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Game Development is not Always Glamorous.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. As with any career choice, there are amazingly long spans of time that are just unexciting. Granted these dull moments in an overall exciting field are still very much needed. Since Friday “Day Job Computer Shut down” till today, Sunday Afternoon, all I saw was the below screen.

Dungeon and PBR texture exporter
All weekend just staring at these windows. Processing 300+ PBR Textures.

Substance (*.sbsar) files are pretty huge. They’re procedurally generated textures and well, performance hogs. So I needed to convert all 400 or so textures into the more reasonable Unity PBR textures (Physical Based Rendering). Perhaps I got it backwards. Terminology escapes me these days because there’s so many words that mean the same thing.

The rockstar artist(s) at SFBay Studios provided perhaps all of my favorite art assets for Unity. This is what will be going into the RPG game in the near future. I bought everything from them. He/(They) don’t just provide art models and be done with it. There’s a complete package that went into these assets. From the actual Substance textures to morphable meshes. This means everything can be customized. It also means there’s a ton of work to be done to make it Unity ready. He does provide “Game Ready” assets that you can right click and export to a Unity Asset package but that is only part of the solution. There’s also a ton of sbsar files that can be customized the way I want. Extra mold on the wooden floorboards, wet or dryer mud… So much potential. But these material files, plus the multitude I got from GameTextures.com need converting. Otherwise Unity will keep trying to regenerate the files and take up all your time.

That’s What I did.

Once I settled on the direction I wanted to go, I started converting textures. I needed landscape textures for Voxeland to generate the above ground world. I also needed the dungeon and cave textures for everything else. So Friday evening it was Voxeland and a bottle of Sangiovese time outside on my hand built (by me), but rarely used patio. Voxeland is a perfect landscape tool and I can incorporate seamless caverns into the overworld. Small caves and caverns where one can mine ore, fight bears and find small treasures. Yes, there will be a crafting system in place.

ADHD Moment: I chose Voxeland over Gaia and all the rest because it uses Voxels (cubic pixels). It can do flat terrain, overhead and a slew of other things the standard Unity3d terrain system and other tools that use it, simply cannot do. I did buy and spend quite a long time with Gaia. Just in the end, Voxeland won due to what I wanted to accomplish.

Thanks to SFBay Studios, they included a really nice Substance to Unity3d material mass converter tool. But it’s slow. It generally took about 30 minutes to load up 25-40 substance textures and another 40 minutes to convert them to PBR. This was on a $1000, 8 Core Intel CPU system with 32 gigs ram… Just to clarify: the CPU was $1000… My Razer gaming laptop game up trying. So I was stuck in my office yet again on a beautiful weekend.

Next Steps

I don’t even have screen shots of the work I did. While I achieved a great deal of remedial tasks this weekend, I have the feeling of getting nothing done. The RPG game is still where I left off Thursday night and nothing has been done. But that’s a personal problem. I’ve driven by measurable goals. In a sense you can measure 400 Substance assets being converted. But at the same time, it still feels like nothing got done because the game progress hasn’t improved. If you have experienced this feeling before, you are not alone. In fact, you quite possibly got more done than you’d like to acknowledge because it was so remedial.

but as I said in the beginning, Game Development isn’t all fun and glamorous. There’s a lot involved especially if you are just a one person show.

In closing

I’m really looking forward to bringing the first parts of this game to you all. I’m honestly really excited for this. Thanks to great asset providers like SFBay and the makers of Voxeland, they’ve really cut out a lot of time I’d (and other Indie devs) have to spend making custom game assets and scripting features. SFBay also provides the art style that I personally love and am overly excited to incorporate into my games. They haven’t done a Draconian yet, but he knows I want one and loves the same Dragonlance series of books as I do. So there’s hope.

About Craig

Craig is the founder of The Chaos Rift and developer of the games published here. In his spare time he'll also write about games, play games and dream about games. Being a Game developer has been a dream of Craig's since he was 14 and after some detours has finally started to realize his dreams.

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