Category Archives: TigerHawks

3D development in Blender

Hey all,

Sorry for the wait. It’s been a few months since my last update. I know it’s bad to keep you all waiting that long for content, but here’s what has been going on recently.

First, is that work on Traitor’s Legacy is in full swing. I’m really looking forward to wrapping this project soon so you can see what I’ve been up to for the past year or so. Again, the client is a bit weary of showing off anything until we’re close to being finished, so sorry to keep you in the dark about it for so long. Above you can see some concept character art that didn’t get approved, so no harm done there.

The second reason is that I’ve undergone a fair bit of training in how to model 3D objects in Blender through a couple of Udemy courses. I’ve had to give up Autodesk due to how expensive the monthly license is. It’s simply too robust of a software package, and I’m not using it to its fullest potential and essentially throwing cash down the toilet each month. So, I cancelled my subscription (I can’t believe that we rent our software these days), and moved over to Blender to create my 3D game assets.

If you didn’t already know, Blender is a pretty powerful, open-source 3D design application. It has immediate support for things like game assets design, as well as creating models for 3D printing. I’m super pleased with how easy it is to pick up, and how many features you get for free software.

For the past 3 days, I’ve taken the concept art you’ve seen earlier and built the plane assets shown here as practice. Not bad! This isn’t final production art, but it’s a great start to get some momentum going. The last picture is more along the lines of where I’m going for TigerHawks, in terms of gameplay.

Let me know what you guys think, and again, special thanks to those who have helped me out through Patreon! I really appreciate the help, and look forward to possibly doing this full time in the near future, funded entirely by awesome people like you!

Changing the look of TigerHawk’s planes

In researching other games in the arcade flight sim genre, I couldn’t help but notice that I had a hard time telling them apart at first glance. My original concept art seemed to mimic the same, reaslistic-ish style, and in an effort to stand apart visually I’ve decided to reapproach the design of the aircraft.

I’ve been a fan of previous games like Metal Slug, and Raiden simply because their aircrafts design were somewhat fresh and imaginative, yet still pretty fun and not-so-serious looking. I’m gonna go that route, instead. Here’s a first look at some attempts to move in that direction, and it feels GOOD! I’ll see if I can bang out a few other prototypes soon.

Jumping back into 3D modeling

Here’s to the first week of development on TigerHawks! I’m getting back into 3D modeling and texturing, so I thought I’d cook up a quick reference fighter to use as FPO. Here are some step by step images of doing so. Next step, sticking it into Unity and hooking it up to the controller.

Wireframe model

planeModel

 

Texture mapping

UVMapping

 

Textures!

textures

 

TigerHawks, alpha video v1.1

Most of these features were done last week, but I like to keep these updates in sync with r/gameDev’s ScreenShotSaturdays.

Sorry about the bad mic quality. A new headset mic is on my shortlist. In today’s alpha video, we get to see the following new features:

Wingman Plane

The wingman plane is a friendly plane that follows you in formation. Right now, he just moves to match your current vector while flying close, top right of your current position. I’ll add in the ability for the wingman to find a position relative to the player’s current rotation, so we can have multiple wingmen flanking your sides and flying behind you. These wingmen can also follow other wingmen, so I can mess around with setting up cool attack formations. Fun stuff!

Aggressive Enemy Plane

Now the enemy plane will try and hunt you down. He’ll do his best to fly directly behind you at a certain distance which correlates to whether he wants to lock missiles from afar or pepper you with bullets from up close. At first, he was tenacious and could NOT be tracked for missile lock, so I added the ability to confuse your opponent by flying too close and breaking off. This makes him wander aimlessly while he tries to ‘find’ you, giving you plenty of time to swoop in from behind and…

Missile lock and FIRE!

Heat seeker missiles have been added. You now press the right thumbstick to activate the target reticle. If you can get it to hover over a particular enemy, missile lock occurs and heat seekers will use it seek and destroy your target. AWESOME!

Object pools for all projectiles and particles

It is INCREDIBLY important to watch your memory and complexity in game, especially for weaker platforms like the OUYA and older mobile phones. So I’ve implemented object pools for all bullets, missiles, and particles that will keep memory consumption constant. Now the screen can me filled with hundreds of bullets with no ill effects on frame rate.

Particles

It’s not much to look at right now, but the game now supports animated particles. I’ll have to MAKE some awesome effects to stress test it, but expect to see a lot of cool stuff. Smoke from damaged planes, shrapnel and fire from missile/bullet strikes, clouds, birds, etc.

 

TigerHawks, alpha video v1.0

Here’s a look at the first video of alpha gameplay for TigerHawks.

As you can see, you can play as a Player Plane against a single Enemy Plane. The plane will roll depending on which direction you’re turning. The enemy plane AI is just on a random, dumb algorithm that makes him change speed and direction every couple of seconds. The Player Plane is fully controllable by both an Xbox360 GamePad and and OUYA gamepad. It also builds perfectly to the OUYA device, and plays at a beautiful 60 FPS. You’re capable of firing a handful of weapons, such as 3 different machine guns and a dumb-fire missile.

I’m VERY pleased with how well this build is going, and how well Starling is performing on both PC and the OUYA, which is arguably a moderately powered Android device. Keep an eye out for more updates in the future.

 

TigerHawks: Plane assets

 

plane

Here are a couple of assets for the hero and enemy planes. I needed full turn-arounds to really give the player a wild ride when it comes to evading missiles, performing evasive maneuvers, and crash diving after being destroyed. There was a short time when I considered building this game in 3D, but I like the 2D look. I feel that it lends a little more soul to the game.

planeEnemy

I now have initial build installing to PC, Android, OUYA and iOS. I’ll be using the Citrus engine to better handle asset management and Stage3D rendering. If Beards and Glory taught me anything, it’s that reinventing the wheel can be a colossal waste of time. Gamepad support is enabled on PC and OUYA, but Android and iOS will have the option of using controller overlays on screen. Not my favorite thing in the world, but what are you going to do… that’s the hell of building for touchscreen. Keep and eye open over the next few weeks for some rudimentary gameplay. This is all so exciting.

TigerHawks: More feminine female pilots

 

soldiersFemale2.1I heard a lot of good critiques from you guys stating that the female pilots weren’t feminine enough, so I’ve done a second pass at them and posed their previous iteration next to them for reference. The ladies now have more slender necks, wider hips, more slender arms, and less androgynous hair styles. Let me know what you think. That’s why this is called ‘Concept Art’.