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What's the happy medium?

What's the happy medium?
« on: January 24, 2011, 11:50:24 pm »

I like Unity -- it's easy to use and seems like a nice blank canvas to work with. However, everything I've done in it looks like crap. I suspect it's partially my not-so-hot Blender skills, but even when only using the built-in Unity primitives everything looks washed-out and cheap.

I like UDK as well -- it takes no effort on my part to create a world which looks great. However, it's an incredible pain sifting through all the game scripts just to find and change minor details like whether or not you hear footstep noises, or what the player's movement speed is. I don't mind a little bit of code, but if I wanted to deal with that much of it I'd just write my own engine.

I feel like in both instances I'm missing something fundamental that would make my life a million times easier. Or is there a third/fourth/nth option that would suit me better?
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Re: What's the happy medium?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 02:02:41 am »

Try GameStart
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Re: What's the happy medium?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2011, 08:20:08 am »

Part of your problem could be that you're trying to go for photo-realism.  You could try something much more stylized. The games on this page are all made with Unity, and they're absolutely oozing with style: http://wiki.xxiivv.com/Visual

Another problem could simply be lighting; maybe your dark tones are too black and not enough blue/purple/pink.  Here is a very good tutorial on lighting: http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/light.htm

You can go very far with baking lighting for static objects in Blender or Unity+Beast even with just white objects.  Look at Mirror's Edge as an example.

When using just primitives, most of your life will come from behavior and animation, so "washed-out and cheap" could be from overly primitive movement.
Re: What's the happy medium?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 10:30:13 am »

Lighting is a good tip! But don't think about it as an actual set with actual lights. Think about it as a painting. As a rule, we usually do our lighting through a combination of a single directional light, ambient color and fog. Experiment with the colors of these until you get a nice result (aim for painterly realism -shadows can be purple!- not photographic realism).

When in Unity, also, an easy trick is to simply add a few post-processing filters. Glow makes everything look good! Smiley

And finally, another ToT trick: fill the air! Floating particles really make your scene feel alive.

Remember that it is not the engine that makes the difference, it's the art direction!
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Re: What's the happy medium?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 11:35:34 pm »

Part of your problem could be that you're trying to go for photo-realism.  You could try something much more stylized. The games on this page are all made with Unity, and they're absolutely oozing with style: http://wiki.xxiivv.com/Visual

Another problem could simply be lighting; maybe your dark tones are too black and not enough blue/purple/pink.  Here is a very good tutorial on lighting: http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/light.htm
actually, I was working on what was essentially a big box with a few platforms and ramps. And magenta lighting. Embarrassed

I have the sinking feeling that my problems might come from using the free version of Unity, instead of the 'pro' one with all the neat features. My experiments in UDK confirm that gratuitous post-processing makes *everything* better.
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Re: What's the happy medium?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 01:32:45 pm »

Part of your problem could be that you're trying to go for photo-realism.  You could try something much more stylized. The games on this page are all made with Unity, and they're absolutely oozing with style: http://wiki.xxiivv.com/Visual

Another problem could simply be lighting; maybe your dark tones are too black and not enough blue/purple/pink.  Here is a very good tutorial on lighting: http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/light.htm
actually, I was working on what was essentially a big box with a few platforms and ramps. And magenta lighting. Embarrassed

I have the sinking feeling that my problems might come from using the free version of Unity, instead of the 'pro' one with all the neat features. My experiments in UDK confirm that gratuitous post-processing makes *everything* better.

I'm not sure that throwing bloom at everything makes it better. However, the free version of Unity is limited in the cool effect department. Limited as in, they don't exist. I switched my game to UDK recently and I'm very happy with my choice and so is the coder. UDK is so much more fully featured. And sometimes, certain tools just aren't inspiring. Maybe Unity isn't for you.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 01:49:08 pm by ghostwheel »
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Re: What's the happy medium?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 11:45:16 pm »

Part of your problem could be that you're trying to go for photo-realism.  You could try something much more stylized. The games on this page are all made with Unity, and they're absolutely oozing with style: http://wiki.xxiivv.com/Visual

They have style for sure. Too bad they are poorly so implemented. Most of them there isn't even a way to get out of the game unless you alt+tab close them from the taskbar. I don't understand why someone would put all the time into making something that looks so good but leave the rest so sloppy and incomplete. It's clear he does know how to make a functional UI and navigation because his website works. Imagine if his website was as half-assed; half the pages wouldn't come up and the links would all be broken and it would come up in a fullscreen window you couldn't close.
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