• Mike

Dissertation Diary: Skybox, Shaders, Post Processing & Updated Enemies


I'm baaaack! Did ya miss me? Of course you did, but I'm sure you want to know what happened and why I haven't dropped an update in a while, so let's address that.


 

Where did you come from, where did you go?


It's been a couple of weeks since an update has been posted, and the short answer is: I just haven't been able to find time to work on the dissertation.


There's been a lot of chaotic things happening, and with the pressures of other modules making themselves evermore present, I've had to shift my focus onto those assignments for a while. This project is an on-going one, but with deadlines for other assignments fast approaching, I've had to lower the importance of this project whilst I deal with the more pressing tasks. Hopefully I can find more time to sneak in some small updates to this project and gradually mount up enough changes that it becomes worthwhile showing them here!


 

What's the latest changes?


As you may have surmised from the title, I've tried to shift gears by adding more game juice into the game! You can check out a short video I made below that showcases all the changes, although some might be harder to spot than others:



 

The first thing I looked into was post-processing in VR, since I know it can really bump up the appearance of a scene during runtime. I haven't touched on this before, so learning about it was a bit of a curve, but I think I have things set up in such a way that it looks visually nice when in-game (although its not apparent in the video).


 

Next up is the skybox. Following a tutorial courtesy of Polycarbon Games, I created my own synthwave skybox using PhotoShop and an image of the Milky Way I found online. It looks a little rough around the edges since this is a 6 sided skybox, meaning you can see where the boundaries are, but for now I think it's adding in a considerable amount of life to the scene!


Synthwave Skybox Designed in PhotoShop
Synthwave Skybox Designed in PhotoShop

 

The last big addition is a shader I created to add more special effects to the floor. This is broken down into 2 main parts; having the grid move towards the player at a constant speed, and lerping the colour of the grid lines between 2 colours. It's difficult to see from the footage, but you should be able to make out the grid is slowly moving and changing colours over time.


With this made, I wanted to try taking it a step further by seeing if I could cycle through all the colours in the spectrum rather than only 2 colours. I've so far managed to create a rainbow using the Hue node, however the colours are stagnant. Whilst the colours do appear on the whole grid, you won't know there are they since they don't move along the axis with the grid, so I still have yet to figure out how to achieve this. Once its done, I'll be sure to show it in another recording!


 

You'll also probably notice that the enemies have changed from their Space Invader style. I discovered that my script wasn't able to function correctly, which I believe is due to how the prefab is comprised of many cubes, so I have retired these enemies for the time being.


Most of the core features I want on my enemies are pretty much there now. You'll notice that these new test enemies will temporarily have their colours changed to red whenever they are shot at, for example. There are 3 things left to incorporate into the script before the enemies - should! - be complete:

  1. Making the enemies shake whenever they take damage

  2. Making the enemies correctly fire at the player

  3. Create more complex flight paths for the enemies to follow

The latter two items already have a base of some sort for me to work with, with the former requiring additional research into how this could be achieved. Adding this is I feel will definitely give the enemies more life when fighting against them!


 

Closing Thoughts


Hopefully this content makes up for me going dark in the past couple of weeks! I have a few things ticked off the list for this project now which is a big plus, woop woop! I'll do my best to get work done for this, but deadlines are at my doorstep so I might disappear again for a couple of weeks whilst I take care of those first. The Christmas break should offer me some time to work on this with less weekly pressures, which I see as a win for everyone!


With that, I thank you all for checking this post out, and shall see you next time! Buh bye :)

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