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Welcome to week 2! Before I dive into talking about what I accomplished for my tribal jungle/rainforest scene this past week (it really has turned into more of a jungle than a rainy rainforest, hasn’t it?), I have some exciting news…

New (temporary) PC!
It turns out that my housemate is building a new PC! It also turns out that his specs for it meet (and then some) the specs for supporting VR headsets/development. Furthermore, it also also turns out that he is an amazingly generous human being and is letting me borrow it as a placeholder development PC until I am able to build my new dream VR rig! If you read my devlog from last week, you’ll understand why this is so exciting (tl;dr: I’m currently using a ~7 y/o PC at the moment that cries every time I try to do something simple like open my Documents folder).

The parts are on their way and it should be built later this week! I’ll save the specs and build pics for next week’s post, but I wanted to share that news right now! Wooooooo!

Beta Build
This past week, my goal was to fill out the art and get some basic mechanics locked in. I had a slow start and found myself a bit delayed from the very start of the week though, so despite my best to play catch-up, I didn’t achieve 100% content lock as I had hoped. But I got fairly close! I am really happy with how this prototype is coming together overall, especially given my current tech hiccups and also as this is the first time I’m experimenting with this type of production timeline.

Art Pass – v2
I spent a few hours early in the week scouring the Unity asset store for free models and other props so I could fill out the art of the level a little more. I may have gone a little crazy looking up options:

Holy browser tabs, Batman!

Holy browser tabs, Batman!

I ended up finding some free stone age weapons which were perfect for this scene. I also found some cool monolith style rocks, which maybe don’t 100% fit the aesthetic of this scene but I said #yolo and downloaded them anyway. I decided to place one next to each hut and set them up to give the player a subtle visual feedback cue: a little blue light appears on this statue after you’ve walked inside its corresponding hut to let you know that you’ve checked it.


I wanted to have one of the huts be the throne room or treasure room, so I found this statue and some gems and filled it in like so:


I also did some Google-fu and found a free djembe model (which is also pictured above) on a different site. I had to modify it in Blender slightly to fit my needs, but it definitely gets the job done (way better than a cube representing the drum)!

I couldn’t find a free kalimba model unfortunately, so I made my own! Here is its WIP form, in all its derpy glory:


100% accurate kalimba model

Placing all these objects around the scene and filling things out ended up looking like this:




Ember Stars
That’s the name of my next metal band.

It’s also a mechanic I worked on implementing this week! The thinking is that this tribal scene takes place in this jungle/rainforest, and you are observing a star creation ceremony. After you explore all three of the huts in the scene, it turns from day to night, at which point some embers from the fire become more visible and float into the sky. After they reach a certain height in the sky, they will turn into a star. I’m thinking of having the end game be triggered after 5-10 stars are created, and everything will just fade to black. Nothing super fancy for now!

Basically what I did is have a new particle system attached to the fire turn on when it’s night time. I made a box collider a bit above the huts, and programmed things in such a way so that when a particle hits this box, it creates a new star GameObject at that location (but pushed slightly higher into the sky). Let me know if you’re interested in the code and I can amend this post and share how I scripted it!

After lots of code wrangling, here’s the initial test working:


Each of those spheres is a new “star” that spawns when a particle collides with something. After some adjustments, I polished it up a little so it now looks like:


That red thing on the bottom is an ember floating up to the sky, and the glowing orbs are new stars! This coming week, I’ll do another polish pass on this mechanic so that the stars look and feel a little more elegant.

I wasn’t able to test this scene yet myself in VR, but I did have a friend who offered to do some playtesting on his end! I sent a build over to my buddy Anthony Antonaros and should be getting some feedback in the next few days. After this new PC is built, I am excited to be able to test everything in VR moving forward – again, this will significantly help with my design decisions so that I’m doing less guessing about what will feel good and more actually seeing and feeling what sits right in the scene.

As I mentioned before, my plan for these prototypes is to spend 3 weeks on each, with the last week dedicated to wrap-up and polish. For this last week, my plan is to:

  • Polish the sfx assets, create missing ones (fire crackle, star creation) & tweak the sound falloff levels
  • Do a proper music v2 pass & implement. Also implement day music & night music transition with Unity mixer
  • Get star particles in place & polish the star creation mechanic
  • Implement a proper end-game sequence
  • Optimize the scene as best as I can
  • Playtest!

Rainforest – Beta Build
If you would like to play this week’s build of this scene, use the links below to download it. Note that the VR versions aren’t tested at all, but should support your HMD. If you do play it, please leave me a comment below with any feedback you have!

Download Rainforest – Beta (PC)
Download Rainforest – Beta (Mac)
Download Rainforest – Beta (PC) – VR version
Download Rainforest – Beta (Mac) – VR version

Thanks for reading!

– Jacob