For our project, we decided to go forward with a stylized art style with regards to the visual aesthetics and the creation of all the prop assets in the game.
Stylized graphics essentially focus on portraying objects or characters in ways where the most distinguished and important features are exaggerated to a certain degree. In a way, stylized graphics can be compared to caricatures from art and literature. When applying this concept to models, a stylized aesthetic demands that the objects are to not seem realistic in the sense that certain features can be contorted and enlarged in order to give off the feeling that the asset is not of a realistic nature.
Aside from the fact that we found it visually appealing, going forward with a stylized visual aesthetic in mind would save us time with asset creation due to the fact that the assets didn’t need to look realistic hence a lower amount of detail, hence less time spent working on an asset.
Aside from modelling the assets in a stylized way, one step that we took in order to help us move towards a stylized was the creation of a cel shading shader. This cel shading shader allowed us to give assets a more hand drawn feel. It was inspired mainly by Zelda games which made use of cel shading.
Lastly, for the weapons and structures in our game, due to the location of the setting of the game, it only made sense for us to give the weapons and structures a home made feel. The fact that we did not go with more realistic and logical weapons added to our choice to keep a stylized aesthetic in mind, as stylized assets are not meant to be exactly realistic. For this, we were inspired by the series Kids Next Door.
In the initial stages of the project, we decided that this time around we were going to integrate the animation students more into the development process of the project. Most of the animators in our team, if not all of them, were completely unfamiliar with navigating around the user interface in the UNITY3D game engine. They also found the workflow relatively foreign and were pretty slow when it came to working on scenes inside the engine. In order to solve this, we decided to make use of UNITY’s more unused sections of the APIs and we decided to extend the capabilities of the engine and put in our own custom tools which provided functionality which was specific to speeding up development time.
One of the main tools that we worked on first was a prefab replacement tool. The logic behind this was to make sure that scenes were fully comprised of prefabs. By doing this, and making use of the tool, people editing the scene could replace prefabs with relative ease. Use cases involved adding in newer updated objects, completely different prefabs, etc.
This sped up development time by allowing animators to work on scenes faster and it improved their workflow.
Moving on, another tool which was focused on improving the workflow of the animators was a material tool. This allowed animators to assign textures to a list, choose the shader for the material, and the name, then create the material with a simple click of a button. This made it easier as they didn’t have to create the material by hand and go through the process of assigning maps to specific object areas.
Aside from this, but closely related to it, we managed to add an automatic functionality which handled remapping materials to newly imported models in the game. When animators imported new models, we found that they were getting annoyed with having to remake the materials and so on. With the combination of the material creation tool and the automatic material remapping, animators would basically have to just make the materials beforehand and they would be remapped as long as they had the right name when the model is imported.
The last tool that we worked on was to help us (The developers!) mainly. This tool mainly focused on setting up the scene in terms of the gameplay elements in the heirarchy. Since there are common items between gameplay scenes, the tool allowed us to simply click buttons and set them up quickly rather than having to remember the settings and different components for the various common elements.
This post marks the first devblog for the game: “We are VEG”, by DeadWireArts studio. DeadWireArts studio mainly comprises of around 7 core members, the split being 3 game developers and 4 animators. The team was formed as a group for a capstone project, and the members are close to each other in the sense that they are close friends! The conception of the idea for the game We are VEG came to fruition as the group members wanted to work on something that they found fun rather than having to work on a project concept which was made for the specific purpose of fitting a brief.
In a nutshell, We are VEG is a game which revolves around fighting back against societal norms and oppression of self identity. The main premise for the game is that vegetables are angered by the decision of tomatoes which is to identify as vegetables (Although they are technically fruits in a scientific sense). Due to this the vegetables begin to persecute the tomatoes, punishing them for an action that they believe could destroy the very core of society.
Moving onto gameplay details about the title, We are VEG is a third person tower defence survival game inspired by other titles such as “Kill all Orcs” and “Mean greens” with regards to the general gameplay and flow. The aesthetic vision for the game (which is that of a cel shaded art style), was inspired by various games such as zelda and fortnite.
The game is going to be published as an early access title on steam and will be available for people to play.