Prototype - City Builder

Hi there! It's been a while since our last post.. *excuse* We were buried under a pile of work, but that is no reason for not updating our blog! So, we thought it'd be fun to share some of the work we did on a city builder game we had the pleasure to be involved with last year.

The work we did was primarily on the character side of thing. Main challenge we faced was how to populate a city size map, with tons of characters, not blow the budget, while maintaining a decent framerate.

First thing first however, the characters must be fun and appealing. Characters were designed and built in mind that their personalities must be clearly identifiable even from a long distance. The shapes and the silhouettes of these tiny denizens must be very distinct, so even at a glance, the player will instantly recognize their unique traits.

The Cast

Grampa with the tennis ball walker was by far our favorite. : D

To stay on budget, character rigs were constructed with 14 bones, (13 bones being the minimum amount of joints to characterize a humanoid character in Unity) + 1 more for the props. Characters were built in segments and weighted rigidly to minimize overhead.

You'd think with such a small amount of joints and the low number of polygons, it is hard to animate these tiny characters expressively. The truth is, given these to the hands of a good animator, you can create some super fun animation!. I had the pleasure to work with Paul Capon, an uber talented animator, a veteran in both TV animation production and in videogames. He was able to create a whole hose of super cool animations using these low fidelity rigs. Check out the tourist couple walkcycles below. We love the double bounce walk on Chuck! XD

One of the main character- Builder Bob with all his tools-

Besides characters and animations, we also helped out on some character UI, as well as designing and rigging the first prototype building prop-

Icon Design by David Mallory.

Barn rig. Main features- Combine head driven by motion of tractor. Mapped animation on motion path.

Art by Scott Kramer.

Facial Expressions was also explored inorder to make the characters even more expressive- Facial expressions designed by Ryan Hall.

Swappable facial expressions on Ulla-

Ulla in action-

Finally, we will end with this little character test piece. Added a tilt shift blur FX in Unity to enhance the tiny toy feel.

Until next time, stay creative!

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