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First Thread: Journey Sand

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Sykoo, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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  2. inko

    inko

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    Fist of all, Whooo new forum!

    As for your question: Why wouldn't it be possible with Unity?
     
  3. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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    I do not know. I mean how, if possible?
    I think their engine is specifically made to... like... sort of handle lots of stuff happening at the same time? Because I do now understand how they can handle so much particles.
     
  4. inko

    inko

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    The sand in journey is not handled via particles. The sand emits particles every now and then to make it look more like sand but at it's core it's just some real time height map deformation. The sand is mapped to a gray scale texture that deforms the mesh.
    Then using this 2d height map they use all sorts of algorithms to simulate flowing sand.
    And while this sure is not a trivial task, especially while also making it look as gorgeous as in Journey, it's no magic and can definitely be done with unity just as well.
     
  5. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    With hard work, just like every other game type ;)

    In all seriousness, it looks like you're asking specifically about how the sand is done since its a bit unique from other games. In that case John answers that question in the very thread you posted a link to, so its sort of self explanatory and as usual its nothing more than a regular system that they developed and doesn't seem like something that is off limits to other game engines due to its complexity.

    There he explains that they use a rough mesh, 3 heightmaps, a sort of tesselation smoothing, batched particle groups and a fancy shader/texture they made for it. Its a high level explanation about how it all basically evolved and works. These aren't uncommon techniques, but their application of them is clever. You could do the same thing but what made their work special is having the objective of something like this and striving to make it unique and cool with clever application of standard techniques.

    So, can you do it in Unity? Of course, you could do it in lots of engines. You're the limitation, not the engine. Learn the basics, the standards, the ideas, then throw down an objective and find out how you can do it with those tools.
     
  6. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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    It's amazing, thanks for the easy to understand describing guys :)

    I will try sometime later after my two ongoing projects to create something like that in Unity. I'll see if I can find any sort of tutorials for deformations
     
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  7. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Since we're talking game design, I have to ask: what does this sand system do for the player's experience with the game?

    Are there mechanics that revolve around rearranging the sand into shapes to help players solve puzzles, get to inaccessible areas, or defend themselves from hostile agents?
     
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  8. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    I didn't play Journey but I was under the impression it was just there, looking awesome, too blow your mind.
     
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  9. Sykoo

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    It gives a better taste to the game, as it feels like a real exploration game which it's meant to be. The amazing reflection and visual quality blows your mind and makes you want to play more, just like any other game with great graphics does on useal gamers.
     
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  10. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Let's go deeper, though. Why does the sand make the player feel that they're actually exploring a new land? How is the sand reinforcing the rest of the game? It might sound like philosophical..ness, but it's a real question. How does the sand integrate into why the player is there?
     
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  11. randomperson42

    randomperson42

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    The sand integrates underneath the player's toenails.
    I think you're looking for meaning where there is none. :)
     
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  12. inko

    inko

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    Are you really questioning the deeper purpose of sand? Really?

    Sometimes peope just put awesome stuff into games because they are awesome.
    Kinda like this gif

     
  13. Sykoo

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    Mentally, from a perpective of a gamer individually, I think that it just makes the game more beautiful in every sort of way, both visually and gameplay'sort of way. Personally, I am a graphics-nerd and I litreally dribble for those graphics. The sand was one of the biggest elements used in the game that made me dribble, and I think that it just adds a new sort of... imagination to the game. I don't know, I cannot go any deeper than that, already now Adele is havíng difficulties to roll in there... so sorry, please ban me for making that joke... I suck, I know...

    But in all seriousness, I think it's just making the game so beautiful and makes it feel realistic.

    @inko I will copy that gif and you cannot resist that, it's the best gif I've ever seen <3
     
  14. JoeStrout

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    OK, I'll pipe in and suggest that this is not the forum for discussing visual effects. That's visual design, not game design.

    @Asvarduil was on the right track, asking how this sand impacts gameplay... and if the answer is, "not much," or the question is, "how do I do this in Unity," then further discussion (if any is needed) should be moved to the Scripting (or possibly ShaderLab) forum.

    It's awesome of the Unity mods to create this new forum for us; let's try to reward their faith in us by keeping it on topic as much as we can!
     
  15. wccrawford

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    Sure, maybe they do. But the creators of Journey are on record about how much time and energy they went into *designing* Journey. They didn't just randomly throw in stuff because they liked it.

    Personally, I don't think the sand was as deep as Asvarduil makes it sound, but there are definitely elements of the sand that make the game feel special.

    Moving around on the sand is fun in itself. Surfing down the hills is invigorating and fun after slogging uphill. It helps get from place to place quicker without sacrificing the ability to control the avatar precisely.

    Leaving footprints or a wake behind you as you move around makes you feel like you're making some impression on the world, unlike so many games that look absolutely no different for your having been there. Combined with other things, like the waving banners and such, you feel like you did something.
     
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  16. Hikiko66

    Hikiko66

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    The problem is that we are not talking about design, as much as you have tried to coerce this fail thread in that direction in order to try to save it.

    "Can I do sand?" has nothing do with game design, and this thread explicitly breaks the rules.
    http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/about-game-design-forum-read-before-posting.275186/
    Think more carefully before posting, Sykoo.

    We could deconstruct Journey from a design perspective, that would be interesting, but if you are only interested in creating sand, then this is the wrong forum.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
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  17. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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    I am not only interested in creating sand, I posted a link for a purpose.
    I wonder not only how to create it, but what people would use as solution in terms of designing it. Textures and heightmaps? Or maybe some other theories? Its as much about "design" purposes as it is about other purposes. I don't think this is the wrong forum to post this discussion in general. Maybe you should think aswell and read the text of a thread several times before criticising it. :)

    Edit: A bit briefer into the "discussion", it's so much more than just designing the sand behind this question, that people with some gameplay experiences should understand, who played Journey I mean. How the footprints works, how the 'singing-a-song' so that it's vibrating around the character and affect the environment, in designing facts. Theories behind it, and ideas. Not only that, but designing theories.

    Basically, I do not ask for a tutorial or anything like that. I ask for theories behind the design of the game, and the sand specifically in this thread.
     
  18. JoeStrout

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    No, "textures and heightmaps?" is a dead give-away that you're asking how do I implement this rather than how does this affect gameplay.

    This is exactly the sort of thing people were worried about when the Game Design forum was proposed. The word "design" may mean different things to different people; you're clearly thinking about implementation, but there are already other forums here for that. This forum is for the sort of design that operates at a much higher level: game theory, gameplay mechanics, rule sets, etc.

    So, props for getting in quickly with the first thread, but now please study the other threads (most of which appear to be much more on topic), and re-read the sticky, and I hope you'll see that implementation questions belong elsewhere. Too much of this sort of thread, and the moderators will close the Game Design forum, and we'll be sad.

    Thanks,
    - Joe
     
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  19. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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    Hey guys!

    I think some people missunderstood the purpose of this thread, or actually I might have written wrong, so that people missunderstood it. It might have been my fault, if it is that case - I'm sorry.

    I was not trying to ask for any sort of tutorial or "how-to?". I was wondering the visual and game designing of Journey, and specifically in this thread - the sand of Journey.

    Such as the designing theories behind the game. And also ask for your opinions over that, and your ideas/theories.

    Once again, I am sorry if my question was wrongly written.
     
  20. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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    Hey!

    I hope you read my latest post, I described what I actually wanted to ask. I think my question was wrongly built-up. Sorry, my English is my third language :) But I will try and re-write the topic itself and make it sound right, as people gets confused because of my fault.

    So sorry again!
     
  21. AndrewGrayGames

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    This is implementation. Go elsewhere for this.

    You can't just throw in the word 'theory' and it becomes a Game Design topic. Art in and of itself is just art; art used in the context of the rest of the game is a design topic, however. This is where what you're asking is coming up short.

    Go back to my philosophical question above. Why does having this in your game truly matter? If the reason is aesthetics alone, then there's not much more to discuss - it makes your game look pretty, and presumably lends itself to your desert theme. We can, and should, wish you luck and let you get back to work on your awesome game.

    As this is the Game Design forum, though, hopefully there's more to it than that. Do you perhaps have an environmental hazard or enemy, or some other mechanic that interacts with the sand? These things will change your implementation. Maybe you need more than just a terrain and a shader. Maybe you need a voxel implementation instead. Maybe you need environmental tiles (my specialty!)

    Game design is the process of designing an experience for the user. You may want to peek into our 'What IS Game Design?' topic for more ideas and clarification.
     
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  22. Sykoo

    Sykoo

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    I apologize for writing in such a wrong and bad way, so that everyone misunderstood my actual discussion.
     
  23. RJ-MacReady

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    This is C.I.B.D (can it be done).
     
  24. Gigiwoo

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    Journey is one of the best games ever created! Jenova Chen is brilliant! And ... let's get back on track.

    TL;DR; Focus on Design.

    Gigi
     
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  25. The-Spaniard

    The-Spaniard

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    I think the answer as to what the sand does in the game from a design perspective, is that it visually reinforces the notion of going on a journey. The permanent, tangible footprints and interaction with the world let you see the journey you are taking, as you take it. It's a lovely visual metaphor - it's not a character standing, placed in a world, it is a character in motion through a world, and the footprints are a direct visual history of that movement.
     
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  26. superpig

    superpig

    Quis aedificabit ipsos aedificatores? Unity Technologies

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    Regardless of whether the OP was really asking a question appropriate for this forum or not, I think the thread's continued more or less as if he had done. OP, if you want to discuss how to do Journey-like sand in Unity - technical design, not game design, which this forum is for - you should head to the Unity Support forum.

    I agree with the points wccrawford and The Spaniard have made about the footprints in particular. It's a subtle but high-impact way to make the world suddenly feel much more interactive and to give the player a greater sense of progress (turning around and seeing the footprints stretch out behind you). Consider: what would it change about the game if they weren't included?
     
  27. Teila

    Teila

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    I have never played Journey. However, I have gazed at beautiful screenshots which seem to mesmerize me with their haunting beauty. I think the purpose of the sand is to immerse the player in the environment of the game. And this is based not on playing the game but simply on pictures so I could be way off base. I enjoy a game much more if I feel truly immersed in the environment, in the story, and in the development of the character. Sand brings senses into the picture. Have you ever played a game with an ocean and actually could smell the ocean? Have you ever shivered while guiding your character through a snowy landscape? I have although maybe I am just a weird person with an overactive imagination.

    Journey's pictures make me want to locate the PS3 that we put in storage to get the kids to spend time on schoolwork. I have a feeling that I would feel the grit between my teeth and the hot wind on my face if I were to play the game.

    Immersion in a game is an important part of design and isn't only art. It starts with a theme, an idea, and then pulling together a style that will create that special place that moves a player. Journey appears to have done it well. Games can be an experience rather than just a way to spend an hour or two.
     
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  28. eelstork

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    META: I've been itching over this - closing a thread that purports to be the 'first' (sigh) only to entangle itself in a sorry mix of apologies and justifications... may have educational value :D.

    Maybe it would have been nice to open a technical design forum while opening the game design forum.
    Not because technical design shouldn't be shoved under support/script (oh wait...).
    Not because the layout would look more balanced on the home page (damn).
    But because it would encourage everybody to not confuse game design and technical design.
     
  29. Tolufoyeh

    Tolufoyeh

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    Did you eventually figure out a way to achieve a similar effect in Unity?
     
  30. Sykoo

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    Nope, never actually got time to get into projectors etc.
    I may do that in the near future, right now I'm only focusing on my school project (creating a game with a friend) and my asset SurvivalEngine PRO.
     
  31. rainssong

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  32. Ceciphar

    Ceciphar

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    only 3 years late