Friday, 30 August 2013

Working with CryEngine 3 and Maya (tips and tricks)

This is an ever evolving list of stuff that I have learnt while working with CryEngine and Maya. There is still some things that I would like to add, and if there is anything you know of which I could add to the list, please let me know.

Getting started

CryTiff Photoshop 64bit plug-in installation

copy these two files from the CryEngine Tools folder:

CryTIFPluginCS4_11_64.8bi and CryTIFPluginCS4_11_64.bsc

to Photoshop plug-in folder, and ensure that the path to rc.exe is correct in plug-in by going to Help > About Plug-in > CryTiffPlugin...

CryEngine Keyboard Shortcuts

Q - terrain clipping on/off
Ctrl + F1 - set camera 1 location (also woks for F2 to F5)
Shift + F1 - go to camera 1 location (also woks for F2 to F5)

Assets creation

Asset creation guidelines

Basic collision detection

Custom collison with physics proxys

Exporting Models from Maya



Basic material properties

Creating an animated door

Creating an interior scene

Vis areas and portals

Interior lighting

Creating outdoor scene

road entities

Light beams (god rays)

Useful console commands (CryEngine)
g_godmode=1 - enable god mode
r_displayinfo=0 - remove debug info
g_showhud=0 - remove in game HUD

Examples of work

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Bane Truck Project - Update 6 [CG]

So it's been quite a while since I've posted about this project. Progress has been happening slowly, and I've finally got the low poly done and baked the normal maps. I've done two passes at optimizing the low poly, but left in some geometry for the normal map bake which can now come out and hopefully get the poly count down to about 18k.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Underwater Station Update 2 [CG/Game Dev]

Another progress update. I have started textures for the corridor area, and so far have completed diffuse and normal (via high poly models) maps for the main parts of the corridor. I will next crate spec maps and finish up the doors at the end of the corridors. Hopefully the influences from the new AD are starting to come through.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Underwater Station Update 1 [CG/Game Dev]

Just a quick update now that I have now completed block out for all objects in the level.

A quick word on art direction for the level too. After chatting with my tutor I have decided that textures for the environment will look different to the concept as the concepts have a very generic Sci-Fi feel and this style is very common. To make the final piece hopefully stand out we thought that a much cleaner style would work well. Some inspiration for the look and feel is coming from games like Mass Effect and Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the film Oblivion.

Here is a small sample of some new references that I have collected. This style is much cleaner which lots of use of white and grey with an accent colour to highlight areas.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Underwater Station CryENGINE 3 Project Kickoff [CG/Game Dev]

Welcome to my latest project (along side the Bane Truck)! I am currently working on modeling, texturing and all that on my first full environment, doing so with CryENGINE 3. The environment will be built with a modular system and I am basing it on three pieces of concept by Jenny Rathbone (

I have been working on this project for about 2 weeks now, and is also a part of learning the engine for a competition I am entering with some of the guys that are on my uni course. (That competition is Off The Map for anybody interested, and there's a link to the project page here.)

So far with the Underwater Station, I have taken the concept art and broken it down into a list of required assets, and completed block out on most of these assets. A breakdown of the assets listed here.

Here are a few screens of how the environment is currently looking

Friday, 19 April 2013

Creating automatic doors (using custom geometry) in CryEngine 3 [Game Dev]

This is something that I have been working on for a project and couldn't find very much documentation on, and even though it is quite an easy thing to do, I had some problems doing.

First thing to mention is that I wanted to use my own models for the door. The basic set up that I have is a door at the end of a corridor. The door is made up of three parts. Firstly, the door frame and surrounding wall, which connects to the rest of the corridor, and 2 doors (left and right) which have slightly different geometry. The frame and wall geometry is in the level as a brush and the doors as door entities (door entities are found in the Rollup Bar under the entities menu

I have placed two of these (one for each door) and change a few of the properties of the entities. First if you are using custom geometry, or just want to use something other than the default mesh, the model can be changed in the entity properties. As I want the doors to slide open I have zeroed out the rotation values and set the range of the slide to 1.5 and -1.5 to make the doors slide in opposite directions. The axis may also need to be set if the model is not already in the correct axis. The other important thing to mention is to set the UseDistance to 0 so that you do not get the Open Door prompt on screen when you approach the doors.

To make the doors open automatically they need to be connected to a trigger. I have placed a proximity trigger (found in the Rollup Bar under Entities > Triggers) in the middle of the two doors and set the DimY value to 8. This works with the default acceleration of the door entities if you sprint to the door, but these may need to be changed depending on the feel desired.

The last thing to do is to set up the functionality in the flow graph to connect the trigger to the door entities. With the trigger selected, at the bottom of the Rollup Bar, click Create under the Flow Graph heading. Click New and type and name for the action. Something meaningful like opendoors.

With the flow graph open and the trigger sleceted, right click in the center of the main work area and chose Add Selected Entitiy. Do the same for the door(s). Now to actually connect the nodes drag from Enter on the trigger node to Open on the door nodes and from Leave on the trigger to Close on the door nodes.

Now jump in the level and when you get with in 4 meters of the doors (half of the Dim Y value as that this a radius from the center of the node) they will open.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Bane Truck Project - Update 5 [CG]

High poly finished, but some small details in the mid section still need to be done (pipes etc)

A few renders of detailed areas

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bane Truck Project - Update 4 [CG]

All of the top for what I am calling the front part of the truck now done. Need to revisit the bottom to do suspension etc. for the rest of the wheels.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Bane Truck Project - Update 3 [CG]

Started with the high poly now. Working from front to back and now have all of the cab area complete (minus the interior), and did the wheels yesterday as a change of pace after running into a few problematic areas on the cab.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bane Truck Project - Update 2 [CG]

Added more detials to the front and bottom, so calling it blockout complete now and moving on to high poly. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bane Truck Project - Update 1 [CG]

Some more block out work done. Adding smaller details now from reference.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bane Truck Project [CG]

So this is my latest 3D modeling project. While watching Batman: The Dark Night Rises, I thought that the truck that (spoilers) Bane carries the bomb around in, was rather cool and would make a neat project. Now that I have finished up my last project (Borderlands inspired revolver - more details on my portfolio soon) this is what I will be working on in my spare time, and for this project I thought it would be cool to take screenshots at various stages throughout the project. Here are the first two with the progress of today and yesterday. I would say that I am about 70% done with block out and just trying to pick up on smaller details to come back to when adding more detail.

16 March

17 March

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mosters Ate My Bithday Cake [Game dev]

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is an environment puzzle game currently been funded through Kickstarter, and I've just added my pledge of $20 for the Desktop and mobile (Android if the project gets 20k funding) as well as the soundtrack by Disasterpeace.

Check it out on Kickstarter.

Friday, 25 January 2013

dDO produces awesome 3D art [CG]

So nDO does some cool stuff, but dDO takes it to another level. Can't wait to have a play with this.

Best of 2012 [Gaming, Music, Films]


I thought 2011 was a great year for games. Well, if that's the case then 2012 was just exceptional. 2011 had a lot of strong AAA games, and not to say the AAAs of 2012 were any worse than last year, but 2012 really brought indie games into the mix for me. Looking back at the games that came out this year, it was like ordering food from a sushi menu, giving you a taste for more types of game, and I think this is shown in the variety of games in my top 10.

1. Max Payne 3

Looking at other GOTY lists around on the internet, I don't see why Max Payne 3 doesn't feature on more lists. I had a really good time with this one when it came out even though I'd not played any of the previous games in the series. Graphically, with its stunning levels, Max Payne 3 was excellent. Its online play was good if not brilliant, but that's not number 1 for me. Combined with its mechanics, (yes including cover, but hey it is 2012 what can you expect!) overall this was the most fun I had with game this year.

2. FTL: Faster Than Light

Even though you can be left feeling empty at the end of a game (win or lose) it's so addictive that all you want to do is jump back in and try again. Then comes the revelation of unlocking new ships and it's like playing the game again for the first time and realising that you need to change your whole play style to even make any progress. And oh my god the soundtrack. Really great work by Ben Prunty. Hey, Kickstarter can produce good games!

3. Mark of the Ninja

In a year where stealth action was quite a buzz, Mark of the Ninja really brought stealth games back on to my radar. I had seen quite a bit of game play before I actually played this, but Mark of the Ninja really is a game you have to play to get the fully enjoyment out of. There is tons of re-playability offering you the chance to play through the same level in a different way and experience the game in a whole different way to what you may have seen and experienced  the first time around.

4. Borderlands 2

I would have expected this one to be higher up the list because I was super hyped to play it with all the content I saw in the run up to the release. However, at the time of release I had just moved and had no internet connection, so the one time steam activation caused me some problems. Once I got to play Borderlands 2 I could see that it was a great game. I had fun and could see the improvements on the first game, but given that I've still not finished it, maybe I just got distracted and need to go back to this one.

5. Forza Horizon

When I first heard about Forza Horizion I wasn't sure what to expect, but in the run up to its release I could see what the developers where trying to do. This could have been a not very good bridge game to the next numbered game in the series, but it was great to see that this was a Forza game that was as much fun to play as any previous Forza, without having to worry if you could be going that bit faster by tweaking some of the tuning options in past Forza games.

6. Trails Evolution

In a year where downloadable titles were big, who would have thought a simple motorbike bike could be so successful? Evolution was my first experience in the genre, and I was instantly hooked. The one more try factor is high in this game, and given the excellent control you always know it was you who made the mistake so it’s never a frustrating experience. Trials Evolution provided the right tool set with their level editor, and caught the imagination of the community, and the result is that people are still posting new levels every day.

7. Rocksmith

Ok, so I’ve only had this game a very short time compared to most others in this list, but given my love for music and games and my previous addictions to the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, this is the guitar-playing game that I've always wanted. (Only if somebody will make that game that I dreamed up a few years ago of what Rocksmith is for an electric drum kit). People have slated this game for not teaching you how to play guitar, which to an extent I agree with, but what it does is allows you to learn a song at your own pace by dynamically updating the difficulty of the song as you play it.

8. Binary Domain

This is one that many people missed out on this year, and I only became aware of it threw the guys at Giantbomb. After lengthy discussions on their podcast, and hearing some good things about the game, I thought it was a safe bet. After picking it up cheap on the Xbox I understood what it was all about and what the Giantbomb guys meant. This is 2012's Vanquish (both from Sega!) and the biggest surprise of the year for me.

9. Orcs Must Die 2

After playing the first Orcs Must Die, I wasn't sure that the second could really offer that much more to improve on the formula, and much like the first, I could only see myself playing through a few levels and not completing the game. That was not the case though. The new and improved traps, along with the work put into balancing them made each level a close call leaving my heart thumping in my chest.

10. SSX

Even though released early in the year, this one stuck out as one game that had to be on the list. Although the first in this series I've played, it brought back those memories of playing Cool Borders all those years ago. Before its release SSX was criticized for not including multiplayer, but after playing it, I don't see how this would have actually added to the game. The more modern approach to multiplayer gaming offered through asynchronous game play I thought was a much better choice that was quite unique in games that I played this year.

2012's 2011 Game of the Year


If I actually played Skyrim last year, it surely would have been high up in my list for last year, but I was never quite enticed enough to get a copy until the Steam Workshop integration was introduced early this year. Yes I enjoyed the game, and the combat isn't all that fun, but one of the reasons why Portal 2 was my GOTY last year is it was an awesome game that also provided tools to the community to extend that initial experience the developers deliver, and allows the creativity of the modding community to flourish. Skyrim provides that same experience which is why I created some of my own content, and it really adds to the whole experience of the game.

Honourable mention to:

The Binding of Isaac

This probably comes close to a tie with Skyrim as I spent a lot of time playing The Binding of Isaac towards the end of last year and the start of this year. My current steam count says I've put 171 hours into the game (not all of that is actual game play, some of it comes down to not having time to finish a run and leaving the game running.), and I still keep Isaac videos on in the background while I'm working. This is a game that just keeps you coming back and wanting one more go. Plus, it's a McMillen game, so how can you not love it.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Ever since I first heard about Deus Ex I was interested, but not quite enough to pick it up last year. I think I heard quite a lot of negativity surrounding certain parts of the game like the boss battles, and not picking up the game straight away may have actually given me some time to forget about this and actually enjoy the game for what it is. I really enjoyed the story and setting of the game, and normally these are not high on the list of what I want from a game, but at the end of the game for once I actually cared what happened.

Shout out to some of this year's games that I haven't had chance to play (properly) yet:

The Walking Dead
Far Cry 3
The Basement Collection
Worms Revolution
Spec Ops: The Line
Hitman: Absolution


Although I'm still not a big player of mobile games, this year I got a Nexus 7 tablet and have found myself having some enjoyable experiences with mobile games. This on top of developing a game for iPad, has really given me an insight into the mobile gaming scene and there is some really good stuff out there. Here, in no particular order, are my favourites of the year (even if not released this year).

Dead Trigger
Bad Piggies

Disappointment of the year

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

I so wanted to enjoy this game, and after playing SSX at the start of the year, I was nostalgic for more of the games that I use to love. Unfortunately  the revamp of the original series just didn't provide. I played quite a few hours the day it came out, but every time I thought about going back I never actually wanted to because I  just knew that it wasn't the original.


1. Cancer Bats - Dead Set on Living
2. AxeWound - Vultures
3. Lamb of God - Resolution
4. Billy Talent - Dead Silence
5. Disasterpeace - Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar


1. The Walking Dead (Season 3)
2. Homeland (Season 2)
3. Game of Thrones (Season 2)
4. The Big Bang Theory (Season 6)
5. Futurama (Season 7)


1. Indie Game the Movie
2. The Avengers
3. The Amazing Spider Man
4. Looper
5. Prometheus

The Creativity of Indie Video Games [Gaming]

Cool video about creating indie games.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sight [Film]

While looking for some reference for an upcoming project I was shown this.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The third wonder of Crysis 3 [Gaming]

Ok CryEngine can make things look cool, and make things look COOL!

Check out the video in reverse (or forwards!!!):
Episode 3: "Cause and Effect" Reversed

Check out the last two episodes too:
Episode 1: "Hell of a Town"
Episode 2: "The Hunt"

Best of... CES 2013 [Gadgets]

I'd actually forgotten that it was CES this week and first saw NVIDIA's Project SHIELD in a friend's RSS feed. My first impression was that it wasn't very pretty, and probably a device that some people will buy, fall in love with for a few months and forget about it soon after. After watching NVIDIA's press conference though, this is much more than is shown on the surface.

When you first hear that this is a handheld Android based gaming platform, you may think it's a portable OUYA, but from what NVIDIA had to say in their press conference, Project SHIELD has so much more to offer from the TEGRA 4 system. The biggest selling point for me is the Steam integration.

Ok, it's only for playing games on the same network as your PC, and it's actually running the game in Steam and sending out the video to the device, but it's the first step towards true portable cloud gaming. Looking back now, I think services such as OnLive were just too soon, and would hold up better in the market place of today and the future. The fact that SHIELD is also a full Android based system, it comes with all the goodness of a normal Android device (music, video, web browsing etc) which makes it an alternative and replacement for the multiple devices in the living room.

Talking of alternative places to get access to play games through Steam, Xi3's Piston seems to have brought us this mystical "Steam box" we've heard so much about and caused quite a buzz.

The Piston has some really interesting features, mostly so in the fact that it can be updated in a modular fashion, but after reading the tested article about the Piston, I'm not so sure that it's going to be a massive hit right away. It seems that Piston has some great hardware, but is also lacking in other areas which isn't going to push all the latest and greatest games to the TV at playable frame rates.

Samsung had a very strong press conference and showed off some really interesting products and ideas they are bringing to consumers. One thing that stood out for me is that they stayed true to there announcement last year about updating your TV with the latest hardware and software. By simply plugging in a box to the back of your TV, you can get all the latest features with the updated processing power of this year's newest models.

Sticking with TVs in press conferences, Panasonic didn't have a very strong press conference and most of their announcements were not all that impressive, but their YouTube send to TV feature looks really interesting.

It's a feature which allows you to use your mobile (and presumably tablet) as a remote control to send YouTube content directly to the TV screen, create a playlist and other smaller tasks, such as control the volume. For me this is another way in which I see the second screen becoming a part of everyday.

And here's some other cool stuff:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Sound sourcing is hard... [Gaming]

I remember been shown this video a while ago before I'd played Half Life 2 and didn't really get it. Patrick Klepick had this in his Giant Bomb Worth Reading article a few weeks ago and really enjoyed seeing this again.

Sunday, 6 January 2013