The Dystopian Change
Updated 2 months ago
The Dystopian Change - Neon Challenge
My concept for this idea is to show the growth of mankind and the destruction we leave in our wake combine with the beauty of nature and its ability to adapt and regrow. In the Dystopian Change, humans have left the old world behind as their reckless behavior left it shattered in their wake. Mankind has left their planet and made a home among the stars. Thank you to all the service workers out there who risk their lives every day to reach out and help others.

Final Submission

For a better viewing experience or to mess around and discover the scene in Unity, all files are downloadable here. For obvious reasons the Nature Environment Pack has been removed before uploading.

Getting closer to Utopia one tutorial at a time

So everything is going as planned, the assets being used for Utopia are SUPER useful and they're all free from the asset store! I've been streaming the last couple of days as things are really starting to get interesting and I'm divulging a lot of details about the game and the story behind it. I'm actually a little upset with myself/twitch at the moment as I was going to do a time-lapse of the Utopia building being created but there seemed to be a hiccup between OBS and Twitch and I failed to capture the creation of the station! No worries, I will be posting another short video going through the creation, unfortunately, everything is already in place and I'm not looking to undo the work as this station is looking really nice right now. Anyhow, there's more good info in the video and I give a bit of why I decided to make this game the way it is. My favorite person and family member I loved dearly was a veteran of the U.S. military and he took his life this year due to extreme depression and PTSD. This whole game is designed to show my personal feelings about society and hopefully give those who feel let down some hope that there is a better future around the corner and we are working our best to get there together.

Here's the player's character up close thanks to Sketchfab

This is the main character of The Dystopian Change. He's cute, he's entertaining and he's also under 200 polys. If low poly games have taught me anything, it's not about how detailed your characters are, it's about how they are portrayed in the game. Look at first person shooters for example, some of them don't even have a character, you spend most the time looking at your AK-47 or SCAR but you're just as entertained as you would be with Ezio from Assassin's Creed simply because the game has beautiful environment, thick story line, or the thrill of a fight. Games are about emotion and bringing out feelings in the player, not about how much detail you can pack into your models.

Setting up animation with Unity Timeline - in depth tutorial

I've made a more in depth tutorial of how to use Unity Timeline, an incredibly fast and powerful animation tool provided in your favorite game creation suite. Unity is by far the most intuitive when it comes to user friendly interface and making the development process for developers like myself simple, fast, and fluid. Unity honestly seems to be breaking into the animation industry and I would not be surprised to see future films composed with the same techniques I am using here to make my short film/game. Unity harnesses the power of a AAA quality game engine as well as ability to quickly bust out films and cut-scenes on the fly. The real time lighting engine combine with the post processing stack may just be able to pull off future films that bridge the gap between cartoon (the look and style I personally go for) and photo realism, meaning the next die hard you watch may just come from an artist like myself using the same tools seen here in these tutorials.

Behind the Scenes - Revealing my entire Dev Process Start to Finish

Well, here it is. I am going to break down my entire asset creation technique, including the use of Blender, how I create my assets, rig them, import them, texture them, set them in the scene, animate and illuminate. I am going to make a simple Beholder (Singular flying spotlight - not really a beholder but that's what I am calling it). Everything In the video is a raw breakdown and uncut footage of how my process works. I have requested from my family quiet time to make this video so that you can see just how long it takes to model, texture, import, and utilize a home-made custom asset of your creation. I have downloaded several assets from the asset store and will be making my final video scene here shortly and I will be live streaming and recording the creation of Utopia (where the player ends up at the end of the game). This is going to be fun and I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed putting this scene together!

Again I am having tons of fun with the light show

I've been working on the animations that are going to be portrayed in my final video and my final scene over the last week or so and I'm finally getting around to adding the in-game audio (I am aware that this is supposed to be a cinematic challenge). Why stop at a cinematic neon video? Why not make a full fledged game containing beautiful, real time lit scenery and camera transitions that others can play and enjoy? What is a video game really other than an interactive video with story elements combine? My final competition video will not be portraying any spoilers of the in-game content behind the scenes, but will be following the story-line of the character and the cinematic transitions. For now, please enjoy some dubstep featuring Kayzo - Whistle Wars (Radeye Remix) <-- Link to the youtube video.

Using Unity Timeline for simple animation loops

For the neon girl in the scene I used Unity's built in Timeline and its ability to turn on and off different components in the scene. For this to work however, the component must be a child of the object you are making a timeline (Series of timed motions) for. Each leg seen in the video is a separate object that is a child of the Neon Girl's body, the children's mesh renderer is then turned off and on to achieve the classic Neon sign effect. Why the mesh renderer and not the object itself? For me personally, I like to leave objects active as to not disturb any background scripts I may have running, for others, it may be a performance thing. In this case it was completely random happenstance.

The more I play with Cinemachine, the more I fall in love

Cinemachine is proving to be a must have for all my future productions, here's why.
  • Seamless transition between multiple camera zones
  • 1st to 3rd person trigger transitions
  • Fully customizable through an easy to use interface or advanced scripts
  • Low-overhead and lightning fast computations
  • Extremely user friendly camera adjustments like padding and dead-zones
  • Plug and play capability with Post Processing Profiles

Cinemachine is almost completely set up

Cinemachine and Unity Timeline are incredibly powerful tools if incorporated correctly. One of my biggest peeves as a gamer is when a cut-scene of a game is done in a separate render engine and is used as a video. You know, super high-quality animations with next generation textures and then BLAM! You're slapped in the face with your 8-bit character, have fun playing that! Part of the immersion experience of any game should be seamlessly telling a story without hard-breaking from your character to do so. I hope to capture the ingenious of a seamless story-line in The Dystopian Change through absolute utilization of Cinemachine and Unity's Timeline.

The Power of Color Grading

The ability to adjust the color, saturation, and exposure on the fly is just too good a topic to pass up. For any artist, levels and color balance is key to the perfect portrait. Whether it be canvas art or image manipulation, every artist will agree the key is in the way the colors blend together. Unity provides a unique way for artists to not only manipulate colors on the fly but also to grade them over time, allowing for a mundane scene to really come to life under the correct circumstance. I recommend using scripts or triggers to change your color grading settings to really bring your scene to life by allowing transitions seamlessly between two different areas of your scene without changing textures or adding unnecessary lights.

22 Days Remaining and this is what I'm doing... (Warning, Disturbing Music :P)

I hope you're ready for this journey as it's officially begun! Take a breather, relax and know that everything is going to be okay. We will make it through this challenge one step at a time (not sure if I'm talking to you or me at this point). I'm kidding! I have a laid out plan and timeline which I am working from. This is all part of the bigger design. For those who are curious, the flashing neon signs are custom scripts I have written for this challenge specifically. (I don't want to release any spoilers but I will release the games concept idea and story dialogue on the final day)

Foliage and Storm Clouds

I just finished adding in rain effects and storm clouds along with several other platformer elements to my scene. At this point, I'm no longer sure if I'm making a scene, a game, or a full feature film... I can't wait to show off the finished product, thank you Unity for providing the Standard Effect Samples in the Unity Particle Pack!

Let's talk Post-Processing Stack!

First of all, I recommend to any developer, grab V2 version of the stack from Github. At first the post processing stack may seem daunting but it's actually quite simple to use, just follow the setup instructions on the Github page and begin experimenting with the different values available on each effect. The best learning comes from experience! Here are the global values (on the right) I have applied to my scene in the below screen shot. These settings can be changed on the fly through the use of scripts and triggers and as you play with them, you'll start to develop a sense of just how powerful they can be. I'm not going to get into the major details of each setting as there are quite a few and playing with them will pretty much explain what they do. I do have to warn you, MAKE SURE you are using your layers correctly, if something doesn't look right or the stack isn't working at all, check your layers and adjust them as necessary.

In game video too good to pass up

Just finished up with the interior of the space car and ready to move on to more building customization. Here's a quick walk-through of everything so far. Hope you enjoy!

An attempt for Ivy (Early Development)

If you are here looking for a how-to, scroll up and start with Post Processing Stack, this early development was me wrapping my head around the concept I was planning and I believe it's good to see what I would call the pre-production side of the dev process and where my head was at in that particular moment. If you watch the final video you will notice that I have removed the ivy and instead have added more windows and signs and let nature come more from the surroundings than directly on the building. My point was still very well conveyed I believe.
I'm currently working on the nature side of this abysmal purgatory scene and although I plan on using several trees and bushes from the Realistic Nature Pack from the Unity Asset Store, there are some things that require a small touch of in depth artistic love. Even with the 1.2 MILLION Tris, Unity 2017 busts out a real time render like it's nothing! That is truly what keeps me working with the Unity Engine.
I am going back in to Blender to reduce the amount of ivy generated and make the visual a bit more appealing. I'll catch ya all on the next update!

Tools and Assets used:

  • Unity
  • Blender
  • Photoshop
  • Allegorithmic
  • Realistic Nature Environment
  • Post Processing Stack V2
  • Unity Particle Pack
  • Cinemachine

Free Asset Store Assets Used:

  • Sci-Fi Spaceship
  • Sci-Fi Styled Modular Pack

Models Created for this Challenge:

Everything aside from the free assets listed above and the realistic nature pack were modeled specifically for this challenge and I have created and shared a video outlining how to create your own works using the same process I use. You can access the video here, and all assets I have created are publicly shared from my google drive, here.

Logan Smith
Artist, Programmer, All of the Above - Executive
Logan Smith
2 months ago
Artist, Programmer, All of the Above - Executive
Thank you!
Timur Titov
2 months ago
Good job!
Logan Smith
3 months ago
Artist, Programmer, All of the Above - Executive
Muhammad AsifLovely....
Muhammad Asif
3 months ago
Game Dev - Student
Logan Smith
3 months ago
Artist, Programmer, All of the Above - Executive
Tsuyoi RaionLooking good!
Thank You!