Dueling Demons
Updated 3 years ago
A New Retro entry!

Final Render:

About me:

I'm a programmer and got introduced to Unity while working at a game company. I worked in backend, but really wanted to try Unity, so I started on my own.
I've specialized in UI so I've started doing jams to break into other areas of Unity.


I grew up with Atari and used to love the posters that came with magazines. Some of the fantasies contained in this art never came to be, because our games took a different direction (usually for the better).
This is what usually feeds New Retro: Getting the look that you expected to get back then. With this in mind, I've targeted two of my favorite posters.
Star Raiders, of course, looked nothing like this.
From this poster the most important elements to me are the environment squares, the stars, the space station and the concept of dogfighting over them. I could live without the planet outline, but I like it too.
There's some obvious problems here: we can't use the ship designs, because they're too much of a TIE fighter. The ships in the background are barely defined, so we have no ship design. Color, however, is nice. Gold vs Silver. Will use that.
The environment squares are make or break. I'll be trying an asset I've been wanting to try for a long time for volumetric clouds. When researching this, I checked what are the ways it supports for modeling and found there are primitives that can be set as additive or substractive to influence the target volume. It seems it's only fully on or off (no primitive gradient), so the 3D Noise will have to do for the cloud shapes. The water vortex I'll completely ignore, as I have only two days to make this (However, would it look weird? what would it be it's purpose?)
There's some nebula in there that I'll probably skip. The planet outline should be big for the effect to work, but would I use a big texture? I would hate to see the pixels. I'll leave this for last.
Enough of this. Let's look at the next image.
Demon Attack had nothing to do with this image, however, as a kid I spent hours staring at it.
Luckily this doesn't look too hard.
I think I can kitbash this.
I'm not a modeler, so this will be a big challenge for me. I'll take the chance and use some other tools I've been itching to try.
These guys have missilles, but I feel like lasers would be nicer? I always imagined lasers. Maybe both?


I spent a day trying to get the environment squares right. The volumetric fog asset worked wonderfully on the first go, fast and nice. At close range I can see banding. I hope tweaking can get rid of that, but I probably won't get close to it anyway. I'll be using it.

Asset: Fog Volume 3

Water proved to be an issue (3 fps??), as just using the stock water script renders the scene again for each square. I could probably get away with putting every square in a single model and running the script there, but then tweaking would be hard and aligning the squares with the environment could be a problem. Also, when using black for the sky, I noticed the water was hardly visible, since there's nothing to reflect. All that cost for so little payoff made me think of faking it. I just used the standard shader with a water normal, made it reflect nicely and gave it a dark blue color. It looks much better from far away. Not very watery from close up, but fps jumped back to 60. Will do.
With the squares looking nice, I placed a cube, set the material to something goldish for reference and gave it a random normal. This is a placeholder, to get the feel and scale.
It's time for dinosaurs, but it was getting late so I added some quick post processing.

Using the new Post processing v2 Beta, here's how it looks!

Added a starfield!

I've also added a lens flare and tweaked the main light and cloud lighting, adding the cloud-hole. Things are looking good!

The Dinosaur

Oh boy did this take longer than expected. But I'm happy with the result, despite topology weirdness. An original 3d model by me, my first.
Modeling the raptor took me SO LONG that, as a break, I did the planet silhouette as a shader. Everything looks nice now, although no lasers as I had hoped time for.
Now, in the last day of the challenge, it's time for a Cinemachine dolly.
Finally, Animate trajectories for the dinosaurs, add line-renderer lasers. Pew pew! Find out there's no event track in Timeline yet, but we can fake it using the Activation track and OnEnable. Pew!
And the final result: Full render.


I've learned a lot. Some things didn't quite work out: The planet is a billboard shader and for some reason, the sphere collider in it does not line up quite right with the directional light, so the flare shines through or occludes when it shouldn't. The stars move weirdly, which is part of the same problem (They're particles around separate camera which follows the rotation of the main camera).
Modeling was really hard, me being a programmer and all. I'm very happy with the result, though it could be better and I didn't get to rig/animate it.
Lasers could look prettier. I'm thinking of writing something for nice cheap lasers/light beams,
Could this be a game? Right now it's too simple. But yeah: Dueling Demons!
Jorge Fuente-Alba