Sunday, October 30, 2011

Game Engine Analysis

      Unity is an easy to use game engine that was developed by Unity Technologies in 2006. Unity has all of the standard features of a game engine, as well as some really appealing features.

      The biggest selling point for Unity is that it is extremely easy to use, especially compared to other engines. It is arguably the easiest game engine to learn. Many of the tools used to create the games are highly intuitive and straightforward. The UI and navigation in Unity mimics those found in mainstream 3D applications such as Maya and 3Ds Max. This makes it extremely accessible to 3D artists who are trying to make their own game.

The current stable release of the engine, Unity 3, supports everything that can be found in high-end gaming engines such as occlusion culling, dynamic lighting, and built-in physics. It also includes powerful features that are unique to Unity, such as the ability to drag-and-drop game entities into levels(this includes auido and light sources), and the ability to instantly update imported assets merely by saving them in their respective programs.

Perhaps the best thing about Unity is that it is completely free to use. There are two versions of the game engine: Unity and Unity Pro. Unity is completely free to download and use. It is even possible to sell any games created with Unity without having to pay a royalty. Unity Pro is a more comprehensive version of Unity that is priced at $1500. Unity Pro offers more advanced features such as realtime lighting and deferred rendering.

Compared to other engines, Unity 3 is definitely the most accessible. Although game engines such as the Unreal Developers Kit and CryENGINE may be more powerful in terms of graphics, simple things such as importing a character into the engine require programming knowledge and an understanding of the engines' hierarchies. Making games in these engines essentially requires the user to become a programmer, whereas Unity was designed for use by artists.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Super Smash Brothers Brawl Analysis

    Released in March of 2008, Super smash Brothers Brawl is the third installment in the Super Smash Brothers series. Super Smash Brothers is a type of fighting created by Nintendo that features many of their famous game characters from a wide variety of games. The goal in Smash is to beat up the other players until they receive so much damage that they go flying off of the current stage. There are thousands of different sounds in this game as well as soundtracks that are pulled from Nintendo's history.

    From the very beginning of the game, the player is treated to a trailer that features music from Final Fanatsy composer Nobuo Uematsu. Although the main theme of the game is rather short, it is performed by an orchestra and sounds amazing. In fact, many of the soundtracks in Smash are classic songs(sometimes even 8-bit) that have been redone in full orchestra. Director Masahiro Sakurai  enlisted the help of 36 video game music composers from various companies to write music for the game. Even the the theme songs for all 35 playable characters in the game have be redone in full orchestra.

There is an extremely wide variety of sound effects in Super smash Brothers Brawl;each of the 35 characters have various sounds that are specific to them as well as voices. There are even items in this game that vary from firecracker launchers to laser guns. When it comes to audio, much of the sounds effects appear to be synthesized, especially for distinct sounds like beam swords and certain character abilities. However, a few sounds appear to be sampled, such as the sound of a frying pan hitting another character. The sound effects in this game really help give the characters a sense of weight and strength. For example, when a heavy character is walking across the stage, the sound effects for his foot steps will be a lot louder than a lighter character's. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mega Man V Analysis

I remember when I was first able to play a Mega man game. It was way back when renting games from Blockbuster was still a good idea. The game I rented was called Mega man X2, and it was probably one of the best games I never owned. The two things I remember most about that game was its soul-crushing difficulty, and it's amazing audio.

As time passed, I moved on to bigger and better games(N64, Gamecube, Wii, etc.), but I was recently given a copy of a game suspiciously titled Rockman World 5. As it turns out, Rockman is the Japanese name for Mega man, which left me no choice but to track down my old gameboy and pop it in.

I am by no means an expert when it comes to the technicalities of game audio, but given how old the game looked, I was surprised at how well the music was done. However, one thing became immediately apparent when I started playing was that some parts of the sound track would stop playing whenever a sound effect played. For example, when an explosion would go off, the "snare" part of the music would suddenly cease, but then start back up when the effect was done playing. I didn't know it at the time, but I think this may have had something to do with a limited number of sound channels. Considering how often explosions go off in a Mega man game, the soundtrack would get really choppy at times.

The soundtracks themselves are fairly short in this game and will loop throughout an entire level. Fortunately the levels in this game are also fairly short, and the music is extremely catchy to boot. One thing I did notice however, was that Mega man himself was not given a sound effect for when he jumped. Since Mega Man is also a platformer, I think the sound designer realized that if a sound played every time the player jumped, the soundtrack would get cut off even more than it already does. The actual sounds used to make the soundtrack consisted mostly of white noise and bleeps, but were played in such a way that would leave the tune stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Final Assignments




I think I've finally gotten used to drawing with ballpoint pen. I actually prefer them over pencils now.