Dev Blog #2- Art Process and pipelines
Hello all. I’m Dylan Gooley, co-founder and artist on MilkShed Games. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on our new IP, RV Punch. Since I’m the only artist currently, I’m responsible for all the art in our games. A daunting task indeed, but with careful planning, task and time management, anyone can do it. I’ll be talking about our pipeline and practices that help me complete all my tasks without losing sleep in the progress.
One of the biggest strengths of our team, in my opinion, is the fact that everyone understands what everyone else is doing. we’re a very interdisciplinary team. When it comes to my work, I’ve always worked very closely with the programmers. They are the ones implementing my art, so I need to make sure that everything is working as intended. Animation wise, I’ve been working closely with Nick, who is implementing an inverse kinematics system for our RV’s arms. We’re using the IK system to allow the arms to react more realistically with surfaces. For example, if the player punches off a wall, and the arm impacts the wall early in the punch animation, we want the arm to be able to bounce back off the wall at the appropriate times. Another example, we are thinking about giving the RVs the ability to drag their hands on the ground, and when they do we want the fingers to react to the surface normals of the material and bounce feel like they are dragging on the surface. Nick and I have worked together on past projects, so working with him is super fun and enjoyable.
When it comes to the track design, I’ve been working very closely with the designers, Christine and Joe. The pipeline with myself and the designers is extremely important because my art needs to match the designer’s vision for the track. The beginning process for track creation starts actually in Unity. The designers use ProBuilder in Unity to blockout and test the track before handing it off to me. The tracks usually spend at least 2-4 weeks in this stage to iron all the curves, slopes, and how the track feels. ProBuilder is a very powerful tool, they can create and edit complex geometry, and even do rudimentary material editing and creation. Once they feel like the track is up to their standards they export the ProBuilder asset to me and I take it into Maya and do my magic on it. I usually start by getting the scaling correct. ProBuilder sometimes exports objects weirdly. I start by using splines to mark the track surface and build the walls, and any specific track objects using the surface as a base. It usually takes me quite a while to make the track. There are a lot of small details that need to go into it to make it feel good and make sure the scale is consistent, so I’m constantly seeking feedback for the track from the team. Feedback is key.
Like I mentioned before, being on such a small team, we all need to be aware, and knowledgeable on what everyone else does. Every piece of feedback is essential for a small team, every piece just as valid as the next. If I can leave you with anything, it would be; don’t be afraid to wear many hats. The best game developers understand, at a fundamental level at least, every aspect of development and are involved in every step of the process.
Thanks for reading :)
Tune in next week when Christine, a designer, talks about the design of our first track and the process of fine tuning such a large piece of content!