Creating A Game In Unity

 

To create the game I need for my Level 2 I decided to use the Unity game engine, I made this decision as between that and Unreal Engine (The two programs that I’m most familiar with) , more sources are available and also tutors at my college to help me make this. Also Unity allows me to develop my coding skills more, my tutor also has made quite a few games that are top down so I know i’ll be going down that route as well.

Research Dossier of forests:

Doing this I was thinking about making concepts for my game, the things that I would need to think about the look of most was the types of shrubbery and assets that would be static in the forrest, I decided that i’d end up doing concepts for those so that they’d end up fitting the dark, dead theme that I want it to follow, those will be shown later in this blog.

Game Design Document:

Summary of the game

For my game I have decided to do a Top Down Zombie survival shooter of which the player must survive under challenging conditions, for example, the fact that the player is in a dark cramped forrest, this means that he/she has little space to hide and will constantly be on the move, worried with the combination of all whilst having the looming scoreboard that the player will be constantly aware of trying to beat their past scores only adds when they achieve a kill, this means that there is replayable value to this. In short the player must survive for as long as they can against hordes of zombies to get the highest score.


Game Character and Playable Items:

To stick with the low poly theme and the fact that I don’t have enough skill yet to model, rig and animate a character, the player will be a block and so will the zombies, to help distinguish between the two the zombies will be a dark green with stumpy arms coming out to grab the player, the player will be red holding a grey gun, the gun will be set to shoot at the same rate of fire as an AK-47 so that the player has some familiarity with this gun to others in other shooters. Someday I hope to make it so that there will be drops of health and powerups so that the game lasts longer and the player doesn’t find it too challenging.


Game World:

The game will be set in an opening in an overgrown forrest, surrounded by dead trees of which the zombies come out of.


Gameplay:

The player starts in the forrest and has to survive for as long as possible against hordes of zombies racking up points with each kill to see how man they get in the end.


Goals:

The goal is simple, survive for as long as possible and gain as many points as you can.


 

I have background music and gun sounds to import into my game and also 3D models of Trees, Tree stumps, a collection of low poly rocks and the block Zombies. Here are some of the concepts I made for the models and then screenshots of the models I made;

Concept Art:

IMG_2161Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 22.36.27

 

Models:

stumptree

In the end, my game has met all requirements of the game design document that I made in my opinion, here are a few screenshots of the final product.

 

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Computer Game Engines

Game Engines And Their Games:

Game Engine: Source Engine

Games: Dota 2, Half Life 2 series, Counter-Strike: Source, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Left4Dead, Left4Dead 2, Portal 1 and 2


Game Engine: Glacier 2

Game: Hitman Absolution


Game Engine: FrostBite 2

Game: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3, Need for Speed: The Run


Game Engine: Unreal Engine

Games: Mass Effect Series, Dishonored, Bioshock Infinite, Batman: Arkham Asylum and City and hundreds more


Game Engine: CryEngine 3

Game: Crysis 2 and 3

 

When looking for key features for Game Engines I found some great information from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_(game_engine) as I struggled to gather some of my own sources. However, I have took what i thought was the key information and abbreviated it slightly.

 

Key Features of Unity:

 

Unity allows specification of texture compression and resolution settings for each platform that the game engine supports, and provides support for bump mapping, reflection mapping, parallax mapping, screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO), dynamic shadows using shadow maps, render-to-texture and full-screen post-processing effects. Unity’s graphics engine’s platform diversity can provide a shader with multiple variants and a declarative fallback specification, allowing Unity to detect the best variant for the current video hardware and, if none are compatible, to fall back to an alternative shader that may sacrifice features for performance.

Unity is notable for its ability to target games to multiple platforms. Within a project, developers have control over delivery to mobile devices, web browsers, desktops, and consoles. Supported platforms include Android, Apple TV, BlackBerry 10, iOS, Linux, Nintendo 3DS line, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Unity Web Player (including Facebook), Wii, Wii U, Windows Phone 8, Windows, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It includes an asset server and Nvidia’sPhysX physics engine. Unity Web Player is a browser plugin that is supported in Windows and OS X only.

 

When looking for the key features of Unreal Engine 4 their website made it very easy for me, having a video that shows all of the Software’s best parts.

 

Game Logic and Mechanics

Game mechanics are constructs of rules or methods designed for interaction with the game state, thus providing gameplay. All games use mechanics; however, theories and styles differ as to their ultimate importance to the game.

This means that their importance in the game industry is great as the making  of game mechanics and game logic can decide what genre the game is, you can into to great or little depth depending on how big the game is. For mine, a simple game, I will use it for only a few things; Taking damage, Dealing damage, Movement and Enemy movement.

A great deal of people use flowcharts to represent their mechanics and game logic, I will also attempt to do this for my level 2 game to show you an example of how it could be done. The following two pictures are screenshots are taken of flowcharts I made for the process of taking and dealing damage both of which will be used in my Level 2 game.

Picture1Damage

 

 

 

Creating Digital Sound

“Be able to design original digital sounds to meet the requirements of a simple computer game design brief.”

For this part of my specification i thought I’d keep my ideas simplistic by making simple 8-Bit sounding effects as 8-Bit games are very popular but at the same time can be very plain when using sound. This is because the graphics used can be overly simplified so if the sounds used were realistic they would be out of place and make the game odd to play.

When thinking of what games to take reference from when creating the sound, I thought of old ones i used to play on websites like Miniclip when I was younger.

Games like Commando instantly sprung to mind;

Or more recent games like BroForce;

For sound effects in these games they are uncomplicated yet still easily distinguishable when it comes to which sounds are explosives, dialogue, gun shots etc…

To complete this part of my assignment, I used a previously mentioned website, Bfxr. Here are my attempts at making certain sound effects, not using the presets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Computer game art production – Creating Art

In games design there are categories of art which can be split into other sub categories; 2D and 3D. 2D art is usually kept to:

  • Animation:

Animators in the games industry are responsible for the portrayal of movement and behaviour.

Most often this is applied to give life to game characters and creatures, but sometimes animations are also applied to other elements such as objects, scenery, vegetation and environmental effects. doing this can be wither 2D or 3D.

  • Environment Artist:

The environment artist (also known as an environment modeler) creates backgrounds and scenery for video games, usually first concepting them (2D) and then modeling them (3D).

  • Sprites/ Character design:

In a way linking into character design the creation of sprites is the drawing of any 2D assets in a 2D game, including characters.

  • Texture Artist:

A texture artist’s job is to paint surface textures on animated characters, environments, and props.

  • Concepts and Mockups:

Concept art is a form of illustration used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books or other media before it is put into the final product.

  • User Interface Artist:

The user interface artist is responsible for the design, implementation, and optimization of UI assets for a video game. UI can be 2D or 3D.

Most 2D art is usually done in Photoshopor Corel Painter

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In 3D there are also:

  • 3D Modeler:

The role of making all or specific 3D assets of the game using information and concepts given to them.

  • Animation:

Please refer to the 2D art section.

  • Environment Artist:

Please refer to the 2D art section.

  • User Interface Artist:

Please refer to the 2D art section.

All 3D art is usually done in Maya, 3DS Max and ZBrush

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Where Maya Shines and Disadvantages

Maya’s proprietary scripting language MEL is highly customizable, and that is one reason why Maya can be found a lot in the film industry because studios like to be able to create their own set of tools that can help them achieve their job much easier.

Maya has really been know as the go to app for 3D animators among the industry for its robust rigging and animation tools and its animator friendly workflow.

You also have the choice of Maya LT which is a huge benefit among new game developers as it’s a relatively cheap subscription cost, of course, you don’t have access to as many of the features of the full version of Maya, but you still have the most important to a game designer, like modeling, animation and texturing.

For the most part, Maya has been known to be a much more powerful application when it comes to animation, with a huge library of animation tools. It’s also very customizable if you know a bit of MEL or Python which are the scripting languages in Maya. For example, Blue Sky Studios uses Maya for all their animation and rigging tasks.

When it comes to rigging, Maya pulls ahead slightly in this category as well. However, it does require a bit more programming in MEL if you want to create complex character rigs. Now, with 3ds Max it can be a bit easier to rig, but you can create complex rigs in Maya that might be very difficult to achieve in 3ds Max.

Where 3ds Max Shines and Disadvantages

3ds Max has been known for its powerful modeling tools, allowing you to create complex 3D models with a very fast workflow and robust modifiers, with the entire poly modeling tools contained in one area of the UI. It also has some really great architectural visualization capabilities that Maya really doesn’t have.

If you’re brand new to CG 3ds Max can be a little simpler to grasp, and can seem a little less daunting than Maya, making it a bit more user friendly.

3ds Max has a very robust modeling toolset with a huge library of different modifiers which can make the modeling process easier. Depending on how new you are to the world of 3D then modeling in 3ds Max can be a little easier to grasp.

If you’re going to get into the architectural visualization like interiors and buildings, 3ds Max really caters to this type of artist, giving you the option of 3ds Max Design which is a favorite program among architects and designers.

Developing Game Art

Mood Boards for inspiration:

When making the art needed for my level 2, I went to Google for inspiration, I was stuck between two things I’d like to draw, either a landscape or an animal of some sort, to help decide which I made mood boards of each.

Landscape??

Picture1

 

Animal??

Picture2

 

As I created these mood boards I came to the realisation that a landscape would be too difficult for a person of my skill level when using a drawing tablet, something singular using one point perspective would be much better something with great colours to be able to capture in my drawing, in the end I chose the animals. When choosing which one though I knew in an instant, the colours of the Owl and it’s feathers stood out in an instant. Here’s a full size image;

owl

To complete the drawing I used the programme Corel Painter, in my opinion it is a more art orientated Photoshop which I have gotten the chance to get the grips of in the past couple of months, I used a variety of brushes and blenders to do this; “Detail Oils Brush” and “Real Pointy Blender” were a few I used to really capture the colour in the feathers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 18.22.55

 

Here’s the original and the drawing side by side.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 18.27.40owl

Compter Games: Game Platforms

A gaming Platform is really just a fancy word for a system thats used to play games on so you could class most computers as gaming platforms as well as gaming computers. Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo (to name a few)  also create “game platforms” that are made for the more causal gamers which are generally cheaper. But all said, PC is probably the best out of any platform just because of the intense graphics it offers but it is the most expensive to replace and to upgrade.

 


 

  • General Gaming (XBOX ONE and PS4) :
The main feature for consoles like the Xbox One and the Playstation is the fact that they are a happy medium between the PC and a smaller, cheaper console like a DS or a PSP, a reasonably powerful system that isn’t the most expensive that has controller play (opposed to the mouse and a keyboard of a PC) this also, makes it more common to have split screen gaming instead of LAN or WAN. These consoles are also reasonably portable and are optimised to that hardware. these also get exclusive titles that are huge hits to the gaming franchise, examples of this include names such as; Bloodborne, God Of War and TitanFall.

  • Portable Gaming (DS and PSP) :
For the more portable choice of platform, consoles like the PSP and DS have been made to sacrifice the power of larger ones to be small and have a large battery life so you can just take it out where you like and play for long periods of time, still achieving great gameplay however. A handheld game console is a lightweight, portable video game console with a built-in screen, game controls, and speakers. Handheld game consoles are smaller than home video game consoles and contain the console, screen, speakers, and controls in one unit, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place. Noticeable examples of games are Zelda, Mario Kart and Ratchet and Clank.

  • PC Gaming:
As I said before,  PC is probably the best out of any platform just because of the intense graphics it offers but it is the most expensive to replace and to upgrade. This is probably the best option for the long time gamer that is able to devote their time to both upgrading the actual PC and playing it enough to get their money’s worth as playing PC you’ll get games running at extremely high frames and amazing graphics, much better than consoles but to get that you need to invest maybe 3 times as much money to get this, some notable exclusives to PC are World Of Warcraft, Rust and Runescape.

  • Immersive Gaming (VR):

 A relatively new platform, VR (Virtual Reality) allows you to literally step into a game by putting on a headset. There has been a buzz around virtual reality (VR) for the past few years. Some of this has come from the lengthy development of devices like Oculus Rift, but also through a growing interest in what we’ll be able to get VR to do in the modern era.

The idea of VR isn’t new. It’s been circulating in the tech space for a number of years, but recently, the technology has broken through some of the long-standing barriers. Enabling access has helped, with devices like Google’s Cardboard opening the door for anyone with a smartphone, right up to demonstrating what a fully-fledged premium system like HTC Vive will be capable of. We now have the power in home computers for lifelike virtual environments and this makes it a much more exciting time for VR. Playstation for example have many exclusives lined up like; Farpoint, Until Dawn; Rush Of Blood and RIGS.

Compter Games: Game Genres

Platform Games aka platformers:

This genre often requires the protagonist to run and jump between surfaces (i.e. platforms) whilst avoiding game objects and the detrimental effects of gravity. traditionally side on 2D and very popular on earlier platforms. The genre has declined in popularity in recent years, although some titles have successfully redefined the genre to include 3D environments.

Examples:

–  Super Mario Bros – Sonic the Hedgehog – Super Mario 64 – Tomb Raider – Prince of Persia –

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Adventure Games:

Typically the player is the protagonist of a story and in order to progress must solve puzzles. The puzzles can often involve manipulating and interacting with in-game objects, characters, etc. Usually text-based adventures and graphical.

Examples:

– Zork – King’s Quest – Grim Fandango – Fahrenheit – Broken Sword – Monkey Island –

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Action Games:

Action games are typified by fast-paced events and movement which often have to be performed reflexively.

Games such as Pong and Space Invaders initially defined the genre.

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Fighting Games:

In fighting games the player typically fights other players or the computer in some form of one-on-one combat.

Notable classics include:

– Double Dragon – Mortal Kombat – Street Fighter –

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FPS Games:

Action games where the player is “behind the eyes” of the game character in a first-person perspective. Although a number of FPS games also support third-person views. Most FPS games require quick reflexes because of their fast gameplay.

Notable examples include:

– Wolfenstein 3D – DOOM – Half-Life – Far Cry – F.E.A.R. –

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Strategy games:

A strategy game is any game where the outcome is determined by the choices a player makes. These games are won through tactics rather than force or technical proficiency. Strategy games are one of the most popular genres of video games as well, encompassing several types of games.

Examples:

–  Chess – Checkers – Risk –

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Educational games:

Educational games are designed to teach new skills which can span from pre-school onwards.

Notable examples of this genre include:

– Carmen Sandiego series – Mavis Beacon Teaching Typing – Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training –

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Puzzle games:

Puzzle games often require the player to solve puzzles or problems and can involve the exercise of logic, memory, pattern matching, reaction time, etc.

Notable examples include:

– Tetris – Lemmings – Minesweeper – Boulder Dash –

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Survival horror games:

Often an action-adventure or first-person shooter with a focus on fear and survival and adopting many of the elements of traditional horror fiction.

Examples:

Alone in the Dark provides a notable early example, whilst the Resident Evil series is a current notable example.

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Role playing games (RPGs):

(My personal favourite) Originally started out as video games based on pen and pencil games like Dungeons and Dragons. A fantasy theme is often retained. Often characterised in terms of providing the player with flexibility in terms of character development, problem resolution, etc.

Notable examples include:

– Final Fantasy – Baldur’s Gate – Wasteland – Neverwinter Nights – Elder Scrolls Oblivion- Elder Scrolls Skyrim – The Witcher series

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MMO

Stands for Massively Multiplayer Online. While most modern games are playable online, a MMO constitutes that online gameplay is the focus of the game, and that hundreds, thousands, even millions of users can interact with each other in a real-time space (theoretically). Very popular to mix with the RPG genre. Notable examples include World of WarcraftFinal Fantasy XIEverquestMonster Hunter, and EVE Online.

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Producing sound in games

Depending on the complexity of a game the use of the Hardware and Software may be as little as a few sounds to indicate a pick up of a coin of a shot of a gun, maybe even a death of an enemy, or for AAA games like Bethesda’s game series Elder Scrolls or Fallout it may be as much as a full album’s worth of content and then sound effects like the ones listed above on top of that.

In my case I only need to make a simple game so simple sound effects can be made, I will most likely use a website called Bfxr, a great way of creating simple sounds,  a few examples are; coin pickups, explosions, jumping. I could also use pre made packages that are able to be downloaded online, this will make it easier to gather them but may not be the quality or the exact sound i need so I will most likely not use this.

In games like mine they most likely would use a mixer to produce their sound effects, an easy, free way to produce sounds like the ones used on Bfxr that may give a wide variety of outcomes, usually this would e for the more fictional games as these sounds are more electronic (sounding 8-Bit) and would not usually be heard in real life, for the more realistic games or games that developers would like to be more true to life, they would most likely record their own sounds of real life objects or beings so that they sound the most realistic they can be, the sounds that are recorded for games can have a huge range, usually in a fighting game they would record the sounds of items or fists hitting different objects with different impact rates, or the sound of whooshing cloth as that is the thing that would mostly be heard when throwing a punch (clothes as the arm extends) I found this video which explains this process very well, up until they start promoting stuff completely unrelated at 8:30, I’d recommend only watching until then.

They also posted an in-depth video on how they have recorded gun sound effects (shooting, reloading, shell casing dropping to the floor). There is also promoting here from 4:40 until 7:18.

As you can see from those two videos, recording your own sound is a long hard process, having to record so many takes of so many different things that must not have any other sounds in it like cars, birds, planes.

Now, recording music for games is slightly different as it can all be done indoors but can still be very difficult if needing vocals or instruments, this will require the hiring of sometimes an orchestra or choir on a huge scale. Here is how they did it for Bloodborne and Skyrim.

Obviously there is the final option of buying music and sound effect packages online to use in games also, I may also use free ones like this in my level 2 project as they offer an easily accessible and wide variety of sounds to use.