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Defender / Stargate 2010 in 3D ZOMYGOD!


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Defender / Stargate 2010 in 3D ZOMYGOD!
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scratt
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2010-05-23, 01:21

Following on from the 30th anniversary of PacMan, and the 3D theme of video games moving forward, I am doing an homage to William's Defender on the iPhone.. It's a pet project, so for fun, not for profit.... But if people want to make it a for profit, or for charity game then I am open to reasonable suggestions.

Basically I just want it to be an interesting, but authentic homage to my favorite two games ever - and great fun to play.
But play exactly like the originals, except in 3D.

I am wandering if anyone arty here fancies making pixel perfect versions of the aliens from Defender or Stargate, in the style of 3D Dot Game Heroes....

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 03:07

Something along the lines of this?


I made that based on this sprite:


Granted, I can't recall playing either game (I guess I'm too young ), but it looks like there are only a few sprites in each... so making these couldn't be too time-consuming, right?

Were you thinking of using rendered graphics or 3D models?

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scratt
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2010-05-23, 03:13

Wow! That's so cool.... You're a genius!

Like that would be absolutely perfect!

3D models FTW. And then when they blow up we frag them!

Here is a graphic showing all the enemies in Stargate, which is a super set of the Defender graphics...

http://twitpic.com/1qa4qz

Are you saying you'd like to be involved?

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Last edited by scratt : 2010-05-23 at 10:37.
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 03:17

I'll be happy to put together a few models, but that's about as involved as I think I can get ATM.

Looks like my copy of C4D will export to the following formats. Will any of those work for you?


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scratt
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2010-05-23, 03:20

3DStudio, just plain old .3DS is fine.

And that level of involvement is perfect.
Exactly what I need in fact. Leave the rest to me.

Thanks dude!
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 03:27

Perfect! I'm taking off next Friday from work anyway. Mind waiting until next weekend before getting them?

I found these two sprite sheets extracted from the games. Since it looks like some of the sprites are just showing rotation of a given enemy, I'll just make one for each accordingly.




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Brad
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2010-05-23, 03:44

Oh, and don't let my early commitment here discourage any other interested 3D hobbyists/artists from contributing. If anyone else here wants to give this a try, please do!

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turtle
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2010-05-23, 05:24

I'll say I'm looking forward to the end result! Great job Brad, I love your render.
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scratt
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2010-05-23, 10:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Perfect! I'm taking off next Friday from work anyway. Mind waiting until next weekend before getting them?
That's perfect mate. Thanks again. No problem at all on the wait.

I am busy working on a stylisation of the landscape from the game that will fit with this pixel methodology also.
This should be a lot of fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I found these two sprite sheets extracted from the games. Since it looks like some of the sprites are just showing rotation of a given enemy, I'll just make one for each accordingly.
Brilliant. Actually, what you have is better than what I posted above. (I also just learned that twit-pic kills cached pictures too. So will just replace that with a link for reference.)

It was actually a screenie from the game. Whereas your images are pixel perfect.

You are absolutely right on your summation of the "rotations". With some nice specular lighting, one model, and simply rotating them, it will be perfect.

The only ones that deviates from that is the Munchies which do sort of animate. The history behind them was (topical right now) a bit of piss take of Pac Man.

Initially if we focus on Landers, Mutants, Pods, Baiters, Bombers and Swarmers and see how it looks.... Anything else is a bonus! They are the original Defender aliens from the top bitmap you posted.

But I do hope to do both (Stargate and Defender) in a bumper pack type app.

Oh, and of course we mustn't forget the all important humanoids!!!

This is gonna be sweet. And we can immortalise AppleNovians who took part in the default high scores.

If anyone wants to have a bash at re-sampling the original SFX and making them more "2000y", but keeping the same "feel" to them, that would be another possibility for another "team" member.

I'm psyched!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Last edited by scratt : 2010-05-23 at 10:40.
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 17:44

Just in case we want any fanciful beauty shots:



Making the "realistic" one got me rethinking a better way to remake that first blocky one...

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curiousuburb
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2010-05-23, 17:49

MIG-21 derivative?

Atmosphere or not? I don't recall the hinted backstory.

Not that your render ain't a fine piece of work...
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 17:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curiousuburb View Post
MIG-21 derivative?
Yeah, I totally ripped off the MIG-21. I even had a picture of one up for reference while modeling. What can I say? It's such a lovely design!

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Brad
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2010-05-23, 18:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Making the "realistic" one got me rethinking a better way to remake that first blocky one...
Here we go. Much better, IMO.

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Brad
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2010-05-23, 18:58

Just posting 'em as I make 'em.

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Brad
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2010-05-23, 19:38

Got the Lander ship done. Here it is empty and then having captured one of the humanoids (And turning their heads lavender? Am I interpreting the screenshots correctly?).



The center cavity is exactly the right size to fit over a person, but the game screenshots I've seen show the person inside with a sort of cutaway version of the ship. Do you prefer having one side of the ship open like this so you can see the humanoid?


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scratt
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2010-05-23, 21:18

These are so cool! Feels a bit like Christmas here this morning!

What actually happens in the game is that the lander (green and yellow), picks up the humanoid and carries it to the top of the screen with it dangling beneath it.

This opens up the opportunity for you to shoot the lander, but not the humanoid.
Then the humanoid falls away and you must rescue it by catching it.

If a lander gets to the top of the screen it slowly sucks it up into itself and then changes into the mutant. Which as you noticed is kind of a lander with a humanoid merged with it.

So that last shot would be quite good as the mutant. They're meant to be pretty fugly.. So cutaway like that is probably more authentic... We'll maybe jazz it up a bit with some particle effects in the homage too... I am sure The Vid Kid (Eugene Jarvis) would appreciate that.. He likes particle effects!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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scratt
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2010-05-23, 21:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Just in case we want any fanciful beauty shots:



Making the "realistic" one got me rethinking a better way to remake that first blocky one...
I like it. It's got me imagining all kinds of morphing effects we could do.

We should probably stick with the pixelized idea for now.. But depending on how you go / how enthusiastic you feel we could experiment with smooth bodied versions of all the sprites and see.... later... Or have that as something you can unlock...

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 22:07

Btw, do you know ballpark how many polygons the iPod/iPhone/iPad can display at a comfortable (30 FPS) rate?

The main ship is 330 squares or 660 triangles, if they need to be converted. As you can see here, there's room for some optimization on this model:



The lander with one side removed is 182 squares or 364 triangles. There's far less room for optimization on this one, but some is still possible.



Scale the numbers up, and we're talking at least 3000 triangles on screen with the ship, a few enemies, and some humanoids, not to mention the terrain. Does that seem reasonable? Worth thinking about first.

I thought about this because I was going to mention that the "smooth" ship has a much higher polygon count (13,416 polys), and would probably only be suitable for stills unless rethought/rebuilt.

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scratt
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2010-05-23, 22:12

That's not a problem at all. Even on the original iPhone.

I think a tech demo I once saw had close to 140,000 and ran at 5 - 8 fps.

The newer iPods are insane with the amount they can draw. I have full procedural planets running on those with atmospheric shaders and 10's of thousands of triangles and they keep on chugging at 20 fps.

Also, my engine makes everything into integers for drawing, which cuts down on data transfer which is the main bottleneck. So really don't sweat it. Converting from floats to integers gives us another 20% of throughput or more.

From memory, on my 1st Gen iPhone I have a space dogfight sequence in my big Space Sim with about 20 ships, each with 600 - 1000 polys each, and 4 screen facing quad lens flares on the engines (on each), and particle effects for plasma.. all running at 15fps. Oh and there are about 40,000 stars being drawn in the background, and a couple of planets.

The main overhead is sending lots of individual objects with their own transformations. So one of the things I hope to do, which is break each model into individual cubes when they explode, is going to be taxxing. But we could easily have 15 or 20 of your objects on screen, with particle effects and all kinds of stuff going on.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Brad
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2010-05-23, 22:20

That's reassuring!

I should mention, though, that these aren't just cubes arranged together, but that they're actual meshes in the shapes that look like connected cubes. Would you rather these objects actually be made up of discrete cubes? Or can you break up the meshes programatically without too much difficulty?

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Brad
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2010-05-23, 22:23

e.g. Here's the hollow interior of the main ship:

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scratt
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2010-05-23, 22:25

Good question.

Far better for you to do the models as efficiently as you can, and then I'll work on a procedural way to generate the cubes for explosions. Then it will be possible to load balance it if frame rate does become an issue.

Anecdotally it's worth remembering that on all iDevices the CPU is awesomely powerful. So procedurally generating stuff (especially with a bit of vector math; VFP or NEON) is often blazingly fast. Much faster than you expect.

Where as moving data to the GPU, or the GPU drawing extra stuff is quite slow.

So overall we try to load up the CPU and do as much culling, or other clever stuff CPU side before we bother the GPU.

EDIT : What would be nice is if we did ever get OpenCL or Geometry Shaders on an iPhone. Then we could just makes the cubes from the meshes on the fly in shaders.. In fact you could make the models out of single vertices for the center of each cube unit and I could construct them, explode them, or turn them into an array of bananas on the fly! But I am dreaming right now.

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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scratt
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2010-05-23, 23:02

Another technical thing that just occurred to me...

It's a bit costly to draw lines around polygons to get an outline effect on each cube. That's an effect that a lot of these retro 8bit homages are using. It would be nice to have that option moving forward when we start to bolt it all together and tweak the look and feel.

If you can put texture coords on the models so that each cube face maps to a single texture square, we can then either turn texturing on or off, and have either smooth models, or models that look like they have been drawn with individual cubes.

We can then tweak that outline globally by modifying a single texture and blending it with the colours for each polygon.

All that tweaking I can do with OpenGL ES very cheaply. But the texture coords are essential to make it cheap to do on the GPU.

Do you get what I mean?

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
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Last edited by scratt : 2010-05-23 at 23:32.
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drewprops
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2010-05-23, 23:25

My favorite game on iPhone is currently Tower Madness, which has a great "feel" to it. One of the neatest bits is that it's fairly two dimensional until you zoom in to the field, where you begin to realize the three dimensionality of all the elements... very nice art direction there.


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bassplayinMacFiend
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2010-05-24, 13:13

Oh man, I always wanted a 3rd hand so I could play Defender well in the arcade.
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Xaqtly
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2010-05-24, 14:17

Stargate was probably my favorite arcade game. I liked it so much that back 8 or so years ago I actually bought a standup Stargate arcade game. It was teh rulesauce.
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scratt
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2010-05-24, 14:38

Snap! When I sold my first computer game I drove to London, met a dodgy gypsy and bought both an original Defender, and Stargate cabinet from the back of a seedy amusement arcade at 1am. I am sure he probably stole them because he seemed to be in a hurry to load them on the van and get the hell out of there. But I didn't care at the time! I was living the dream!

I also picked up all the boards for Joust, Robotron etc. and became quite expert at maintaining them.
With a few very small modifications they are all basically the exact same hardware.

Good times!

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bassplayinMacFiend
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2010-05-24, 14:54

I had a friend I work with that used to import game boards from Hong Kong and sell them to collectors on eBay.
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alcimedes
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2010-05-24, 15:05

How are you going to handle the controls for the game? I remember this one being a complete twitch fest back in the day when I played it.

Those little homing dudes would start coming after you and you had to to start flying crazy to keep from getting hit. That and picking up the humans as they fell to earth required a pretty subtle touch as well IIRC, how is that being handled with no D-pad?

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bassplayinMacFiend
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2010-05-24, 15:44

I'm trying to remember how many buttons there were. Shoot, smart bomb, thrust, hyperspace and reverse are the only ones I can think right now. The stick controlled 4 directions as well, right?
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