We’ve got quite a bit of an update for you all today and we hope you’re all as excited as we are. I’m going to be honest in saying it’s been a bit of a wasteland around here as of late. We’ve been persistent on showing updates and active on social media, though. We assume it’s because the holidays are drawing near and people are getting busy and we’re hoping to have people back at the start of the new year. People have asked me what the hardest part of developing a game is. To be honest, it’s generating and keeping a community. As for Primulus…
Some of you may know how the Unity licensing works but for those of you that don’t, Unity is free for anyone to play with but the free version is missing a lot of features that the pro version has. For the pro version, it’s $75 a month or $1500 for a permanent license. OR you can try the pro version for a month. Since we lack the funds to invest in the engine, we went ahead and did the trial version so we can start to refine the game around the pro features and optimize accordingly because we plan on compiling and distributing the game from the pro version. Now that we’re all caught up, that’s what we have been doing for the past week.
First and foremost, we now have dynamic lighting and shadows. Also, we decided to make the floors purple because of aesthetic reasons. It’s supposed to brighten the mood and make the employees work better. We’re contemplating a neon orange wall alternative in the near future, too. This will keep them alert and awake… hopefully. In all seriousness, the floor is purple because there is a zone test script attached to it and I forgot to disable it for the screenshots. And now I’m too committed to my aesthetic story to go back and take new screenshots. Shadows…
We spent most of our time optimizing the shadows. At first we had every object in the scene cast and receive shadows. Basically, it looked pretty good but at the cost of serious frame rate loss. In all honesty, I still think it looks good now. We’re open to feedback, though. Our second form of optimization and our second utilized pro feature is occlusion. Basically, we lost a lot of frames from the game calculating every light in scene regardless of if they were in the camera’s view or not. We dipped down to about 75fps on a mid-grade computer. With occlusion we can disable the rendering of the lights outside of the camera’s view.
WARNING THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IS BORING TECHNICAL STUFF!
In the long run, we might end up implementing our own form of occlusion to make it even more optimized. Instead of occlusion not rendering everything outside of the camera’s view, we really just need it to stop rendering and calculating the lights that are not within a certain radius of the edge of the camera’s view port. This can be done already by adding the lights to a different layer and having occlusion only affect objects within that layer, but, in reality, it’s just more for the game to calculate versus just writing our own bit of code. Also, let’s say the lights emits in a gradient with the radius of x. We have to detect that the light is outside of the view port and an added distance of x in order to make sure the lights are disabled. If they’re a distance of < x, then when the lights are disabled there might be a visible disable of light being emitted from the source.
Finally, we have picture in picture display. This is another Unity Pro feature. Basically we can output the capture of a camera to a material of an object. I.e., security cameras. We just added them yesterday and still need to put more work into them to make them look good and functional. But as they stand now, it works pretty well. Also, I’m currently re-designing a lot of the assets in game to make them look a tiny bit more futuristic. We are keen on having the grunge style as it suits the realism genre we’re aiming for. However, I feel having them slightly more modernized will create a good aesthetic (there’s that word again) balance between sci-fi and grunge.
So that’s all for this week. Unfortunately, the dynamic shadows and picture in picture are temporary things as of now. We have them implemented and will have to disable them as we continue development and return back to the free version of Unity. Once we start to raise funds, though, we can invest in Unity Pro and and re-add the features. The free version of Primulus should be coming in Q1 2014 and the kick starter will start shortly after.
Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!