Art Time! #18 – Spell Effects

Greetings!

For this week’s Art Time! I, Mossicus, will give you some insight into the different components of spell effects in Tamarrion.

To start off, this is the FX Playground, the birth place of almost all effects in Tamarrion.  It is a colorful place, often filled with lights and explosions. The scene exists for the sole purpose of testing new effects, lighting conditions, and shaders.

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While there are many interesting particle systems, shaders, and similar effects to look at, today I will focus on the Holy Field spell. The Holy Field spell is used to place a circle of holy power on the ground, healing the player and hurting enemies standing in it.

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When creating an effect for a spell, I try to follow the three steps I’ve set for myself: shape, characteristic, and detail.

  • Shape should be the broad silhouette of the spell, the area of effect.
  • Characteristic is often controlled by the school of magic the spell uses, such as using the High Lord’s rune in a holy spell or ravens in a spell cast by Nihteana.
  • Detail is the cream on top, the minor particle systems that are added last to add a bit more flare to the effect.

The Holy Field spell specifically consists of five different components, all of which are particle systems. At first it was considered using a spherical mesh and depth data in the shader, allowing for more dynamic placing of the glow effect. But this was quickly scratched as a better looking effect was created through a simple particle system.

These are the different particle systems of the Holy Field spell:

  • A ring of power containing writing in magical runes is used to show the area of effect for the spell.
  • Rays of light extend upwards from the ring of power to further display the effective field of the spell.
  • The High Lord’s rune is set in the middle of the effect to easily declare the school of the spell.
  • Smaller versions of the High Lord’s runes are used to again declare the school of the spell. (This is used consistently throughout all Tamarrion’s spells.)
  • And finally, large soft particles are created towards the center of the effect to create a pleasant glow.

The color of the effect is then changed based on if there is an enemy or if the player is standing in it, switching between damage and heal mode.

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That was a quick look at the thought process I use when creating a spell effect, and a breakdown of the Holy Field spell. Perhaps in the future I will explain my process more in depth, we will have to wait and see. For now I thank you for your time.

Have a good one!

 

 

Art Time! #13

Greetings!

For this week’s Art Time! we bring to you some screens of the new high poly models for the new area.

These were all made in Zbrush and then put in 3DS Max to use av a form for the low poly to be created out of. The low polys are now complete and we are in the process of putting everything together in Unity and building the scene.

In a few weeks we should be able to have something new to show you when it comes to the scene. Thank you for tuning in to this week’s Art Time!

Have a good one!

Art Time! #11

Greetings!

Prepare yourselves for some screenshots! In this week’s Art Time! we will take a look at Valac’s new room. There are still some tweaks to be done, but we’ve reached a point where we would like to show you what has been going on with the environment. And soon you’ll also be able to play test in this new environment!

A short but image heavy Art Time! this week. Thank you for your time!

Have a good one!

Art Time #10 – Lighting

Greetings!

This week I, Vincent, bring you some updates to the environment. The last couple weeks have been spent putting together the scene to compose light and color. Beware as I might use some technical terms, but I will try to refrain from using them as I’m not so technical in my language normally.

Working with the GI (Global Illumination) system that Unity provides has been an experience. At first I had no idea of what things meant, how they effected the lighting of the scene. I had to read a lot of different guides and just test things over and over. The choice was mainly between Baked GI and Precomputed Realtime GI. The first, integrating the lighting in the models UV maps to display a light that is not effected by moving object and dynamic shadows. Precomputed Realtime GI is dynamic and realtime, simply using a precomputed method that communicates to the engine how to render the light that bounces off of surfaces onto another surface. Seeing as we utilize many torches as well as candle light I thought that going with the precomputed GI to be the best choice. It was also something that was new to Unity 5 and seemed to be a fun thing to play around with.

After that decision had been made I placed the lights, baked the lightmap that determines the bounce light path, and played around with values to get the feeling we wanted. One thing to consider was the use of ambient light together with a moon light, as I had to keep a close eye on both the outside and the inside of the mausoleum to keep a nice balance between the two.

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Light probes are also used to project the light onto moving objects so they fit in better with the overall lighting as they are not calculated in the lightmap. One thing I noticed was that they like to project the bounce light in a very intense manner, so I had to keep a close eye on how the light bounced on Tamarrion’s model to not make her completely blue when standing in blue bounce light.

When all the lights where in place and their values correct, I had a go with the atmosphere. I started to toy with the use of particle effect to create a mood in the scene. The use of the grand windows was also a big factor to play with. While it had previously been done using Unity’s projectors I knew we could not use those this time around. The projectors do not use bounce light, and projects the image on both the front side of the object as well as the back side. In the end I settled with a spotlight using a light cookie to display the correct shape; restricting the light to match the shape of the window.

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Thanks for reading. Sorry for the lack of pictures to show our work, saving those for the big reveal incoming soon!

Have a good one!

Art Time! #5

Greetings!

In this Art Time! I, Vincent, will show you an early look at the construction of the level when it comes to the creation of terrain.

The process starts in Photoshop where I put together the base layout of the level using simple shapes and silhouettes.

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My choice of workflow was then to use 3DStudio Max to create the layout using boxes and put it in Unity to use it as a template to build the terrain with the terrain component Unity has. This proved to be functional at first to test height of the level and so on, but when changes had to be made to the base concept it was a step that only stole time away.

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For the current iteration of the level design I simply placed the concept art on a plane directly in Unity and placed it flat on the terrain and built from there; something that proved quicker and more effective in the end. The structure of the level has gone through many iterations, even after the 2D drawings, this was done very easily by directly manipulating the Unity terrain.

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Currently this is what exists, in the next step after the design is approved I will convert the Unity terrain into a 3D model for me to use in 3DS Max. There it will function as a way to see the scale and to be used to create the cliff sides and other terrain objects that can’t be built using the terrain component. That process will most likely be discussed in a future Art Time! when we are further along and have more to show you.

Thank you for your time.
Have a good one!

Art Time! #4

Greetings!

Vincent here to give you another Art Time! focused on the environment. Much has happened since last time, even another overhaul of the style. Just as the first iteration had some issues, the one we showed two weeks ago, we noticed, went in a different direction than we had planned, a case of the idea led to the very extreme of the idea.

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What we had to do was to look back at what we first had since it worked better together with Tamarrion’s character design, and try to destroy and rebuild rather than start from scratch.

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We will base this iteration closer to reality and then we will put it through a treatment in Zbrush and continue with our hand-painted texture work.

Right now there is not much more we can show you, as this process just started a little over a week ago. We will continue to iterate and try to summon our best, creating a beautiful concise art style between characters and environment. So stay tuned for more Art time! Thank you.

Have a good one!

Art Time! #2

Greetings!

My name is Vincent Måns and I’m the Environment Artist for Tamarrion. Welcome to the second edition of Art Time! Today I’m going to go through some design decisions made to the new version of the level and the overall design of the environment.

To start off, we must first look at the old level and see what did not work out that well. The pillar base created some problems from the start, they had sharp metallic pieces keeping the player away when they were supposed to function as a defense against a specific mechanic, that was the first change that had to be made. Other was the overall emptiness of the room and the alcoves especially. But what it came down to in the end was the overall aesthetic and look of the design, it simply did not fit the vision we had in mind.

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And by the start of summer I began to sketch up some redesigns to fix these issues and take it to the next level.

The new assets would be more stylized, go more towards the no straight lines-rule. Exaggerated shapes and bends, even playing with the perspective of the player. I also wanted to incorporate a more classic vault design in the ceiling; giving it more character. During the process we also decided to give each level a more themed treatment, making them more distinguishable and unique. This undead level will be taking a more atmospheric and spooky theme.

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I went from a simple stone vault look and added details of wood to mix up the colors and materials. I gave the pillars a square and more sturdy look, shields will also be added to them to give the player a better sense of why they are there, so that they actually understand they can hide behind them.
The alcoves are a bit smaller and will be filled with sacrificial items and also more clearly display that they cannot be entered during the hiding phase.
Walls are slightly curved towards the center, creating some sort of distorted perspective for the player, making it seem as if the building is looming above them.That very same principle is something I’m applying to the outside assets as well, giving them a crooked look as if they are reaching for the player.

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Thank you for your time, see you in the next Art Time!
Have a good one!