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Spiral Galaxy Generator for Filter Forge

December 27th, 2010 No comments

… While we’re at it … here’s another filter for Filterforge I’ve created recently, a generator for rendering galactic disc images …

Actually this filter has been “on hold” for a while because it was crashing the host app on some tester’s machines due to a map script contained in it that was responsible for an optional control which would display the rendered galaxy in a tilted perspective (similar like on the image above). This view mode however was just for convenience to see the graphic in a more practical use case in an instant. And so, because the script seemed to make the filter unstable, I threw it out. So you will only get a semi-cool looking render of a galaxy, but of course that’s no problem because Photoshop can fix the rest easily. If this filter doesn’t cut it for you, you might want to check out my Photoshop Galaxy tutorial, which is a lot more involved though.

Get the Spiral Galaxy filter here.

Terrestrial Planet Generator for Filter Forge

December 17th, 2010 No comments

Every once in a while the Filter Forge fever grabs me and then I start creating filters for it that turn out to be actually useful. So I’ve made a couple of toy camera style photo filters recently but this planet generator is my newest creation. I’ve initially built it to create some more varying worlds for my RPG project but there’s no reason why I should keep it only for myself.

In case you’re into Filter Forge and coincidentally need to render planets you can download this filter here. But be warned that this filter is a tad more difficult to use is still a bit rough around the edges because many of the slider controls have no properly defined limits so you might want to approach it with sensitive finger tips. Hitting ‘next variation’ wildly will probably lead to anything but something good looking. Also, while I added optional clouds, please don’t use them! They look awful! If I learned something from making this filter then it’s the wisdom that trying to create realistic looking satellite imagery cloud layers are a pain in the butt to make! Still, there are some decent results you can get from this filter.

Terrestrial Planet Filter Forge Filter

Starmap Filter for Filter Forge 2.0

July 6th, 2010 No comments

After a longer break from creating game artwork assets here’s a new filter I’ve made for the recently updated Filter Forge version 2. In case you’re using Filter Forge and you we’re interested in my Galaxy Photoshop Tutorial, you might as well like to give this filter a try. You can grab it here.

RPG Design: Character Development Example

November 19th, 2009 No comments

Welcome back to the RPG Design series where I try to talk a bit about the work and progress on my game project, the development of the darkish, space -themed computer role-playing game Stellar Conspiracy: Entanglements Of The Marenis Sector (working title).

eliza5In the last part I’ve introduced the character design template I’m using and mentioned to post a character example next time which I’m doing hereby while introducing you to Eliza Retinienne, a Gessjanian security systems expert from the planet Shielle, a small world bordering on the fringe of the Suulun Sector which in turn stretches over a large area of the southern galaxy.

Eliza is one of the key characters in the game’s story and one of the characters whom the player is supposed to encounter and who eventually joins the player’s party. She is also supposed to receive her own side-quest in which the player can engage to help her out of the threatening situation she is currently in.

Note that this sheet is basically just here to give an example of how the character design template can be used to shape out a character so I suggest not to look too critically into the details. Things can (and will) still change and also the sheet is not filled out completely, for one reason because some details are irrelevant for this character and for another that I haven’t found any other suitable details for her yet. Either way I hope this gives a good example of how to utilize the template!

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RPG Design: Character Development

September 24th, 2009 2 comments

char_banner

And back to the game design topic! The part I love most about game design is that you can create worlds full of life, intricacy, intrigue and interesting characters, experimenting with scenarios and situations (that would otherwise probably have negative  repercussions in RL™).

As a programmer you’d ever only write your code and if you are happy with it that’s fine but we one-man-game-developer types are more like Jack of all trades who want to create complete worlds … and stories. And then tell those stories by means of the game. And maybe throw a bit (or a large chunk) of dynamics in there again … as programmers.

One extremely satisfying aspect of game design (for games where narrative is important) is the development of characters that should act throughout the game. Creating characters is just as much fun as the other bases! If you do it right and create deep and sympathetic characters people will love them.

And even villains can be sympathetic. In fact they should be! Who likes an antagonist that is completely unsympathetic? Nobody, right? But why should you even like a villain, after all he’s the guy who needs to be defeated? The answer to this is that the guy who is the villain is so only in the context of our story. Maybe he’s not so bad after all in a different context. Or in short: Antagonists also have a life, feelings … but guess what? Now I totally digress! I actually wanted to show you my new and all fresh character template that I came up with to shape out characters for my game.

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RPG Design: Choosing the right Graphical Projection

August 11th, 2009 6 comments

Neverwinter Nights 2 Banner

I’ve been designing on a rather ambitious Role-Playing game project since a while now (in fact quite a long while but I’m not in hurry to finish it anytime soon) and while I’m in the process of working out the story, technical details like the combat mechanics, skill system etc. and creating interesting characters I still haven’t made a decision on the type of graphical projection for the game so far. I’ve been thinking about five kinds of projection from the most basic one (2D orthographic) up to full dynamic 3D which would be quite an effort. As my development platform of choice happens to be Flash, the resources in terms of 3D are limited.

So with that in mind I thought it would be good opportunity to introduce some of the most-used projections in computer and video role-playing games to get to know them a little better. This is by no means a complete list of all sorts of projection used in games but I believe these the ones most commonly used for role-playing games.

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Tutorial: Creating a Galaxy in Photoshop

July 20th, 2008 69 comments

In this tutorial I will explain how to create a relatively realistic looking galaxy with Photoshop. I was searching the web up- and downwards to find any tutorials that could tell me how to get a similar fantastic result. There are like 100.000 planet tutorials out there and the few tutorials which were about creating a galaxy where either very basic or the result looked like everything but a realistic galaxy. The galaxy I wanted should have looked massive and intricate … just like the real ones but with a slightly more artistic touch. I’ve needed a galaxy that I could use as a star map for a space-themed roleplaying game design and the image you see above is a part of the result. Let’s go try to do such one …

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Font Creation with Flex

May 18th, 2008 No comments

Fontstruct is an online font creator whose editor has been obviously developed with Flex. Users can register and design their own fonts which are made available for download. Looks slick!

Categories: Design Tags: , ,

Tools of the Trade Part 5: Filter Forge

December 28th, 2006 No comments

Filter Forge is a new software for Windows that allows creating Photoshop filters in a tree node based editor. Yep, thats right! You design filters by connecting components together with virtual wires. Imagine the possibilities! The application ships with a standalone tool as well as a Photoshop PlugIn and after you played around a bit with the trial version you might want to file this tool under “apps with that I could spend the whole day long, experimenting with it”!

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Categories: Design, Random Picks Tags: ,

Photoshop Script: CenteredSelection

July 17th, 2006 3 comments

Centered Selection is a simple but neat little JavaScript for Photoshop CS+ that can be used to create a rectangular or elliptical centered selection while maintaining the aspect ratio (i.e. width and height of the selection stay the same). Several options can be changed like the feather amount and the padding around the selection, whether using Antialias or not, creating an inverse selection and if an alpha channel should be created from the selection. This script can save a lot of hassle when trying to create a centered selection (imagine all that shift-, control- and space-holding and pressing to resize and drag around the selection)! As always a screenshot says more than thousand words.

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Categories: Design Tags: , ,