Post Mortem – Playing God
Hi this a reflection blog on the Playing God game project, as well as it being a chance for me to share some of the work I did. This was a great project to work as i had a lot of free reign over the visuals for the game, it was also an interesting experience as me and a fellow animator attempted to merge the separate visual elements we worked on. The game involves you playing as a god that has to look after his people, the goal is to balance the lifestyle and health of you village so they don’t collapse. The biggest visual distinction is that you see the good hand holding the world during gameplay, which creates a unique perspective and sense of might.
I had a lot of ideas for this game, but I attempted to hold back as I didn’t want to over scope, a mistake I have done before. It was helpful that the game student where so organized and had clear deadlines, they used Trello to keep track of tasks, a model I want to use on my next projects. I divided the work with the other animator Che Hubbard, we thought it would be wise to divide the work according the scale of the assets, so i had to do the effects and the large assets (hand, landscape, background). Che was in charge of the 2D elements as well as the small scale assets (villages), this allowed us to work more independently, but each other work influenced the other, this way of working was really effective.
I do think I didn’t do my best in the project as I had so many other projects going on the same time, but I prioritized it near the deadlines, although the game student where happy with my assets, I believe I could have don a better ob with texturing and implementation. But what is on screen works really well together, and the game student where interested on continuing to work on the project with me.
The hand was an interesting asset to work on as it covered so much of the screen, although the game had a locked camera, which allowed to focus on the areas that where visible. I started by extracting the hand from a human model in Mudbox, as I felt it wasn’t important for me to create my own topology. I then subdivided it in 3ds max as well a rigging so I could pose it holding the world. I created a rough placeholder for the world as well as the hex grid to the game students in time for their second play test.
After seeing it implemented I had to talk with the game students as I noticed the camera in game was making the hand look weird, they adjusted it and it looked way better in the next version. I then went on to create details for the hand, including rings and eyes on the fingertips to fit in with Che’s new icons. I also created the final mesh for the world as well as its texture, the texture worked well with the villages. I noticed that the objects where to shiny in game and helped the game student to go over the shaders so would look better and appealing.
For the final assets I added more details to the landscape texture, including a river and adjusted the grass parts so they would look more interesting. For the hand I added more rings and nails as I felt the previous version looked a bit plain. Although the lighting and now everything is really dark, but I’m sure they can fix that if they keep working on it.
The effects where easy to make and I purely bassed them of off Che’s icons, so that everything would feel consistent. She did a great job with these and made my job of effectively communicating the events much easier.
All of these effects had to be done as sprites as, the way animated most of them weren’t exportable to Unity.