DevBlog #011 – New Plants!

In this week’s blog post, we want to talk about our plants! They just got an all-around remake and we are excited to show you what we’ve done. For creating these new assets we proceeded as usual. You can read all about our game art creation process in our first ever Indie Dev Insights.

Our aim was to have more organic looking, but also very unique plants that would have a bit surreal look. Of course we wanted them to stay as colorful as they were before. While the magenta and yellow plants look quite a bit different now, the cyan plant has changed less dramatically, since we were very happy with its original look. What has changed majorly an all three plant types is the growing animation. Instead of having only 4-5 stages of plant growth and jumping from one stage to the next instantly, we achieved to implement a way more natural and organic continuous grow animation with a completely different approach.

Our new animation is – besides other inspirations – based on a youtube video by Sebastian Lague. We loved the look of his growing plants and adapted the idea for our own requirements. The stem parts were supposed to grow continuously over time, while the blossoms should pop up to signal different stages of plant growth, e.g. after a plant has been watered but not yet fertilized. 

The whole growth progress is mainly determined by a numerical „growth“ parameter. For the continous growth, a special shader was needed. Initially, the texture is completely transparent. By increasing the growth parameter, the shader reveals the texture along the vertical axis. This also requires the UV map of the plant mesh to be at the right place. In order to have a smooth growth of leafes or branches, all meshes had to be unwrapped along the vertical axis. Regarding the growth stages of a plant: If we consider e.g. the second stage of three growth stages, the UV map of the visible parts of the plant at this stage has to be kept in the lower two thirds of the texture.

A Unity script manages the growth parameter and determines which plant parts will grow continously or pop up quickly at a certain growth stage. The pop up animation – contrary to the continous growth – can be easily done by scaling the corresponding plant part quickly from zero to a target scale.

And here is how that looks like:

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