Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Finally Alpha is here! .. Mechaaliciouuss!

We are more than happy! I would say... we are Mechxited to present you guys the Alpha Gamplay footage of our game: National Mech League!

This is a quick edit as we still have lots of tweaks to do, and content to create:

Cheers! and Thanks for Watching!

Friday, 19 October 2012

MamaBot and the Spawn Points

Have you ever questioned from where the enemy robots of NML comes from? MamaBot is here to finally answer that. - Or Omar, in the last post! LOL - To better match those encounters with our theme and with the idea of the American Gladiator, we wanted to create the sensation of doors being opened and the enemies invading the arena. The best way to justify this was creating MamaBot, the mother of all bots. By opening her belly, MamaBot release a new group of enemies.

Basically, the way MamaBot works is, every first time that the player enters in a new area of each section, a trigger is activated and a MamaBot will appear bringing with her a new group of bots. Those triggers were pre-determined according to our Spawn Points, as you can see in the picture below. Each Spawn Points has a different group of enemies. And, also, for some specific areas of the game, the enemies will spawn before the player visualize this area, so we can represent that the enemies were already there. This way we can spawn enemies in some places of the Section that there is no borders around it. - For example, the Red "X" in the middle of the image of the Section A Enemy Spawn Point. 

Stay connected in the website for new posts. You will be able to face MamaBot for yourself in some weeks. YEY! The game is almost done. ;) Thanks for your visit. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Ever wonder where do Robots Come From!? - Introducing: The MamaBot! -

We always are looking for ideas to improve the theme, setting and overall look of National Mech League. Originally our robots spawn system was a classic “out of screen” spawn.   However, a serious question was done by our mentor Josh – Where do robots come from!?

Well wonder no more Mama bot is here! 

Don't be fool by her cute look! She's been code for carefully groom evil death machines! 

Cheers, and thanks for reading! 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Implementation is a b#$c

Even while going trough difficult personal times; making a video game has been a great deal of fun. I gotta say thou, Implementation phase...  not an easy task. We all plan for it, we all see it coming, we all think: we have this under control, but we all know... we are lying to ourselves.

The truth of the matter is there is so many dependencies than need to be synchronized during the implementation phase. No matter what some, and often most of what you have done so far needs to be re-tweak, re-adjust and in some cases re-done.

Videogame in the making... 

It was a long weekend, but things are running smoother now. We have our Alpha scheduled for next week, hopefully we have a cool video to show.

Cheers, and thanks for reading. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Environmental Art of NML

Hey guys, what's up? The team is facing crazy days with the last moments before Alpha, but everything is working fine. Our last decisions were to focus on how we will communicate the theme throughout the game, and, after we can finally create this atmosphere, we will start to focus on the last areas of the game. Let's see how things will work. :) For this post I'm here to talk a little bit more and to complement the last post about the Environmental Art of NML. One of my other roles in our project. YEY! o/

Arenas Theme
Each Section of the League Arena is focused on a different Theme. We want to relate each section with a unique Brand, with each brand representing a parody of itself. The famous brands are Dr. Papas, Vacation World, Rubrick Pizza and Inrel and will be presented in the game. Any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. LOL. The player will face challenges that will relate to the brand. For example, in Dr. Papas Arena the biggest brand is a huge Pepper and the hazards on this area are the Fire Machines.

We don't have the intention of soiling the name of the original brands to which we are referring. The idea is just to get the best brands and represent them in a creative and fun way within our environments. All Parody Brands were done by Omar Gonzalez, the Artist of NML. You can see examples of those Brands in the image bellow.

League Arena Parody Brands

The First Decisions
Everything in our universe is hovering. We have tall buildings, big constructions, spaceships, flying cars, cables and turbines everywhere. At first we decided to show all of these, placing the buildings and everything else around the Main Arena. While the player plays, he would be able to watch the whole city working around him. But, after thinking deeper about it, we came to the conclusion that the player would never be able to watch all these small details, since our main camera is a Top Isometric View. The solution that we got was to create a huge glass flying arena with the crowd all around, and the city far away beneath the Arena. This way the player will be able to see the Main Character moving around the sections and also watch the city far away.

We searched for a lot of futuristic cities and arenas to use as reference point for the Environmental Art. One of the biggest inspirations was the Sport Arena in the game Final Fantasy X. For NML we are following a similar structure for our arena, but, in terms of arena style, the main references that I'm using are the similar shapes of the buildings designed by three different architects: Chris BosseEmergents and Erick van Egeraat. I like their futuristic shapes, colours and dimensions used for their projects. The player will be able to see a lot of those references in our Arena in the use of glasses, hexagonal shapes etc.

Environmental HazardsThere are four different hazards in the League Arena of NML. All Hazards are there to create a bigger relation to the idea of the American Gladiator, since this is our biggest focus for our Arena Gameplay.
  • In Dr. Papas Arena Section the player will face the Fire Hazard. To cross some important areas of this Section, the player will need to move along some small platforms avoiding the fire that will come from everywhere.
  • In Vacation World - Beach of Death Section the player will face the Wormbot of NML for the first time. Players will need to be very careful to not be caught by surprise attacks under the sand. The Environment Hazard in Beach of Death is the Sand, that makes the Mech move slowly in the surface.
  • In Rubrick Pizza Challenge Section, the player will need to find the best way to move through the Conveyor Belt Hazard. Slice of Pizza conveyors will also be rotating there. If the player is not careful enough, they will be thrown out of the arena.
  • And finally in Inrel Deathmatch Section the player will move along moving platforms, reaching the DeathMatch Room where they will face all enemies in a small arena. The Magneto Hazard will suck anything metallic toward it, making the player's movement even more difficukt. After the DeathMatch Room, the player will face the Boss Fight against Fatvertiser.
Proping the World of NML
What would an environment be without Props? The famous boxes are all around the League Arena, and also the outdoors, buildings, wall advertisements, turbines etc. To try to make simple props that add to the Level Design of the game and relate them to the theme, simple walls that creates close combats were made as Wall Advertisement. Every prop in NML needs to reflect the marketing and brands of this whole crazy universe. The buildings were placed in the environment to give a better sense of space, and to show how big the Mech is in this universe.

Some of the Props of NML

Most of the props were modelled by me and texturized by Omar Gonzalez. Omar also did some of the last props of the game. You can see all props later on here in the website. For now we are just showing a quick idea of it. ;)

A quick look
And finally you can see a quick look of our League Arena floors. The whole Arena was modelled by me and texturized by Omar Gonzalez. The models and texture of the audience, crowds and VIP section are being completed. But for now, take a look at the image below.

I hope you like it. We are very excited with the final results and how everything is looking together now. Stay tuned here on the website for more details of the 3D Models, Animations, GUI and Game Design of the game. Have a good week. And HAPPY CANADIAN THANKSGIVING! :D

Thursday, 4 October 2012

There is no videogame without crates, NML is certainly a videogame..

Inrel technologies just deliver a shipment of crates full of microprocessors because that's the way they roll! There is no respectable videogame without crates to be destroyed for no reason, and NML is making sure to preserve this tradition.

Prop making its been going on nicely, The NML Authority just unveil their new rusty in field "Security Buker" so NML judges can judge in safe conditions:

Simple enough I didn't use any ambient occlusion texture bake in Maya, I really like the hand made feel of brushing the textures with Photoshop. 

Cheers, and thanks for reading! 

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Level Design of NML

Hey ya! Milestone 02 was completed and now we are working hard for Alpha Phase. (YAY!)  I’m here today to present the Level Design behind National Mech League. Finally, the part that I am doing. :P Mostly everything that you are going to see here was created during the Pre-Production Phase, but after the last few weeks we had a lot of changes in the Design of the game, so the Arena and the Sections needed to be transformed too. So here I am with the result of these transformations. :D

The Environment
To better explain our Level Design, first I will talk a little bit about the whole universe around it. National Mech League takes place in a futuristic universe in which the most exciting sport is Mech Matches. The game features a game universe focused on how the marketing and brands expanded in the world in a way that controls even more of people’s lives. Everything in NML is related to products, sponsorship, sports and machines, and at the same time parodying famous brands and sports. The World of the League Arena is full of lights, flashes, explosions, colours, giant structures, platforms and bots. Everything is futuristic, everything is connected, and there is marketing everywhere.

The game takes place during a Match of the National Mech League. The whole game will pass during night time, to highlight all the illumination, flashes and explosions in the game.


The Level Design
The Single Player campaign is the only Game Mode available in National Mech League. The player takes on the role of a new pilot that wants to compete in the new season of the National Mech League. As the player progresses through the Single Player campaign, they will move to different areas of the League Arena and Training Centre.

As the player progresses through the single player campaign, they must first pass through a series of tests in the Training Centre, to learn the basic mechanics of the game. After that, the player will navigate their way through the environments of the League Arena - divided into sections - to reach the top central platform and fight against the League Boss. The story begins with a new pilot entering himself into the new season of NML and completing the fundamental training to gain his Mech License, allowing him to participate in the biggest League.

The villains in the game are the sponsor bots that are there to destroy the character, stopping him from reaching the top of the arena. Besides these obstacles, the biggest challenge the player faces is the final Boss Fight against Fatvertiser. To reach the victory, the player needs to destroy it and survive.

The short story is communicated to the player via small dialogues between the commentators, always highlighting important situations that the player is facing at the specific moment. The end of the game will close out with the Main Character winning the League and being crowned the new victor.

The player's progression through the Single Player Campaign is done in 2 levels and 4 sections.

Campaign Overview Scheme

Campaign Beat Chart

  • Training Centre (Tutorial Phase)
The first level has a unique section which represents a Training Centre. The player needs to pass through this area to learn all the basic game mechanics that they will use during the rest of the game. The Training Centre is a small and simple level that works as a Tutorial.

Training Centre Paper Layout

  • League Arena
The second level is divided into four different sections of a League Arena. Each section differs by difficulties, enemies, challenges, hazards and difference of environmental elevation. The player starts on the first floor and, by advancing and completing the Major Objectives, they move further to access new environmental elevation in order to reach the top platform and fight against the League Boss.

The League Arena is where the main part of the game takes place. The player needs to complete a Major Objective in order to move ahead to the next section. Major Objectives are followed by Minor Objects. Minor Objectives are not obligatory, however they give more Sponsor Points and Achievements to the player.

League Arena Paper Layout

"Gladiator Arena" Gameplay
Our biggest concern about the levels and the game design was the fact that the main and single mechanic of the game is the shooting. So, how we could differ the gameplay for each area of the game, since all that the player can do is shoot? How could we vary the missions? In the end we decided to add different hazards for each section and to relate the whole game with the idea of a Gladiator Arena. The player will always be facing situations in which the whole environment will react against him, while the crowd will scream and celebrate with your decisions in game.

NML will feature four different Hazards: fire, sand, conveyors and Magneto.

Level Design coming to life...
Finally, after all the new designs and decisions, I can present to you the 3D Model of the League Arena. Close shots will be taken later.

For more details and each section / objective description, I will provide the Level Design Document later. Stay tuned here on the website and check for new updates. I hope you guys liked. Leave a comment with your opinion! ;) Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The art for our first section is done! "Dr. Papas Arena"

Our first section for National Mech League is done: Dr. Papas Arena!

With 3 more sections to go: There is still plenty of UV Mapping, and plenty of Texture work to do. Not an easy task, but sure a fun one!

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Environmental Props and the Sense of Scale

We've been dealing with a scale problem in the white box of our main level for National Mech League. While fun and visually appealing, we are failing to capture the sense of scale. Our Mech is suppose to be around 2 floor height. However, in our current white box looks like a a few feet height (just like a dude).

Scale is all about the relation of perceive sizes within a view. It is subjective and more so in video games, which make it both easy to solve, but easy to miss at all.

Looking good but misses the target sense of scale. 
To solve this problem we redesigned the enviroment props, instead of huge boxes or crates. Our props are now: racetrack installation buildings type things:

Looking good.. plus size matters!

Character - Props siluete

sweet animations:

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Monday, 10 September 2012

OCHO! - The Cowboy Mech.

Cowboys and Mechs, is there a better Mechafussion out there!?. After a good bunch of hours: Ocho is ready to kick ass at the National Mech League!

Concept + UV Map Texture.

Maya Model

Considering OCHO is going to be seen in an isometric top down view perspective most of the time. All the texture work and model design, was done with readability as main criteria. 

Cheers! Thanks for reading!