these posts over here:

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5 Minute Cities Revisited

Posted by robotheadgames on September 16, 2014

It’s been a while since I made one of these. Past entries in this series are here and here. As the linked YouTube tutorial from the first post explains, you can make these in 5 minutes. (Or a bit longer.) Using Bryce, which, while old, is very, very cheap (used to be free) and has nice, powerful tools for creating lighting and atmosphere. It’s no longer supported on Mac and won’t run in newer versions of OSX. Windows 8 is fine.

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…Default view with preset and tweaked atmospheres. More views:

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I like making them look more stylized and cartoonish. The very blue one reminds me of 16-bit city backdrops. I may use these for a shooter or perhaps a new version of my Funky Robot game. (The first game I ever made!)

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Mouse platformer update: Simple 2d enemy movement in Unity 4

Posted by robotheadgames on September 5, 2014

Finally, before going in and tweaking the mouse platformer demo, adding my own art assets, etc., I wanted to get some basic enemy action going. Baddies who’d go back and forth and you could jump on and squish them. (Or whatever happens when you jump on your enemies.)

The example project has enemy spawners sending small hordes of them down through the platforms. I liked how this worked – it reminded me of old run-and-gunners like Gunstar Heroes when there seemed impossible numbers of baddies on screen but perhaps that was just clever game design. However, it seemed like the wrong approach for my game.

For now at least, I want the whole game to be about jumping. Shooting is fine but for this game perhaps it should be limited, like Mario’s fireballs, if even. I wanted enemies my hero would jump on or punch from below while jumping. (More on this in a bit.) I also wanted two classes of enemies for now – one that flew and another that stayed on the ground. Referencing my first blog post on this subject, Edward Engine had flying enemies and the Lerpz tutorial had ones that stood around in an idle state until you got too close and then they’d attack.

However, the ground based enemies I came up with are not like the Lerpz baddies. I may make a similar class to those later. Both my classes of enemies go back and forth, presumably keeping a vigilant eye on my hero and making life hard for him

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Simple Jump Pads and Wind Zones in Unity 2D plus Errata and Lerpz Tutorial Links…

Posted by robotheadgames on August 30, 2014

First, I goofed in my last post on the mouse platformer. The platform trigger should be set to this:


Oneway should be checked OFF. Why? You only want it enabled when it is triggered. Otherwise, when enemies come down from above, they will fall through all the platforms. Note: I’m using the enemy script from the 2D example, I am not sure what the enemies will do in my final game yet. Perhaps they won’t follow physics. It will be a learning experience.

Also, if you are looking for the Lerpz tutorials I mentioned in my first post, they are gone from Unity’s site. The PDF’s can be downloaded from here (2D) and here (3D). Assets for the 2D game (actually the whole 2D Unity project) are also on GitHub. 3D assets including scripts (which aren’t fully documented in the PDF) are in this project based on Lerpz 3D. They are also probably in this game also based on Lerpz (I haven’t checked.)

Next, how to make those jump pads and wind…

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Simple One-Way Platforms in Unity 2D

Posted by robotheadgames on August 26, 2014

That’s right… 2D, not 3D…

I’ve been recently revisiting my mouse (the rodent, not the controller) platformer and I wanted to try out Unity’s relatively new 2D tools and see how they compared to Flash.

Note: I still like Flash, I’m quite comfortable with it as a 2D game dev tool and with AS3 but Unity has grown on me for game development.

Anyway, working from the 2D example project, all was well, except for one thing. One-way platforms. Again, you don’t get them out of the box. In 3D, as noted in the earlier post, this is easy enough to do by using a plane as a mesh collider. Unity could have made this easy in 2D by including the option of a one-way edge collider but they didn’t, edge colliders are two-way only. It seems to be a major oversight as one-way platforms are a major part of many old school 2D games. And they are an essential part of my mouse game. The entire game feels different without them.

There seems to be a good bit of demand for this feature and I found a number of solutions online. One, they have implemented a Physics2D.IgnoreCollision function in Unity 4.5 which seems to be most helpful. However, the simplest solution seems to be this one and it even works in Unity 4.3:

By Sudhir Attri. (Thanks dude!) Basically you make an empty GameObject as a child of your platform, give it a box collider that sits right below your platform and make it a trigger that turns the platform’s collider on and off. (Dead simple with their script.) That way your character can jump up through the platform and land on top of it. Success!

Except there is a problem. This only works once per game. Let’s say my mouse falls down from a higher platform and has to go back up. But he can’t, as the one-way platforms he’s passed through are no longer one-way and are blocking his way. This will not do.

Here is the solution I came up with. It’s simple: 

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