Since the last post, I’ve been working some more on the landscapes tech, but I kind of shifted focus more towards the assets pipeline. Models, textures, materials, lighting… all the elements involved in creating an immersive world for the player, in this case, visually.

In the last month I decided that after those landscape tests I was going to finally start production of the demo and trailer, but then I thought it could be a good thing to create some test assets before making the actual ones that will be in the game. When it comes to computer graphics, or in this case game development, I tend to be very cautious and plan the more I can in advance. I guess this is because I’m not a fan of re-doing lots of mechanical repetitive tasks that could be avoided with a little more planning or knowledge of the pitfalls through the making. Not planning always ends up with a lot of wasted time, a time that could be better spent polishing the art quality and meditating about the visual results. So these test assets will be like guinea pigs for the art content pipeline. Hopefully, they’ll serve to catch technical mistakes in advance, solving the problems that will inevitably appear. Actually they already done that in the last two or three weeks. Lots of minor technical details, checkboxes to be unchecked, things that now I know should be avoided in UV maps, textures, materials etc.

As I’m not too worried about the art quality of these test assets (but nothing prevents me from giving some extra love to them also), I can focus more on the technical aspects, so it’s a little less stressing. Then, when I start making the actual assets of the game, it will be easier again, because I’ll be able to work on the models, textures, materials and all, more concentrated on the artistic side of things and with confidence in the results, technically speaking. Let’s say the test assets will be the explorers and the final ones the settlers.

As a side note, I don’t know yet the kind of people who will be actually reading this development diary – hopefully a varied audience – so I’m still unsure about the most interesting aspects to comment on, if artistic ones, if creative problem-solving, if very technical ones. I don’t know yet how I will be approaching it, so you may see it changing a lot from post to post. Until I start to understand what kind of things will be actually interesting for people to follow. Maybe try to find a middle ground…
For those not much interested in detailed descriptions, or without time to read them, I guess taking a look at the images in the post will be enough to get a feel for what I’m working on. 🙂

Back to the assets, and the images above…

I should also mention that these models didn’t receive a digital sculpting pass  – only old-school vertex pushing and pulling and normal maps baked from height textures. As I said, they’re here just to test pipeline, so I should not spend unnecessary time perfecting them. And they have some flaws (paper-thin parts when they should have some thickness, this kind of things) and the lighting could be improved with some elements, but again, the idea was not to focus on a great artistic result but to test how they would look in the game, all together. And to test the dynamic lighting tools available, as the game will have day-night cycles and changing weather.