Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
We’ve talked with the developers of Prey For The Gods – upcoming action/survival game, created with the help of Unity 5. The game is heavily inspired by the amazing Japanese title Shadow of The Colossus, where you have to fight a series of giant bosses. Here’s a little look at the development and design decisions that developers made along the way. The creators of Prey For The Gods are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter ( $199,768 pledged of $300,000 goal).
Brian Parnell: I think it’s funny when people say “it doesn’t look like a Unity game”. WTF does that even mean? I’d like to think our game looks like…well our game. Unity as an engine is incredibly flexible and sure it isn’t perfect but for an artist it’s a tool so we simply utilize it to the best of our abilities. Ha! Our animations are just done typical key-frame. We’re 3 devs so we nabbed a number of them from Mixamo. I’ll make rough/prototype animations and we’ve had the occasional animator help us polish some animations to get them to look better. I then have to go back and adjust them for game play.
Creation of Bosses
So we work pretty backwards. We intend to “gray-box” first and then create pretty art after the game play is all sorted out. However, we’re in a funky spot where we need to show the vision. We also had to figure out some shader stuff like feathers so I had to bite the bullet and build out the bird entirely. The pro side of this is it builds excitement for the three of us, and pushes us to make the experience live up to the visuals.
Typically, bosses start with a concept/idea, then rush to a sculpt and throw that in game. At that point I’ll make really rough animations, Chien/Tim will hook up some AI and we start playing it out. Seeing how it feels then make adjustments and add or remove.
Tim Wiese: So far what we have shown of the world is our vertical slice section. This area was designed specifically to be a test of many gameplay mechanics and give an introductory section to the player to learn the controls and get a feel for the game. Generally when I start world building any section, I think about what do I want the features of this area to look like.
Then I think about what is the path I want the player to take through this section and how to make the visuals guide the player, this usually involves some rough sketches/blockouts. Going along with that, I also think about what is the background story for the area. The most important part of my process has been quick iteration, I get something in game as quick as possible, then move the players start point to this new area so we are all forced to play the new area over and over while testing. There will be other places of interest besides just the snowy areas, but they will all still be based in this cold world and so that will be reflected in the world building.
I get a rough base for a section in World Machine, this is laying out where I want mountains and where I want paths, I try to avoid sharp cliffs at this point as those work better as meshes stuffed into terrain. This quick layout I made in World Machine will change up quite a bit after it goes into Unity to fit what we want for gameplay, so I don’t get too attached to it, it’s a quick way to get nice terrain features. I’ve also just recently started using Gaia within Unity, this allows me to use a height map say of a real world mountain and stamp it down anywhere on my terrain. Then there is a Ramp Brush plugin within Unity which I use to get smooth ramps for areas. We use Speedtree, Speedtree is great as an indie developer because I don’t have to make trees from scratch (which I avoid at all costs as a 3 man team, we have to work smart), They have some tree packs which I re purpose to work for our world.
For the weather system during it’s creation I just thought what it’s like to be in a real blizzard. Hard to see, hard to move without being pushed around by the wind. It makes you appreciates the times when it’s clear.
In our weather system we have multiple levels of intensity for snow and wind speed, from clear to blizzard conditions. Moving against the wind will be slower than moving with it. The closer the weather gets to blizzard conditions the faster you need to seek shelter as the player will start to freeze and take damage. Wind direction can change making travel in certain directions easier than others.
It’s aggressive but we’re dedicated to putting the game in our backers hands Dec 2017.
We have a couple more features we want to implement. The Raven pet is something Tim and I have been kicking around so we can’t wait to get that setup. We have plans for another minion or two. Some super fun stuff like breaking crates just went in. Also, we’re looking at adding a couple new gameplay mechanics but really too early to comment.