Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 9

 In this sprint, I set up the master material for the characters, with parameters to control the dissolve effect for the characters appearing/disappearing for each memory. I created a dissolve material function used in the effect, that can be animated using the Dissolve Amount parameter so characters dissolve in from the bottom up, and dissolve out from the head down. With the parameters set up and grouped, the material is now ready to be animated within the level sequencer.

Example of how the dissolve will work.

The dissolve material function.

The character master material.

Additionally, this sprint I created a Ghibli style wood smart material in Substance Painter. The smart material is 100% procedural, using color fill layers, and generators, texture fills, and filters to generate the masks. I followed the wood color palette set up by the art lead, Vanna Yang.

The wood smart material demoed on a sample asset.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 8

 As summer kicks off, this semester I am focusing on the rigs for the scene, as well as some materials and effects.

Here is my schedule for the semester:



As the character game-res meshes are ready, I am updating the rigs with the new models and painting skin weights. During this sprint, I finished updating the Setsuko rig. The Seita rig will be completed by June 29th, dependent on when the game res model is done being optimized.

Rigs currently have proxy geometry from decimated ZBrush sculpts.

Setsuko rig has been updated with new model, and weights painted.

We want to have the swing rigged so it can be animated, currently, it is only a static mesh. the rig will be done by July 6.
The swing in the scene is currently a proxy static mesh.

We have several assets like  tree trunks, so I will create a wood smart material by June 15.
One of the assets that need a wooden material.

Finally, the different character poses just pop in and out of the scene in the sequencer. I will set up a material-based dissolve effect for the characters to appear/disappear, with parameters that can be animated in the sequencer by June 7.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 7

 This sprint, I updated some materials in the engine. I created the water material, as well as a ground material with dirt and grass color variants. I set up the ground material with vertex painting so we can paint in the dirt pathway.

Dirt Material

Grass Material

Water Material


Once Nitin modeled the tree trunks, I added the leaves. I created a card texture in photoshop. I modified spheres to get the overall form for the leaves, and wrote a script to duplicate the leaf card and distribute along the surface of the shape. Then I hand tweaked the positioning of the leaf cards.

Tree leaf preview

Tree leaf preview

Trees with material in engine


another small tweak I did was adjust the height of the fire, so it was shorter and more akin to a campfire.



Sunday, April 4, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 6

 The biggest task for this sprint was rigging the two main characters. I created a full rig with FK/IK switch arms and IK legs, as well as finger controls. I also created an animation file template with the rigs referenced so the animators can update the rigs with the final meshes later and preserve their animation.

Seita model rigged and ready to animate

I began work on a ground material that I desaturated and added into the environment. I began looking into vertex painting so later we can have the grass and dirt materials blended via vertex painting.

Initial ground material

I also did a lot of cleanup in the engine. I set up the bakes for the tree branches and got them updated in the engine. additionally, I troubleshot issues with the physics on the pickup objects and moved the entire scene to be more closely centered on the origin to fix the physics calculation errors. I cleaned up material graphs, adding in desaturation nodes to strip color away from the scene as we prototype. Finally, I added variables to the Niagara particle systems so we may control them from the sequencer. To avoid having to remember the desired maximum spawn rate and other key values, I implemented float linear interpolations so that the value keyed for "on/off" for the spawn rate goes from 0.0 - 1.0, making it more artist-friendly.


Friday, March 19, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 5

 This week I worked on preparing game res versions of the trees, including replacing branches with cards and exporting the high and low poly meshes for the texture artists to bake and texture.


The pine tree poly count is: 250

Visualizing the pine tree with baked cards


The ginkgo tree poly count is: 849

Visualizing Ginkgo tree with baked cards



I also worked on creating a credits video to play at the end of the experience.



Additionally, I worked on creating a Niagara particle system for "storytelling fireflies" to guide the player to the action and animated it with the sequencer so now they move around the level.



Thursday, March 4, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 4

 Over the past few weeks, I implemented the fireflies effect and set up the particles so they react to the players' hands.



I also added a fire effect into the scene.



Additionally, I set up the material library with basic greyscale and metallic values, and implemented basic lighting into the scene to reflect the dusk time that we settled upon.




I implemented a level timer that fades the player in, triggers the level sequencer with the audio and poses, and then fades out and returns the player back to the main menu level.



Additionally, I implemented initial skeletons into the characters and applied a quick skin.




Finally, I created a second tree proxy mesh, and added that and the tree cards for the background into the level.



Friday, February 5, 2021

Grave of the Fireflies VR: Sprint 2

For this sprint, I worked on getting into VR to check out the scene and make adjustments to it. I tightened up the placement of interactable props so that they are closer to the player, and implemented colliders to limit the player's movement to the intended area.

I placed hidden colliders and moved props like the umbrella and stove closer to the player.


Additionally, I started working on creating trees for the scene. I began modeling a tree in Houdini using the new SideFX Labs Tree generation nodes. I plan to set up a Houdini Asset so that we can procedurally create tree variations directly in the scene. I am researching the Houdini videos on baking down the branches/leaves so that our trees can remain low poly. The trunk is about 100 polys/200 tris.

Houdini Tree WIP


I also began creating some basic tree cards in Photoshop to help fill out the background.





Grave of the Fireflies: Sprint 9

 In this sprint, I set up the master material for the characters, with parameters to control the dissolve effect for the characters appearin...