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    Thread: A few updates in Ember Art & Design Updates

  1. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Hi everyone. We ran out of time to shoot video last Sunday, so we are shooting a video update this Sunday for posting next week. Just wanted to let everyone know.

    Playable mockup is going slower than we wanted, but there hasn't been any redesign. We did modify the Omniframe based on all the user feedback we got, and we are working on the changes to the model now.
    Faeryl, Pandagnome, Mahdi and 4 others like this.
  2. Thread: A few updates in Ember Art & Design Updates

  3. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    We didn’t post a Friday update last week, but I thought I would pop in and let you know what we’ve been up to.

    A lot of game development is tedious and unexciting. We are doing a lot of clean up. I cleaned up project directories and Unreal builds. Alejandro has been cleaning up and prepping the human models. Joe and Tommaso and I have been working on a plan to get the new Omniframe efficiently. More specifically:

    1) Human models are 160,000 polygons. We are building them this way for future cut-scene use. But we decided to also prep a lower polygon 30,000 or so, for ease of animation. You see it’s very slow to animate a 160k poly figure, so we needed a lower poly one to animate. We are also going to use the 30k version for our in-game highest LOD model, and let software called Simplygone to auto generated the rest of the LODS. The humans also needed to be stripped of their temp hair, and lower poly teeth created, as well as tongues. Status: DONE. We have the high poly and low poly masters ready, albeit untextured and without hair, but good for animation.

    2) We went back and forth between a custom Maya rig and blend using a popular human rigging system called HumanIK. In the end we used a HumanIK system and added custom controls for our facial experessions. Now that the human models are prepped with low poly versions, these will finish rigging and be ready shortly. We do plan to have some out of Omniframe animations, like when your suit is destroyed or you leave the suit to enter a building or new suit.

    3) Omniframe cleanup. Starting from Tommaso’s great high Rez model, we have to now prepare new low-poly meshes from this and clean up the high-poly to make it optimal to bake normal maps. Normal maps are what trick the eye into seeing more detail and curves than is actually there in the high poly. Normal maps make a low poly model look like a high poly. This is not an easy process. Joe first started by creating a colored guide that showed which pieces need the most rework or new work done. I’m currently working on a collar plate to see how long it takes to create a low poly and unwrap it for baking UVs. Our intention is to divide up the work to make it go faster.

    4) I’m interviewing a modeler for a more low-poly and texturing work. Looking for people with prior game industry experience that can hit the ground running. If you know someone who has done game ready models for shipping games before, let me know. We need the extra help in texturing too. So looking for those who can texture characters or hard surface in Substance Painter.

    5) Jetpacks. I’ve started fooling around with the Unreal base project, to add some jet packing models. Going to do this while we wait for art to complete. I will hook up a variety of ways to do jetpacks and see which method I like the best. Then I plan to get Justin’s help (the original designer of the beta jetpack) to test the feel and give me his opinions.

    6) Music. Bross has started in on the music for Em-8ER’s thumper encounter. Nothing to hear just yet as he is recording and sourcing instruments first to explore a feel for the music.

    That’s our update for now. I’ll keep you posted. Reworking the Omniframe is most critical path for us right now.
    Hikki, ayumi25051969, Rocket and 28 others like this.
  4. Thread: Ideas On Fighting Category 5 Kaiju in General Ember Discussion

  5. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    @Pandagnome Referencing Inner space and Equilibrium eh...
    It kind of makes me wonder if we are long lost relatives.
    Pandagnome and Mahdi like this.
  6. Thread: Anymore donation periods? in General Ember Discussion

  7. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    We appreciate your interest. There will absolutely be another round of funding when we do the Kickstarter.
    Stay tuned, you will get another change at some goodies. :D
  8. Thread: Friday Update - Omniframe Tweaks Done in Ember Art & Design Updates

  9. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    An action shot by Tommaso as a gift to you all :)

  10. Thread: Friday Update - Omniframe Tweaks Done in Ember Art & Design Updates

  11. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Thanks for all the great responses. It seems to be regarded by a large number of respondents here (and on Twitter) as a vast improvement, while some have some caveats. So a few points:

    1) The omniframe renders are wide angle and lower to the ground. This makes some parts in the back (like the wings and engines) look smaller, or more hidden, than they actually are. They are smaller, relative to the figure, but not as much as it appears. The wings are also stowed vertically up and down on the back and not semi-relaxed and spread like in the concept. Also, NOTHING looks perfect from all angles, even supermodels on magazine covers. When you see it in 360, it will have good views and not so good views. This is just natural and we try to minimize it as much as possible, but you will always be able to find a bad or awkward camera angle.

    2) The omniframe is not in its hunched/crouched pose, but standing tall, which gives a different look without it's intended pose. This also alters the appearance from the concept. We will have a posed version to show you soon.

    3) The feet will have joints and articulate more than the render. We may not model hinges that you can see, but the rigged for animation version will have more articulation in the front of foot and side flaps.

    4) Skins will wildly vary the head, shoulder pauldrons, wings, jet pods, thigh plates forearms and lower legs. There will be several styles to choose from. Also this is the medium frame. You can expect more bulk in heavy and slimmer versions in light when the game ships. I'm sure you will find your favorite style as the game goes live and we start to offer a lot of cosmetic options to help tweak the look of your frame.

    5) I'm very very happy with the redesign and overall quality and look of the frame and think it will look even better once we have the human pilot inside and everything "in-engine."

    When we first unveiled the Omniframe concept, before anyone had seen the 1st drawing, the reaction was really torn. We had a large number of people unhappy with its larger size, open cockpit, delicate spine and "chicken legs." Well, maybe more than torn, it seemed like most were supportive but had a lot of issues with the concept. One thing you all made clear: take the feedback, but don't switch around to chase the feedback and change things over and over like Firefall.

    I responded back then by saying that first and foremost, the game director (i.e. me), has to be happy and excited with the design and have it match my own personal taste. If not, then I would have less and less motivation to work on the game. As part of the very difficult and often discouraging creative process, I have to be self-thrilled with what I am making or you won't get the best results. So, if I make changes, you can be sure the root cause is that I want something better, or something that excites me more. THEN I take in community feedback and ideas, and pick and choose from all the great ideas, the ones that really excite me or help me achieve my personal vision. I'm very happy with the way the process has been working and how fun it has been to get the community involved. From the Mk II survey to all the comments on the Omniframe since it's first unveil, I've listened and picked and used your ideas as a springboard, yet maintained my creative vision. YOU helped me get closer to what I wanted for the game, I simply could not do it without your reactions (good and bad) and ideas. So thank you for that!


    While the high poly is done, or very close to done, we still have to remake and bake out the low-poly version for the game-engine. I hope to have this done soon in early January so we can hand it to the rigger. The rigger add all the joints and controllers that lets our animators work with the model like a puppet.

    After that we will animate walking, running, turning, jetting and gliding, but not weapons. This is to get the movement feel right and fulfill the Omniframe movement demo milestone.

    After that it's basic combat, getting a gun into the Omniframe's hands and shooting at some static targets to get some weapon feel going and blow some stuff up, even if its just cubes.

    And so on, step by step.

    Thanks again for the feedback and keep it coming. I read it all!

    - Grummz
    Fabricio21RJ, Rocket, frzn and 12 others like this.
  12. Thread: Friday Update - Omniframe Tweaks Done in Ember Art & Design Updates

  13. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    The engine pods are still prominent. You are just seeing it from a "below" angle so you don't see them. The wings are also promiment. Once we add the "hunched" pose I believe the look will improve for you.

  14. Thread: Friday Update - Omniframe Tweaks Done in Ember Art & Design Updates

  15. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Okay...so I've been working with Tommaso on tweaking the Omniframe Mk I to improve the design based on the feedback you gave us. The majority of you wanted us to tweak the original frame rather than create the Mk II, which some of you felt was more generic and less mech-like.

    After exchanging some drawing, photoshops and references, we finally had a direction we thought was working well. Tommaso then used Joe's great model as a starting point and began to tweak and push and pull and create new parts based on our new design.

    Working from the original model saved a lot of time. You all were right: we could save a lot of time taking the original vision and doing a few tweaks instead of going with a brand new design. So we tweaked proportions, beefed up the legs, added a full seat and thicker spine and a few other goodies.

    We hope you like the result as much as we do! Joe and I are thrilled, and Tommaso really gave it his all despite being sick with the flu.

    Here it is:


    Note that we added rollcage to the whole open cockpit, to better support the upper torso. The legs are also completely redesigned. The seat is a racing seat and instead of mechanical links to the arms, we have mechanical sleeves that the operated uses to create "mirror movements" in the MEK's arms.

    Overall I feel like it turned out well. The entire thing is more believable, as if it could actually exist. It blends Japanese mecha design aesthetics with western real-life robotics similar to Boston Dynamic's walkers. An additional goal was to also bring the design of the MEK much more in-line with the THMPR, so that the two would feel like they came from the same MEK universe.

    Merry Christmas, everyone! No update next week as are all on vacation. Enjoy these renders and let us know what you think!

    - Grummz & the Em-8ER Team
  16. Thread: Friday Update - Omniframe Tweaks in Progress in Ember Art & Design Updates

  17. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Hi everyone.

    I don't have any visuals to share, but we've spend the entire week with iterations, revisions, and tweaks to the Omniframe. Based on your heartfelt feedback, we decided to keep the original Mk I design, but with vast improvements. It's starting to look A LOT better.

    Tommaso and I shot drawings and notes back and for every day, honing in on what was missing from the original design and the feedback from you, the backers. We wanted to take our time to get things right. We added a rollcage, a stiffer spine and a racing seat to the frame. We also redesigned the lower legs and, overall, gave the model a detail pass we felt was missing.

    The results are looking much better, but its not to the point where it is complete enough to present to the community. Tommaso is currently looking at the head and shoulders to see where we can improve the design in those areas.

    Aside from drawing, Tommaso has been working in 3D as well. Working fast, we were able to disassemble Joe's original model to help speed the construction of the new one. We did a lot of tweaks to proportions, shapes, and style that are making the model sit sleeker, meaner and much cooler than our original design. I am confident we can show you a new 3D model very soon now, even with the holidays. Of course, Joe will still have to redo the low-poly and texture passes, but this should save valuable time.

    Thank you again for all your feedback, passion and patience. This is the player character, so we wanted to make sure it felt really, really good to look at.

    Other Updates:

    I'm almost done painting the Max Kahuna THMPRs! These will be ready to ship next week, just in time for Christmas! These ended up being fun to paint, but we will also begin production of a unpainted plastic version to ship at a latter time to Maxes who wanted both.

    Also, this week I've been working with Michael Bross, the lead composer of Firefall, on the music for Em-8ER. We are still in pre-production phases but his main task is to score the THMPR encounter for the demo.

    I wanted the THMPR encounter music to tell a story, with musical sections for a clear beginning, middle, end, and all the tension and release points in between. To do this we are using a dynamic music system that will ebb and flow with the pace of the action. The THMPR dropping will sound like anticipation, the mining will sound like a tense lull, followed by action oriented attack waves, ending with defeat or victory.

    Dynamic music with the THMPR encounter is something I've wanted to do since Firefall. So I'm very excited to have this for Em-8ER!

    That wraps up this week. Thank you again for all your help. I know it was a busy time in the forums! Your enthusiasm and replies really perked me up and gave me extra gas this busy holiday month. We have great fans and backers and, for that, we are grateful!

    - Markus
    aka Grummz
    aka Navel Lord
  18. Thread: Forum Titles and 3D Printer Files in News & Announcements

  19. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Max Kahunas get a painted version of the 3D printout, which I am finishing this weekend and shipping out next week. I understand Kahunas want a non painted version too. Happy to do this, but they will be printed and shipped after the painted ones. Thanks!
    Pandagnome and Ronyn like this.
  20. Thread: Forum Titles and 3D Printer Files in News & Announcements

  21. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    Ah the THMPR bust. Alright, I'll get you fixed up!
  22. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  23. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    Fair enough. I took it to mean the hard driver aspect specifically because of how rarely folks use that particular picture when referring to anything except the hard diver mode in particular.....but perhaps the question I answered wasn't the one they were asking.

    Would you mind clarifiying @Hägen
    Pandagnome likes this.
  24. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  25. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    While there are indeed some visible differences between the artwork and the 3d model and that has some effect on peoples opinion of the model, that just has nothing to do with the question I responded to which was: why the 3D model wasn't of the hard driver mode version.

    At any rate, I'm excited to see what the updated version looks like.
    Faeryl, Pandagnome and Mahdi like this.
  26. Thread: Forum Titles and 3D Printer Files in News & Announcements

  27. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    Print out of what now?
  28. Thread: Forum Titles and 3D Printer Files in News & Announcements

  29. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    Uh oh. Did you not get the PM I sent you last month?
  30. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  31. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    This is exactly why we can't do the Mk I and Mk II at the same time. The design has to be similar enough to share animations and a rig.
    Dragomok, Faeryl, Dracomon and 5 others like this.
  32. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  33. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Good morning, everyone!

    Thank you for all the excellent feedback! I really love how the community has engaged this idea.

    We're going to first try a tweak of the Omniframe Mk I. Tommaso and I are jiggering the design and will post a result as soon as we've got an iteration of the small tweaks we think are positive for the original concept.

    Also, many of you pointed out the 3D model differs from the original concept. We agree, we identified several areas that can improve:

    1) wider jet pod distance, bigger pods
    2) smaller shoulders, angled more
    3) Shoulder truer to original concept, sleeker
    4) arms narrower and shorter
    5) forearm longer, hands smaller
    6) hips wider
    7) shoulder missile cannister proportion tweaks

    We think this is a large reason why the 3D model isn't "sitting" as well as the concept art. But we will also be looking at the lower leg design, hands, and support structure for the torso in "open cockpit mode."

    Overall, we agree that that the Mk I is more unique and distinctive feeling. While the Mk II feel more like Anthem or Section 8 in design. We'd like to try to preserve the originality of the 1st design, and by the poll, the majority of you seems to agree!

    Thanks again. More to come!
  34. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  35. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    it was still coming.
    That's not the issue at play.


    Those two pics are the same omniframe. Hard driver mode was to be something that could be activated on the original frame, to cover up the pilot if someone wanted to. It would be added on to the existing model.
    Degiance likes this.
  36. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  37. Ronyn

    Ronyn Deepstryker Community Manager

    For those who wonder, this is what the hard driver mode looks like from the MK1 design direction.
    Use that for a comparison reference.
    Pandagnome, Wyntyr, engjang and 2 others like this.
  38. Thread: IMPORTANT: Omniframe Mk II in Ember Art & Design Updates

  39. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Soooo....after getting the Omniframe modeled, I had concerns about the look not holding up as well as the other designs of the game. I also had concerns with the Omniframe and THMPR looking very different from each other.

    So I took a big breath and sat down with Tommaso to do a Mk II version of the Omniframe. The goal was to unify the design with the rest of the game, have it be more form fitting, and address some issues the community brought up along the way.

    This is a rough draft of the Omniframe Mk II. I'd like everyone's feedback in the community before we decide to make a big change like this.

    Here is the current Omniframe:

    Hard driver enclosed mode pictured to be fairer I included the drawing version. :


    And here are rough sketches of the potential Omniframe Mk II:


    Let me know your thoughts. TY!

    Added. Image of THMPR to see how the looks vary between frame and THMPR:

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    Drakin5, Donovon, Wyntyr and 8 others like this.