Ugo Volt (2005 – 2008)

This project is where I started my career as a game programmer professionally. In 2005 I joined Move Interactive to work on this title which unfortunately haven’t seen the light of day. But I learned a lot while working on this project and I can say I’m proud of my work and the work of the rest of the team. We sure did a good job building an engine from scratch and putting up a trailer and technology demo for E3, a playable prototype using our in house engine and also one more prototype using the Unreal Engine 3 (UE3). IGN wrote a nice preview about it after E3.

12336Ugo volt

Ugo Volt is an action/adventure game played in first and third person. Ugo, the main character, leads a rebellion group against a the corporation controlling a post-apocalyptic future. He is the first prototype of a hybrid humanoid with implants that allow him to control electricity in different ways.

ugo-01ugo-02

ugo-ue3-01ugo_ue3_02

It was first presented at E3 in April of 2006 with a trailer built using the in house engine and two tech demos showing the engine’s capabilities. Still using the proprietary in October of 2007 the first playable demo was released on both PC and XBox 360 in the form of vertical slice. Trying to focus the low resources available on the gameplay, Move Interactive decided to switch to Unreal Technology and another playable demo was launched in March of 2008 using the UE3.

Playable demo using Unreal Engine 3

Being a small team of developers, my responsibilities in this project varied in different areas including: core engine, editor, engine’s integration with FMOD, ScaleFormFX and GameMonkey script, gameplay, simple particle and shader effects, cinematic engine and sound manager.

Floribella (2007)

While I was working at Move Interactive as a game programmer, we were just finishing another prototype of Ugo Volt and there was an opportunity to develop a simple 3D platformer game. Inspired by Pandemonium, we developed Floribella.

floribella_cover

The Floribella game is based on an argentine telenovela named Floricienta which was very popular some years ago in the Portuguese adaptation with the same name.

flor1flor4

This project begun in June of 2007 and was published by November 25th of that same year in Portugal. More recently in 2009 it was launched in several other countries such as Italy, France, Spain and Brazil.

Floribella TV spot

 

The Torque Game Engine was used in this production where I worked as a gameplay programmer in both Torque Script and C++.

CLI Args Made Easy 2010 / 2012

Find the new CLIArgsMadeEasy version here.

 

Summary

Improved version of the CLI Args Made Easy for Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.
Visual Studio Add-in that puts the project’s command line arguments more accessible.

Description:

Command Line Arguments Made Easy (CLIArgsMadeEasy) is a Visual Studio Add-in that eases the access and change of the startup project’s command line arguments. Instead of having to go to project properties or instead of using the command window to run your program with different arguments, CLIArgsMadeEasy adds a field in the toolbar for you to edit and saves everything you enter. A button is also added that opens a console window in the project’s working directory or home directory (if there’s no working directory set for this project).

Features:

  • More stable and faster than it’s predecessor CLIArgsMadeEasy.
  • Rapidly change startup project’s command line arguments in toolbar.
  • Saves command arguments history per user per machine.
  • Open console window in working directory or project’s directory (if there’s no working directory set).
  • Easily set a new startup project in the toolbar.

Screen shot:

cliargs

Changelog:

  • v1.3 – fixed bug that prevented resizing the CLIArgs input box.
  • v1.2 – added new combo box to easily choose a new startup project.
  • v1.1 – fixed bug parsing solutions with projects inside project folders.

Note: to resize the add-in input boxes you can click on the toolbar options button on the right and choose: “Add or Remove Buttons”->“Customize”. Then select the input box you want to change and choose “Modify Selection” and set the width as you like.

Known limitations:

  • Doesn’t work with XBox 360 projects.

I’d really appreciate if someone could give me a hand to solve this problem since I don’t have access to the XBox 360 SDK.

If you notice any slow downs or other problems because of CLIArgsMadeEasy 2010, let me know.

If you like this add-in and want to support it, donate by clicking in the button:

Download

You can download CLIArgsMadeEasy2010 v1.3 here. (for Visual Studio 2010)

ATTENTION: There is a known bug in CLIArgsMadeEasy2012. If you want the add-in to work properly, please make sure that it is visible in the Visual Studio’s toolbar BEFORE you open a solution, otherwise the add-in won’t behave like it should. This bug doesn’t impact your IDE experience. I’m currently working on a fix but it will take me some time to get it 100%. In the meanwhile you can use the version below.
You can download CLIArgsMadeEasy2012 v1.0 RC2 here. (for Visual Studio 2012)

Many thanks to Diogo Teixeira (aka fozi) for the add-in idea and testing of the program. And I also have to thank Matt Phillips for showing interest in the add-in which inspired me to make this second release.
Thanks to everyone who’s been reporting bugs and helping me building a stable version of CLIArgsMadeEasy.

CLI Args Made Easy

Find the new CLIArgsMadeEasy version here.

Summary

Visual Studio Add-in that puts the project’s command line arguments more accessible.

Description:

Command Line Arguments Made Easy (CLIArgsMadeEasy) is a Visual Studio Add-in that eases the access and change of the startup project’s command line arguments. Instead of having to go to project properties or instead of using the command window to run your program with different arguments, CLIArgsMadeEasy adds a field in the toolbar for you to edit and saves everything you enter. A button is also added that opens a console window in the project’s working directory or home directory (if there’s no working directory set for this project).

Features:

  • Rapidly change startup project’s command line arguments in toolbar.
  • Current session command arguments history.
  • Open console window in working directory or project’s directory (if there’s no working directory set).

Screenshot:

cliargscliargs_options

Future:

  • Support keyboard shortcuts.
  • Save command line arguments history per startup project and between VS sessions.
  • Support for multiple startup projects.

Known limitations:

  • The commands that you insert in the combo box will not do anything if you remove the focus from the combo with a mouse click on any other place. For some reason that I do not understand, when you use the mouse to change the focus, the value that is sent to the event handler is the old value that was in the box, not the new one that the user inserted. So, if you want to change the focus using a mouse click, make sure that you press the enter key in the combo box first.
  • Visual Studio’s extensibility API doesn’t provide an easy way to get a reference to a startup project, so we have to parse the solution which takes some time.
  • Since Visual Studio’s extensibility API doesn’t provide a way to catch any “startup project has change” event, there’s a timer that from time to time checks if there was any change.

I’d really appreciate if someone could give me some tips on how to solve any of these problems.

If you notice any slow downs because of CLIArgsMadeEasy, let me know.

If you like this add-in and want to support it, donate by clicking in the button:

CLIArgsMadeEasy is a free add-in, use it at your own risk. The authors can not be held responsible if anything wrong happens when using this add-in.

Download

You can download CLIArgsMadeEasy 1.0 Beta here.

Many thanks to Diogo Teixeira (aka fozi) for the add-in idea and testing of the program.

Mini Lego

2009-05-30

The Lego miniature car constructions below gave me the inspiration to build a simple 3D application where you can interact with the vehicles. I’ll present now the steps that took to achieve what you’ll see in the program: the models were built in the LDD (Lego Digital Designer), then they were exported to the LDR (LDraw file format) and later converted to the 3DS format. Each 3DS file was imported in 3D Studio Max and the normals along with the pivots/rotation had to be adjusted per each Lego piece (basically a reset transform was applied to each piece). The model was then exported to the FBX format and finally imported in Unity3D. This time the programming was easy and took only one afternoon of work.

Below you can find the build and play around with it. You’ll have to install the Unity Web Player plug-in for your browser if you don’t have it already. It’s free and it shouldn’t bring you any problems.

Click on the image to run
[WP_UnityObject width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mini_lego_hires.unity3d” altimage=”/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/mini_lego_hires.jpg” /]


2008-11-18

I’m not a Lego fanatic like someone I know but I like to play a bit. This colleague of mine bought some legos from a new collection called creator. These models have an interesting characteristic, that is, you make 3 different lego models from each set that comes in the box(or at least, according to the instructions) and besides this, the models are very small.
It’s curious how you can do so much with just a few pieces and to show you what I just said I propose a challenge: how many mini cars can you build with the following 10 lego pieces?

The following model is the original that came in one of the sets:

Now lets see the models that were made from these 10 pieces (each line is a new mini car variation, except from the truck loaded with the cookie which takes 2 lines):

Update

Well, there were some rumours about not having a plane so… here it is ;)

With some effort we could have done some more mini cars, but I think these are enough to show that we can do a lot with just 10 pieces. :)

Note: With minimal changes we could have done lots of permutations on the cars. Example: changing the two orange triangular pieces by the white ones and other similar changes but we tried to minimize these kinds of permutations.

I hope that you liked the models and in case you have some suggestions to new ones, go ahead, send them to me!

VS File Finder 2008

Summary

Visual Studio Add-in that eases the access to files in large projects.

Description

Visual Studio File Finder 2008 (VSFF2008) is an add-in based on VSFileFinder 2005 developed by Jonathan Payne.

This add-in allow you to find files easily in large projects. The files are listed in a new window where you can type a few letters to narrow the list and open the file(s) you’re interested.

It decreases considerably the file access time comparing to Solution Explorer where you may have to scroll and possibly open some “folders” to find the files.

There are some options to configure this add-in: exclude or highlight different files, tooltips’ configuration, project filter and regular expressions.

Many of these improvement ideas came from Diogo. Some of these were already integrated with the official 1.3 version. This is an updated version with support for Visual Studio 2008.

Changes from original version

  • Added wildcards and regular expression support to search. (Wildcards are on by default.)
  • Added a project filter.
  • It is possible to turn on/off, add a timeout or show tooltips with the complete name of the file.
  • Fixed possible bug in tooltips that don’t go away.

Screen shot

vsffvsff_options

VSFileFinder 2008 is a free add-in, use it at your own risk. The authors can not be held responsible if anything wrong happens when using this add-in.

Download

You can download VSFileFinder2008 1.4 Unofficial here.

To download the original version click here.

Again, this add-in was not made by me. I just added some features to the original.

I want to thank Jonathan Payne for the creation of this great add-in and Diogo Teixeira for the suggestions and testing he made.

GAPPS – Game Art Pre-Processing Studio

# Main feature:

Fast appearance preserving simplification of high polygon models as described in the following papers:

  • “Fitting Smooth Surfaces to Dense Polygon Meshes” by Venkat Krishnamurthy and Marc Levoy.
  • “Appearance-Preserving Simplification” by Jonathan Cohen, Marc Olano, and Dinesh Manocha.

# Current features:

  • Fast generation of:
    • Normal Maps in World Space.
    • Displacement Maps.
    • Ambient Occlusion Maps.
  • DLL backend for integration on many platforms in executable or plugin form.
  • Easy and intuitive interface.
  • Smart heuristic for intersection selection.

# Planned features:

  • Dilation filter.
  • Anti-Aliasing.
  • Fixed and floating point output formats.
  • Object and Tangent space normal map output.
  • Compressed normal map output (3Dc, DXT).
  • New optimizations to achieve near realtime normal and displacement map generation.
  • Integrated plugins for 3D Studio Max and Maya.

# Comparison with free tools:

  • nVidia Melody: this is probably the most complete free tool available for appearance preserving generation, although the GUI is far from practical. Was used as a quality and speed reference during the development of Gapps.
  • ATI NormalMapper: Lacks speed and quality.
  • OpenRB: Slow even in hardware. Poor console based GUI.

# Conclusion:

If GAPPS was released with all of the planned features as free software it would be the fastest and most complete free APS tool available.

# Screenshots:

gapps_0_level3gapps_1_level2gapps_2_level1gapps_3_level0