My name is Tolin Simpson I'm the owner of and senior programmer at Paradox Solution Softworks. Now you're probably thinking "Wait this guy is not an environment artist"? Well yes and no, I have done several similar projects and have experience in film and game design from school but it has been a long time since I have been able to express my artistic side. When I originally saw Unity upload the Neon environment on YouTube I thought to myself "That's something I'd do, mash assets together to create something cool". Later when I stumbled across the contest, I knew it was time to set aside the code and try something a little different given how intuitive Unity is. There are no other contributors from Paradox Solutions or elsewhere, just me and a collection of asset store tools and some beautiful concept art...
Inspiration, Techniques & Process:
I took my inspiration from the concept art "By the Shore" by Georgi Simeonov, but wanted to have a bit more of a vibrant dry seabed and to have a more cartoony art style than I usually work with.
In order to achieve the style I wanted without having to find asset store art that was already in that style I decided that I would retexture all the models I picked up, to do this I brought all the albedo maps into Paint.Net (an extended version of Microsoft paint) and applied image filters to make them look hand drawn like a pseudo "Boarderlands" cell shaded style. Overall this process only took a few seconds per image.
I did want a ship as the centerpiece of the environment with some kind of settlement built up around it with kind of a post apocalyptic kind of vibe and reason as to why people built around this ship. Already knowing the themes I wanted to have it wasn't hard to find game assets on the assets store, many of which I already owned. With only some environment art experience under my belt from past projects I have not had time to formulate a structured process to follow when designing environments, I just got together some assets that fit the theme I wanted and pretty much just played with them until I got a result I liked.
The centerpiece of the environment became the water ball from just playing around with some old mesh deformation scripts I had, it worked out with the narrative making the old ship not just a landmark but a source of color and life in the sea bed and giving the scene a sci-fi element as well. This is where I formulated the idea that I should turn the structure into a location of a festival.
Post Processing really gave the interior of the dome a strong contrast with the outside, without the post processing stack everything looked a little washed out. Once color grading was added I could really make the canopy reflect onto the ground giving everything a warm yet cool atmosphere.
Having both coded and animated camera paths in the past Cinemachine blew me away with how adaptable it was, with the prior two methods any change to the scene could destroy your camera setup, this is not the case with Cinemachine, I was able to adjust the path to my changes with ease. I simply positioned my cameras and blended them together with timeline, if I needed to move one, I just moved it and the system adapted itself based on my changes. I started with a dolly track that follows a bus of festival goers then transitions into the dome.
The assets I used:
Work in Progress Logs:
Note: The creation process has been reordered to be in reverse, to view the submission in order that it was made go here.