• Tips on creating a modular temple by Joe our freelance environment artist

    At Dojo we are all currently working full steam ahead to polish a playable demo. Part of the process involves giving our current environment a good spring clean. Joe Neville our freelance environment artist has created this gritty looking modular temple and we are all impressed with the outcome, here are a few tips on how he created it,

    “I think that the most important thing to mention is that as opposed to creating a set of unique models, unwrapping to unique uv's and then texturing each object, that I actually began the process by first of all making a texture with several tileable materials and patterns, and then as I build the assets, I line the uv's up on the texture. It's somewhat of a backwards process, but it's highly efficient”. Not it looks like Miniclip game.

    “I built quite a few of the base textures using zbrush so that I could get better normal maps, especially for things like worn edges. The results are a lot cleaner and nicer than say, taking photo textures and then putting them through a generator like crazy bump. This isn't to say that I don't use the generators though- quite frequently I'll sculpt worn edges on a model, then instead of actually sculpting the rock grain and scratches, will overlay a generated normal map from photo reference- essentially combining the two- one for edges, and one for grain”.

    With this piece we plan to populate the enviroment with the modular temple in diffrent scenarios and cant wait to see it sitting on our new terrain :) If you have any comments, hints or tips about the Temple drop us a post to tell us what you think

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  • The HUD

    I love being an indie developer as it allows me to take part in many facets of the indie games development process. My most recent task has been to design and create the HUD for Soulfinty and I’d like to show you some of the process I go through to create the final image.

    On the early builds of the game we had two bits of information at the top of the screen, one that showed the number of souls that the player has and another that shows how much data the player has collected. For the final HUD design I knew that I also wanted to include Odysseus’ health but I wasn’t sure about including the data, at least not having it showing all the time as it’s information you only need at certain points in the game (we’ll be doing a post about this in the next few months so I’m trying to stay as cryptic as possible about this subject for now). So we as a team decided that the data collected would not be a permanent addition to the HUD but just pop in from time to time. So that leaves the Souls and the health.

    Early designs of the HUD took inspiration from FPS HUDs with the design going around most, if not all of the edge of the screen. This didn’t look great for our game. I think the problem was that because our game is third person it creates a frame for the action which to me felt like it was closing you into a much smaller space. For FPS’ this probably works as it creates a focus for your attention to the centre of the screen where you’ll be shooting and exploding alien heads or something just as entertaining.

    RPG Games

    So we went back to the drawing board and decided that we wanted something much less intrusive that could give the needed information at a quick glance. We needed something that could sit in one of the corners of the screen, look pretty, not be too distracting, fit in with the rest of the game and clearly differentiate between soul data and health data. So not much then!

    Back when we first started the game we found some images of ancient Greek Hieroglyphs which we wanted to include in the game where it was applicable. One of the hieroglyphs was for ‘Man’ and looked sort of like a stick figure man. So I took this image and tried out a few designs of the HUD that included the ‘Man’ image to show the number of souls. To me this had mixed effects. On the one hand I liked that it showed how many lives or souls you had using an image but on the other hand I didn’t feel like it gave the information in a clear and readable way. However I did like the use of the little guy to represent souls. After playing around with a few other ideas of what could represent souls we decided that a number is the clearest way to show to the player how many souls they have but we also needed an image to tell the player that the number is your souls. We did this in two ways. We kept the little ‘Man’ in next to the number to show that it means souls and we included Odysseus’ heart piece behind the number. Inside the heart piece will be the blue soul energy of Odysseus which will be used as a meter that will go up and down depending on how many souls you have used. These methods are widely used in other tower defence games at flash games sites.

    The health in contrast was much simpler. It was really a choice between a heart and a first aid ‘Plus’ symbol to represent the health. I went with the ‘Plus’ as it fit in with the Sci-fi-esque design of the HUD.

    As you’ll also see from some of the designs I played around with some hexagon designs that fit with the texture of Odysseus’ armour but the heart piece won in the end.

    And here’s the final art for the HUD.

    Once implemented into the game we will add some effects to the blue soul energy behind the heart piece to give a sense of this magical substance with its own life force and have some simple animations for when the health and souls go up and down.

    I hope this has been fairly informative and not too long and boring but I do enjoy showing the workings of my ideas. If you have any question or comments about any of the design process please leave a comment.

    -Phill

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