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vixel
18+
vixel
is creating furry games and artsy silliness! :}
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  • A steady stream of fun and interesting content in multiple media, with an eventual emphasis on furry video games.
  • I come alive when creating Cool Stuff and love seeing my creations bring other folks a smile! :)
  • Please consider supporting me on SubscribeStar as I continue my creative journey! <3

Recent posts

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vixel
Public post

Furry Pinball - Table Mechanics

Things are coming together nicely! Today I spent a few hours balancing the table with subtle changes to bumper forces, target positioning, and ramp shapes and angles. I also increased the maximum angle of the flippers so shots are easier to aim (and now there's a bigger gap for the ball to slip beneath if a player's got too hasty a trigger finger.) <w<

In the attached video you can see some of the loops, ricochets and reversals in action! There's quite an interesting variety -- some tricky angles that demand reflexive recovery flips, a bit of horizontal action, and some hidden holes and kickers that'll keep players guessing which way the ball will move next.

Knocking out the arch between the two middle toes in the paw print shape created a path all the way to the top of the table and greatly improved the play depth and ball flow. Design lesson learned going forward: it really makes a difference having shots that span the whole table! There's also now a little action area with two additional targets on the top left that you can reach via ricochets.

LEDs are still all over the place, will fix those soon. (Ultimately, they need to integrate with the table artwork, so I've been waiting to organize them until the ramps and missions were more or less finalized.)

There are a few little details I might change to make the table design feel more intentional. I don't like the bumper on the left; mechanically it works fine, but there's nothing connecting it to other parts of the design (namely the other two bumpers). Same with the hidden targets behind the leftmost bumper and to the left of the drop targets in the pawprint. It's a fun idea to sneakily hide targets behind other elements, but the strongest table design would make good sense both visually and functionally. I may be able to leave some of these elements as-is if I can find a way to tie them together via the table art... we'll see!

So, what's left to do this month?
  • Balancing mission details (eg how many spins or bumper hits to move to the next level?)
  • Clean up the placement of LEDs
  • Demo build on Itch! It'll have the default controls, audio and graphics you've been seeing in these progress updates. But it's hella important to start getting some player feedback now that enough of the foundation is there! ^w^

What's coming next?
  • Naming missions (they need to match the table theme, of course!)
  • Scoring (how many points per bumper hit, target drop, completed mission, etc)
  • Additional artwork surfaces (I'd like to model a few 3d facades to maximize my drawing area! Gotta keep the ball as visible as possible, but there's some dead areas in the corners and edges that make for a good opportunity.)
  • Sound effects Everything in the current setup is the default sounds shipped with this game kit. Sound is a huge part of the pinball experience, and has at least as many opportunities for theming as the table artwork!
  • Table artwork (thisssssss is a big undertaking! ^w^; Super stoked to be trying my hand at this in March!)

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vixel
Public post

Furry Pinball - Lights and Missions

Hi again floofs! In this update I've started adding missions, scoring and targets. Now the table flashes and flickers like a real pinball machine!

The mission LEDs are currently in NO ORDER AT ALL, but I'll be sure to get them organized soon... XD

All the targets, panels, kickers, holes and switches are functional and tied into missions and scoring. There's some really interesting possibilities, including secret targets, the ball getting sucked into a hole and fired out of a hidden launcher and down a ramp, and drop targets that give access to other targets behind. All the spinners and drop targets have a placeholder for 'sticker' artwork, allowing additional theming when it's time for art.

Check out the attached video! At 0:08 you can see one of the mission mechanics: the paw toes each have a trigger and an LED. You can rotate the lights that are lit by flipping the flipper. This way the player can have control of something higher on the table while the ball bounces around on its own, and continue participating in the game instead of just waiting and watching. Once all the LEDs are lit, the mission activates: at 0:17 I hit the ramp and spin the spinner enough times to win the mission!

To get a better feel for the pace and ball flow, I played several free tables from popular pinball games on Steam! With my snowfox table, it didn't feel like I was seeing enough action at the flippers. The ball bounced around quite a lot at the top of the table, leaving the player to sit and watch. In this update I've adjusted ramps, angles and bumpers to try to direct the ball downwards -- especially on ricochets.

Sometimes it's difficult and frustrating to get the ball up the ramps, with many shots whiffing out halfway. In the next iteration I'll lower the height a bit, because ramps only need to be high enough for the ball to roll into the tunnels underneath. I've also experimented with changing the flipper speed and physics, but that made the table feel glitchy and unstable.

Another solution would be moving the ramps themselves closer to the flippers. This is something I'm exploring, as it also creates an interesting new play area at the top of the table -- but it significantly changes the table flow. There aren't a lot of ways to get a clear shot up that high, so it'll be a fun challenge to find a player-influenceable use for that empty space!

Lastly, I'm discovering design gotchas like always having an angle on all parts of the ramps to keep the ball from getting stuck if a perfect storm of physics stops its momentum mid ramp. Check out the attached image for an example. You can see I've also increased the transparency underneath the ramps so it's easier to see the ball moving underneath; this really helps a lot to keep the table feeling too crowded and claustrophobic!
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vixel
Public post

Furry Pinball - Loops and Bumpers

Here's the WIP table with more ramps, flow tweaks, test bumpers, and design improvements!

Widening out the tunnels at the toes of the paw shape (center stage) was a huge improvement. This lets the ball roll WAY more freely, both into and out of the tunnels. It also creates a stronger sense of access since you can see further through the tunnels to the area behind.

There's a lot of bidirectional routes! For almost any route (and the left side ramp) you can follow it in reverse! This keeps the table feeling lively with lots of surprise bounces and unexpected exits.

Each ramp creates its own loop; there's a loop within the paw shape; there's a loop around the left side of the table through the left paw tunnel; and also a loop around the back of the table using the canyon under the right ramp. Finally, the strength of your shot off the launcher changes where the ball goes (into the right canyon, into any of three paw tunnels, or onto the left ramp).

There's way more horizontal action than I'd anticipated. Depending on direction of approach and ball momentum, there are 5 ways to get into the right paw tunnel; 3-4 ways to get into the right-mid tunnel; 2 ways to get into the left-mid tunnel, and 4 ways to get into the left tunnel. It's great that different tunnels have different difficulties, since I can set up missions that require going through tunnel combinations...

I added a few tentative bumpers as well to get a feel for how those would integrate! Bumpers cause the ball to ricochet in unexpected directions, and accelerate dramatically. Putting them smack in the middle of the table creates an area of high action, boosts horizontal movement and keeps things lively. (For example, if the player misses a shot toward table center, they risk the ball reflecting back at the paddles at a high speed -- or, they can angle shots off the bumpers into the paw tunnels.)

Check out the attached videos!

bumpers.mp4 - This shows a bit of fun with the bumper array in table center!
  • 0:07 bumpers help create horizontal motion (left tunnel)
  • 0:11 tunnels feed into other tunnels!
  • 0:16 there's a lot of bounces toward the wall below the leftmost paw tunnel. This would be a GREAT place to put mission targets.
  • 0:21 crazy ball acceleration from the bumpers! The player has a split second to react!
  • 0:26 bumpers help create horizontal motion (right tunnel)

ramp loops.mp4 - This shows a few of the possible loops around the table!
  • 0:02 a weak shot off the launcher puts the ball in the right side canyon
  • 0:07 ricochet off the left slingshot puts the ball through the canyon, round the back of the table, and over the left ramp
  • 0:11 just missed a shot that would have put the ball through the right paw tunnel
  • 0:13 shot through the center ramp
  • 0:16 canyon to left ramp again
  • 0:23 loop through the mid-right paw tunnel through the canyon

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vixel
Public post

Furry Pinball - Ramp Materials WIP

I've learned how to map materials (including semitransparent materials) to my blender models and import/remap those into Unity! I further refined the pawprint ramp by enlarging the tunnels and adding a front terrace, and started working on the right-side ramp as well. Ball visibility is greatly improved when I use a semitransparent railing on the edges of ramps, and in key surfaces along the pawprint ramp so players can catch a glimpse of the ball moving behind/underneath.

The ramps, colors, and materials are still a rough WIP!

Here's my current plan for this table:
  • Finish modeling a rough copy of ALL the remaining ramps! Focus on cranking 'em out!
  • Refine the ramps: position, narrowness, raising/lowering heights, changing materials and tweaking the design for ball flow and visibility.
  • Add bumpers, targets, spinners to the table so we can get a good feel for gameplay with all the major pinball components.
  • Tweak materials (adjusting colors, transparency, etc. I will do the full table theming/artwork later)
  • Make a build on Itch for you guys to explore!

Be sure to check out the attached video!! Another update coming soon...! ^w^
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vixel
Public post

Furry Pinball - Pawprint Ramp WIP

Working on the central ramp surrounding the pawprint design!

In Blender I followed the approach I used for my test ramp, laying out a flat plane, getting the curve right, then elevating the ramp. Next I extruded down to give me new vertices to model the tunnels, being careful to keep each tunnel (acting as a 'toe' in the pawprint) the same heights and dimensions for symmetry. After I finished the tunnel exits and filled in the faces on the front side of the ramp, I subdivided the tunnels under the ramp (out of sight to players!) so I could bend them in arbitrary directions to accommodate ball flow entering the tunnels behind the ramp.

One of the animated gifs shows me adding a cap to the top of the ramp! This time when taking this into Unity, I exported TWO meshes, one with the cap and one without. In Unity I render the one with no cap, so the ball looks like it's rolling freely. But now it won't jump out the top of the ramp since it uses the capped version invisibly to check collisions! :}

This still needs a lot of refinement. Parts of the ramp -definitely- need to be see-through or the ball will be lost when it's rolling behind it. I'm not a huge fan of the high monolithic wall facing the player, so will probably terrace the top and bottom of the outer wall to break up the verticality. There's a few other notes in one of the attached images, as well.

Another update soon! ^^

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vixel

Furry Pinball Update - Modeling Workflow

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Public post

Updated Nomad Sculpt!

Quick update on the Nomad sculpt from last month! I've given this fine foxy a much improved halter, and also experimented with fur detailing. I'll probably be sculpting a vixen next~!
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Furry Pinball Update - Ramps and Flow

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Some NSFW Sculpts!

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My First 3d Sculpts!

Along with the game dev stuff I'm learning, I've been exploring 3d tools to get a better understanding of workflows and concepts. Hoping to someday make my own models and character rigs for games and animation! ^w^

Here's a foxy and some monsters I made with the software Nomad on iPad! (Nomad is like ZBrush but the interface is way cleaner, and touch input makes the camera controls feel intuitive.)

I'll be doing more sculpts fursure! The next thing I want to practice is how to better refine the smaller details... <w<
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Public post

Unity 3d Explorations - Furry Pinball!

My next project is a fun one - animal-themed 3d pinball! ^w^ I've been tinkering on this project during September, getting familiar with more Unity 3d concepts and workflows. It's been hella fun so far and I have lots of ideas for tables!

Why a pinball game?
- time tested casual action
- lots of creative potential (table designs and themes)
- fast opportunity to integrate my own art into a game
- easy to expand with new rules and mechanics
- I love playing pinball! <w<

Why is this a good project?
- big boost out the gate by starting with a base game kit asset
- small scope that's easy to scale (just table by table! And UI can be simple or complex)
- lets me focus on learning 3d lighting, workflows, animations, meshes, level design, builds
- in the end I can put a public build on platforms like Itch!

As a stretch goal (if there's time!) I'd like to flesh out UIs and integrate non-pinball game mechanics in clever ways. (Introducing things like collectibles, unlocks, transforming tables, virtual characters...) And of course I'll be building on the post processing stuff I learned from my terrain explorations project in August. ^w^

More discussion on Discord! See you there! <3
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vixel
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Unity Terrain Explorations, Part 4

In this update I've added a dragon rig, wind simulation, atmosphere and sun glow special effects to bring some much needed life to the island! I've also fine tuned the color grading and added a bunch of extra post processing, including light scattering, dynamic horizon, 4x anti aliasing and improved shadow colors. Finally, I cranked all the settings to max to see how far I could push the visuals with only these tools.

Annnd this completes the experiment! *partyfox* Now I have my feet wet in 3d Unity, know a lot more about making terrains and environments, and have a long list of related design and technical topics to examine in further studies. I've had SUCH A BLAST exploring all this - and I'm super excited to see how I can apply it to my games the future!! ^w^

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5YOnpUzf7U
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vixel
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Unity Terrain Explorations, Part 3

Here I've introduced a brand new skybox, some post processing effects (mainly color correction and softer shadows) and tweaked various size and resolution details on the terrain textures. I've also added an open source ocean simulation which I think looks WAY better than that quiet lakewater I had before. I'm keeping the dramatic waves and designing around them now... <w<

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHYiz92xcdw
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vixel
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Unity Terrain Explorations, Part 2

After getting the initial topography and texturing the way I want it, it's time to add trees, grass, a sky and water! By now the procedural node map is getting a bit crazy -- thankfully this is about as big as it needs to get for this experimental environment.

The challenge from here is to see what I can do to make this prettier and more lively. The landscape is believable enough as-is, but it's motionless and feels pretty unpolished, and flying around in first person isn't terribly charming... <.<
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vixel
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Unity Terrain Explorations, Part 1

Last month I made a personal goal to finally hop into the 3d side of Unity!! :O I love nature and mountains and scenic places, so I opted to start by learning the terrain system. Here is a sample of the first thing I made, using a procedural terrain plugin called Map Magic!
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vixel
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Sneaky Peeky!

Prowling silently through the forest, this slinky foxie pauses to peek over a log at something interesting!! I wonder what it sees? Drawn in Procreate on iPad!
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vixel
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More Sketchy Foxes!!

Even more recent iPad fox scribbles!! ^www^ A silly foxie in a big hurry, and a lovely ladyfox who...uhhh....certainly looks mighty hungry! owO


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Sketchy Foxes!

Some recent iPad fox scribbles!! ^www^ I'm quite enjoying working with a tablet -- though it's pretty hecking different than the desktop setup I'm used to!!


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vixel
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Foxy Harness Study!

Doodled these foxes last night for a wearable harness study!! :}} Lots of straps to manage, it was trickier than I expected! But they seem to fit pretty well -- and he's a good boy... ^^

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vixel
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Deer Faces! ^w^

I've been working on a lil image series recently featuring an animal species I reallllly wanna draw more: deer! :> It's not a comic - rather a single scene redrawn in variations that together form a story progression.

In no particular order, here are some of the buck and doe expressions so far!

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vixel
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Furry Fiesta Art Jam! - Fox Scribble

At the end of February I attended Furry Fiesta in Dallas, Texas! Had a REALLY fun time at the convention meeting fellow animal-enthusiasts and networking with various content creators from the fandom!!

On Sunday night I found two tables joined for an art jam and scribbled this foxie on iPad in Procreate. It was the first time I've participated in a convention art jam -- and definitely won't be the last!! ^w^

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vixel
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Breezes

On a late-summer afternoon, a playful foxkit pauses a moment to relish the feeling of warm wind rustling her fur. It's a pleasure worth savoring -- as cooler autumn days are just around the corner!!

A quick animation to study techniques in Moho Pro 12. ^.^ I'm SUPER happy to be experimenting with 'moving pictures' again! :}}

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vixel
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Discord Rewards!

Finally got my behind-the-scenes Discord channel up and running! I'll be using this channel to talk about my ongoing projects and planning steps, art learning journey, and to share various works in progress.

You should have access to the Discord channel automatically thanks to the SubscribeStar bot integration! ALL SubscribeStar supporters have access to my Discord rewards regardless of their pledge amount!

Look for #patreon-and-subscribestar near the top of my server's channels list. ^.^ Thank you again for supporting me as I strive to make Cool Stuff!! <3

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vixel
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Fox Faces!

I doodled these cuties a few days ago to help me unwind after a busy evening! They're currently my profile banner on Twitter until I can make some fresher media.

OH and btw, if you're a Tweeter, I'm https://twitter.com/VixelFox on there and JUST STARTED using the site!! If you'd like yet another occasionally-naughty furry artsy gamey media feed, feel free to hop on board!! :>
 
Speaking of profile media, in the near future I'll be fleshing out THIS profile with some brand new painted and animated graphics to make things feel snazzier and livelier. Also planning to connect the members-only Discord channel shortly. Stay tuned!! ^w^
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Let's get this party started!! ^w^

Ayo, finally kicking this off!! =O *loud party noises and confetti falling everywhere* Eeehehee! :}}}

So yeah, SubscribeStar is uncharted territory for me! As my profile on this platform steadily evolves, I hope to produce fun, entertaining and quality content you can enjoy, and use our interactions together to fuel my growth as an artist and avid Creator of Cool Things. ^w^

I'm super excited to embark on this brand new adventure!! And super glad I get to share it with YOU~!! <3

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Creator Stats

1 subscriber
25 posts

Goals

$4 of $450
per month
I'll make a poll and do a 2D animation every month on whatever topic has the most votes! ^.^
$4 of $900
per month
I'll make a poll and program a standalone minigame every quarter (i.e. every three months) on whatever topic has the most votes! ^.^

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