Fragfist is a 3D Multiplayer Action-Shooter with vehicles. It's set in a hostile post-apocalyptic urban enviroment.
The basic idea behind it is taking the vehicle-parts from common FPS titles, like the Battlefield-series; FarCry; UT2k4 etc, and building a cool game around it.
In Fragfist players can choose from at least three different vehicles that can be customized with new Weaponry throughout the game.
Gametypes playable are Deathmatch and King of the Hill.
The game features at least one map.
Fragfist is being developed by three Art and Animation students of the Games Academy Germany and a Computer Science student of the Technische Universitaet Berlin.
Coming Fall 2006!
check out the tech and gameplay demo for GC '05 >>Fragfist Dittrack<<
check out the official trialer for GC '05 >>Fragfist Trailer<<
apocalypse now redux
Cornelius also worked on props. He did the jumps, a keyfeature in the teaser, the statue of the city founder, the busstop, some lamps, the highwaysign and the level-end barriers.
To create more depth we needed a convincing background, so we asked Twilight's Falk Sonnabend to work with us. He did a very good job on the skydome and the wrecked background-buildings. They fit in nicely.
On Tuesday Feburary 14th, we had milestone. And we pretty much had everything included that would be essential. On the other hand, there were still some problems to solve. Some collides didn't work properly, we almost forgot to create/implement color variants for the car, we had some huge problems with leaks on server and client.
Most of the stuff needed to be fixed from Stephan, whereas some things were left to the art department. I increased some aspects of gameplay by repositoning the cameras and including some levelcollides to jump across certain obstacles.
Across the end of the week everything was finally fixed and we were ready to capture ingame footage.
Two sessions were needed to recieve about 25 GB of uncompressed video material.
Marcel sat down and looked it all through, deleting all the boring scenes.
He cut it down to a 15 minutes reel full of action and mayhem.
Early last week we started editing the footage according to "Firewood" from 3Daddys a kick-ass song Marcel found on MyOwnMusic.de.
Marcel did an incredible job handling Adobe Premiere and we were able to cut a breathtaking fun to watch teaser.
A teaser that fulfills the most important premise: "It shall feel like it becomes shorter and shorter everytime you watch it!"
Special thanks to
Robert, for writing two powerful MELScripts: Export2PhysX and Export2Map!
Falk, for additional graphics, art-technical-guidance and for bearing our humor
Simon, for supporting us in Premiere in the darkest hour and whenever needed
Tom, for instuctions on VideoCaptureCard and for keeping the morals up!
Marcus and his PC to be at our disposal
the other guys from the first Semester, for playing and being captured.
My Mom, for pizza.
our girlfriends, for not runing away from our bad moods and dark circled eyes.
coming up: Postmortem 3rd Semester with some more "what went wrong/right"
It's all done, it's all good and far better than we hoped it would turn out.
Together we picked out a small section of vast Goddamcity that would be our playground for capturing the teaser.
There were some important aspects to consider when we made this decision:
We decided for a residential area since the design and work on this type of buildings was developed the farthest.
Next point was that the section was supposed to have some interesting intersections and streetrun.
To make it more believeable we needed a spot were we can find an easy solution for levelboarders.
We used cracked and erected streets along with huge piles of debris. Clever positioned these barriers prevent the camera from recording stuff beyond the level.
After Marcel finished his work on the model and textures for the Prometheus he did some heavy wrecking on it, to create the damaged version.
He already did an awesome job on the "safe" variant, but the damaged one turned out even more impressive! Again, Flatout was a very handy reference. When he didn't work on the vehicle, he did some of the props for the buildings and the streets.
I wrapped up my idea about how our "construction-kit" for buildings should work. We are going to use combinations of three building types throughout this demo-area. I then created the first type "alpha-building" using three levels: ground floor + basement, floor and roof. Piled on top of each other we are able to create a vast diversity of diffent looking buildings for each type of building.
According to the "alpha-building" Marcel created the third residential type and Cornelius did some texture and model variants of the first one, whereas I did the second type.
Similar to the Dirttrack-Demo, we used Maya as leveleditor, but this time we had some improved features. Thanks to Twilight's Robert Müller, we were using Maya scripts to export our leveldata and collides. And Stephan included a template system to his framework. This is increasing the possibilities a lot. We can already plant different particle emitters, cameras, spawnpoints, static and dynamic objects, server and client calculated!
I prepared the different assets for the exporter and began laying out the leveldesign. Later Cornelius and Marcel joined me on this when recently finished assets needed to be positioned.
It was very exciting when Stephan loaded the leveldata for the first time into Fragfist. Of course, the majority of buildings were positioned and rotated oddly ;) It was 50/50 artist and technician failure. Call it even? :) Later that day, everything worked fine.
Illusion is the ultimate weapon
Another intense week has passed. Stephan did some further development on the multiplayer demo. Names and health are displayed for each player. Very basic shadowmapping and shaders are implemented. Some tweaks regarding stability and performance were done as well.
In the latest version, you can ride through GodDamCity, with it's dummy buildings and dummy textures.
Marcel is doing an awesome job on texturing his vehicle.
Check for renders!
Cornelius is working on tileable textures for buildings.
I did a photo-session for urban-textures and layed out texture-variants for the buildings.
On thursday former Take2/Rockstar Hendrik Lesser and Ralf Adam visited the Games-Academy for reviewing current student-projects. Later Ralf Adam held a very instructive lecture about publisher/developer relation. --always a pleasure to meet a jedi.
Maybe the most important news is that we finally use a version-control system now. We decided for Tortoise SVN, and gained some crucial life-quality :)
The week before Christmas, Stephan wrote a vertex-shader for mesh-deformations.
Sadly nobody found the time to work on fragfist during christmas break. Mostly family-business I'd say ;)
In the last two weeks, Stephan wrote an exciting MULTIPLAYER-Demo!!!
Finally, after more than one year of Fragfist development we have a first playable demo running on LAN and over
the internet, using Rakkarsoft's fabulous RakNET.
Best thing about it: The test-vehicles are deforming via our mighty vertex-shader. Blending in a damaged mesh and a damage-texture!
Please download the captured video from one of our Academy-Inhouse Sessions.
Furthermore I have a first version of GodDamCity with textured streets and dummy-buildings.
I plugged it all into the good ol'Fragfist-Dirttrack demo and it's quite satisfying already.
Now that the deformation-technique is determined, Marcel dumped his latest Prometheus attempt just to create a new version,
based on a famous American muscle-car. It's awesome, check the renders!
Cornelius is working on more props for the streets for our next official demo release (Animago Award).
Soon there will be a Guestbook available in the Team Section. Stay tuned and leave a message.
The Heat is On
I skipped last week's news update, because there was not too much going on.
When Stephan broke his foot five weeks ago, we all knew that it was going to be tough to keep the schedule tight.
Of course that does not mean anyone of us was lazy, it's just that the project is not progressing as fast as it could be.
Marcel and I worked primarily for Independent-Arts-Software, Cornelius did some work on his portfolio and Fragfist props.
I did a project-describing-paper for marketing-class and worked with Marcel on our Fragfist entry for Imagina. (Thanks Simon!)
This week I completed the modeling on the city's ground-floor and, after talking with our new texture-tutor Patrick Lehrmann
(Radon Labs), decided how to texture it.
We recieved our serial for ZModeler2 and were finally able to look into the original cars of Flatout.
Very interesting and what a relief: Seems like we are on the right track. A lot of technical similarities.
The german games-developer SEK did two "Making of: Paraworld" sessions at the academy in the last 14 days.
It was totally exciting and instructive. Comprehensive tools make all the difference in game-development!
I was lucky to be chosen to be one of 40 GA-students to test-play Paraworld. Thanks for the opportunity SEK, I really dig the dinos!
Too bad Stephan had to miss out on the "Making of".
He started programing of the main fragfist application.
Basic program structure, input system, client/server code, log class and high resolution timer
And he began working on the MeshCompiler for the deformable objects.
We are currently working out a detailed project-plan.
Please check the progress-section for latest shots from the development.
The GamePro article about current Games-Academy student-projects can be downloaded in the media/press section.
land down under
Early this week Marcel provided Stephan with some objects for testing his deformation-procedure.
This will later be applied ingame, for use as vehicle-damage-system.
On Wednesday I rode to Essen, Germany to visit the annual German Game Developer Award 2005.
This event took place for the second time, Games Academy students were invited to attend for free.
The whole festivity took place at the "Lichtburg", an impressive location.
The Award itself was fun and entertaining. Our Ogre3D friends from Deck13 won the Award for "Best Sound" and "Best Game 2005"!
We are very happy for you guys.
Thanks to Bernd Diemer (Crytek) Falk and I met with Kai Rosenkranz (Producer, Piranha Bytes). We spend a very nice evening together ;)
Greetings to KaiRo and his Piranhas!
XBox360 was the main sponsor of this event. Thus there were XBox360s everywhere at the "Lichtburg". From time to time I played with this awesome new console throughout the evening. I was most excited about the interior-view of "Project Gotham Racing 3" and the sweet grass in the latest FIFA(?)
Today we did an intense photo-texture-shooting at the berlin botanic-garden.
Please check the Progress-Section for latest W.I.P.-shots.
Yes sir, we can boogie!
On Monday I wrote a technical-document about the use of destructible buildings in Fragfist.
The intention was to make this paper as comprehensive as possible, to communicate my thoughts and ideas about this candy feature towards the other team members.
If you want to have a look into this document, feel free to contact me.
During this week we recieved two very exciting emails. One is from Ageia,
the developer of the physics-engine, PhysX (formerly NovodeX).
the other is from Bugbear's Ilari Lehtinen, a 3D Artist who worked on the cars in Flatout.
We asked Ageia for permission to use their logo a couple of weeks ago.
Ageia replied that we are allowed to use it on our website AND ingame!
Furthermore they announced that it would be possible for us to become part of a PhysX-PPU-program:
"Once you have upgraded to a HW-capable version of our SDK, if you have demonstrated interesting progress with your game through our Forum, we may be interested in working with you on a HW demo." (Tom, Ageia)
Bugbear started a developer's blog on their site, where they reveal some very cool insights into the development of Flatout.
Thus motivated, I wrote an email to them loaded with questions about textures, models, physics etc.
Ilari Lehtinen answered every single one of them. We appreciate big time!
Thanks for your invalueable important feedback Ilari!
To the end of the week three magazines came out with articles featuring Fragfist.
For Gameface, Marcel, Stephan and I wrote a four pages long article focusing on our use of NovodeX.
In the second issue of GameStarDev the edior Benjamin Blum wrote a very cool article about Fragfist,
based on an interview we did prior. His article captures the mood of our project really well. Thanks Benjamin!
The latest issue of GamePro features an article about Games-Academy in general with a pretty nice info-box on our project.
Thanks for your interest in Fragfist. It was nice working with you guys.
You can download a copy of the GameStarDev- and Gameface-article in the media/press-section.
Later on Friday we met at Stephan's. We discussed what we are going to hand-in for Animago-Award, Stuttgart and GDC, San Fransisco.
On Saturday we did the public-"Making of:"-session. There were a couple of people from all over Germany and Austria in the audience.
We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks for coming, see you next time ;)
The ObjectEditor is working nicely. We can define LODs with distances, damagelevels with hitpoints, add collides and save everything to an objectfile.
Marcel and Cornelius started adding weaponry with animation to their vehicles. I added dummy buildings to the leveldesign.
Stefan Karau (SEK, Paraworld) liked the design of the city, because of it's beliveability.
Encouraged by Stefan, I began designing damagelevels for the buildings.
On Thursday Marcel and I went to Hamm, Westfahlen Germany. We visited Independent-Arts-Software.
A German games-developer we are going to do some texture work for.
I am working on an extended Art-Design-Document. A guide to provide continuity during development..
you ain't seen nothing yet
At the beginning of this week we took a deeper look into Bugbear's Flatout again.
We tried to figure out how vehicle deformation and texture blending works.
On Tuesday we interviewed Matthias Storz from EOS Interactive at his office.
On Developer Day (Wednesday) we did a "Making Of:" in front of Games-Academy students.
Stephan had some very neat ideas for great visual effects. I collected'em all in my diary.
During the week we arranged a big presskit for our article in GameStar Dev.
Thanks to Stefan Karau's great insights, I started a new leveldesign.
As a base for the streetdesign I took a piece from the Berlin citymap.
The vehicles have developed a few steps further this week as well.
Stephan finished implementing all the important features into his ObjectEditor.
Please check the Progress-Section for latest pics.
The way you make me feel
Bernd Diemer (Senior Gamedesigner at Crytek), former project manager at the GA, visited the Academy.
He held some very interesting discourses about next-generation game-development.
During Project terms he looked into our current project stage. Bernd gave a lot of very useful advices on how to increase the gaming experience in Fragfist.
Stephan nearly completed the work on the Object-Editor. Collision meshes are generated automatically and data is stored in an external file. A testfunction is integrated to test the physical behaviour of the object.
Damage-stages on a mesh can be tested.
Marcel continued working on the damage stages of his Prometheus I collected pictures for an Art-Design-Document and began thumbnailing some Leveldesign ideas.
On Friday two editors of the new German developer magazine "Gamestar Dev" visited the Academy.
We presented Fragfist to them and they offered us to publish an article about our project in their upcoming issue. This article will be the first of a series about Games-Academy student-projects.
working in a coalmine
On Tuesday Stephan began working on the object/vehicle editor.
He pretty much completed it's interface, now it's time to implement the actual functions.
"Nothing too tricky rather generic paperwork", he said. Impressive! :)
On Wednesday we had a neat photoshooting with Gameface.
After that we held a presentation in front of Games Academy Students. we did a detailed workshop on
"How to implement a physical barrel into Fragfist Dirttrack"
Sadly we have to delay a multiplayer demo for Readmore.de
Turns out Fragfist Dirttrack is not very suitable for implementing anykind of network code at the moment.
Instead of spending another month or two on restructuring it's code, we're developing our new tools.
I spend most of the week collecting, capturing, and creating all kinds of content for Fragfist.com
Thanks to Chris' tremendous eagerness and caring all the good stuff got online during this week.
We have ourselves a very nice Webpage!
fragfist with full force
Stephan visited us for the first time this semester on Tuesday. We gave him a detailed update of our game concept. Furthermore we were able to solve some important and difficult technical design questions.
Topics were vehicle deformations and features of the planned object / vehicle editor.
In addition we applied for RakNET from Rakkarsoft with our Fragfist GC Demo. RakNet is a middleware API, our first choice for including network code for multiplayer gameplay.
On Wednesday Stephan recieved a mail that confirmed our application. We are officially allowed to use RakNET in Fragfist. 8)
Stephan is now trying to implement multiplayer to the GC demo. If he is successful, we are able to launch Fragfist Dirttrack over at Readmore.de.
After Developer Day on Wednesday Matthias Mielitz from Tummy Trundle and I were asked from the Academy's administration if we would like to do public "Making of:" sessions. Of course we want to, so our first meeting will be on Saturday Novembre 26th.
On Thursday we met with Peter C. Krell from Gameface and demonstrated Fragfist Dirttrack. Thanks to Britt Bolduan and Felix Wittkopf we will be writing a fairly long article about it for the magazine.
On Friday we showed some very ambitious colleagues from the first semester ART+PRO how to export from Maya 6.0 into Stephan's Ogre3D modelviewer. We love to be supportive and we are happy to share our knowledge. It's the Fragfist way. ;)
Marcel finished the design on his new Prometheus and began working on it's damage models.
I finished a first dummy level for the city map. It features mainroads, highdeck speedways and a tunnel system. It is fairly playable, enough to get the impression.
Additionally I cleansweeped our sever folder and reorganised it's structure.
This was a very fun and intense week. Poor Cornelius missed all these cool occasions, he was sick all week long. Get well soon bro.
taking care of business
-Post Mortem Games Academy Graduate Party and 5th Anniversary
We were able to use the party last Friday to our advantage. We showed the Fragfist Dirttrack Demo to Sven Fahrenwald from Radon Labs, who did a great job, coaching us in project-class during 2nd Semester, but never saw the final result. Well, I guess he liked it pretty much.
Furthermore I met David Hiltscher from Readmore.de again, who emphasized his interest in featuring Fragfist Dirttrack on his site. Naturally it has to have a multiplayer gameplay mode, since he's working for an online eSports magazine... It would be so cool to be hosted there! We can't miss out on this chance.
We played "Midnigt Club 3" and "Burnout 2" for collecting some development tricks and secrets. We were quite successful. Both games are fun to play and deliver an intense "in the city" feeling. We are certainly going to apply some of their techniques to Fragfist.
There are a couple of other games we want to look into in the near future, it's literally playing to do a better job! :D
Marcels and Cornelius' new Vehicles are progressing nicely. They are perfectly delivering the new Fragfist look.
I worked on a dummy roadsystem for the city map. I was able to plug it into the GC Demo for test-driving and it worked alright.
Nontheless it's probably going to take a couple of versions untill we have a final design we are completly satisfied with.
Additionally to Fragfist and Academy studies, we began working on our personal portfolios today. A welcome change from the known project topics.
I started a personal Games Academy "diary". Everything project and school related i write down in this book. It looks a bit like Dr. Henry Jones' Holy Grail diary form "The Last Crusade" ;) I hope this book will become a steady companion during my Academy days, so at the end it contains all the powerfull knowledge i collected.
tour of duty III
Third Semester has begun. A lot of new Students have started their studies in Game Design, Art and Animation and Game Programming this week. Seems like we've become Senior by now which feels a little strange but sounds pretty good. ;)
We are currently in the process of redesigning Fragfist. Applying some improved ideas and of course all the evaluated Feedback from the GC. There are new vehicle concepts and level designs on the way... We are most confident that with our new insights and workflow we're going to develop the best Fragfist possible! 8)
Today is a big party on the Academy's roof-deck. We are going to celebrate last year's graduates and five successful years of Games Academy!
Sincere welcome to all new students! Good luck and lots of fun with your studies and projects.
Kind regards: your Fragfist Team.
New Website is up!
During semester break Chris, from Elabb Solutions, and I worked on the new website for Fragfist.
Post Mortem: Games Convention
The Games Convention is over and it was such a blast!
I heard that there were over 1 1/2 times as much vistors as last year, which is a huge success.
We had the chance to show Fragfist to very important people from the gaming industry and to a lot of gamers.
I was able to show Fragfist to the Creative Director of Rockstar Vienna Marin Gazzari during the GCDC (Games Convention Developer Conference) !!
We met the guys around Florian Stadlbauer from Deck 13 (Ankh) and had a very nice chat. They gave us a sneak peek into a playable version of Ankh, which uses Ogre3D as well and looks really cool!! Best regards from the whole Fragfist team.
Other Ogre3D member we met were two bros who worked on the famous and popular ParticleEditor. Gamecat's Martin Correll and Gregor (Greg), cheers guys.
I met a guy called David Hiltscher at the GCDC and at a party at the Convention. He's working for a very cool online eSports magazine called Readmore.de. He said it would be possible to feature a students project like our demo on his site... I like that idea very much.
On Saturday we managed to meet Robert Clemens from Moonbyte/Replay Studios who is working on Crashday! We met at the Atari buisness booth were he actually demonstrated Crashday to media-guys.
He showed us the latest demo and trailer and it looks absolutely stunning ! And we had a nice talking.
Everyone was very supportive and motivating. We got a lot of very usefuly advices and critics on Fragfist. Thanks everyone
Another cool story:
The Academy booth was located right beneath the GC Forum, a big cinema where lectures were held and major studios/publishers present their latest technology/games. The Academy had about 2 time-slots per day for the students to demonstrate their projects ---> it was quite an important facility and the schedule was pretty tight.
The cool thing: a lecture dropped out so Fragfist stepped up!
We took over the Cinema and played Fragfist for about half an hour. We did some time trials and simply horsed around with the Tomahawk.
People were actually dropping in and watched us having fun with our game.
What a feeling!
We had a great time, far beyond our expectations towards conference and convention.
Did I mention the parties?? ^^
Post Mortem 2nd Semester
Early second semester Stephan decided to work in Ogre3D for Fragfist. The easy accessibility, the huge community and the good documentation are the main reason for this free open source engine.
We finished our vehicles in 3D and were able to see them rendered in real time with diffuse+specular+normalmap+animation in a meshviewer that stephan created.
From now on everything was focusing on the Demo for the Games Convention in Leipzig in August.
We wanted to present a playabe game/tech demo featuring good graphics, physics and a beliveable vehicle movement.
That's why we decided to focus on implementing only one of the three vehicles. We decided for the buggy "Tomahawk" since it's setup is closest to a general car.
Stephan added all the features and attributes and tested them in a couple of test applications. Riding a fullpipe looping, jumping and crashing into obstacles.
While the rest of us created all the graphical assets.
During the last 3-4 months we brought it all together. It was a pretty hard time with ordinary 17h/7d weeks. It was especially hard since we didn't have all the tools needed to do actual leveldesign. Fortunately Stephan worked some tools out that are based on the Maya ASCII fileformat. With the help of these tools we were able to place objects into the game via maya, and create collision meshes from maya primitive cubes for use ingame.
Everything shaped up really good and fast! Features were plugged in in a matter of few hours. It was an amazing and exhausting time, but the team was up for it all the way!
Big thanks go out to:
our Project tutors: EOS interactive's Matthias Storz and Peter Holzapfel;
our Leveldesign tutor: RadonLab's Sven Fahrenwald
as well as frequent Games Academy visitor: Take2's Hendrik Lesser
they helped us with latest insights, technical as well as artistic advices and were good guides throughout the process. Much appreciated, thanks guys.
Post Mortem 1st Semester
Everyone is really excited and highly motivated: First semester at the Games Academy has begun!
Soon there are a lot of project ideas and team combinations around.
I mention my basic idea for a game towards Cornelius and Marcel. They liked it and we teamed up!
Together we refined the idea. We came up with a very promising concept and a title to blast'em all: FRAGFIST!
We developed a gameplay demo for Fragfist in a matter of 14 days! It was build using Stephan's S.K.A.T.E.ngine and was a huge success for us as a Team.
Credit for this demo goes out to Patrick Schindler who did parts of the graphical assets. He is now working as Lead Artist for <<AMOC>>
Rest of the semester we worked on designs for our protagonists, the vehicles.
At the end of the term everyone had to do a playable "Games-Academy-InHouse-Project". The three of us developed a new version of Pong! with HalfLife²'s Hammer. "GAballs" became a very cool HL² multiplayer map, where players throw a custom GABall at each other using the GravGun. It's set in a futuristic arena and used Marcel's scripted score system. The amount of scripting needed to create "GAballs" was insane! A miracle that we as Art students actually did it ;)