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Irregular curator of short stories at DownWriteFierce
After watching about 30 minutes of Unity tutorials, I thought I had learned enough to jump in and create a simple, playable space. A wall here. A platform there. A first-person character to explore it all with.
It was pretty easy, all things considered, so I started experimenting. Before long, my boring space of grey boxes, with two or three blocks I could jump on, grew larger. A few hours later, I’d designed a level, filled it with particles, lit it, created a skybox, pulled a couple visual tricks, and started understanding why, exactly, designers structure certain things the way they do.
It ain’t pretty, but it’s something I made, and I’m pretty damn proud of that.
The first thing you see when starting the build. I created some dust effects, walled off the opening area to disguise the world’s ugly exposed bits, and shone a bright moonlight in the area. Everything came pre-modeled, which is extraordinarily helpful.
Left at the trees. The fire at the end can’t actually hurt you — no idea how to enable that variable, but hey. It creates a cool look on that tree, too, when you add the appropriate lights.
I started with a couple small cubes, but realized I could wrap them around a structure to create a staircase. Here’s the opposite side of the last image. There’s all sorts of smoke effects applied here, as well as a re-colored fireworks particle that looks like an explosion.
Like I said, it’s not pretty, but I like the look of the singed grass with the orange light.
Climb the stairs, jump a small gap, and you end up here. I put a big room on the right, and even though there’s nothing in it, I’m glad there’s a little extra space in a pretty linear space.
Around the corner is a drop into water, which leads to another drop down a waterfall.
At the bass of the waterfall, I added some fountains and textured them like snow, which gives them a misty splash. There’s a ton of rippling going on here, too.
I made a pretty empty space, so I lit a tree from beneath with an area light, above with a spotlight, and added some shimmery sparkles. In the middle of a pond and under the moon, it has a fun mystical look. I guess finding this is the goal.
My first level doesn’t have an objective of any kind, no combat, and few risks (you can fall of the edge of the world, or get stuck in a box if you fall at the beginning. But I have to say, it feels pretty incredible to have made something that I could send to my friends to tinker with.
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A lot of former members of the press have gone onto working as part of a major publisher, in some fashion. Have you considered what you might do "after" your time with IGN is done? Would you stay on the media side or would a move to a publisher/developer be worthwhile?
I’ve sort of considered it. My family jokes that I’m on loan to the States. Maybe I’ll find a job that’s better for me somewhere down the line back home, in the UK, or here in the Bay. Maybe that’s higher up at IGN. Maybe it’s as a producer, designer, or writer at a developer. I’d love to be involved in making at least one game at some point. I am thrilled to be at IGN, and we have nothing but amazing ideas for the future. I couldn’t be more excited to be where I am now. But in the very real possible future that it isn’t forever, yeah, I want to be in games. I am currently learning to code, and that’s not just for fun. Partially. But I want to learn more. I want to have skills, whether it’s for pet project games I want to make or for expanded responsibility in or out of my current position. I basically always want to be doing better. I want to be doing better at IGN, in my life, in my free time, with my friends, with everything. Wherever being better takes me, I’ll be there.
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