Jan 29, 2016

Suzy Cube Update: Friday January 29, 2016

#suzycube #gamedev #indiedev #madewithunity

Ok, I was going to keep this a surprise until the release, but then I realized it's not that great a surprise anyway, so here goes...

S is for Spectacular!

Those of you who have been following my progress on the game have probably noticed me mentioning that the game will be split up into five worlds each comprising five levels. Well, this week, I designed my first special level for World 1. That's right, each world will, actually, include a sixth "special" level. My goal with the special levels is to offer the player a break from the game's regular levels. They are planned to be short and very different from the other levels. For Level 1-S, I went with a series of isometric illusion puzzles.

Things are not as they seem!

Because of the lack of perspective, the true position of the blocks becomes quite difficult to work out making the seemingly simple task of reaching the star much trickier. Oh, and the tight time limit helps boost the tension as well!

One important thing to note is that I'm not actually using a true orthographic camera for this level, instead, I use the good old trick of greatly narrowing the camera's field of view (zooming in) and then pulling the camera back to compensate and re-frame the action. The result is that some perspective remains, which should, hopefully, help astute players figure out the puzzles.

Taking Care of One's Appearance

Since these special levels are meant to be much shorter than regular ones, Level 1-S didn't take me long to complete, leaving me time to jump into some beautifying work. I've been spending a lot of time in Level 1-1 adding more decorative props like rocks, flowers, grass etc. As well as dressing thing up with little stepping stones and things.

Right this way, Madam!

Something Doesn't Seam Right

The more I've been working on trying to make the level look prettier the more I've been running into issues with the light maps. Specifically with the fact that the light mapping middleware used by Unity seems to do absolutely nothing to address the appearance of seams in the light maps. Seams are visible when two polygons which are adjacent in 3D space and should look to be part of a continuous surface end up looking like a crease because they are mapped separately in UV space.

Common problem in a game full of rounded cubes...

If the light map pixels corresponding to each of the polygons are different shades or colours, that difference will look like a lighting discontinuity between the two faces, like a seam.

Since the light mapper won't do anything to filter out these artifacts, I'm forced to do things the old fashioned (read: manual) way. One of the major factors contributing to the visibility of seams is how the object's UVs are laid out. Now, Unity gives you the option to automatically generate light map UVs when importing an object. Great! Unfortunately, this has proven to give less than favourable results for a number of objects. To fix this, I've been spending the last couple days manually creating secondary UV sets in order to go tuck the seams away where they, hopefully, won't be so visible.

Nice bush!

As you can see in the comparison above, it can make all the difference!

So, the light map seam fixing efforts continue... I really just wish the light mapper did a better job of hiding the seams though. After this, I'll move on to prettying up the rest of the World 1 levels. March is fast approaching so there's no time to doddle!

See you all next week!

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