Will It Blend?

This week I found a couple of hours to learn how to build landscapes within Blender. With a couple of strokes of the mouse I was able to throw up mountains and sculpt plains. I even conjured a couple of houses and trees. I was feeling the powers of divinity course through my veins when I remembered that I was just a dude sitting in front of a computer eating chips. There was some clicking on things going on as well.

At first I was unsure of what kind of landscape I wanted to build so I set up a flat plane and started to sculpt it. As a visual learer I love being able to watch someone make something and then try it myself. For that reason I recorded myself making a simple landscape that you can watch here:

I’ve only been fumbling around with modeling for a couple hours now so please don’t judge the jumpiness too harshly. Or judge it, this is the internet after all.

After building the land I decided to plop some trees and some houses onto it. I decided that I would build them from scratch because I was bold and didn’t want to cheat by using a frame from online. I realized how hard of work this is and understand why a lot of artists opt to download textures and features that allow them to build realistic looking things more quickly. If a 3D artist spent all his or her time building everything from scratch it would take hours upon hours to get anything to look good. In a way artists are combining pieces from everywhere to make art, which in my opinion is what they were all doing in the first place before computers ever existed. Here are the results of my playing around with a sandy texture and modeling some simple objects:

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 5.25.53 PM

As you can see I’m still working on it, and I do when I get time. I’ll post some more updates on my landscape in the future as it improves. In the mean time I need to learn how to stop accidentally hitting my knee whenever I get up from my chair.

Seriously. It hurts.

How Many Animators Can You Fit in a Clown Ship?

Because we all work day jobs it’s hard sometimes to keep up with all the Binary Cocoa goodness. Like a lot of game artists and programmers, we work long hours during the day and then devote as much of our free time as possible to our latest projects. Learning Blender is both exciting and time-consuming, but I’m slowly making progress. My newly-acquired Blender skills now include coloring 3D objects and rendering objects with manipulatable movement paths.

clown car

Clown Ship.

 Our goal is to incorporate 3D objects into Vikings. A lot of games are exporting sprite sheets from Blender that they can use in 2D games. This makes the game appear to have more depth while still viewing it from one dimension. It also saves time when you only have to draw one object, which can render and animate. For Vikings I was asked to make a coin that flipped. Using the tutorial that I referred to in my previous article I was able to accomplish this quite easily, although it may look a little cheap. Hey, I’m still getting the hang of it.

My next goal is to try to add more objects, reflections and an atmosphere. Possibly animate a gorilla eating a banana in a sauna if I’m feeling ambitious. Keep in mind that that it takes a lot of animators to make a movie or a game. Next time you watch a movie stick around for the credits to see how many animators’ names pop up. The lists are usually so long you get bored, so grab a snack while you’re at it. Then go change your laundry, because it will still be going.

Drawing Tom

Joseph and Stephen attended a tech conference in Salt Lake City in 2013 and gave a presentation on developing  2D games with the Löve framework. Part of the presentation was showing a video that showed Stephen’s drawing process at a really fast speed. Here is the video that they showed:

Binary Cocoa Has an Identity Crisis

A little more than a year ago Binary Cocoa embarked on a mission to build solid 2D video games that would be intuitive and visually excellent. As the art director, I was happy and comfortable drawing assets in Photoshop in the corner of my lair. I would spend hours stroking a green eyed cat on my lap, cackling while drawing characters and backgrounds for 2D games we were working on. Then one day the mad scientist, or Joseph, howled down from the top of the lighting filled tower and asked if I would try out something new.

This new thing was Blender, a free and open source 3D animation suite. Blender was completely new to me, but the prospect of building assets in 3D was intriguing even if the notion did seem farfetched at first. To get some help I started watching tutorial videos, and within an hour I was starting to build my own simple models. Here is the first one that I built:

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 4.01.54 PM

Is it a space station of sorts? Or is it a door knocker? I don’t have a clue myself, but I do know that it was fun to build.

I fooled around with the program a little more, trying to make a spaceship, and came out with what looked like a hot dog with extra appendages:

space hot dog

Progress was made by learning how to make things smooth by using the tools given to me, and then rendering an image of it using the camera built into the program. It also lets you adjust the lighting on your model by giving you a lamp that can be moved around.

I set out to build a third model and came up with something more angular. I was still trying to build a ship, and created a goofy looking duck that looks like something straight out of Star Fox:

duck

I know it’s not extraordinary, but I’m making progress! And I’ve only been playing with Blender for a day. I have yet to learn how to color or do other crazy things, but when I do I will be sure to post my progress and tips here for anyone who is interested.

Blender also allows you to render sprite sheets of your work which you could use in 2D games. You can save a lot of animating time by drawing one character and animating it, instead of redrawing it eight or ten times. It also means that Binary Cocoa is changing the way it is looking at implementing art in its games.

I guess you can say we’re having an identity crisis. I suppose that because we are mad scientists, this should be expected. So what happens now? Does Binary Cocoa just have to settle down and make changes or be shipped off to the psych ward?

Binary Cocoa Bakes a Pie

Binary Cocoa has been furiously working away at our new game, Collider, over the past couple of months. The game involves shooting bullets that develop their own AI and try to destroy you. It’s so evil and cute I can hardly stand it. Check out this nifty trailer:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=K7YyDOa8rpk%3Fhtml5%3D1%26%23038%3Brel%3D0%26%23038%3Bhl%3Den_US%26%23038%3Bver

The game allows players to use up to eight game pads and multiple game modes. For the extra-creative players, Collider lets you build your own game modes that can be shared with an online community.

In the past, Binary Cocoa has built games and sold them through providers such as the Humble Widget and Desura. This time we are using Steam Greenlight to get the word out about the game. Help us by voting through this link. Your votes determine whether or not Collider becomes the next big thing.

Also, our programmer Joseph has agreed to take a pie to the face as soon as Collider gets into Greenlight’s top one hundred. We will, of course, document his reaction for our records.

Let us know in the comments what type of pie you believe should be used.

Binary Cocoa Flexes Its Muscles

For the past few months the team at Binary Cocoa has been skiing across the alps and riding eagles down the mountains like real men with copious amounts of chest hair. Sometimes they look like this :

lumberGuy

Fus ro dah.

Now let’s get to what Binary Cocoa has really been up to. BOCO has seen its first trailer come to light and it has been slowly spreading through the internet receiving claps of approval. We hope to release it sometime within the next week or two but it is always hard to tell how those things go. The game is complete, however, and we are anxious to share it with all those who would lend an ear.

Now that BOCO has been completed everyone is focusing efforts on the following game Collider, which is starting to shape up nicely. More details of what the game will entail will come later but we can already tell everyone that it involves spaceship shooting, alien enemies, and a groovy techno soundtrack. Fans of minimalist line art will be most satisfied with the aesthetics of the game as well. We’re hoping to have it done by the end of the year to release at the beginning of 2015.

Vikings has been a work in progress that needed more time to develop. Stepping away from it for a moment gave us a new set of eyes for it and gave us time to think about how to approach it correctly. One of the latest steps in the development has been to implement maps using Tiled Map Editor, a fantastic program for creating levels for games more quickly and with fewer assets. Our friend Landon Manning created a quick implementation code for Lua that has made the map implementation process much less stressful as well. Stephen just started to mess around with Tiled Map Editor to explore its possible use for Binary Cocoa games and created a quick level for practice. This is what he came up with:

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 8.05.17 PM

(Click for larger view)

2D side scroller games or top down strategy games seem like they are the games that would benefit the most from Tiled. It also allows you to work with orthogonal, isometric and staggered maps if you wish for something a little more complicated. It’s worth playing around with for whatever type of 2D game you wish to make, so give it a try! Feel free to leave questions about it or any other Lua/Love 2D related inquiries and we’ll help you as much as we can.