Search Unity

[Help] Prettier graphics

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NunoDinisSantos, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    Hi all !

    I would love some help in regards of making my game prettier and give it more life in general. Right now it seems a little bit... dull ? Not sure what it is, but I know it's missing something. You'll get what I'm saying!

    I would just like some pointers on what's wrong and what can I do. Is it the lighting, shadows, shaders ? The game is for mobile, so I must take performance in consideration !

    Right now I'm baking all the lights I have with low resolution so the game runs smooth at low end mobiles, but is there anything I can do to achieve my objective ?

    If you don't mind downloading it and just play for 2 minutes (don't worry, no annoying banner ads or anything), it should be enough to get what I'm saying. Otherwise, I'll just leave a screenshot here.

    NOTE: I'm not asking for reviews or anything like that. I really just want to make my game better and learn how to make games more appealing and less amateur.

    mod edit : not the place for promoting your game.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2019
  2. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    3,975
    I recommend you hire an artist - ideally a good digital painter who has the technical knowledge of Unity to efficiently communicate with you. This is not a tech problem, it's a general art direction problem in my opinion.
     
  3. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Posts:
    7,232
    For some reason I don't see/can not open screenshot.
     
  4. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    3,170
    Yea no fancy tech will make difference without art direction. You could study art fundamentals and probably make a few small but important improvement yourself. Better would be to try and get thorough review andnsuggestion from artist. And best is hire artist to work directly with you.or as consultant to explain thoroughly what you can do to improve. Very best thing is to do all of that. Get the help you need for now but also make investment in your own skills.


    Pplycount is the forum for artist. If you ask there may get some good pointers.


    Given camera angles and model style id say focus mostly on lighting and color to make most bang for your buck improvements. Maybe bigger bolder fx can help too
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  5. kdgalla

    kdgalla

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Posts:
    2,221
    One thing I notice is that most of the scenes in your video are murky and could use more contrast. In the scenes with the grey ground, it's difficult to distinguish the characters because they're close to the same value.
     
  6. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Posts:
    7,232
    I would suggest add post processing and turn game into gray scale. Then it would be obvious, where things fails in term of art / colors. At current state, it looks like playing a blob :)
     
    Socrates likes this.
  7. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    This is pretty terrible advice to offer somebody who doesn't have any art direction skills. It'll just lead to the game looking like a greyed out mess.
     
  8. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Posts:
    7,232
    The point is, OP would see how bad it look like.
    And reason to ask, why would do that. But that up to OP.
    Maybe OP got old burnt out screen, or even old-old burnout CRT:p
     
  9. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    3,975
    Do you mean temporary, just to check where the value contrast is insufficient because it's more important for readability than color contrast?
     
  10. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    Or, just judging by the game itself and the fact that there's practically uniform value in a lot of spaces, the op does not know how to handle the graphic design aspects of things.
     
  11. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Posts:
    7,232
    Yes, just temporary, just for testing.
    You can equally make screenshots and convert to gray scale.
    But then you may not capture everything.

    It is most likely.
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  12. Shack_Man

    Shack_Man

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2017
    Posts:
    226


    The example here is 2D but almost all of it could be applied to your game (and almost all of it is missing from your game).
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  13. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    Thank you guys so much for the anwsers and honest critics.
    Hiring an artist is not an option. I don't plan making money from this game and that would mean losing even more money (no idea how much a personal 3D artist cost but it sounds expensive).
    I'll take a look at some art examples, study some color theory and most likely, buy more expensive art at the assetstore (I tried blender but I'm just plain awfull). I'll also watch the video in the previous reply! My game does feel "dead" and adding some effects like screen shake might do it good.

    Thank you guys again for the answers !
     
  14. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    3,975
    That can't replace missing artdirection.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/marcobucci
    https://www.youtube.com/user/TylerE2284

    These are painters, but it transfers pretty well to games if you just think of your screen as being "a painting" at any point in time, and the same rules for guiding the eye of the viewer etc. apply.

    +1 for the talk linked above and this talk is also really good:

     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    Ryiah likes this.
  15. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    15,298
    I recommend avoiding the asset store unless you can either (a) buy everything you need from one source, or (b) have the skills to make modifications to the assets yourself, because the biggest downside with the asset store is that very few assets work well together. Most of the time you'll just end up with a mismatched mess if you try to rely on it.
     
    iamthwee, Socrates and Antypodish like this.
  16. SamohtVII

    SamohtVII

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2014
    Posts:
    234
    Side note from OP, I felt this is the case at times but can work if you are going for a realistic graphics style, hence why every game I ever make with be real life graphics. lol
     
  17. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2014
    Posts:
    5,406
    Or you go for realistic look, problem solved
     
  18. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    AMEN ! Unfortunately I only got to this conclusion after I bought several random assets (facepalm). But better late then never !

    Also, that video "The art of Screenshake". WHAT A VIDEO ! I'm currently implementing most of the stuff that the guy said and I'm enjoying it a lot ! It's much better ! I can't believe it.

    After I update the game I'll put a video here ! I hope you guys find it more enjoyable as well.

    Thank you all for the tips ! It's been great !
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  19. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    Ok guys, as promised, here are my improvements! I hope it's enough to make a notice. (It's still not available)

    - The art is the same but I tweaked the lights a little bit. They were very dark and now the scene appears brighter.
    - Screen shake ! :D
    - Made muzzle and bullets much bigger
    - The speed of the game is higher, that means, faster movement for player and zombies and faster reload times.
    - Added new zombie sounds ! Much happier with these ones
    - Added reload sound. Didn't even know why I didn't had this (facepalm)
    - Added the blood when the zombies die. It deactivates itself after 30 sec for performance.
    - Bullet speed was also increased
    - All weapons got higher fire rate but a little less damage. It looks much cooler in my opinion.
    - I also added achievements and a leaderboard (which count zombie kills) to compare with other players.
    - Reduced map size to look more arena style fight. I personally enjoy it more.
    - Managed to reduce the size of the APK to 38Mb


    And I think that's it ! I'll leave a link of a 20 sec video in here. It should be enough to show it. Thank you all !
    I'm planning to ad more stuff like world interactions (shoot a barrel and it'll explode, etc..). I would love to have more zombies and more bosses but I gotta find the art first (there are not many cubic shape creatures out there).

    *link coming*

    If you guys have any more tips, feel free to give them :D Thanks

    EDIT: Yes, I locked myself in the room since the other day working on all this :D
    I had to remove the youtube link because the video was god damn awful. It was super small. When I have time, I'll put another one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  20. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    Well guys, I'm a man of my word. The video is here ! It's 40 sec long. There's one thing missing there though. I added explosive barrels to the game!

    One thing I'm not able to do are the achievements and leaderboard. The plugins that I used to use no longer work. I get tons of warnings and the login isn't working. I've been trying to fix it since my last post, but with no success.

    I'll be putting the update tomorrow. I'm gonna double check everything tonight.

    Thanks !


    Zombie Horde Massacre

    EDIT: I still want those achievements and leaderboard !
     
    iamthwee likes this.
  21. Voronoi

    Voronoi

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Posts:
    306
    I think your game looks pretty good. My main comment would be to rethink the color of the player. It's a design problem, meaning the green of the main character stands out nicely against the light grey concrete, but gets lost against the dark road. The character gets even more lost on the green grass. The red ( a complimentary color ), on the other hand, looks great against green.

    Making the character red would solve the first problem, but he would get lost on top of the red splatters. I'd suggest using high-contrast in the character, and see if you can find a color scheme that looks equally good against light grey, dark grey, green and red. A blob shadow under the character could also help the player stand out.
     
  22. Autarkis

    Autarkis

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Posts:
    280
    I dont think so. Looking at values in greyscale and then moving back up to color scale is actually a pretty good idea. Greyscale is what's taught first in art schools.
    Never thought about throwing a greyscale pp on the cam while im working to check values, definitely going to do it.

    So in short, i dont believe that comment was made to say just make the game greyscale, but use that as a tool to check your values and the general mood of the image and then delete that effect to get back to your regular game.

    Though.. Im not seeing the screenshot either so....?
     
    NunoDinisSantos and Martin_H like this.
  23. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    The blob shadow is a great idea ! I'll try to implement it ! I will also try to find ways for the character to stand out.
    It's great to have feedback ! After playing the game and getting so used to it, it's great to have "new eyes" seeing it.

    Thank you guys so much !
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  24. iamthwee

    iamthwee

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Posts:
    2,158
    Looks great like minecraft meets is it 'Dying light' Might give it a try.
     
    NunoDinisSantos likes this.
  25. iamthwee

    iamthwee

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Posts:
    2,158
    Also for the shadow it reminded me of 'Inside' where they use AO decals.

     
  26. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    26,432
    None of this stuff you're all posting matters, honestly. Google Jeff Vogel. Just make a damn fun game and quit the excuses.
     
    GameDevCouple_I and Ryiah like this.
  27. joshcamas

    joshcamas

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Posts:
    983
    That's a bit silly. Visuals don't matter? Just make a fun game? I mean, obviously the mechanics come first, but the graphics is something that matters. Otherwise we should just play games with simple mesh blocks, no need for silly LWRP or HDRP or anything like that. :^)

    I think this thread was quite nice, people giving tips on how to make someone's game look prettier.
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  28. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    15,298
    You've clearly not looked into Spiderweb Software. Very outdated visuals but he's one of the oldest indie developers that is still successful, and by successful I mean making a six-digit sum that while it never reaches a million is not that far away from it. While having only three employees with his wife counting as one of them.

    upload_2019-10-23_3-23-8.png

     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  29. GameDevCouple_I

    GameDevCouple_I

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2013
    Posts:
    2,415
    I literally spent years of my childhood playing their games, I consider them the first proper expansive open world games, as they literally were huge! (Alongside daggerfall ofcourse and elite, but I am talking hand crafted not procedural) I might give them another spin again!

    I used to play exile 2 and 3 and blades of exile. Exile 3 I literally spent so much time on, I have such a special place in my heart for it :)

    Agreed that its a great example of how visuals dont matter to making a commercially succesful game, if the game is good and you keep at it and complete it instead of getting bogged down on stuff.
     
    xVergilx likes this.
  30. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    Spiderweb exists because
    1. He's been around forever
    2. He fills a very specific niche
    3. This combination of things allows him to get away with this
    To treat Spiderweb's success as universal, when it's built on ages and ages of community building, is reductionist at best. Despite his phrasing, nothing Vogel says has happened in a vacuum.
     
    AcidArrow, OCASM, Martin_H and 3 others like this.
  31. xVergilx

    xVergilx

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Posts:
    2,211
    Exile 3: Ruined World was my first RPG, and I didn't even knew English at that point in time.
    (Which was a pushing factor towards learning it)

    Spiderweb Software games are amazing.
    They make up for the lack of visuals in their storytelling, gameplay and playthrough time.

    Sure they're niche, but they still prove that gameplay & story > visuals.
     
    GameDevCouple_I and Ryiah like this.
  32. iamthwee

    iamthwee

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Posts:
    2,158
    Visuals aren't everything, I say eying up my RTX build.
     
    II_Spoon_II likes this.
  33. NunoDinisSantos

    NunoDinisSantos

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2017
    Posts:
    22
    Thanks a lot ! I really apreciate it :D

    Btw, I managed to make leaderboards work ! Those god damn plugin conflicts were the cause!
    I'll update it as soon I end the tests.

    I do like a game that looks good. I'm not saying that it's everything, but I do like pretty scenes.
    In my opinion, a game that only looks pretty isn't going to do well. So I guess if I had to choose one, my vote would go for gameplay/story. However, if it can have both, great !
    I absolutely looooved Monument Valley. The art, the music, the story, the gameplay... Loved every moment of it.
     
    iamthwee likes this.
  34. joshcamas

    joshcamas

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Posts:
    983
    I obviously didn't mean visuals are required. Plenty of text based games have been incredibly popular. On the other hand, plenty of walking simulators have also been incredibly popular.

    Somehow saying that because some low graphics games have been popular somehow proves that graphics are irrelevant and not a consideration to take into account when developing a game just doesn't make sense.

    I'm not saying visual fidelity magically makes your game better. It doesn't. But neither does most things: does adding a story make your game better? Well, many successful games don't have stories. Does having polygons make your game better? Not necessarily, many games use pixels. Music? Sounds?

    Also remember that some people like story based games as opposed to mechanics based games. I don't, but their tastes are still valid.

    My point is a game is a big ol bucket of things. Not all games need all of them, but most need many. And of course 90% of the time mechanics are most important. But there are still other parts to consider. The world is more complex than simply "just do the one thing that's important and nothing else and you'll succeed". There are many different genres that have varying degrees of different focuses.

    Finally, it's incredibly hard to get people to notice your game, and if it looks like S***, that heavily decreases your chances of people playing it. We're not looking to make 6 figures, most of us. We're looking to survive. Just get enough players to tell ourselves it's worth it. And making your game look nice (not necessarily fancy, stylized is also just as nice, often nicer) increases your chances. It's like marketing. People say good games market themselves. For most of us, we can't rely on the tiny chance that a good game will somehow pass through word of mouth and the alignment of the stars. Thus, most of us market our game. Caring about visuals is at the very least a way to market your game. If it looks good as opposed to bad, then the chances of people clicking go up. Also, visuals affect gameplay. Gameplay isn't in a vacuum, if the player doesn't understand what's going on then it doesn't matter how good the mechanics are. Story often connects to visuals: a bleak setting contributes to a bleak story.

    In short some games can definitely succeed while having pure utilitarian graphics, and some games can get away with absolutely no graphics at all, that doesn't mean all game developers should ignore visuals and not talk about how to make their game look better. The world isn't black and white, there are so many different genres and types of players and demographics. Visuals are a consideration to consider.

    Why did I write an essay wtf
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  35. iamthwee

    iamthwee

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Posts:
    2,158
    Yeah monument valley was the bomb. I'm really looking forward to finally playing 'Little misfortune' right now.
     
  36. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    15,298
    Agreed, but there are a ton of niches you can fill where graphics don't have to be spectacular.

    Having graphics that are less than ideal in a modern game only heavily decreases your chances if you choose a target audience that expects graphics to be at a certain level. If you only care about surviving then the solution is to choose audiences that don't priotize visuals.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
    Antypodish and hippocoder like this.
  37. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    Spectacular isn't the goal here, reading the posts, better is. Which is fair, because even now the game is super difficult to read, which is a bigger problem in a shooter than it is in a CRPG.
     
    joshcamas likes this.
  38. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    26,432
    Well the fact is.. indies cannot and will not ever actually make graphics anywhere close to AAA for a full game. This is because they can't, it's stupid and physically impossible. Now I'm not saying don't do nice stylised graphics, only that it's a fool's errand to prioritise visuals if you're quite crap at visuals.

    If that's the cause you can look at what Mike Bithell did. He has the intelligence to be humble and make good of what he could: boxes to start with more to follow as his bank balance grows, such as outsourcing to artists.

    That's smart and anyone is welcome to disagree but it's a case of "if you have to ask..." it's probably going to take way too long. I mean that question is way behind the curve where you should be if thinking about making something competitive artistically.

    I do sound arrogant, but I don't have that intention. So if it's about making something pretty, look at asset store, outsource the art. Perhaps as a side hobby, devote a few years to art (hint: you will never be good at art if it's not something you love).
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  39. joshcamas

    joshcamas

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Posts:
    983
    I think you're getting "prettyness" mixed up with "graphical fidelity". I wasn't ever talking about high quality vertex pushing games. I'm talking about what this whole thread is about - having a game that looks good. Stylized, pixel art, vector, doesn't matter. No matter what audience you find, it decreases your chances of getting noticed if the game doesn't look at the very least passable in this regard. Of course there are games that break this mold, but those are the rare ones:



    Side note: Aurora is honestly so amazing, I've never been able to play it since its complexity is through the roof and I have small brain, but its impressive that this game even exists. Yes, those windows are part of the game.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
    AcidArrow likes this.
  40. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    Okay, let's talk about Thomas Was Alone then, since I don't think you're giving it near enough credit, since it wasn't just blocks.



    First thing to note: the water effect comes with a shimmer on top, and, if you look close, there's even a little bit of texture applied as a sort of grain. On top of the water, you can see that it is simulating the effect of raindrops hitting the surface. On top of that, you can also see that those blocks have different brightness and colours from one another, making them very readable at a glance.

    Adding to this is the way the environment you can interact with is always presented as a single colour.



    Sometimes you even get some rudimentary like and shadow effects. In the background here, you can see that there are a few shapes to help break up the monotony of everything. Notice how the entire environment is skewed? That effect is entirely visual as the controls remain the same during.

    upload_2019-10-23_19-45-1.png

    Here's some more stuff going on. Notice the particle effect on the edges there representing the crumbling world? Those shift and move, and I believe the light source in this scene moves a little randomly as well to make it look like it is, in fact, being refracted by the water. You can also make out the cheap and dirty vignette effect that does a good job drawing your eyes more to the centre of the screen, where the action is typically happening.



    Here we see yet more visual design, from the splash of landing in the water, to the slats in the backgroud to, again, change the texture of the scene so it's not so uniform.

    I feel that, far too often, people here are confusing minimalism with graphics not being considered. Thomas Was Alone is a game that makes excellent use of stylistic choices when it comes to its visuals. It is not treating them as less important by any means.

    Hell, if we're really getting into it, from a gameplay perspective? Thomas Was Alone really isn't a super fantastic platformer or anything. It is a game that largely ended up recognized due to its narrative and narration. That's not gameplay, is it? That's part of its aesthetic quality and should not be discounted. If a game is being largely held up by its narrative, it stands to reason that other aesthetic qualities are important as well.
     
  41. Autarkis

    Autarkis

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Posts:
    280
    Cannot be said enough.
     
    Martin_H and joshcamas like this.
  42. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    26,432
    There's nothing in Thomas that can't be done with a few clicks these days. Failing to see the issue.
     
  43. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Posts:
    6,439
    With that attitude everything is just a bunch of clicks, and solving math problems is just writing a few more numbers on a piece of paper.

    Thomas was alone found an aesthetic that worked for the game and polished it to a point where it felt pleasant. That probably took a non insignificant amount of time.
     
    Martin_H and joshcamas like this.
  44. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2015
    Posts:
    4,645
    I think you're arguing about the two sides of the same thing. Thomas was alone is great as an example because it is aesthetically pleasing and absolutely not random and simple to make. Exactly what an average indie should do.
     
    Antypodish, Ryiah and Autarkis like this.
  45. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Posts:
    6,439
    An average indie should do whatever he wants, because if he wanted to do what other people want, he should be an intern at a AAA company and work his way up.
     
    hippocoder likes this.
  46. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    It is increasingly clear you're not a member of an art team.
     
  47. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    26,432
    It's completely clear you just have opinion and nothing else to show. If you do - show it. Because otherwise you're just talking bollocks.

    Correct. Exactly my point. If you can't do a good image with boxes, don't bother TBH. THAT... is the correct magnitude of the task and why I said what I said.

    PS. been an art director for years, programming ISN'T actually my primary discipline.
     
  48. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    I literally just showed you a bunch of examples from Thomas Was Alone, the game you cited.

    You responded with "you can do that with a few clicks" which is like saying you can code a real time raytracing engine with just keyboard strokes. It is fundamentally dismissive of both the technical and artistic aspect of these things.

    edit: also it's pretty rich saying that this could be done "with a few clicks" considering the absolute state of Unity's graphical options back in 2011-2012. Like, Thomas Was Alone was in development for over a year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  49. Ryiah

    Ryiah

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Posts:
    15,298
    Completely depends on which release we're talking about. The original Thomas Was Alone was very basic compared to the commercial release. Below is the only video that I was able to find of the original game.

     
  50. Murgilod

    Murgilod

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Posts:
    6,742
    The original Thomas Was Alone was also just little more than a game jam project that saw nowhere near as much attention as the commercial release.
     
unityunity