Hello everyone! There isn't much to show in this week's post because all of the work I've done is on the level designer and documentation. Anyway, as the title suggests, I will be doing the development logs on Mondays now.
I've been working really hard to improve the documentation for the game. Mainly, I've been making documents that allow anyone on the team to create art assets and design levels. It also allows me to double check how to use the level designer if I forget how to use it (I know I made it but this did happen). Not going to write much about this as there isn't much to it! There's also nothing visually interesting about it to show, but I thought I'd briefly talk about it anyway.
I've spent most of my time this week improving this, so that it is much easier to use. The level design process starts with designing a level in Photoshop, where one pixel equates to one tile. The image is then put in the designer Unity project and translated into tiles. This is done with a script that assigns a colour to each tile, reads the colours of pixels in the image, and places tiles in the scene based on it. Then I render the level and the normal map of the level from Unity to a PNG. I talked about this before but didn't cover the full process.
This used to be a laborious process. Each art asset had a single Photoshop file; to render both a colour image and normal map, I would have to edit each art asset file to switch between the green colour and normal map versions of them. Then I had to switch between cameras, one for the colour image and one for the normal map. I also had to change the output file name on the render script to match which image was being rendered. This process caused me to make many errors that cost so much time. Not only that but I have to do this for each layer of the scene; foreground, background, and any parallax layers.
I have now got this process working with a single button press and without having to edit any art asset files. It is so much faster and easier to use. Now the only time consuming part of it is making new art assets that work with it. Each art asset needs a green colour version and a normal map version saved separately. Then a material needs to be made for the asset which takes in both these images. The shader for this material allows me to switch between the normal map and colour image whenever I need to. That is how I am able to render out each layer, with both normal and colour images, using a single button press. The process is shown in the above GIF; it cycles through each layer, switching between the green colour and normal map, of each asset material, and renders both. It has taken all week to get it working properly, but it was worth it.
The only thing I still have to do for the level designer is implement the background assets I showed last week. These are currently added in the final level scenes and, as there are lots of sprites in one space, it ends up making a mess of them. I would also like to make background 'machine' prefabs, so we don't have to build as many new 'machines' out of the small background assets for each level.
It's not as lengthy as the last one but I think I covered everything in this post! There might be some new level designs, or redesigns, to show in the next post. I'll be working on finishing the level designer and some tutorial related things this week so we'll see what happens. Thanks for reading!
I'm the game developer for Squillamorph. I'll post here on the devlog as often as I can.