Work In Progress – Traps Collection

The Inspiration

There could be no proper dungeons or ancient burial sites without some deadly traps in any fantasy or adventure game! Our biggest art pack Dark Fantasy Kit sadly missed this handy feature to keep unwanted visitors/looters out.  So I decided that the next batch of models would be mechanical dungeon traps.

Since I am a huge adventure game fan, I have plenty of experience with dungeon traps of any sorts. I remember how much I liked traversing through the trap-filled corridors in Tomb Raider, or jumping surprised when a spiked grate smashed poor Dragonborn in Skyrim. I also found unique the disable device mechanics in Dungeons & Dragons Online, where a rogue or similar character can search, find, and disarm traps in the dungeon to help his party members moving forward.

Traversing across traps in Tomb Raider Anniversary
Sneaking around and trying to spot traps in Skyrim
Blazing fire traps in Dungeons & Dragons Online.

My aim with this pack is threefold:

  • To create standalone, drag-and-drop traps for Unity, complete with particles, animation, sound, and triggers
  • Improve my modeling and texturing skills
  • Advance my knowledge on Unity triggers & events system.

Planning forward

Usually, before I jump into a project like this, I like to organize my thoughts, references, and estimate roughly how long it will take. I pop up a spreadsheet and fill out a few details about the models – how many models I want, are there any variants, what resources I’ll need. I also create a reference folder where I gather photos from Google. After that, I make a separate progress sheet or create a Trello board to track my progress. I like to mark finished items with green, in-progress with orange, and problematic elements with red.

Prototyping

While working on Shadowdancer, I learned the importance of prototyping. I try to incorporate good habits into other fields of my profession, such as asset creation.

In about 4-5 hours, I created the first draft from one of the traps – I choose a flying spear trap, one of my favorites. I don’t aim to be perfect this time, just want to know the estimated complexity and time for one piece, so I can see the scope of the whole work.

This was a good opportunity to expand my knowledge about glTF2 format and real-time rendering in browsers. So I uploaded the animated spear trap with a dungeon wall to Sketchfab. As you can see, this didn’t go perfectly – some of the material colors are off, audio is missing, and Sketchfab doesn’t support particles and trails. At this point, this is not a problem, since I use Sketchfab for static 3D presentation only. This made me decide that I definitely need detailed videos showing all the features and effects.

This is how the Spear Trap is set up in the editor

External resources

Since I want this pack to be an out-of-the-box solution, I will need some additional resources that I’m not proficient with- scripts and sounds. The traps need to react to player characters with trigger zones. I could achieve this with the 3D Game Kit, and I probably will do a demo with that solution too. I’m sure Adam will gladly help me deal with custom scripts, such as controlling the trap animations and synchronize effects.

About sounds – it is unclear what would work best. I want the sounds to be a similar style and more importantly, similar quality. There are several options to solve this: one is to dig around online sound marketplaces such as Sonniss.com, Soundsnap, Soundcloud, and buy sound effects individually. I’m not sure if this is the best solution since these are stock sounds, their format and compression might not be suitable for game engines.

Another option is to team up with a freelancer or a professional sound designer and custom order the effects – usually, multiple formats and compression are provided, at a reasonable price and high quality.

Lastly, I could search for a suitable sound package on the Asset store and create a dependency in my project. Sound effect packs are numerous. Dungeon traps are a specific theme, and I probably won’t need more than a dozen effects for this pack to stay light and affordable. 

Time scale - when will it be ready?

This prototype helped me to estimate the time I need for the whole collection. I finished one particular trap model in 4-5 hours, and another couple hours for setting up the animations, and prefab variants. This means I can be ready with the static models in about 1-2 weeks, then I can move to set up animations, particles, and sound, and creating the prefabs.

Image source: ddo.com

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Dotti Hegedüs

Dotti Hegedüs

Dotti is co-founder and 3D Artist in Runemark Studio since 2015. She specializes in environment and props modeling and texturing in various styles.

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