When Clastle was nearing its final stages, it became apparent that it needed more emphasis on story. We didn't have fantastic animation skills, and more importantly, time to have fully animated cut scenes. For example it took me a week in my 3D 2 class to make a woman walk across the room and sit in a chair. But then I thought "what if I make it seem more abstract." It's been done in movies, TV and video games before to set up a scenario, why not for our game that takes place in Medieval times. Then I remembered the black silhouette on our main menu and the Clastle logo. That's what I'll do.
I then came up with the following rough sketch:
The Sketch gave a rough idea as to how it would look and gave me a launching area to start from instead of staring at a blank screen and wondering what to do. I showed them to the other guys and I started work on the scene.
First I started gathering all the pieces I needed. Sometimes I would make them in Adobe Illustrator from scratch, and other times I would just take a picture of the 3D version such as the ship model, and then convert it to black and white in Photoshop and use live trace in Illustrator. Now you might be thinking I then threw all this stuff into Adobe Flash and started animating. Well, that would of been the smart thing in hindsight. Nope. At the time I really hated Flash, and to a certain degree, I still do for reasons I'm not going to say today. Instead I used Apple's Motion 3 software. For those who don't know Motion 3 and/or 4 can do some amazing visual effects (some of which are used for the game's loading screen) so doing something similar to Flash was pretty easy without having to play with keyframes and tweens all day.
There was just one problem, we couldn't figure out how to get it in the game, a flash swf file though was much easier. So I went back to my computer, grumbling obscenities under my breath, and did the animation all over again in Flash.
You might think our story ends here, but I had to redo the animations several times in Flash because Scaleform in UDK drives me bonkers. You see, the artboard isn't the "real" artboard in UDK.
For those who don't know the artboard in programs like Illustrator and Flash is where all the action happens when you publish or print your work. So imagine the artboard as the stage at a Broadway theater and everything off the artboard is all the back stage work. So basically because of this the main character might not be in view when seen in the game during the cut scene, or the island might only appear for one second onto the scene instead of the three I set it up to be, etc.
Drove me nuts, but we did it in the end. I'm not going to show the final in-game version here, but here is the Apple Motion 3 version I made that had to be scraped: