Behind the Scenes

Sep 232013

Since David suggested I do a post regarding the applications I use to develop “Ghost of a Tale”, here’s a quick breakdown of how my pipeline goes, starting with Maya.

Whether it’s character or environment I tend to begin with very basic poly shapes before I then move on to thinking about details. So Maya acts as a modeling software for very early stage exploration. Of course character animation also happens in Maya. I also developed an exporter for Unity which allows me to export models and/or animations with just one click. Let me tell you it’s a real time-saver!


Of course, Ghost of a Tale wouldn’t be possible without Unity itself, which is the engine I use to create the game. Let me also mention a couple of great assets I use, like the Decals System, Advanced Foliage and FurFX. All those are developed by talented programers who do a great job of fixing bugs and implementing features when they’re being asked nicely!


Photoshop is an irreplaceable part of the development pipeline for anything related to textures. It’s a well-known program, so I won’t go into details. Let’s just say that I still remember when I started getting interested in painting on a computer using Degas on an Atari 520ST (a very long time ago). Yes, a lot of progress’s been made since then! ๐Ÿ˜€


Another application I can’t leave without for my texture work is Crazybump. It allows me to extract 3D information from my photographs in order to use it as a displacement map in Unity. Tessellation and Parallax Occlusion Mapping (which create that fantastic relief effect) rely heavily on those.


And finally Zbrush is very useful for surfacing the characters; that is sculpting fine details when simply using an already existing texture is not enough. But it’s also great to sculpt characters or environments from scratch. Despite its unintuitive interface it’s an excellent sculpting tool!


There, so that gives you an idea of how many different applications are needed to develop Ghost of a Tale! And I’m sure I’m forgetting a couple of middleware plugins and tools that all aim to make life easier for game developers. I hope you enjoyed the quick tour!

  5 Responses to “Behind the Scenes”

  1. Yay comments are fixed again! :)

    Great post, I love seeing the process and software. When will we see some more animatics or characters? So far with enemies we have the skeletal rats, frogmen and possibly crabs.. Curious how many enemies you expect to have in total. :)

    • I will show some more animations at some point (I’m having a lot of fun creating those), although I can’t say when yet.

      In terms of how many enemies it should be less than ten or so (give or take a few variations). Does that include NPCs? No it doesn’t… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thats pretty significant for enemies. But I’m glad to hear it. Even if some of the enemies are just recolors or carrying alternate gear/weapons it would be kool. Like having skeletal rats using rusted swords early in the easy part of the game, carrying longsword and shield later, and then black-bone rats towards the end. :) Same model, slightly differing look that is easy to spot. Easier ones could be bleach bones and fairly white (newly bleached bodies that were in the sun) then mid lvl would be partially buried (brownish or grey boned ) and finally the hardest would be black bones from their being evil, buried for so long, or possibly magically enhanced. Visually quick to identify, strategically harder and harder to spot in game, and aesthetically scarier as you proceed along the story. Stuff like that implemented would be perfectly OK with me (and I think most players) for enemy variety. And all it would take is altering the normal maps, possibly a few added animations for unique attacks or emotes, and different weapons. :)

        Even if you made 6 enemies and created Easy-Medium-Hard variants you’d end up with a total of 18 enemies overall. If you made about 10 now and altered them slightly, you would have about 31 in the end (one more for the final boss that should be unique.. lol ) That’d be unreal to see. :)

  2. I’m intrigued by the animation of the mouse chugging from the barrel.


  3. Great post! I want to ask how do you render personages? You bake the AO with color in texture and in Unity you use single light source with shadow? Or how? Thanks!

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