Ghostly Apparitions – March Update


With the final deadline being the 5/5/17, and April likely to taken up by out of development tasks, I am using this month to get all the games current features and assets into a playable build, with a proper beginning and end. After getting the prop interactions implemented last month I am now adapting the action line AI made for the first milestone and fitting it into the demo scene, mostly be making new animations and setting up the individual scene events(e.g. Open door, get out of bed and so on).


My aim for the deadline is to have the AI move through the demo, while being able to be distracted by player actions while moving down one of the intended narrative paths planned for the final level, which can branch to at least two ending variations due to player actions.

As per usual I will continue to post the day to day updates on this on the Birdmask Studio twitter page, that I have been getting used to this past month.

Ghostly Apparitions – March Update

Dev Update: Things Unity Doesn’t Like

While developing Ghostly Apparitions, specifically my push of new features this last month, I have learnt a few things that Unity did not seem to like me doing. These are things that are limitations of the default engine that, while maybe on the higher end there may be solutions, for now I have had to find workarounds for these quirks of the engine.

These are good to examine and stress test now, in the early stages, so I can note these down as thing to consider when working on the final design of Ghostly Apparitions systems.

Rigidbodys and Non-Convex Colliders

Ghostly Apparitions is currently going down a very physics driven route for it’s gameplay. Apparently between Unity 4 to 5, non-convex rigidbodies using mesh colliders have been removed as an option, eliminating easy to make holes and gaps in physic objects.

A workaround is using multiple colliders per special object, from separate parts, to remake the whole shape with the gaps, hole and indents needed, however I can’t say how efficient this is. This means I may have to find some alternatives in the future for things like cupboards, draws, bins and even the gaps under chairs. For now I will lean towards less gaps and holes in my games movable props and simply see how far using multiple colliders can take me.

Animation and Simulation

When animation is applied to any bone on a object it nullifies any physics driven movement on any other bone in its hierarchy. From my research with IKs there may be a way around this but without a special fix if you want, as I did in my example, a rigidbody driven door with animatable handles, it is simpler to have the handles be a separate rig childed to the door.

With that in mind I will probably make a base rig for all handle like objects in my game with a interchangeable mesh, since I will have to separate them from the doors anyway this will save time on setup.

Humanoid Rig, Ik Handles and Scaling Animation

The character models in my game are made for cartoon like expression and movement and have multiple parts in their rigs for classic squash and stretch animation. In the future I want the post 2017 AIs in Ghostly Apparitions to use IK handles to interact directly with props in game.

However Unity’s humanoid rig, it’s only built in route to IK handles, cancels out all scale driven animation in the entire rig. Luckily using some of the community built alternatives for Ik handles don’t seem to have this same quirk, so with a bit of research my specific animation needs should be fine, however I will not be able to use unity’s built in system.

While not much hopefully this may be useful for anyone who is doing similar work on the unity engine, as development continues I will be sure to post the specific solutions for any particularly problems I have as work goes on.

Dev Update: Things Unity Doesn’t Like

BirdMask Studio And Ghostly Apparitions, Now On Social media!!


Hello all, a update post here to establish what Birdmask Studios is and what exactly it is we do.

Birdmask Studio is the name I am giving to my game development studio. My first project is a demo for a ghost themed, puzzle and slapstick game, called Ghostly Apparitions – for more information check out the other updates on this blog. As for who I am, i’m a Alumni of Farnham’s Computer games art course, I work mostly independently, starting off working with animation before tackling game development. Now, with Ghostly Apparitions, I hope to have my first publicly available demo ready for you to download and play in the summer of 2017.

In this blog i’ll be posting major updates and things about the various stages of production. I will also be posting some of the fun behind the scene goofs and animations that I do for fun, in the social media pages linked bellow.


Thank you to anyone reading this, if you want to keep updated on this project please follow/like Birdmask Studio on facebook and twitter. I hope you enjoy the blog, find the development interesting, and in a few months play demo.




BirdMask Studio And Ghostly Apparitions, Now On Social media!!

Ghostly Apparitions -Vertical Slice Character Model Comparison

GhostlyAppritions_FacebookBanner (3).png

Update from last time I have since finished the revised character model(shown above), along with Ghostly Apparitions 2nd prototype that shows of the basic AI to player interactions.

Copy of GhostlyApprationsCovers (1).png

I’ll be updating this more when i’m back from going in to Uni to hand in my Dissertation, for now I thought I would upload the revised splash screen image, to show the neat comparison between the original model design from 2013 of this character, and the new one made for Ghostly Apparitions style specifically.

Ghostly Apparitions -Vertical Slice Character Model Comparison

Ghostly Apparitions – Bath Level, Old Man design Concepts and nudity

With the intensive elements of my dissertation wrapped up, and the second prototype of Ghostly Apparitions ready for this month’s milestone, I am now to moving my focus to the development of the central character that will be featured for the end of year show.


Grey box of “Bath Time” Level

The premise for the level is “Bath Time”. You are haunting a old man in a hotel room and trying to get him to leave through any means possible, while the old man is trying to set up and have a bath… like The bath, he is really dedicated to it. The game’s tone overall is to focus on Tom and Jerry/Home Alone styled slapstick and humor, with a bit of my own cheeky humor thrown in, based around these kinds of simple yet absurd mission statements and characters.


So to the old man himself. His design is to be a revision of a older unused concept of mine from a few years back, the guy above that I used to throw together the visuals for this games pitch. There are a few changes however that need to be made before I can start modeling a revision of this concept. Stylistic I aim for the character models of this game to be more simplistic and geometric, making them faster to model and easier to animated and adapt. Along with that while I want this character to be distinct, hence the fat design, I want to keep the overall skeleton near neutral so I can use it as a reference for future models that the larger project will require.


Above are the quick concept variants from my second session(the first practice session is shown below) at the design of this character. These aim to give me a anatomical idea of what to aim for, once I set on a overall design I will then move on to doing some style focused concepts and then a finally reference sheet. To partially address the elephant in the room(pun slightly intended) the character of this level is being designed so he can be nude, I will post a longer write on my reasons for this later, but for now i’ll sum it up as being part of the humorous style I intend for my game, however I will be discussing and examining the pros and cons of this, over the lifetime of this project.

Session 1 Concept

It’s been awhile since i’ve done a humanoid concept or model of this style, session 1 was a initial attempt to break me back into the groove of things, while not at a level or look I intend to actually use, the above practices were helpful to get me back into things after only programming for so long.

Ghostly Apparitions – Bath Level, Old Man design Concepts and nudity

Ghostly Apparitions – Initial Prototype Day 4 Dev Update

About the video 1. not centered 2. I will try to look into some audio tricks to reduce the wind noise in the future, anyway onto the content.

“Ghostly Apparitions” is the working title for a HTC Vive game concept I will probably be working on for the end of year UNI show next April.

The above video is a quick proof of concept for the Vive interface I have thrown together over these last few days to show my lecturers before I start the final march on the dissertation, which will be keeping me preoccupied for the next two weeks, after which I will get back to developing this.

Ghostly Apparitions – Initial Prototype Day 4 Dev Update