Scene Evolution

Hey there,

and welcome to the first Dev Blog post in 2021!

This time I’d like to show how a scene evolves from a rough collection of simple blocks and shapes (this is called „grey boxing“) to a finished scene.

There are many ways and strategies to make a video game: You could make each scene one by one while working on it until it’s ready which means doing all the modeling, texturing and animations and then combining it to a scene while adding the game logic that is needed. Or you could design all scenes with very ugly concept „art“ but working logic and make them look nice afterwards.

The latter was the strategy I used for creating Wormventures – Barrier 51. I made up every scene in the game with simple primitives (boxes, cylinders, …), implemented all the game logic (things you could take, characters to talk to) and puzzles. This way I was able to get a game that was fully playable from start to finish in a quite early stage of development. This included writing the code to make items disapear in the scene if the player take them. The mesh that is referenced in such piece of code can be easily swapped if the real object is physically included. Some puzzles and minigames are still left to do, but those won’t affect development because they are isolated from the rest of the game logic. This is a good way to work because you can make vital design choices in a phase where changes won’t affect much of the work you have done before. For example you are able to experiment with camera positions and angles before designing the art of the scene which keeps you from modeling art that won’t be seen in the final scene because the camera won’t ever have that model in view. Another advantage this approach offers is, that you can tweak the timing, pace and dynamics of the game without the danger of working on assets that would have been cut out later in the development process.

An example

This is a temple Looky has to visit in chapter 3 of the game. I started with just simple boxes I created in a 3D modeling software called Blender.

Simple basic layout of a scene in Blender
This model then is opened in Unity where the scene itself created. Hotspot were being added, markers (point where Looky crawls to, when interacting with things in the scene) were created and all dialogs and logics were implemented.
A basic scene in Unity
More and more details were added in Blender. Unity updates the models used in the scene automatically when changes are saved once they are included in a scene.
Updated details in Blender outside of the temple…
…and inside.
Afterwards the scene got pimped in Unity itself with self-made models and Assets I bought in the Unity Asset Store.
Some ruins, rocks and grass added
Debris and particle effects were added to the inside
And this is how it looks in the game right now. There is still work to do:

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