Archive for year 2002

Vertex Color Tools

vcTools is a compilation of several maxscripts that aide in manipulating vertex colors on single or multiple objects at a time in 3dsmax r5+.  I built this script suite as a reaction to missing functionality that we needed to set and manipulate vertex colors in 3dsmax for level art in Summoner.

There were several modules including:

• Assign Vertex Colors
• Adjust Vertex Colors
• Pits’n’Peaks
• Utilities
• Vertex Color Selection tools

Download the .chm file HERE for complete details.

NOTE: This script relied on several compiled extensions that do not ship with 3dsmax and therefore it is not compatible with current versions of 3dsmax.  It could be updated, but the reason to do so has become much less compelling since the inclusion of the Vertex Paint Modifier (which incidentally referenced this script numerous times in is beta spec.)

Here are a few sample images from the documentation:

Summoner2.Matte-“Isle of Teomura”

(matte painting used for cinematic back plate)

(as seen in the cinematic with clouds and airship)

Summoner2.Concepts-“Sharangir”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Eleh”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Pirate Ship”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Pirate Base”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Munari City”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Khargathalan”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Cabal”

Summoner2.Concepts-“Halasar”

Summoner2.Concepts-Monsters

Here are some random encounter monsters for Summoner 2.

Summoner2.Concepts-Summons

Here are some concepts for some potential summons.  Some are themed into 3 stages.

Summoner2.Concepts-Odoni

Here are some concepts for a “fire” race, the Odoni.

Summoner2.Concepts-Munari

These concepts are brainstorms for an aquatic race, the Munari.

Summoner2.Concepts-Miscellaneous

Just a collection of some random concepts I made for Summoner 2…

Summoner2.Concept-Garzumbuk

I forget the premise behind this concept.  I think it was the physical manifestation of the evil leader of the twilight realm.

The original drawing was 9×13 marker on paper.

Summoner2.Level Art

Here are some screenshots from levels that I made for Summoner 2.  Unfortunately, I don’t have shots from all of the levels I worked on.

Isle of Teomura

This was the second level in the game and the first one that I built for S2.  It essentially was the piece that I used to develop my workflow and what prompted me to develop the Vertex Color tools scripts to help assign and manipulate vertex colors.

Munari City

This city was inhabited by an aquatic race, the Munari.  I used Frank Lloyd Wright as the primary inspiration for this level.  I was particularly interested in creating a wide amount of parallax and constant movement via cloth and water.

City of Masks

Summoner2.Concept-Votaan

Here is a quick sketch for a ghost character that was cut from the game design and never made it into the game.

Summoner2.Concept-Pava

Here are some quick concepts that I made for the Queen Pava character.  This character never made it into the game.

Summoner2.Cinematic.02-“Sangaril Leaps In”

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This is the first in game cinematic and introduces Sangaril, a Munari (aquatic race), party member.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.04-“The Rune Stone”

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This scene introduces a “summoning” stone, which are scattered throughout the world and unlock Maia’s summon abilities.  Of particular interest are the environment and the stone itself, as I created each.  The stone is interesting in that I hand created the mip maps such that as the player approached, the runes would glow and as the player moved away, the orange ring around the stone would appear (dissipating upon approach).  Additionally, the surface of the stone would become transparent upon approach revealing an animated, “living” rune and star-scape below.

Regarding the scene, in addition to the usual work listed below, I created the fragmentation pass on the ground.  I modelled fragments, split them up, bound them to a ripple space warp, and then shot them up/out in successive sequences.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.05-“Prince Neru Forever”

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This was a fun scene.  I remember gathering with a few coworkers to choreograph the fight.  It turned out fairly well, imo, even showcasing Neru’s awkward “hair-blade” attack.  The kick at the end could stand some improvment.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.06-“Leaving Teomura”

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This scene showcases the launch and transformation of the pirate airship that the player acquires.  This was a relatively fast scene to do.  Of note, I rigged the airship and painted the matte used in the final shot.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.11-“The Heirophant’s Ritual”

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As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.14-“Imarbeth’s Riddle”

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One trick employed with this scene is the shot where the three characters simultaneously press the crystals.  I fake three cameras by placing the characters next to one another with to black bars dividing them.  I complete the effect by using a camera that is far away with a very narrow fov to minimize the parallax and depth of field.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.16-“Morbazan the Invicible”

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This was another fun scene as I was able to show Morbazan playing with his opponents and then ruthlessly eliminating them.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.18-“I am Iari”

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This scene was fairly straightforward, with the exception of the droid.  I accomplished this effect by splitting the mesh and animating it exploding.  Then I reversed the keys to make it come back together.  After this I added the rotation by linking the exploded pieces to dummy objects animating at different speeds.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.21-“Gods of Hunger”

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This scene introduces the brain creature and its guards that the player must defeat.  It fell below my expectations, primarily due to poor pacing on my part as it was a rush job.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.22-“A Rift Between Worlds”

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This scene was pre-rendered in 3dsmax as it was simply easier to pull in the vfx and distortion.  It does blend in nearly seamlessly with the game visuals.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.23-“The Logosarch”

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The only thing of special note here is the initial camera move which entailed the handoff of the camera between several dummy objects to move the camera along a specific spline and then rotate about a specific point all the while looking at a specific target.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.24-“Desire’s End”

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Simple sliding UV s of an additive texture create the main fx here.  I liked the pulse rythm that I was able to employ.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.31-“Imarbeth’s Metamorphosis”

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I used a simple fade in/out to create the morph fx here.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2.Cinematic.33-“Krobelus Unbound”

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This might be the fastest authored cinematic in the game.  I set the scene and cameras up quickly and then I used animation already created for the game blended together via Character Studio Motion Flow.  The ice shatter and spirit fx were quick and easy to accomplish via morph meshes.

As with all Summoner 2 cinematics, I was responsible camera work, choreography via rough character animation, and implementation into the game. Each Summoner 2 cinematic averaged about 3 days of total work.

In hindsight, most of these scenes could improve from better pacing.  There is a notable lack of anticipation and dramatic pause.  Furthermore, the animation is extremely rough exhibiting neither the realism of motion capture nor the personality of key frame.  However, under the limited timeframe and staff capacity, I still view these as a creative accomplishment.

Summoner2-“The Interview”

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Summoner2-“Visit Teomura”

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Summoner2-“Making Of…”

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