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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #42: Unity 5 Prototype Summary

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Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #42: Unity 5 Prototype Summary

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 1 May 2015, 22:30:15

Tags: Chris Siegel; OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

In this week's Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter update, producer Chris Siegel sums up all of the prototyping and experimentation OtherSide have been doing with Unity 5 over the past two months. Once again, there's lots of tech-speak, and also a short video. Here's a snippet of that:

After the Kickstarter we spent a couple of weeks putting Unity 5.0 through its paces. Partly to see what was new, what was updated and what looked better. Most importantly though, to discover if Unity will do what we need it to. Underworld Ascendant will be a very systems heavy game. Our design philosophy is about building a game with real world systems under the hood to bring common sense expectations to the player. The goal is to give players new and interesting ways to interact with our world, and the engine we use to make this game needs to support all of this.

Here’s a little video of me walking through the demo level we built in Unity 5.0:

[...] While I was drooling over the new texture technology, Tim continued his experimentation with physics traps. Pendulums, spinney gear and spring traps, evil saw blade traps, a swinging door, some moving beams traps, shooting object traps, wall spikes. Jeff then added a simple damage model, and Will placed them in the world for us to play around with.

What was stunning from a producer’s point of view is how quickly these were generated, and populated. No time spent on connecting scripting for each trap, dealing with triggers, setting up rigid controls. Self-contained physical traps that react to other physics. Impressive. And really the core of that system is now done. Now the designers can expand out from that basic model and move on to more interesting interactions with the traps and physical world, and building a better deathtrap…I think I’ll apologize to you ahead of time.

Another piece of physics that Will messed around with was ropes. Part of what we want in our game is motion. Lots of motion. Part parkour, part Indiana Jones. So, rope swinging, platforms hanging by ropes and chains, rope bridges. All swing, all can be interacted with, and of course, set on fire.

There is a development rule I’ll share with you. Everything is better on fire. Hence why Jeff spent some time researching fire.

Lastly, we played around a little with Unity 5.0’s flagship feature: lighting. There are two strong parts to Unity 5.0s lighting features, but we really only looked into one at this time. Unity 5.0s Global Lighting model, which in a nutshell has light reflect off a surface but it then picks up some of the properties of that surface, wasn’t something we could dive into at this juncture, but it’s really cool so I want to tell you about it. Think of when you are wearing a bright red shirt and walk near a white wall. You would notice some of the red reflected from your shirt to the wall. Unity can do this naturally now, but that kind of reflection in real time is going to take some serious research by the artists to make look good and not gimmicky or frankly a jumbled mess.

What we did focus on is Real Time lighting. The whole test level that you saw in the video is lit by lights in the world, torches, braziers exc. No baked in lighting model, no hidden light sources. I’m very happy to see that textured lighting is back in Unity. I spent my whole level creating Quake 2 days using nothing but texture lights. I’m glad they are back as a serious feature. For example a torch as a light source will look roughly orange and red with some white. If you tell that texture to be a light it will have all those color properties. For our purposes in the Underworld this will really help the ‘underground’ feel of the game.

So far what we have played with in Unity 5.0 is very promising. The engine is leaps and bounds ahead of 4.6. There are a few things I’d like to behave better, but they are not mission critical systems more like nice to have things. Between development preproduction and working out the backstory and fiction, everything is humming along very nicely!
OtherSide's dedication to doing weekly updates even at this early stage is giving us a lot of glimpses at stuff that other Kickstarters tend to withhold. I wonder what the the non-techies are doing now, though.

There are 19 comments on Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #42: Unity 5 Prototype Summary

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