Last week we weighed in on the controversy around using pre-made assets in video games. This week, we’re taking an in-depth look at how we modified pre-made dungeon ruins assets in order to fit the aesthetic goals of our game.
The first part of this process was understanding what we needed--what our specific end goal was, so we could choose assets that most closely resembled that goal. Then we could start modifying those assets to fit.
Our ruins assets needed to be modular horizontally and vertically, so we could build multi-level structures. We also wanted to be able to build our own cracked walls, and the ruins needed to fit in with the aesthetics of Hexile. We found out that bigger stones looked better than smaller stones, which made the landscape feel cluttered. The ruins also needed to stand out against the hexes, and while we wanted a “ruins” feel, many of the super-cracked and decrepit walls that we looked at felt overly stylized, and didn’t fit in with the more minimalist and realistic look we wanted for the game. This weeded out a bunch of options right out of the gate--this one couldn’t make multi-level buildings. This pack was too “ruined,” and didn’t have enough walls to build things we’d be inside of. And this model was really cool, but it had too many plants, and we didn’t know what the software compatibility was.
Eventually, using our initial parameters, we decided on this asset from the Unreal Engine Marketplace to be the base for our ruins.
After we identified the asset that most closely fit our needs, we deconstructed it and figured out how to re-texture it. In this process we found out that each stone-based piece in the asset pack shared the same UV pattern--which meant we only needed to make one stone texture, and it would apply to all of the meshes. We found a mesh in the pack that didn’t have any UV overlaps, and exported it out of Unreal Engine and into Substance Painter.
To create our new stone texture, we started with a free base from Substance Share. We darkened the base color, removed the lichen, and hand-painted an edge mask to add discolorations and roughness on the edges of the stones. We exported the maps from Substance Painter, created a new material in Unreal Engine with the new textures, and it worked!
We’re excited by how easy it was to re-texture all of the stone in the asset pack, and now our level designer is able to work with something more than just white boxes. See you next week!