Backed the Makerbuino

I’m a bit late with this, but I backed the Makerbuino on Kickstarter, the campaign already succeeded.

It’s scheduled to arrive some time in May. I’m very excited to try myself at C++ and game programming and the Arduino platform, it’s like clapping two flies at once. I got kinda overwhelmed with learning C++ and 3D graphics programming at once and think the limitations of the platform might actually help me a lot to progress faster by letting out the 3D and graphics issues. Will also be a great challenge to squeeze the content into the tiny RAM, fortunately there are already a lot of example games that are FLOSS, so there is a lot to learn from.

The fugliest workflow, invented by space nazis.

Make your model in Qubicle -> export it as .fbx, unoptimized (we need the extra geometry to bake proper Ambient Occlusion) with vertex colors.

Load the model in Modo, select all the different colored voxel faces by hand and save the model as an .obj (why? Because it seems only then does Unity recognize the different materials from Modo’s FBX2013 and creates correct submeshes with their corresponding materials on them).

Open Unity, open the Mesh materializer plugin “AO Generator” and bake the Ambient Occlusion into the vertex map, select the correct Materials and shaders (in my case UNO shader unlit) and then save that to a prefab.

Rinse and repeat for every model I have.

The result looks good though, Dolores agrees.

There is no voxel application to date which bakes nice Ambient Occlusion to vertex maps while also optimizing the parts of the mesh untouched by that process.

This means the final mesh is either totally unoptimized, speaking of like 2000 verts for the model in the image above or you can just leave out the AO, because on an optimized mesh with less geometry, the maps will just look horrible.

Qubicle, Magica Voxel, all the same. So I guess that leaves me with a lot of handy work in the near future.

Super space benefit here: The two separate materials can be colored differently and on the fly in-game.

This means I keep the ability to change the colors while also vertex baked AO – before (and in the current release right now) the color change is done by on-the-fly lerping all vertices color values towards a new value.

Sound super expensive but worked incredibly well. But the thing is: If you touch the vertex values on the fly, you kill the AO bake with the first color change, so not working here. I tried to change the color in other ways, but it was all to complicated. This workflow is super clean by comparison.

Energy Barriers & basic mobile controls

Small update on the game as I’m wrapping up for an alpha like release, on mobile and desktop.

Energy barriers
The energy barriers where on my to-do list for a while now. It blocks the players path, it needs to be evaded, there is no way to get through (yet). I was thinking about maybe adding a way to blow up the border elements to break the barrier and using the yet unfinished “Invulnerability” power up would also let the player pass through.
I’m very happy with the barrier and how it influences the gameplay. It makes the game a good deal harder, because you really have to time your jumps. Even I run into them from time to time. Making the game harder without making it unfair was a major concern for me, as one of the earlier versions was so easy I could have played it for half an hour straight when I had a good run, which is horrible for a game that is intended for recurring 2-3 minute runs.

Mobile controls
They are very basic right now, but I have a FIRE button on the lower right and a JUMP button on the lower left. Steering is done with accelerometer and I’m gonna leave it at that for now. I had some feedback by core gamer type players who prefer a virtual D-pad, but I think it’s actually most of the time a horrible experience with any mobile game I’ve played to date, mainly because of the lack of feedback.

I have three more things on my list I want to get done before I release the first version:

  • Invulnerability power up (Run through everything, no damage, collect points for it, enemies blink Pacman-style)
  • Floating Enemy (flys up and down, vertical movement instead of horizontal, as the “Skrull” enemies do)