VELVET – Project: Dragon Princess Postmortem

animation, chara-art, concept art, gamedev, maya, progress

Velvet is a character that I am quite proud of and very happy with all around. I like her original designs as well as the model and how she moved. Although very different from how I imagined it in my head at the concept stage, I’m still pretty happy with how it came out.

I was already quite happy with her original concept in the beginning but I was also glad that I went through the concepting process. I had previous ideas for this Major Project but I am also glad I made Velvet my Major Project. I knew what I wanted this character to look like but I struggled more with her personality more than anything and when I look back on just Velvet’s development in-engine, I can already see plenty of things that could be improved.

The clunky animations didn’t flow into each other as well and how I could use a better transition pose in each animation. It’s a shame that I couldn’t get the Cloth Simulation to work the way that I wanted to either but also in hindsight, I think it’s better this way. Cloth Simulation works best when you have just a cape or some small things of simulation. If the skirt was one whole layers, then it work amazingly well but I’m also happy with the fact that you can apply the simulation anywhere, like how I did with the hair. I think I got the Metroidvania style of gameplay down on a basic level but if I had the time to, I would attempt to get it to work on a more solid base. When I was gathering references on gameplay styles, I was more drawn to the Castlevania style of gameplay post-Symphony of the Night and also the tight platforming that was in Shovel Knight and how Marth/Roy played in Smash.

To be honest, I did contemplate the idea of hand-animating Velvet and making her a 2D character in 3D space but I also felt that would also take a very long time to do. If I made a mistake in my animation sprites or if I decide not to use it, it would be a lot of work just thrown down the drain. While it is something that happens, it is not as easy to remedy in 2D than it is in 3D. Also, if it was in 3D then it would probably make more sense for everything to be in 3D but in a 2D camera perspective view. If I had more time, I would program also the room-by-room camera view, I would do so.

I definitely also feel that now that I know how Unreal works, I can make better prototypes in Unreal. Learning a new pipeline and workflow is always both a challenge and necessary for when you do want to work in that pipeline. Velvet changed over time as she went through that pipeline and it was for the better!

So that was a wild ride.

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Wrapping Up

chara-art, gamedev, progress

Alrighty so, the possession power and projectile power gameplay itself is complete.

The statue is complete.

The pushing of the block is complete.

ScreenShot00024

I think overall, I learned quite a lot in the course of 2 months about Unreal. I feel like I did a lot more work than I needed to do but I don’t think having 6 weeks of absolutely nothing is a good idea either. I wanted Velvet to a game character and I said that if I had time, I would put it into Unreal so I think this is an accomplishment, all things considered.

Attacks Progress + Updating Assets

animation, chara-art, gamedev

I kinda got the telekinesis/grab power working.

Okay not really. It’s really finicky and honestly, it doesn’t work very well in a 2D sidescroller environment. It works best when it’s a First-Person game or the player can move in all directions.

After a bit of chit-chat with some pals, we both came to the conclusion that the way the grab works is that once an object overlaps another, it would be eligible to grab. I wasn’t sure how it would work until I found out that Unreal has a possession option.

So now Velvet can possess statues. I’m thinking of it working like the Dominion Rod in Zelda: Twilight Princess or the Command Melody in Zelda: Wind Waker.

So once Velvet possesses a statue, she can’t use her powers and once any┬ádamage is taken or she forcefully returns control, she goes back to player character.

unreal progress 3

Also changed up the effects a bit for something way better. Also also, the monitor on my computer is a little bit different than the monitors at Uni so I’m a little bit sceptical. A little spooked by the possibility that the results might end up being different on another screen. Regardless, I hope it all goes well.

Velvet Blueprint Progress

animation, chara-art, gamedev, maya, progress

It’s getting there! I’m pretty familiar with the whole visual coding aspect so I think everything is just me trying to understand what each node does. It’s mostly me making a sentence in my head and trying to get it working with the logic in the engine.

unreal progress_5

Character Blueprint

unreal progress_6

Chest Blueprint

unreal progress_1

Fire Attack System

unreal progress_2

Fire Particle System

And now everything makes sense to me! I’ve already gotten a prototype with basic controls for the interactive done so now I’m also learning on how to interact with other objects and whatnot.

unreal progress_3

Stage

unreal progress_4

Chest Interaction

It’s been a while. – UPDATE-

animation, chara-art, gamedev, maya, progress

Eyo!

Just wanted to make an update on the progress of Velvet the Dragon Princess (yes, she finally has a name now).

So I went through quite a bit of trouble to get my character into Unreal. Some of the animations were being exported but not others. And now that I’ve animated and exported it into Unreal, I’m slowly getting it work like a playable character in Unreal. This is more of a bonus than anything because the primary focus is on the character and getting her personality to work.

That personality thing is also quite something I had to think about because when I drew her, it was mostly focused on the character design and her relationship with the game more than anything else but not on her actual personality. With this one, I decided that she would be kinda bratty because of her being raised as royal and is emotive and expressive but understands when to stop.

ani ref

Right now, I’m more worried about getting the character to work in engine than anything else because I’ve found a way to export my character and cut out the unnecessary steps needed to export my animation.

I’m hoping to get the Blueprint done so that all I need to do is get the animations tweaked.

UVing and Texturing (2/3?)

chara-art, maya, progress

Got the hair, eyes, mouth, and back-piece UVed and applied a basic textures!

unknown7

unknown8

Face still needs work.

Now it’s just the body that needs to UV’d and then everything else is just textures and materials from here on out. I’m more or less 25% through the entire project. Once the textures are done, it’d be 50%, rigging 75% and animation will be the last and final thing along with importing the model into Unreal with cloth simulation.

UVing and Texturing (1/?)

chara-art, maya, progress

Oh boy. Just placed some basic textures to make sure everything was okay.

They are very vibrant and I’ll consider toning it down and doing some more detail work on the textures once it’s all done.

UVs are also getting increasingly more and more difficult. The only thing left to UV are the hair, eyes, mouth, and the rest of the body. I think will tackle the hair first but who knows…