This article is about techniques of developing graphics and 3D animation while developing games at Gamecask studio. The first step is concept art. It is the most important stage of working with graphics and putting enough time to it is very important. The harder we work over the concept the less we correct at modelling and rendering stages.
Once we have concept art drawings for the project, we can start modelling. There are lots of commercial programs for developing 3D objects available on the market and most of them are of Autodesk brand. They contain plenty of superb solutions and tools necessary for every graphic artist but a free Blender program does just as well. Blender has enough tools needed for modelling what makes it possible to create advanced and detailed models used in animation as well. This program is used by the majority of significant graphic artists.
The next stage is preparation of UV map and textures. UV map is one of techniques of laping a two-dimensional picture (texture) over a 3D object. We can use several textures in one model or use a proper material from procedural textures which are available in most programs. In order to get a high quality texture it is a good idea to render a model with properly used procedural textures first and then its edition in graphic programs designed for raster graphics like Gimp or Photoshop.
Physics-based modeling implies that object motions are governed by the laws of physics, wchich leads to physically realistic animation. Another type of animation is skeletal animation. Skeletal animation is the standard way to animate characters or mechanical objects.
The last stage of graphics development is rendering. Even if the choice of graphic program is not as important as it was in the past, the choice of a proper rendering engine which allows to get an intended effect has great weight. Lightwave 3D of NewTek brand appeared to be the best choice for Gamecask studio. The choice was influenced not only by the price but by the high quality renders achieved within a quite short period of time. Lightwave makes it possible to obtain in a simple and quick way graphics suitable for today’s games of casual type and to determine own style in projects being developed.
The beginnings of working on music in Gamecask studio go back to the time when Impulse Tracker program appeared on the market. Impulse Tracker is the most developed tracker working with DOS, WIN95 and WIN98 operating systems.
The process of sequencing music by means of trackers consists in entering notes into tracks of limited length. A separate section of composition i.e. a group of simultaneously played tracks is called a pattern which can be chained together via a master list. A complete song consists of several patterns played repeatedly and stored in a file (formats .mod, .xm, .s3m, .it).
The benefit of tracker music files is saving hard disk space which on the other hand results in a worse sound quality. One of techniques of improving sound quality is using VST plug-ins (Virtual Studio Technology).
VST plug-ins can be used in OpenMPT tracker (ModPlug Tracker), which is a perfect equivalent of Impulse Tracker program in newer operating systems.
Although tracker music is very economic as far as using hard disk capacity and it is possible to reconvert an output files into a modern format .mo3, Gamecask studio uses professional music software Cubase of Steinberg brand. Cubase offers recording, creating and mixing of sounds of highest quality. It has plenty of useful tools which combined with the latest VSTi plug-ins (Virtual Studio Technology Instruments) allow to realize almost any music idea.
It is difficult to describe the process of game coding development in one article. Coding may vary depending on the type of programing language used (e.g. C#, C++, Delphi) or type of API used (DirectX, OpenGL).
Gamecask studio successfully uses Pascal, Lua and Delphi language while programming games, using interchangeably graphics libraries like DirectX and OpenGL, compilers Lazarus and Turbo Delphi, as well as frameworks that programmers are familiar with: DelphiX (Hiroyuki Hori), Asphyre (Yuriy Kotsarenko) and GLScene (Mike Lischke, Eric Grange).
In reality each game includes only limited amount of coding that a programmer uses in order to prepare a game since most coding is included in different useful tools, editors, file managers, converters, etc. Implementation of own ideas in compilers that are limited and are governed by strict rules seems to be a difficult task but that difficulty combined with the need to invent interesting ideas brings game development closer to the concept of art.