Shadowdancer Devblog Week 7 – Vertical Slice I.

Last week we began a new project, and start building the game up again for the Vertical Slice. We finished to build the level and adding the gameplay elements to it. We fixed many issues that came up during that. This video would be very long if I would talk about all of these, and to be honest, many of them aren’t that interesting.

I picked a few problems and ideas that actually taught us something new.

Transparency shader - Low FPS

We had the problem when the player hides in the bushes it will cover most of the viewport.

I made a transparency shader that looks much better than the standard shader. I’m not a shader programmer, didn’t learn the syntax. I have some experience with the material editor in Unreal Engine, so I needed a similar solution to make a shader. My choice of tool is Amplify Shader for this task, which is a great tool!

Regardless of all my efforts, the result was devastating: the FPS rate dropped from 100 to 30 on my machine. I should think about it earlier. If you have hundreds of transparent objects on your scene, that nothing near to optimal in deferred rendering.

I could make a script to switch between the opaque and the transparent version of the objects, based on the distance from the player, or otherwise optimize it. However, Dotti had a much simpler solution for the problem: she pushed all the bushes into the ground a little.

This way she solved the cover problem almost entirely. Elegantly simple.

Real-time Global Illumination

When generating the precomputed Global Illumination takes more than a few minutes you are doing something wrong. We never really dive deep into this area. We know something is wrong, but what?

The answer came in the form of an article series from Unity: Introduction to Precomputed Realtime GI. Worth to read all the 9 part of this series, but here is a short list to properly set up your scene for Realtime GI:

  • Set Lightmap Static to true on big objects, like cliffs, large rocks or buildings.
  • Set Lightmap Static to false on small objects.
  • Cover the playable parts of the scene with Light Probes. (specific article from the series)

After we went through these steps, our generation process speeded up and finished under 1 minute!

New Feature: Shadow Objects

Shadow Objects only visible in shadow form. When the character enters the shadow form, she partially travels to the Shadow Plane and can see these objects. Right now we have two ideas about how we can use this feature.

Give the player guidance. The shadowlings used shadow runes to mark their passages in a way that only they can detect. Only those can see these signs who steps into the Plane of Shadow.

These objects are not just visible in shadow form, but they are also touchable. The player can stay on them as long as she can see them. We can make bridges and platforms that disappear if the character steps out of the shadow.

That’s it for this week, hope you enjoyed this article. Next week we continue working on this project and getting closer to the Vertical Slice.

We’ll see you all next time!

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Adam is the founder and developer of the Runemark Studio. He graduated with BSC degree in Software Engineering in 2013.He is working as a freelancer game developer and asset store publisher since 2014.

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