Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept It…

Chad Stever provides a quick rundown of the Pooka Pets ‘Mission System’.

Levels For Everyone

We have added a Level System to Pooka Pets so the player can level up and earn achievements and thereby give  a sense of satisfaction to the player that comes from accomplishment.

What’s In A Mission

Inside the Level System is a Mission System.   In order to gain experience and consequently “level up”, a player needs to complete Missions.  Each mission has one or more objectives the player has to accomplish in order to gain experience points and ultimately the reward of leveling up.

A Guide to Help You Play Your Best

These missions are designed to teach the player how to play the game.  The first few missions are more of a tutorial teaching the player how to feed, dress, and otherwise interact with their Pooka.  As the player increases in level,  they will be given more complicated and rewarding missions to complete.

How It Works

From a technical stand point we implemented this system using PlayMaker in Unity.  In case you aren’t familiar with PlayMaker , it  is a visual way to make Finite State Machines in Unity and it is great for making games.

Mission System Diagram

Interacting Parts of The Mission System

In our mission system a  Finite State Machine (FSM) receives events spawned from user actions or other game mechanics and then checks with a component we are cleverly enough calling “The Mission System” to see if the action satisfies the current mission’s objectives.  The Mission System reports back to the FSM whether an objective has been fulfilled and if the mission is complete.  If it is the Mission System moves to the next mission if one exists.  The UI gets information from the Mission System in a separate FSM and updates itself accordingly.

More Fun

Giving the player a goal or mission engages the player in the experience and gives them a reason to play them game.  In short, missions increase the fun , and games should be fun.

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Questions? Comments? Feel free to drop us a line!

Pooka Pets 2.0!

Pookamagic

Pookamagic

Pookamagic

In a world free of heads up displays, one Pooka would journey onward into the great unknown…

Wondering what we’ve been up to since the last time you hear from us? Here’s the run down:

  • We pulled together and took stock of all the Pooka Pets assets (and believe me there are a lot of them)
  • Cleaned up some unnecessary code that we weren’t using anymore to optimize performance
  • Repainted the terrain and dressed up the set for a better camera composition
  • Implemented some new AI for the pets, including systems for their needs.
  • Added level rewards for playing the game
  • Started to polish the UI and HUD
  • Updated animations to get rid of some of the floating foot syndrome the Pooka developed over the course of the project
PookaPets2

I don’t know, I think it needs more pink.

We still have a long ways to go in fine tuning the technical side of things, but we’re optimistic. Check out the screenshots and tell us what you think!

Pokey Toad

Hi everyone. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here at Pokey Toad, so here’s a quick run down on the current state of affairs as we adjust course and forge ahead.

As most of you already know we’re a pretty small team, with four people working here and some of us only really working on games part time. With that in mind we sat down together and took some time this week to talk about our current projects and make some tough decisions. While we remain hyped and excited about  our vision for Grimm Endings, it’s a big project that unforeseen circumstances have us scaling back and redirecting resources back to finishing Pooka Pets.

This by no means means Grimm Endings will be vanishing into the ether. Once Pooka Pets is finished we’ll be definitely be bringing back Grimm and the Big Bad Wolf. So many ideas, so little time.

That said, Pooka Pets still has a long way to go and we’re at the 80/20 mark where the last 20% of the work takes about 80% of the time. While we don’t currently have a solid date, instead of reaching for an end of year release with flowers and sunshine for all, we’ll be releasing Pooka Pets just in time for spring of 2014. After our failed kickstarter campaign earlier this year we decided to build on some of the solid feedback provided to us both from our backers and other people we talked to, and the game will be launching with some added features including enhanced pet interaction, better care taking systems, extra activities, and more.

Stay tuned!

As always if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns feel free to drop us a line via email, comments, etc.

Dev Log #1 – Status Updates and Tutorial Suggestions

Despite a bit of a bug passing through the office over the last few weeks things at Pokey Toad are going well. Our artists have been hard at work developing a proof of concept prototype for the visuals in Grimm Endings, and so far so good! We’re really excited about how things are turning out so far. Below is a quick sneak peek at a screenshot one of our roughed out scenes. One of the challenges unique to working in 2.5D is making sure we can match our plane layouts to our camera perspective in a convincing manner, and so far we’re pretty happy with how things are going to work. What are your thoughts? Share your opinions with us by commenting here or talk to us on twitter–we’d love to hear what you have to say! With the conclusion of Sam’s High to Low Poly Tutorial from last week, we’ll be working on putting together another behind the scenes tutorial soon. If you see anything we’ve done and want to know more, hit us up on any of our social media sites with your questions and suggestions and we’ll do what we can!

 

grimmprototype

 

Also in the news this week is the arrival of a fresh new batch of Grimm Endings t-shirts. We were going to originally sell and raffle them off at Salt Lake Comic Con, but due to a series of unfortunate events including a printing mixup we had to change plans at the last minute. As a result  we’ll be offering the t-shirts as Kickstarter rewards when we finally get things up and running there, so stay tuned for the end of this year!

Speaking of the end of the year, things are starting to wrap up on the Pooka Pets front. It’s been a long road and a huge learning process for us, but as of today we’re on track to meet our adjusted release date for the end of the year. Right now our programmers are working on implementing store and purchasing systems, adding in additional seasonal items like birthday flowers, and working out all the general kinks and bugs that crop up here and there. All in all we’re pretty optimistic about things–we’re certainly keeping busy.

As always feel free to hit us up with thoughts, questions, jokes, you name it.

Until next time!

 

High-Poly to Low-Poly Tutorial Part 3: Finishing up

Once you have imported your decimated high-poly mesh into 3D-Coat, your first step is to retopo it. Click the retopo tab to begin. Use the quads tool to draw new polygons over the high poly model, the quads automatically snap to the high poly mesh. This is where you will be tested with your knowledge of good modeling techniques. You will need to make the edge groups work out as best you can. For me it is a lot of trial and error, not to mention the tedium of recreating your character all over again.

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Be sure to notice that you can UV map your character as you create the low-poly mesh over the top of the high-poly mesh. You have to UV map your character’s low poly mesh in order to create normal and diffuse maps.

To do this you simply mark seams by clicking on the edges you want to be cut. It is the fastest UV mapping system I have found so far.
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Once it is UV mapped you can unwrap the UV’s and it will show you how the UV groups look and the blueprint for your textures.

 

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Now that you have your UV map complete you can bake the high-poly mesh onto the low-poly mesh to create the normal maps. Under the retopo tab at the top you will see a merge NM tab at the bottom. Click that to merge the meshes and create your normal map.

 

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This is how the options should look when you bake.

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Now you need to export your normal map.

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Click the textures tab and go to export, then click export normal map in tangent space. Do not use world space.

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This is what your finished map should look like. Be sure to invert the green channel on your normal map or you will have problems with the normals when you attach the texture in another program.

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Now you can begin to paint your character in 3D-Coat. Be sure to add a new layer over the top of the normal map, as you do not want to paint on the normal map.

 

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From there the painting process is completely your own :)

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The finished product.

 

Untitled-1

Quick Update

Hey everyone, Sam is out of the office today but rest assured the final portion of the tutorial she’s been working on is coming soon. Check in next week for the concluding installment, and we’ll have some more info on the Grimm Endings story and the World of Obert Skye!

 

High-Poly to Low-Poly Tutorial Part 2: Using Zbrush and Exporting your Mesh

Hey everyone, here we are again with our high-poly to low-poly tutorial. In this section I will be giving you a few tips on how to use Zbrush effectively as well as how to export your high-poly model and import it into 3D-Coat to be retopologized.

To begin, we need to discuss the DynaMesh. DynaMesh is ZBrush’s newest base mesh generation tool. DynaMesh is a perfect solution for free-form sculpting because it removes all need for focusing on topological constraints. It’s possible to change the overall shape of any DynaMesh by pushing or pulling, adding various pieces of geometry to combine into one, or even removing geometry in a manner similar to what you can do with Boolean operations. DynaMesh has been designed to create low and middle resolution sculpting stages, making it a perfect way to create your base mesh before diving deeper into all the powerful traditional ZBrush sculpting and editing tools. DynaMesh is truly analogous of sculpting with traditional real-world clay. As you add volume to clay by stretching out details or laying on strips of new clay the actual consistency of the material remains exactly the same. So no matter how much volume you add, you still have the same capacity for sculpting. DynaMesh accomplishes the same thing, maintaining the uniform resolution and polygon distribution of your mesh. This is very unlike traditional sculpting methods which result in stretched polys if you push the surface too far – something that hampers your ability to do anything more with the surface in those areas. DynaMesh will truly free your sense of creativity.

I showed you how to create a DynaMesh in part 1 of this tutorial. I just felt that I needed to explain its purpose a bit more before I got too far ahead of myself. Remember, in order to maintain a good mesh geometry with dynamesh, you need to update the mesh as you go by pressing the ctrl button and right mouse clicking in the workspace. This will automatically retopologize your DynaMesh.

Now a word on masking, which is an absolute necessity if you do not want to ruin what you have already sculpted. With the Lambkin I created her face before I decided to pull he hair out of the mesh. If I did not mask her face I would end up pulling her face along with the hair. The mask prevents you from affecting the geometry it covers. In order to mask a portion of your mesh hold down the ctrl button and paint on the surface of you mesh. The darkness that will appear on you mesh is the mask. If you want to unmask your work simply hold down ctrl and right mouse click in the workspace.

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Subtools are another valuable tool you should be aware of in ZBrush. Subtools are kind of like layers in Photoshop; they allow you to add more than one mesh to your project. Each subtool can either be affected on its own or if you select multiple subtools and sculpt on them all together. I like to use subtools for adding eyes, clothes, hair or other decorative elements that require detailed sculpting.

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Once you complete your sculpt with all the individual subtools you may then merge the subtools if you wish into one mesh that you will then decimate and export. Merging should only be done if you are sure that you want your final mesh to be all together. If you have a piece you want to remain separate than leave it detached from the main mesh and export it on its own.

In order for your mesh to be able to import into another program you will have to decimate it so that there are far fewer polygons than you original sculpt. Decimation lowers the polygon level without harming the quality of the final sculpt. It can take you from literally millions of polygons down to a couple hundred thousand. This saves your computer a lot of trouble and will help it to run smoother while you are in 3D-Coat.

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Once you have decimated your mesh you can export it as an .obj file and import it into 3D-Coat to begin to retopologize your mesh. We will get into that more in part 3 of this tutorial.

High-Poly to Low-Poly Tutorial Part 1: Setting up

Hey there everyone, Sam Bragg here, and I am going to show you an in-depth look into how I create my high poly models in ZBrush and then retopologize them in 3D-Coat to make a normal map for it. Lets get started!!

To begin, I usually create a low-poly rough model of the character I am going to be sculpting. I use Cheetah 3D to create my low-poly models (mostly because I am on a Mac and it is a lot cheaper than Maya and it is easier to learn than Blender). I will create a front view and a side view of my character and begin to low-poly model it. I am skipping most of this process because it is not as important as the high-poly sculpting, with you can do entirely in ZBrush. This is just a personal preference. Below is an example of my low-poly model that I will be importing into ZBrush.

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Once you have exported this rough low-poly base as an .obj file then you can get started with ZBrush. You begin by creating a new document and importing the .obj file into the work area.

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Next, drag your brush on the workspace to create the model. It will make a duplicate of the mesh you created in Maya, Blender, etc. But low-poly is not a good way to sculpt in ZBrush, so click the Geometry menu and divide you mesh a few times. Not too many though, or your computer may bog down a bit.

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Now we will create a DynaMesh that allows you to sculpt freely in ZBrush with out the worry of breaking the mesh. First you need to delete the lower geometry on your mesh, you will not need it because we will be retopologizing the high poly mesh in 3D-Coat. Once you have deleted the lower geometry you can create a DynaMesh. When it asks if you want to freeze geometry, say yes.

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Now you are ready to begin sculpting your character. As you sculpt remember to hold the ctrl button and right mouse click in the workspace to readjust the topology of your character as you sculpt.

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Now you can begin sculpting. Get creative :)

Salt Lake Comic Con – Thanks for Stopping By!

So apparently Salt Lake Comic Con was a pretty big hit this weekend. Despite our big plans to live blog and tweet about it, cell reception and internet hotspots weren’t cooperating in the jam packed convention center. Regardless, the event was fantastic and we had a TON of fun! The event panels were a wellspring of knowledge, and it was a blast to chat with everyone who came by the table to ask questions about both Grimm Endings and The World of Obert Skye. The enthusiasm alone about our projects made everything worthwhile, and we’re really looking forward to telling you more about them!

The event itself was more than we ever could have hoped for, and to be honest it was a little overwhelming. Our expectations going into the event were small to say the least, particularly considering the general attendance history of other, similar conventions that have been hosted in Utah in the past. The fact that Salt Lake Comic Con blasted those expectations right out of the water is mind-blowing. Like we mentioned before, pre-sales before the event were capped out at just over 30,000 people, Friday leapfrogged those numbers up and over 50,000 attendees, and Saturday shattered all the projections with its estimated 70,000 to 80,000 people in attendance. Obviously the organizers did the best they could to accommodate as many people as possible, but by 3pm the event was officially marked off as completely sold out, with lines still wrapping their way around the building. There were so many people inside  the convention center that at one point the doors had to be closed until enough people had left the building to keep the fire department from shutting the event down point blank as a safety hazard.

When we weren’t pitching our game to people at our table, some of the members of our team had the chance to check out a few panels ranging in topic from Kickstarter, to Game Development, and so much more.

Talk about enlightening.

We also got some great advice from people like Jed Henry who recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for his game Edo Supterstar, John Romero a veteran game designer, and several others who were in attendance at the convention this weekend.

With so much going on it’s not hard to see why the entire Salt Palace has already been booked for next years event, significantly expanding the space available to organizers, exhibitors, and con goers alike.

Until then though there’s a lot of work to do, so stay tuned and keep in touch!

Salt Lake Comic Con Awaits!

Hey guys, Comic Con is here and happening now! Talk about awesome right? This weekend’s inaugural event is going to be huge! The pre-sales alone have been crazy, with more than 30,000 tickets sold. That’s five zeroes. Five. Not to mention they’ve got a pretty classic and totally awesome lineup of celebrity guests, comics artists, writers, and game designers coming to talk about their work, their jobs, and other awesomely geeky things.

Needless to say it’s going to be a blast!

So, check it all out and keep an eye open for updates. We’ll be blasting out some tweets on our con experience from our team twitter account, which you can follow @PokeyToad, and Danielle/Sam will be live blogging the event on tumblr from their artists alley table at D1 on the event floor. Drop by and say hi to get on our mailing list for special updates on the games we’re working on ( Grimm Endings and The World of Obert Skye ), enter your name to win a Grimm Endings t-shirt, and pick up a free bookmark! Our artists will be sharing the table with a couple of great people, so if you get the chance you should check out their work and maybe grab a con sketch while you’re there!

EDIT: So apparently there’s a minor (see major) issue with the t-shirt prints. They wound up not looking a thing like the proofs we were sent from the company, so rather than sell y’all poor quality t-shirts we’re going to try and figure something else out. Even if we can’t do something at the con, we’ll try and do something neat online to show our thanks for your support in stopping by. We’ll still have the posters and bookmarks from Alpha Graphics–those turned out great. Thanks for your understanding! We’ll see you at the con!

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