The Flock DevLog #8

creative spotlight

Nick Carver

February 24, 2020

Previous post: The Flock Devlog #7

Here’s the stuff I worked on last week:

Target Visual

I dedicated the week to creating a small diorama to serve as a goal for the project’s visuals. Having gone back and forth between mock-ups in Unity and paintovers in Photoshop, it’s great to have something that’s fully real-time and that feels like a good representation of the look and feel for the project as a whole. Obviously, everything is still early WIP, but even with the flaws and limitations, it’s starting to look like what I have been imagining in my head.

Visual 01 Visual 02 Visual 03

Here’s a quick turnaround video to see things in motion.

Note, as the other visual elements get leveled-up, the creature animations and pathfinding look increasingly crude. I definitely would like to finesse those aspects at some point.

Atmospherics

I implemented a time of day system using a customized version of an asset from the Unity Store. It’s a pretty neat package that gives you simple, flexible controls over all aspects of lighting, weather, fog conditions etc. I could play around with this stuff endlessly (colour scripting is my happy place!) and it’s interesting how different lighting setups can have a significant impact on the mood of the same environment.

Time of day changes

Player Mount Concept

I’m interested in exploring other elements that would have an impact on co-operative gameplay. One area that I think could be interesting is having mounts that can be ridden by multiple players simultaneously (one controls the animal, one can use instrument/weapon etc.). There are a number of ways to go with mounts, visually, but I really like the idea of some kind of (extra!) big cat. So I did a quick concept for how something like that might look. Note the dual saddle!

Mount idea

VFX- Weathering effects

I think it would be interesting for the players’ animals to be affected by different environmental/weather conditions (walking through mud slows them down; prolonged exposure to snow affects their stamina etc.) and I wanted to play around with how I could represent those conditions visually on the characters. I put together a shader that uses texture blending in conjunction with vertex colours so that when exposed to a particular effect, a tiling texture gets blended on top of the base diffuse map according to the strength of the vertex colour values.

Weather effects

Enemy Idea - Plague Mother

A quick sketch for a predator enemy idea. This thing would not only attack the players’ animals, but also potentially spread plague amongst them, too.

Plague mother

It’s possibly way too creepy - I’ve been watching/playing a lot of Resident Evil 2 & 7 lately - but I think there might be something interesting in this space!

Diorama Screens

A couple more shots from the diorama scene. I added more colourways for players and also put fireflies in too (currently just a model swap with the butterfly prefab when it turns to night-time!).

Flock Visual Test 01 Flock Visual Test 02

Next Steps

I’ve been creating the diorama scene using Unity’s terrain tools so far, but in order to populate things more densely and over a larger area I need to convert my terrain to use Vegetation Studio Pro and recreate things as closely as possible. I also want to prototype some mount gameplay ideas in terms of direct control when riding, and also using the player’s horn instrument to command the mount from afar.