Game Dev Diary – Part 1
Greetings viewer! This is Flavius, and I am the graphic assets producer for Awyr, our newest game title that is currently in development.
I’ll be taking you through the artist’s point of view for the project, decisions, tips, and even a few tutorials for any up and coming fellow game designers and developers.
My tools of choice are:
- 3DS Max, to handle everything related to 3D assets, ranging from modeling to animation;
- Photoshop and Mudbox for anything related to 2D assets, textures, UI elements, and so on.
If your software of choice differs, don’t worry, you can still follow along, I mainly speak in general terms which apply to all.
Our engine of choice is Unity 3D, it was either that or the Unreal engine, these days writing an engine from scratch can easily break a small team due to the sheer amount of work necessary until getting decent results, so using a ready-made game engine is definitely the way. Unity won the spot, mainly because we have some past experience with it.
Importing assets over is absolutely easy, Unity supports straight up PSD files (Photoshop), allowing easy adjustments of texture layers on the fly, with updates instantly reflected in the game.
Chris and I are really big fans of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon, so we wanted to build our own little land based on a medieval fantasy setting that players can interact with. In the case of an endless runner, this meant that we could go really wild with ideas when it comes to the stage, chapter, and puzzles.
The first chapter starts off in a small town, with easy to recognize mechanics, leading to the outskirts, and finally to the ruined bridge that connects to the farm lands, soon to come.
On the technical side, we went for the Vertex Lit rendering path, to allow more flexibility with the model details and triangle count. This meant losing some features, like real time shadows, but provided great performance on a large range of mobile devices.
We wanted to add shadows back in, but it had to through other means:
- Using a second UV channel per model which stores both baked lighting and occlusion
- Modeling the actual shadow using a not that many triangles, and no texture, or just the regular blob shadow.
In the end we’re pretty happy with the result, and it taught us a few new things.