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Entry 78 - Unite & Eyeballs & Market Research - July 29, 2018

Unite
Okay Unity announced a lot of fancy stuff at Unite 2018. They also finally have a some Unity terrain optimizations on their roadmap, greatly improving the terrain system performance. A self-written system will probably not manage to keep up with this (unless I invest a crazy amount of time) therefore I changed my mind: I will stick to Unity terrain.
I still want to do the cave thing and also the cliff thing mentioned in the previous blog post. Cliffs can still be implemented by generating additional geometry. For caves I have the problem that the standard terrain system does not allow holes in the terrain. To handle this problem I will probably add cave entrace meshes which simply teleport you a few meters trough the terrain surface when you use them. Pretty much like in Bethesda's Skyrim/Fallout games just without extra loading times. I think I even mentioned this approach a long time ago in another blog post already.

Here's a quick example what a simply cave part from the cave kit could look like:
IMG:http://stuff.unrealsoftware.de/pics/s3dev/models/cavepart_pre.jpg

> click to enlarge


The vertices at the start and end are symmetrical and all parts which are designed to be placed next to each other will have the same start/end vertices so they fit together.

UI
Since I'll now use Unity asset bundles for modding, I can make creating menus easier by allowing people to do it directly in Unity.
Therefore however I have to throw away my ultra amazing UI system which is entirely coded/scripted. This is a big decision but there are many reasons to do so:

√ Like just mentioned you can use Unity UI in the editor to quickly build/layout menus which is much more convenient and also faster than doing everything via a Lua script
√ Unity UI has built-in anchoring and scaling features, which makes it easier to implement a UI which looks well in all resolutions
√ Text Mesh Pro is becoming an official part of Unity now and it's providing better text support than my custom text system

I'm quite sad that I will have to throw away my suphisticated UI components and features which already worked exactly like I imagined. Unity UI is okay but not perfect and also very basic and incomplete.
I can however reuse parts of my code to implement similar things with Unity UI.

Tiger Eyeballs
In a desperate attempt to make my tiger model look less retarded I gave him actual 3D eyeballs and moved some vertices in the face. It looks a bit better now but I'm still not entirely happy. I'll at least improve the eyeball texture. It's quite detailed but there's not enough contrast so it's hard to see and the color looks just bad (even though I took it from a photo of a real tiger)
IMG:http://stuff.unrealsoftware.de/pics/s3dev/models/tiger_new_eyeballs_pre.jpg

> click to enlarge


Yup, I know, heavy texture stretching going on in that face. I moved the vertices a lot to make it look a tiny bit better. I would actually have to re-layout the UV map and redraw the whole texture (or at least the facial part) but I don't really feel like doing that right now.

Market Research
From time to time I search for new upcoming survival titles and there really is a lot of stuff going on. I'll just mention a few games here. Of course there's a lot more.

• Green Hell
One game I found quite interesting is Green Hell. The graphics look quite good and they seem to have the approach to make the game very realistic with in-depth survival mechanics like treating wounds etc. This video gives you some more insights on game mechanics.
∗∗° Interesting project. I want to see more.

• Raft
I mentioned this one early 2017 already in dev blog 60. In Raft you are on a... guess what? right! On a raft! The game mechanics are super simple but very compelling. You collect stuff expand your raft and try to survive. The game has been extended a lot since my first mention here. There are now tiny islands (you just quickly hop on those, collect stuff and return to your raft) and a lot of more stuff to craft.
∗∗∗ A new approach. Simple but fun. I love that idea.

• Survisland
This one seems to have a quite sophisticated construction system - with "structure integrety simulation" according to the trailer. I'm not sure what to think about that. Construction and crafting look like they might be cumbersome in long term but this is just an assumption. I didn't play it. I'm also not a fan of infinite procedurally-generated worlds. It does give you an infinite sandbox but this sandbox is (most likely) quite boring as there is no or only little actual handmande content. Also nobody has enough time to explore infinite worlds anyway so in theory this is fancy but in practice it doesn't make it a better game.
I'm also not sure about the graphics. It looks quite good but some stuff looks very generic e.g. the character. Might be stock stuff. UI is quite minimalistic - in a bad way. It's early access though so maybe these parts are going to be improved. The user rating is actually quite good.
∗°° Looks too generic in my opinion.

• SUM
It's a VR survival game! It looks like nothing crazy is added to the standard survival game play though. They use mediocre polygon style graphics. And... is it just me or are all the colors quite dark? It could look so much friendlier with brighter colors.
∗°° I really don't like that art style and it also seems to be quite generic but it's cool to see a VR survival game.

Please note: The stars reflect my current personal interest in these projects only. It's not a rating. I didn't play most of these games and can't tell how good or bad they are. So if they sound interesting to you give them a try!
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