Laying the Groundwork
Mar 31 2015
We have a ton going on! First, we’re are doing another OtherSIde Plays LookingGlass Twitch Session, this Thursday April 2nd at 11am EST to 1pm EST.
We will be playing Ultima Underworld II, with Tim, Paul and some special guests. One of those guests is Dorian Hart, who had key design roles on System Shock, Ultima Underworld II, Thief, Thief II, Bioshock, and others.
Part of what we have been doing is the less thrilling stuff. Setting up payroll, filing corporate taxes, getting in development equipment, and other business stuff that has to be done. This has consumed a big chunk of Paul’s time. Steve and Scott have spent their time with the backend, working to make the website store, and Backerkit integration.
On the development end we have two big projects going on. One is an evaluation of Unity 5.0...
It’s a Physics Trap!
This week Tim has been building deathtraps that are all physics controlled. What does that mean? Well, in most games a trap is built and it has some script behind it. Enter this trigger and it goes off. In our world weight and mass matter. For example if we had a trap with a pressure plate not only would a player stepping on it make it go off, but throwing a large object of sufficient weight would set it off, or applying enough pressure would also set it off.
Obviously in this simple version this creates different ways of dealing with the trap beyond just disabling it. You could Indiana Jones the trap by pushing on the pressure plate with a torch or the classic 10’ pole.
Another example which Tim already built which is my favorite is a spring loaded trap. Watch a video of it in action HERE.
That is a post with these nasty blades around the top of it. When the spring and gears ‘click’ the trap spins. The coolest part is when the gears pop back in there is this awesome shake on the motion. Not scripted-not an animation, just the way things react to physics--angular momentum in a damped spring. It is small, and a little detail, but looks so…natural.
Let There be Global Lights and PBR Textures
Will has been playing in Unity 5.0 too. Specifically, he's been messing around with the new lighting, which is pretty powerful, and PBR textures.
What is a PBR texture? No it does not stand for ‘Pabst Blue Ribbon’.
- “Physically based rendering (PBR) refers to the concept of using realistic shading/lighting models along with measured surface values to accurately represent real-world materials."-Joe Wilson
That is the simple explanation. A picture is a 1000 words. This is 4 polygons:
Crazy right? That rock texture-and the bricks behind it is all flat really. But this technology adds depth, lighting, occlusion, specularity and all the other stuff normal maps do. What I see is depth. Serious depth. When the lighting is right, these textures totally ‘pop’ in the game. A big thanks goes out to gametextures.com for being ahead of the curve on these things and having a nice library for us indie game designers to work with. Check them out if you are into building worlds.
The Unity 5.0 lighting model we are just cracking the surface on. Physical Shaders- which in theory will mean we use one global shader for the game, or at least a good chunk of it. Global lighting- which in a nutshell is to calculate lighting not just from light sources, but also from reflections off of surfaces. This of course the big ticket item of the new lighting model and will take time to really figure out if it is worth it or not. One of the pluses is light maps are done behind the scenes almost real time so there is no reason to ‘bake’ your lighting pass anymore. A nice time saver there.
We are just starting to peel back the layers on this but the results are already apparent in our little test world.
So much more to explore. Next week we will take a peek at the Ecology of the Underworld.