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Facial Rigging Demo – iAnimate Workshop

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Last month, I have completed facial rigging workshop at iAnimate, instructed by Jonah Austin. Currently, Jonah is working as Sr. Animator at Activision but previously, he also worked on facial animations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Tron and Beowulf. I had the opportunity to develop my skills and gain professional insight into technical aspects of building a robust facial rigging. Above, you can see the final result of the workshop. I have implemented all the features we learned throughout the workshop and this quick animation pass test demonstrates how blendshape interpolation works and depicts the capabilities of joint movement.

The workshop covered joint setup,  FACS system, skinning process, soft eye system, creating blendshapes, phonemes and vizemes for lip-synch, automating process (MEL and Python tips such as mirroring blendshapes) and creating UI controls to drive the blendshapes and joints. You can read the details about workshops here. If you have any questions, I would gladly reply. Leave a comment below or reach me out.

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1917 – A minimalist mobile game [WIP]

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El-Lissitzky’s thought provoking composition, “Beat the Whites with Red Wedge”, was always inspirational for me. I was at high school when I first saw it. The painting was created in 1919 as a Soviet propaganda poster and I was simply impressed that so much meaning can be conveyed through the use of so little. Later on, I wondered: can we translate this composition into a gameplay?

In the composition, the red triangle represents bolsheviks, known as communists, and hints at Red Army that was established immediately after the revolution. The white circle, on the other hand, symbolizes the White movement, or described as the military army of Imperial Russia and the force that fought against bolsheviks. Besides, it is also possible to see Russian text rendered on the painting, which is the title of composition. Furthermore, this litographic painting is also an important example to illustrate constructivist art movement in Soviet Russia and it became popular in West when the artist moved to East Germany in 1921.

My passion to understand the painting has led me to work on different prototype manifestations. However, it was hard to find an idea since there were concrete constraints in terms of visual elements, colors and composition. Nevertheless, I kept experimenting.

After trying out several prototypes, I think I managed to create mechanics that conveys the meaning I’m looking for. The first playable prototype, “proof of concept” is on itch.io, Right now, there are eight functional levels but due to some technical problems, I can’t show it publicly yet. However, playtests were promising and I’m looking forward to complete the game. Obviously, the most challenging part of the game is that almost nobody knows the painting, which is not necessarily a bad thing. That’s another design challenge that I try to overcome by referring to real historical events as non-diegetic elements in-between levels. The ultimate goal is to translate the experience of revolution through gameplay mechanics and inform players about relevant historical facts. And although it is playable on a computer, the final game will be released on mobile as the controls work better with touch input and in fact, there will be levels where multitouch input is required and you have to collaborate with other people to beat the game. Collaboration also fits to the concept. My objective is to complete 15 levels and release the game during summer, after handing in my thesis.  The game will be released for free on Android so expect more to come and stay tuned.  And, here is the final pitch for 1917:

“A minimalist game in which you control a triangle in order to lead a revolution

 

Features

Drag: Drag your Red Wedge on the screen to lead the revolution

Merge: Merge your triangle with others to recruit new comrades

Beat: Destroy the White when you are powerful

• Minimal art style: Enjoy minimalist yet functional aesthetic of 1917

 

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OccupyGezi

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What is it?

OccupyGezi is a game about Gezi Park events of Summer 2013 in Turkey.

A peaceful sit-in of about hundred people to prevent Gezi Park, one of the last green spaces in the middle of Istanbul, from being destroyed and turned into a mall was subject to use of disproportionate force by the police. This triggered a hundreds of thousands-strong country-wide protest against the authoritarian policies of the government, and there have been many clashes and police attacks since.

Why is it made?

The game was developed as part of a game jam organized by Game Developers Turkey (GDT). Gezi Park has become a symbol of people’s fight against oppression and desire for a more democratic country, where they can have a say about their own lives, their city, their future. Now the Taksim Square and Gezi Park is occupied peacefully by the protesters with no police around and no violence, and with no other redeeming quality of our own, we chose to show our support by doing what we do best – making games.

Individuals from every part of society have collectively participated to the events, especially using social media (as the traditional media refused to inform people about this event), therefore developing games as a medium to express our political opinions fit to the spirit of the movement.

Symbols in the game

There were many iconic moments during the protests, most notably woman in red during the early days of the protests. You, as the player, control a policeman and can shoot tear gas at protesters. It is up to YOU to decide whether you want to allow the protesters to enter the park freely and safely or pose them a challenge. Should you prefer to choose the latter, woman in red will appear in the game to support the protesters in their cause.

Primarily inspired by Gonzalo Frasca’s 12th September, this game aims to show players the collective solidarity of protesters against the police state. As a player you can shoot at protesters by simply holding and releasing your left mouse button during gameplay.

Mechanically, shooting at protesters only slows them down, it’s not possible to prevent their entrance to the park. In the background, you can also see the support by habitants of the city from their home, legitimizing the protests in the eyes of people.

The game was exhibited in Amber Design & Technology Festival in Istanbul, Turkey.

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