Final Sprint

This is the last week we get to work on Celestialpod before the show. I’ve finished depth for all the levels, added all vfx, and optimized the game such that it runs on a tablet. A lot of the work this week was finishing depth and adding the level set pieces that Alanna made to pretty up the levels. In addition I worked with tyler to reduce the number of setpass calls per level. In the past our levels had a ton of lights in them, but those have been replaced by emissive textures and a single directional light. I also made lots of feedback VFX for the boss. When it takes damage it sparks and explodes, with passive sparks that get stronger and larger the more damaged it is.

We’ll be releasing the game soon on steam!

It’s been awesome working on Celestialpod with GWAMM making such an awesome game!


Beta Sprint

For the last couple weeks I’ve been adding a ton of depth to a ton of levels. We’re finally at our beta sprint and development is going really smooth thanks to our great producer Liam.

This week I added background planets, asteroids, ship thrusters, and depth to two levels being “spikes” and “lava lamp”.  In addition I’ve been doing optimization changes and tweaking numbers in the game systems to make things more visually interesting. The most exciting of these is the revamped wall shattering. I’ve worked with Tyler our programmer to create a dissolve shader and better particle effects for when walls are broken. Now, instead of shattering into triangles and disappearing, the walls vaporize and burn away!

Sprint 7 – Damage feedback and updating depth

This week I worked on damage feedback and tweaked some VFX as well as the ongoing depth work. The squid and squid UI now get progressively more beat up as you take damage. We also added walls that appear behind breakable walls that show the remaining interior after you blow them up. Now instead of empty space, the player will see sparking wires and techy panels where the spaceship has been blown away. We’ve also added depth walls which greatly enhance the illusion of depth.

Here’s a gif of the new depth level as well as some broken walls:9a2acefd36e95fd7b84820dfa6f46890

Sprint 6 – Death vfx and depth level 3

This week I made the piranha and player death vfx effects and the depth for level 3 using an updated depth tool. We found that having to input specific values for our depth tools layer system to create parallax created unrealistic effects along with inconsistent blur. So we changed the depth tool to parallax based on an editable variable and the object’s Z position. In addition the blur calculation now takes into account the different scales of different objects in any given parallax layer.

Here’s the VFX

and here’s the working depth for level 3:


Sprint 5 – Depth and VFX

This week I worked on depth for level 2 as well as all the electric effects for the new jellyfish enemy. I’ve also made effects for the new sand dollar enemy. I’m starting to get more comfortable with the in engine depth tool and have made some good progress. The sand dollar VFX effect is like a scanning radar that turns red when the player enters it before playing an explosion. There are a lot of new assets for depth like scaffolding, panels, barrels, and pipes.1

Sprint 4 – Blender and Shock VFX

There’s not a lot to show as new art goes this week because my task was to remake all meshes in the game using blender. We plan on publishing our game and the yearly cost of a maya licence was cost prohibitive. So for the most part this week I learned to use blender and remade all applicable assets from scratch. This was a very tough process but it makes it possible to publish, which is really important.

On another note a lot of enemies made it into the game and I created two VFX effects for the new jellyfish enemy.



Sprint 3 – Depth and VFX implementation

This week I worked on adding depth to the game using our depth tool and implementing the VFX. The depth tool has been made to control the hue, saturation, lightness, blur, and parallax of both textured meshes and sprites. Using this tool I can key in values for background objects to create the illusion of depth even in our 2D orthographic game. The VFX has also been added to the game, here’s a GIF of the WIP turret.

There’s still more feedback animation and VFX to me made for the environment and enemies. Here’s a picture of the first level with depth added. In a still image you cant see the parallax. Also There are only a few metal rectangles being used. I’m seriously excited about how far we can push the depth using the new depth assets we plan on making.depth2.png

That’s all for this week, lots of technical tweaks and implementation.

Sprint 2 – VFX and Visual Depth

This week I was tasked with making additional VFX and exploring the possibility of adding visual depth to our 2D game. I also worked with one of our great programmers, Tyler, to work on a depth tool to make things go smoothly.

I made 6 VFX effects total. The most interesting were atmospheric smoke effects, Laser bullets, energy spikes, and a ‘bite’ damage effect that plays when our new piranha enemy bites you.


Heres a picture from depth testing:depthstuff.png

Overall I’m getting a lot better at making VFX and I’ve had some good new experiences working with other disciplines effectively. We’ve got great organization and planned a lot this week as well. I think we’re doing good work.

Sprint 1 – Celestialpod

This was the first sprint of team GWAMM working on Celestialpod. This week I got to meet the team along with the other new members. I’m a new artist on the team and I’ll be responsible for adding visual depth and interest to the game as well as providing VFX where necessary. Although I’m inexperienced in VFX I think effects are going to be crucial to the game’s success. This sprint I worked on learning VFX in the context of explosions and recreating some of the old placeholder effects in the game. There was also an on boarding process where we all agreed on the direction of the game and met new members.

Here’s the running versions of the new explosion VFX, they play at the end of levels when the spaceship explodes.

I think with a little more practice I can make good enough VFX to help bring the game to life.  My new team seems pretty awesome at making fun games and good at integrating new members like myself. I’m excited to learn with such a great team working on such a great game!

Postmortem Post

After working on Cry Me A River I’ve learned significant skills in using Unity, Making 2D Assets/Art, VFX, and 2D animation. I’ve also learned a lot about how to research things to learn them, as prior to this project I had never used unity, 2D art, or made VFX. As an artist I’ve grown significantly. As a developer and team member I’ve learned the importance of having accurate time estimates and extrapolating them to understand what the scope of the project should be. I gained experience with working with a group of different of people I haven’t worked with before and still making a successful product.

Throughout development I worked very hard to make the environments and art for the game come to life while still being visually clear enough for a player to enjoy themselves. I got to work on art pipelines and figure out how to make everything work out. I hope my new understanding of visual clarity and shape language will help me in my future jobs as a game artist. I interpret my efforts this semester to mean I can work hard even in bad circumstances. While working on this project a lot of my family was hospitalized (and still are) and I needed to find a healthy way to get my work done. It’s been a challenging semester, but I think we did well.

Stuff that went well:  Time management, Teamwork, Organization, and Production.

Stuff that could’ve gone better: Presentations, Meeting times (too long), and Rewarding the Player in game.

If things could have been done differently, I probably would have done more research about how we could achieve layer swapping. We spent a lot of time working on that mechanic and a decent portion of it could have been skipped by learning about unity and depth. For example we worked on making a way to color things as they move back in the scene, only to find that it was just easier to change their color in Photoshop and have a foreground/background version of the platform. Another thing I would do is try to find a way to ensure the narrative is woven into the gameplay, as although we had a narrative, it was challenging to tell the story in game.

In conclusion I grew a lot as a game artist working on Cry Me a River and got to learn from my teammates Sarah(designer) and Brandon(programmer) in a small team of 3. I think a lot of what I learned will actually translate well into my 3D portfolio, as I better understand colors and materials. I’m surprised and proud of what we managed to put together in such a short time and I look forward to bringing what I’ve learned to new projects in the future!

Link to the Trailer:

The first test asset made for Cry me A River:test3.png

Where we ended up:cap6.png