Revisiting Starcraft 2

Of the many projects I put on hold back in 2011 (has it really been that long already?), one was based on Starcraft 2. I did a number of tests with this at the time, but some files have inevitably gone missing over the years. I guess it’s a good thing I documented a lot of my prior experiments.

Since I no longer bother with compositing, the first step to machinima involves creating an environment. I’ve learned through the years that it’s better to move assets to a single engine (such as UDK), rather than trying to master 100 different game engines and their tools (all which may change at any time).

There’s been multiple changes to the Starcraft 2 editor since I last used it. It’s a little more difficult to view and extract content, but I’ve spent the past few days refining the process.

The model previewer has been changed, and is now called the Archive Browser. They ditched the MPQ file format that was previously used (which was easy to extract assets from). Models and textures can still be viewed and exported within the editor, but only on an individual basis. I had to make an AutoIt script to automate the export of thousands of textures, which took many hours to complete.

Screenshot 2016-01-28 13.33.33
Materials can be now viewed using Object > Model Data

Getting everything into UDK is somewhat tedious and time consuming, but I am working on refining the process. Having this all done with just a few button presses may be possible (in theory), but the development of such automation would eat up a lot of time.

I’ve been making progress with the environment despite the challenges. Everything will continue to come together as more lighting, props, and post-processing effects are added. I still haven’t figured out what’s going on with emissive textures yet, it seems their coordinates are not exported.

Screenshot 2016-01-28 13.24.56

The next big challenge will be working with character models and animations again.

A very overdue update

Hey, what’s going on?

It’s been a quite a while without an update. Here’s the short story:

About the time I last posted here, I embarked on obtaining a medical degree. I’m nearly done, so I’ve begun thinking about filmmaking and machinima once again. Lots has changed with all the game engines and their tools since I last used them, and I think one can now produce work without running into so many technical challenges.

I’ve checked out UE4 (on account of UDK no longer being supported).¬† While I’m sure it offers plenty of improvements for game development, it doesn’t seem to offer many benefits for machinima. On top of that, it takes a lot longer to start up on my computer (which is a pain in the butt if you do experimental tests that make it crash often).

I’ve changed the website back to WordPress. I didn’t like it many years ago due to all the spam, but I’m ready to give it a second chance.

I’ve done quite a number of small programming projects over the last few years. I’m still very much a beginner, but I like a medium that allows me to bring my ideas to life.

On that note, I also made a game…or more of a framework for a game (many features were never implemented). I learned a lot and made some cool tools along the way that could be applied to other projects in the future. For now it only exists as a portfolio piece. It was developed in Flash and everyone hates Flash these days, so maybe I’ll redo it in HTML5 at some point.

So what’s next? I’m tinkering with machinima stuff again and trying to catch up on all the new developments. We shall see where it goes from there.