About time for an update!
“The Gods are Hungry” is nearly done! About time too. I need to send it round for a final batch of testing but it’s going well.
The plague game is also progressing. It’s a much, much bigger project so it can be demoralising, unsure of how far today’s work gets me to the finish line. I thought I’d show you what I’ve done recently, though.
This is what it looked like a week or so after I started development:
Barely functional, and desperately in need of prettification. This is what it looked like a month later:
I was excited to get to this point. I wanted a game that looked like a medieval woodcut. The avatar, NPC beggar and corpses are all taken from engravings or prints, as are the heart and stomach in the GUI on the right hand side. This was better than image 1.
But you can see the problem. It’s painfully obvious that the world is made of poorly-stapled planes with the bungliest of textures. So I decided to spend a single day prettying it up to the best of my ability, just to see how far I could take it in a short space of time. I was terrified of bump mapping but it turned out to be very simple in Unity with the help of crazybump, a program for generating normal maps that’s quite pricey but has a 30 day trial and is really rather splendid. I also remodelled the street in an external modelling program, which gave me more control over how to place those pesky planes.
This is the result:
A great improvement, I think. There are a few small problems (the roofs need redoing, for one thing) but it looks much nicer.
I don’t know if this will be the final art style for the streets. I’m still attached to the idea of a woodcut aesthetic, but the truth is those woodcuts never depicted 3D space, and seldom depicted space the way the game does. Plus, for a while I’d been asking myself how I can make the game feel plaguey – atmospheric, poxy, the air thick with disease. It’s not there yet, but this update definitely takes a step in the right direction.