Research & Development
When conceiving my project I had to consider multiplayer applications and allow room for pre-processed destruction and a potential fluid simulation. When conceiving my project I had to consider multiplayer applications and allow room for pre-processed destruction and a potential fluid simulation. In the beginning, when I brainstormed some thoughts, I was steering towards creating a LEGO game. After discovering the Unity LEGO micro game I felt this idea was a bit redundant so I created a mind map to see what I could come up with. After discussing feasibility with Danny over Zoom I decided I would create a bomb survival minigame. This presented plenty of opportunities for destruction animations and was compatible with multiplayer.
I started to flesh out the concept with concept art and storyboarding. I made this storyboard to make it easier to explain how the game is played. I think this shows the game objective clearly, however, does not accurately reflect how the game will appear. The game will be a third-person 3D game and this does not show that. I wanted to establish concept art early to give myself a clearer idea of what the complete game may look like. I started by creating a mood board on Pinterest, full of images that I felt would suit my game. I choose pictures with the idea of creating a dinosaur theme to tie in the falling meteor dynamic. The mood board made me realise I wanted to use a cartoon style and possibly implement cel-shading to tie everything together visually. I sketched some concept art digitally to get my ideas down quickly. I made a coloured drawing showing how landscape, characters, and assets should look.
The next step was to refine concepts and create a more visually accurate depiction of how the game will look. I made a storyboard showing the main flow of the game. This was helpful in making sure I thought the whole game through. Storyboarding also gave me a starting point for timetabling the project. I made a list of 3D assets I knew I would need to create and spaced them out over the nine weeks in a fresh Gantt chart. I ordered the 3D models in a way that would let me develop game mechanics simultaneously. For example, the first model I created was a dinosaur character so I could work on character movement first.
The first step in modeling anything is a clear concept sketch. I knew how the dinosaur was going to look based on my main concept sketch. I then drew a T-posed front and side sketch for implementation in the modeling environment. This was how I proportionally modeled the character.
Other assets were created with a similar cartoonish style by referencing the mood board for inspiration. I made sketches of most art assets before modeling them and followed a similar, if not simpler, process as the dinosaur for modeling. Environmental assets such as the arena walls were sketched and modeled prioritising function. The volcano had to be the base for a fluid simulation and the arena walls would have to contain the player effectively. I was also concerned with the poly count of both assets as they were most detailed. For performance reasons, I removed all non-visible faces from the volcano after the fluid simulation had already been baked and cached. I later reintroduced these faces so I could have the volcano visible from the arena but this would be more closely considered in a bigger project. For the fracturing 3D models (Tree, rocks, and meteor) I used a combination of the Voronoi fracture plugin and booleans. I felt the Voronoi fracture was very convincing for the breakable boulders however I wanted to show different texturing for inside the rock from the outside. I knew the Voronoi plugin would create new faces on the inside of my model with poor quality meshes. This fact prevents me from making well proportioned UVs so I re-meshed the new fragments. Unfortunately, this would mean the fragments would no longer align smoothly however as they become immediately dynamic I was not concerned.
I wanted to make sure my 3D models were industry-ready so I took some post-processing steps to achieve this. I reset the XForm to remove any rotation/transforms/scaling made in the modeling environment and align object pivot points and bounding boxes with the World coordinate system. My model was hand-modeled so I applied a mesh smooth to improve the quality and appearance of the mesh. The new mesh was then checked for abstract elements or any other issues possibly created. The final step was to move all of the elements within the hierarchy to a new layer from the default layer. This is a good industry standard as modeling environments use the default layer for some behind-the-scenes functions and keep things tidier.