LOST LOOT Alpha Progress – Islands

Two years have passed since the original version of LOST LOOT was created for the 2013 VR Jam and I am now happy to report that we are officially entering Alpha territory!  I have made steady progress on a number of areas, but lets start with a few screenshots of the current build and the starting island…

 

alphaenv1 alphaenv2 alphaenv3 alphaenv4 alphaenv5 alphaenv6 alphaenv7 alphaenv9alphaenv8aalphaenv9aalphaenv10 alphaenv11 alphaenv12

 

These show the new island environment and our protagonist Riley Taylor, who you will learn more about in future updates. 🙂  Since Pre-Alpha Update #2, the game has been completely rebuilt using the code-base from my previous ARPG project Amulet Of Shadows.  It has also undergone a move from Unity 4 to Unity 5 and then to Unity 5.1.2 using the native Unity VR integration.  The art, tools, and processes to produce the islands have been the focus for the last few months…

 

pirate_island

 

ancient_environment

 

The outdoor environment has a new look that is the result of merging and modifying artwork from two packages by Manufactura K4.  Specifically the Pirates Island package and the Ancient Environment package that was used in the Pre-Alpha versions.  There have also been many other smaller packs contributing to the nature elements such as the corals and sea grass.  

There is a lot more than art that goes into making the islands and I have created a process to produce what will be different parts of an island chain with a variety of islands ranging from small ones to others that are larger and more mountainous or even areas of open ocean that have large underwater reefs and canyons that must be explored.  These are the tools and packages involved…   

 

world_machine

terrain_composer

relief_terrain_pack

afs

unistorm

 

Procedural generation of the islands is done using World Machine combined with Terrain Composer.  These produce the base terrain, texturing, foliage, and details.  The creation of the environment is a mix of hand placed items followed by procedural placement of everything else.  The two packages used to improve the look of the terrain include Relief Terrain Pack and Advanced Foliage Shader.  The look of the terrain and the foliage should improve even further in the future when I have more time to utilize all of the features in these two packages.  The environment also has a full day/night cycle with procedural clouds and weather generated using Unistorm.  

It has been a long road moving from the Unity 4 Pre-Alpha version, but the environment looks amazing in VR, especially delivered in miniature scale, and contains a plethora of visual delights.  There is parallax mapping and height blending in the terrain which makes it look rough with depth.  Nestled in the terrain are many small details such as sticks, stones, and coconuts on the ground, shells and starfish on the beach, and a variety of corals and sea grass in the shallows.  Dynamic clouds move across the sky and beautiful sunrises/sunsets provide a huge amount of atmosphere.  Weather events also occur such as thunderstorms and fog that give a backdrop for additional game mechanics and interesting encounters! 🙂    

On a sad note, there will not be any more Pre-Alpha versions and it may be a while before the first Alpha version is ready to be released.  I do plan to update the Pre-Alpha version as long as the Legacy Unity 4 integration is provided by Oculus (barring any technical issues with it), however that likely will not be around going forward, and each runtime/sdk update seems to bring new surprises and issues.  There is no easy path for moving the Pre-Alpha to Unity 5 and Unity 5 native integration is the path forward for VR on Unity.  If you would like to experience the Pre-Alpha you should do it now.  Like all the early VR projects it will be fading into memory…         

Finally, I will be at both Unite and Oculus Connect, so if you are there, and see me, say hi!   That will be one awesome week of Unity and VR!

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