Some of my favourite articles

So this is a bit of a cop-out from writing myself, although I would like to write out and properly structure some of my thoughts on play, storytelling and world-building at some point.

Here are some of my favourite articles that relate to various different aspects of video games and the thought processes involved in designing and critiquing them.





Planet Earth II

In anticipation of the release of the new series of Planet Earth (which, was absolutely incredible), I watched the underwater episode from the first series. One of the things that particularly stuck with me were the Underwater Vents, so feeling inspired, today I had a quick go at creating them as a particle effect.


So this is what I achieved so far. It’s basically a bunch of spheres spawning very quickly. Scaling with their life and with a drag force applied. On top of that there is a panning heightmap which is fed into the world position node to create the illusion of some secondary motion, and finally, there is a sparkly 512 specular map and a panning 512 bump map generated from procedural noise to give some added fidelity.

The world position offset caused seams to be come visible in the mesh, so I am currently combating this by rotating the mesh to perpetually face teh camera, which does alleviate that issue, but also seems to have an unusual effect on the lighting.

I quickly sculpted some coral-like geo and threw them together to create the test scene above.

There is heavy fringing, some dof, and a bit of grain to suggest an underwater environment.

To improve the scene I would spend more time modelling different coral and rock variations with better textures, add some more ‘wispy’ elements to the smoke, add some heat distortion, and perhaps even a bit of ocean wildlife.






Windy Grass

I’m just playing around at the moment with a wind and foliage in Unreal. The wind in Unreal is pretty simple, but I want to come up with a way of doing trunks, then branches which inherit movement from the trunks, and then leaves and so on. Each with their own layer of wind on top.

So far I have only modelled some very simple foliage and applied a little simplegrasswind to it, which is being driven by scalar values held in a material parameter collection. I wonder if there is a way to control the direction of the wind…