Dev Blog

Hi, this is the Stranded III development blog (see also Forum Thread, Comment Thread).

Overview (115 Entries)

Entry 86 - Goodbye LWRP, Welcome CREST - July 11, 2019

Goodbye LWRP
I wrote about problems with the Leightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) in the last post and decided to not use it as it's causing too many issues.
It just doesn't look finished too me and things aren't documented sufficiently. Certainly good enough for smaller projects or when starting new projects but migration with a larger project is just too painful.

Goodbye Untiy Terrain
I dislike working with Unity terrain because of Unity's weird way of dealing with coordinates. Moreover I dislike the way it's textured and the terrain trees also don't work like I want them to work.
They may have improved rendering performance a lot but I still don't feel comfortable when working with it.
Therefore I went back to creating my own mesh terrain. It's more flexible, I have more freedom and I can do more crazy stuff.
I'm also working on my own shaders and experimenting with different approaches to texture the terrain surface. Right now I'm using just a grayscale detail texture which is colored via vertex colors. I may allow different textures based on color values or use the normals to display rock textures on steep terrain areas. So many possibilities. I'm still trying to find the best solution.

Welcome CREST
Beautiful water is a cool thing and there are tons of water assets in the Unity Asset store.
I searched for a free light weight open source solution and found CREST which simply looks amazing!
It's actively maintained and fully open source! Also the setup is very simple!
Fun fact: There's a paid version for the LWRP - luckily I just discarded my plans to use LWRP...

More Random Terrain Improvements
I worked on improving random terrain generation.

Additional smoothing on area edges makes big differences in height between areas look better

Shallow sea areas are placed next to most land areas. I also reduced the average sea depth. Both of these changes make beaches more interesting and less steep.

You can still see the voronoi areas quite clearly when viewing at this colored map version but it's not easily noticeable in the actual 3D game world.
Some additional noise could easily make it look more natural but I'm already quite happy with the results.

Art Inspiration
I look a lot at other games for reference and to get new ideas but also when I create new models and textures.
Here are some of my most favorite "Stranded III art reference games":

• Sea of Thieves
I love the art style and there are beautiful islands. Exactly what I need. Art book video.

• Blazing Sails
This looks a lot like a Sea of Thieves clone but it's "more indie". I like the simple art of this one as well. It's not as polished as the art in Sea of Thieves but realistically seen this makes it a great reference for me as a single developer because I can learn from them how to achieve a nice look with minimal manpower.

• World of Warcraft (and other Blizzard titles)
Some truly amazing artist are working at Blizzard and I like the low poly models with high quality hand-painted textures a lot. Since I'm doing the same (relatively low poly + hand-painted textures) World of Warcraft is a great references for me.

Do you know other games which look amazing and have a comparable art style? Let me know in the comments!


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