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Filtering by Author: Timothy

Dev Log: Texturing Levels in Warden



Hey folks,


Lets delve into our method for creating and texturing the levels in our upcoming game, Warden. Every level in Warden is built using Blender 3D. The base mesh of a level is created as a single, contiguous piece, with smaller details added in-engine later.

Textures are created or re-used based upon what and where the level is, and many variations upon them are used for blending purposes. The entire level is then UV mapped inside Blender. We apply textures to the faces of the level and export the mesh as an FBX. Doing so will cause Unity to create materials for each texture and assuming the texture is identically named within the project, this will automatically assign the correct texture to the material.

We do not embed our textures inside the level FBXs that would blow out the size of the project and cause double-ups of the textures in the project, which is just bloat.

This texture is used to connect a mud floor to a brick floor. It is created by blending the two in photoshop.

When texturing in Blender the process is simple. Textures come in three types. Tiling (On both U and V), tiling only on U (Horizontally) and tiling only on V (Vertically). Often walls of the level will need to tile horizontally while the floors will need to tile in all directions. Only very thin and tall objects will only need to tile vertically.

Generally speaking we will block out segments of our level with UV seams to divide the textures into easily managed islands. After laying down the base textures we can add extra seams to apply transitional textures to blend between texture sets.

Tips and tricks: Texturing levels can be time consuming so ensuring solid mesh flow is key to not getting bogged down unwrapping. To avoid obvious seams you need to be careful about tiling textures and colours. Often large dark vertical shapes in the texture can be used to cover up a seam. making it much less obvious when playing the game.

This Cliff face connects grass to dirt and as such the unwrap is not pushed beyond the top and bottom of the texture.

Strengths of this technique:

  • Works well in unison with low-poly level geometry.
  • Easy to keep a consistent look and feel to areas.
  • Faster than tweaking unique textures for each level geometry.

Weaknesses of the technique:

  • Potentially uses a lot of textures (Texture atlases can help mitigate this).
  • Loses effectiveness with noisier textures (Takes much longer to make them line up right).

Happy texturing! Tim

Dev Log: Warden's Mecanim animations



Hey folks,Let's look at Unity 3D’s Mecanim animation system and how we have implemented it in Warden for our playable characters.

Every animation the character plays transitions from it’s “Default” state. Default is a series of nested blend trees to blend between Idle, Walk and Run animations, as well as directional movement such as sidestepping and leaning into a turn. Almost all the other states in the tree return to this point with a trigger called “Default”. From the Default state we branch in many directions for all the different kinds of movement and actions the player can do. For example jumping, crawling and attacking.

To keep the state machine tidy we organize states into key categories such as Damage, Jumping, and Default Tasks. The Jump state tree is quite simple. There are three animations, one for take off, one for falling and one for landing. When the player hits the jump key, we hit the “Jump trigger” to push the animation into the beginning of the jump. From here based on the “exit time” of the animation the character naturally reaches the apex of their jump and begins falling, while automatically transitioning into the fall animation. Finally, we detect if the character is grounded again and when they are the “Land trigger” is hit and the animation for landing is played.

We also have a catch all for when the player falls off ledges. This allows the character to transition into the falling state without jumping.


The attack tree was initially quite a simple and tame beast. After many attempts we solved the issue of having multiple weapons and styles with an integer to determine weapon type. Each attack can combo. We count where the player is up to in their attack combo to determine which attack animation should be played. Then we check what their current weapon’s “type” is using the aforementioned integer and play the relevant animation.

For example, the player has a sword. They press attack. From default the animation transitions into attack combo 01 which is a blend tree containing all of our weapon types first combo animation. The sword is weapon type 0 and thus the combo blend tree is set to “0” and that animation is played. If the player was using a spear, their weapon type would be 1 and a different animation would have played.

We found Mecanim's triggers to be a godsend. Initially, when we started work on Warden, triggers didn't exist yet and we had to do a lot of nonsense with bools to get it all to work. All of the Warden playable characters share the same animations, re-targeted across multiple rigs using Mecanim's humanoid re-target system. This is a real time saver as our animator Rob doesn't need to create unique animations for every single Warden we want in the game, allowing more time to be spent making the animations better.


Hope this was insightful, if you have any questions about using Mecanim, comment below or drop us an e-mail! Peace out. Tim

Blog: PAX Prime 2013 - CK in Seattle!


Hey guys! PAX Prime was pretty sweet, but the suckiest thing for an Aussie dev was the flight over. Thirteen hours of being stuck in a flying tin can under pressure is not fun! Worth it? Absolutely!


PAX Dev was filled with a lot of really great talks. Some of them made us think about and reconsider how we go about our projects. From how we prototype, to how we approach marketing. The opening talk was inspirational to say the least, it's nice to be reassured that some of the bigger devs such as Gearbox still care about making games as an art-form rather than a cash cow.

Going to Seattle was great, and going for PAX Prime just one month after PAX Australia allowed for a lot of comparisons to be made. Prime is a lot bigger than Aus, this is pretty obvious considering how long Prime has been running while Aus only has a single iteration under it's belt. Despite Prime being larger, PAX Aus was packed denser if only due to the smaller venue. Prime had more people, more games, more devs and more talks. As such Prime was, as a developer, far more enjoyable and valuable.


Having the chance to show our game, Clicktraption, off to not only thousands of gamers, but also to other developers is simply fantastic. Any other event that I have attended, even PAX Melbourne, didn't provide this opportunity. Showcasing Clicktraption however showed us many of the silly little mistakes we made and I will try to keep this concise.

  • Not enough business cards. I ran out and then couldn't give any more to people.
  • Giving non-industry people business cards. They don't care, they want something that is either pretty, or better gives them free stuff. Mainly we should have had a flyer for our game to give out.
  • We didn't have the title of our game on our banner, or anywhere! We eventually mocked up a logo and stuck that to the top of the screen. People kept asking what Cardboard Keep was, not what Clicktraption was, and couldn't easily make the connection.
  • Didn't have a mailing list. People actually want to know about games they like, and people thought our game was good enough to give us their emails, but we didn't have an easy way to receive those emails. Again we mocked up a written mailing list.
  • Didn't have a fancy screen to watch. When people were playing our game, no one else could see the screen, so they had no reason to stop and watch. I believe that if passers-by could see the game being played, we would have people queuing up to play it.

For expo research I looked at all the booths other exhibitors had. One stood out as how we, as Cardboard Keep, could have presented ourselves. Their booth was a box fort! Entirely made up of cardboard boxes and drawn on to look like a castle. Totally awesome. The devs were super nice too. Check out Backyard Battles by Naked Sky.


Meeting with people who aren't developers but love games, hundreds if not thousands of them and getting their opinions and thoughts of our game was scary. It always is, the fear of being shot down. What if people hate it? The first day of PAX Prime, before all the people came in, despite all the play testing before hand and the fun times we ourselves had had in it, the steady fear of showing to the public an expression of who we are, and what we are capable of is intimidating. Luckily, people loved Clicktraption!


The Indie Megabooth was awesome sauce! And probably the most crowded place at PAX Prime. There were so many people pouring through that section that I had to check it out when I got the chance. Lucky me for having an exhibitor pass I checked it out after the floor had closed, and it is amazing how nice the marketing guys, the developers and all the Megabooth people are after 8 long hours standing on ones feet selling a game idea to the masses again and again. It's exhausting but all the Megabooth devs and staff were super nice after the fact. So nice in fact that Kelly Wallick, the person who started the Megabooth gave me a free Megabooth shirt, which I proceeded to have signed by as many of the Devs and staff there that I could. Unfortunately I couldn't get all of them, I think I only missed about four studios :(

While having an awesome signed shirt by a bunch of devs doing what I love and making it in the harsh world of big AAA titles and bigger publishers, getting a signed Vlambeer music CD which doubles as a business card is pretty rad and having Dennis Wedin, one of the creators of Hotline Miami give his personal email on the shirt was hilarious, meeting every single one of them and having them all wish us luck for Clicktraption and wanting to be shown our game was mind blowing.


All the contacts made at PAX Prime were great, from Nate Mitchell and Palmer Lucky, creators of the Oculus Rift (And promising a Rift version of Clicktraption), to Ouya, Sony, Intel and more reps (Handy for sponsorship to go to more expos!) and all the developers of indie games plus Youtubers, bloggers and media gurus. Suffice it to say we now have a huge list of contacts to communicate with and that list is not big enough, we'd love more (and more business cards!)

PAX Prime was fantastic and while I was dubious of the usefulness of attending an expo, PAX has instilled a strong faith in showcasing at such events. I had a great time, I met heaps of awesome people and the times for Cardboard Keep are looking up. Stay tuned for our release of Clicktraption! Soon to Kongregate. Perhaps even to Ouya.

So thank you Penny Arcade, Indie Megabooth, The AIE, the enforcers and many more! 

Till next time. Tim out.

Blog: PAX AUS 2013


As many should know Australia broke the metaphorical champagne on it's first Penny Arcade Expo on July 19.

This event is a huge pro for the Australian games industry and we were lucky enough to be able to attend. For those whom are unaware of what PAX is all about let me inform you.

PAX is a convention started by the guys who made the incredibly popular webcomic Penny Arcade. They love video games, tabletop games and everything about games! It's fantastic, PAX is a place full of game developers and just as importantly, gamers! Such a large gathering of gamers offers a unique opportunity for start-ups like ourselves. We spent much of our weekend walking around with tablet in hand, getting gamers and devs alike to test and critique our recently released Android title: Vein Gods.

Boy, did we get some feedback! Bugs, game breaking bugs, tablets not working, devices running out of charge, not enough of us to man the small booth space graciously provided by the AIE Incubator. People struggling to understand the game in the first five seconds of having it thrust in their faces! For anyone in an indie studio who are going to PAX or any other convention: get business cards! 

But it wasn't all dark. We got a lot, in fact a metric gamer ton of feedback. Ideas, ways to fix issues, and advice for selling the game at PAX. Not to mention all the contacts made, I have a stack of business cards on my desk now ranging from the awesome Halfbrick and Voxel Agents guys, to the underground indies like ourselves such as DimeStudios, who also released their first game recently, Tasty Fish.

All that's just from a dev perspective. The expo itself was fantastic, the talks were amazing, some of the best in the industry giving their advice and wisdom upon those of us who are still trying to break even. Talks about the psychology of games and how it is going to change the coming generations and even announcements from Gearbox asking if anyone had a copy of Maya 3 so they could access the source files of the Homeworld IP they recently picked up.

PAX Aus was closed, as PAX always are, with a rare thing. This time around it was a giant game of Jenga, in front of the entire crowd of PAX, commentated by Mike and Jerry of Penny Arcade fame. The lucky Omeganaut who won got an all expenses paid trip to PAX Prime.

Going to PAX was well worth the travel costs, from both a personal and business perspective. So with that, this parting advice for anyone getting into the indie industry: don't skimp on marketing, get posters, shirts, business cards and most importantly go to conventions!

Tim Out.

Dev Blog: Fixing Texture Banding in Unity


Hey Devaroos, Just a quick post from me today, but I had fun optimizing our current project, mainly looking at textures and materials. Whilst plumming the depths of the Unity project and fiddling with the import settings of our assets I discovered a surprising and quite frankly beautiful act of compression.

The default "automatic compression" in Unity doesn't like colour gradients. If one was to change the compression from automatic to DXT5 compression we not only have no more banding, which is awesome, but it also halves the size of the texture.

BandingFixOur programmer loved this, and the game looks better!

So if you are having trouble with a texture banding or having its colours blend horrifically, try changing the Texture Type setting to advanced, and the compression to DXT5. I encourage you to try out all the compression that Unity offers, as some can reduce the size immensely while maintaining or even improving perceived quality.

Thanks for your time, I hope this helps out.