Global Game Jam 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 7:10PM
Jonathan Raymond Westlake

I took part in this years Global Game Jam 2015 along with Alex Helfet (programming), Jack Sandrey (sound) and Scott Rockingham (music). The event was held over the course of a weekend during which I produced all of the art assets required to make the game. The work began with an extremely rapid ZBrush sculpt of the player character, the intention being to get a prototype character up and running and refine the character later if time allowed. The process detailed in the video below took about an hour or so with the final step being an automatic retopology to a game ready low resolution mesh, again all in the interests of speed.

This mesh was then imported into Maya which was the package I chose to use for rigging and animation. Recent versions of Maya include a HumanIK module which I used to generate the characters skeleton and control rig as I knew that this setup works well with various game engines including Unity's Mecanim animation system (which we were using). The mesh was then bound to its skeleton using Maya's geodesic voxel skining method which meant that it required very little in the way of adjustment afterwards - mainly in the head area which was quick to fix. 

It was then time to produce the animations which were all keyed by hand in Maya. I decided to adopt a method of loading and unloading clips in the Trax Editor and then lining them all up sequentially prior to export and splitting them back up again using frame ranges in Unity. While this method worked I have since decided that a better approach is to export individual clips as separate files. We opted to use root motion to drive our characters locomotion and again while this worked there were various issues connected to the precise nature of our game design and given a second pass at the process I think we would now opt to move the character through code instead. Still it worked! The animations can be viewed below.

All that remained was to rapidly prototype our various behaviours within Unity to construct our game. Additional art assets were produced to represent our world and challenges but the theme of the game had been deliberately kept simple so these were very quick to produce. Below is the scene view within Unity...

 

...and the in-game view below.

Considering the length of time we had to produce this I was very pleased with the end result and like the way the aesthetic almost harkens back to old flash games - in a good way! It almost looks faux-3D but is actually constructed entirely using 3D assets. The game (in its very unfinished state) can be played on Windows, Mac and Linux and is available to download at http://globalgamejam.org/2015/games/cube-0

Article originally appeared on Jonathan Raymond Westlake (http://jonathanraymondwestlake.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.