Saturday, September 20, 2014

Unity Heightmap Tutorial

Hey guys!

Jake here. So we've been working with Unity terrain for a while and have run into plenty of hurdles and challenges. One issue we had was that our heightmaps for a long time were imported as segments instead of solid pieces, meaning that each piece needed it's own texture pallet; which is fine for a once-over but quickly became very tedious when needing to update textures or terrain data. The solution was to combine the pieces into a single height map, but that was easier said than done. In fact it took a lot of digging and some experimentation to really get a grip on the import/export process for height maps with Unity. Below is a video tutorial I recorded to demonstrate the method I settled on so I could pay it forward with anyone who might be running into the same problem!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kickstarter Has Launched: Show Your Support!

We are very excited to officially launch our Kickstarter:

It would be great for the team if you could please show your support during this time! Once you have checked out our Kickstarter page, we have also re-launched on Greenlight with a full project moving forward on Steam; show us your thumbs:

Thanks again for all your support!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Video Gamers United & Kickstarter

It has been a long 3 year journey to get this far, but I am happy to report that The Tumbleweed Express will be back on the road! Our team is really excited to announce that our latest build we be presented at Video Gamers United:

Our build will present a number of new features, which include:
  • New enemies & fancier graphics.
  • The beginning of our open world level system.
  • Scaling difficulty of levels through side contracts.
  • Improved weapons and interfaces.
  • General usability improvements.
We're also proud to announce that we will launching our Kickstarter in September and we're inviting you all to be apart of the final stages of the production of our project. Finally, if you can't make it to VGU then you will have another chance to play the game at the Boston Festival of Indie Games also in September. Looking forward to seeing you take control of the Tumbleweed and supporting our team at these upcoming events!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Alpha Trailer!

We just posted a new trailer showing off all our recent progress!

Check it out!

We also revamped out Greenlight concept page with new screenshots, descriptions, and of course the shiny new trailer. Please take a look and rate/favorite us :D

or Click Here

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Another day. Another new level.

After several Jams of tidying up old levels for various showcases, we have finally had the chance to create a new one!

We went from this sketch in MS Paint:

To this first draft in L3DT:

And ended with this final landscape in Unity3D:                         

We are very excited for the mission we have planned for this level. Here the Tumbleweed will come face to face with a new foe. Who is she? What does she want? And what's with all the sweet talk she's sending on over to dear old Sneaky Pete? Not quite sure I want to know the answer to that, but more to come soon!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ride The Rails: With Oculus Rift!

Needless to say, here at Dirigiballers, we're excited about the Oculus Rift and the new opportunities it brings for immersive gaming... and our development kit finally arrived! This past weekend, we imported the Unity plugin and took it for a spin. If you've got your own headset, swap this video to fullscreen and check it out!

From a development standpoint, dropping the prefab into the scene was a breeze. After some selective renaming of cameras and connecting a few scripts, we were right there in it - riding the Tumbleweed Express. You can see from the footage it threw off our projectile launchpoint to a space above the caboose's turret (probably the result of interaction between our script calculating projectiles from a third-person mouse orbit and the "neck-height" magic of the Oculus prefab) - and of course our reticle disappeared since it's still keyed to the center of the screen and the GUI is pretty much lost. But the resulting feel? AMAZING. The depth really brings out the beauty of the Tumbleweed world and integrates well with our aiming mechanic (some of us don't want to go back to a mouse). The "aim-with-your-eyes" approach does make it difficult to switch back and forth between the front and back of the train so we'll get Sneaky Pete working on some sort of lever to bring the turret around faster than your neck can move.

Like many backers, we were disappointed to learn that "Unity Support" means "Unity Support (with Pro License)" but are grateful for the extension of the pro-trial to four months. Since upgrading the team to full licenses is somewhere in the range of college tuition or a new car, we experimented a bit with rolling our own dual-camera prefabs. Could we write our own scripts to read Oculus as a controller and simply output a 1280x800 view from two cameras? Splitting the screen for dual cameras is a pretty simple trick: under the Inspector Camera settings, use the "Normalized Rect View" to set the left camera W to 0.5 with X set to 0 right camera W to 0.5 with X set to 0.5 (i.e. make the cameras half as wide as the screen, and have the right camera view start at the midpoint of the screen). It's easy to see how this could be used in lots of games for handling multi-player on a single screen. With some key-commands to adjust the distance and rotation of the cameras, we were able to calibrate certain parts of the field of view into focus manually, but getting the whole thing in sync seems to depend on the "fisheye" lens-distorting you can see in the increasingly recognizable Oculus-view videos. The difference between the plugin and the roll-our-own dual screen was striking so much appreciation to the Oculus team for doing the heavy lifting! If you're reading this: thanks for keeping the SDK builds coming - we're hoping you're in talks with Unity to find a solution that will make it possible for indie devs to use it without breaking the bank.