Summary of the Year 2023 - Year of Ends & New Beginnings

General / 25 December 2023


Another year has past and it's somewhat time to summarize what I've been up to this year in chronological order. Though looking back at this whole year you can tell that I've been straight up living game development as much as I can. O_o

Main Menu Challenge

The Dinusty Empire hosted a Main Menu Challenge (my idea) and I wanted to create an animated main menu to give me some more opportunity to do animation, VFX & Tech art. I ended up only doing it for a few days but it was a fun exercise either way! 

I made this portal where you could stick objects and they wouldn't show up on the other side. Which was kind of neat!

Then I also animated this little dude jumping out of the portal the thinking here was to Close & Open the portal and have different things coming in and out of it for this little fake Main Menu I was making.  In the end I didn't end up finishing it but it was a fun experience none-the-less!


I stopped production of my Kiru-Project even after I added a bunch of awesome gameplay to it. It was super cool though however I would say, but I got a bit overwhelmed with the amount of characters & animations I would have to make to be able to make this something that is actually viable as a game. I learned a lot from this project though and once I have more experience in animation & making characters I will definitely revisit this game. For now though it's been benched even though its been promising and fun from the start.

Tenement stopped & re-branded into something new.

So my main issue with my Tenement project was that it relied too much on scripted events for it to be able to make it interesting. It kind of started to feel a bit too heavy in terms of production and too hard to make "fun" or "interesting" early on. Ie lots of it had to do with the general writing & mood rather than have something interesting going on with the gameplay. So I decided to take a break from it and essentially re-brand some of it into a new project that I started later during the summer with the same style.

I did manage to make my own little dialogue/typewriter in Unreal though which I also utilizes later in the newer project.

Joined the Lighting Bot Podcast

Joined Amit & Jeremiah to try and have a monthly podcast where we talk about Game Development in general.

LD To Art Project

Early this year I realized the LD To Art Project together with the Dinusty Empire. It never got lots of attention but it's still there and acts as an opportunity for people to take an already set level design with game-mechanics already implemented and could be used to create art-theming ontop.

The Design was made by Peter Fields and I converted it all over to Unreal Engine and into a project that people could try and enjoy for free.

Shipping Jected Rivals

So between 2021 & 2023 I worked remotely from Sweden for Pow Wow Entertainment. Ambitious, Talented & Nice company from Vienna that was creating this game you see in this gif above. Jected Rivals. A free-to-play, competitive arcade hybrid racer that takes place both in vehicles & in the air/ground as people doing stunts and using gadgets to race their way to the goal.

At the start of development I was Lead Environment Artist and by the end of it I was promoted to Tech Art Director since I generally took over all art-production for the World & dealt with all technical art issues that came in-between. Tech Art Director felt like a big step, but I also figured it was an opportunity for me to take more room & learn new things. The game was a challenging game to make overall, large-worlds, lots of of players, lots of vehicle physics etc.

We were a very small art-team making this game (2 junior prop/environment artists & me , at max at one point in development we were 5 including one intern, and at the later stages we also had 2 VFX Artists helping out)

Essentially there weren't enough artists to even cover 1 artist per level. So each artist had to be responsible for multiple levels & props & textures. In the end it made more sense for the development to lean more towards making larger re-usable levels instead. Rather than setting up individual levels for each map (having to redo work over and over again).

Sequence made by the awesome Enrico Labarile -

Early on when I arrived on the project I essentially started out pointing out all the issues, explained them as well as I could and then got started on fixing all of them. It took months before the game was in a decent state performance wise having some consistency in the visuals. Everything ranging from memory budgets, reworking every material in the game, making tools & reworking workflows & pipelines, as well as act as an advisor for other departments.

One of my major focuses was to not use Megascans or Marketplace Assets for the game, generally because:

  • All marketplace assets are made in different ways.
  • It would take a lot of time to just remove the bloat and fix the marketplace assets

Dominik Uhl - - Made this awesome level

In the end the game ended up not doing super well but for me personally it was a great experience. I learned a lot about Unreal Engine during these two years and pushing it through production to a released thing was a good experience. As a lead it was also a great experience, leading a smaller team , learning peoples strengths & weaknesses, teaching them to trust themselves and not feel bad for not being like X person or Y person but appreciate their own strengths and use them to their advantage.

I think it's some of the most and best praise I've ever gotten in my life & lots of personal thanks and messages from both Directors & my team. In the middle of 2023 though it was time for something new. I had been approached by a friend about a very particular matter:

Co-Founding A New Game Development Studio

I co-founded a new studio together with 4 others. Bloom & Gloom Games. Built in mind with specific pillars on how we work, that everybody deserves to do meaningful work, be creative & have proper ownership. We're all grunts & veterans from the games industry with opinions about how we should do things and what it means to make games. 

It's been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid to be honest, to found a game studio. Its been lingering on my mind forever even to the point where I felt like I should just do it solo but oh boy am I glad that I didn't. Making games is one thing, running a studio & finding funding and the whole business side of things is another.

I can't really talk about any details about what we're doing right now but I'll just say it's been quite liberating to work in a very small agile team that makes decisions pretty quickly. I'm currently responsible for all prop art, world art, materials, tech art and vfx but hopefully I'll be able to let some stuff go as we grow as a studio, but I'm not gonna lie, I truly enjoy doing a bit of everything :)

The MistSea Project

Even though I've already co-founded a game-dev studio and we're working on our game. I still have my own hobby project that I keep spending time on now. On this project since I'm making it solo, I truly have creative freedom to do whatever I want with it which is quite nice to fully control something like that. It's been around 6 months development already on it.

The game is an eerie atmospheric horror first-person exploration / light puzzle game that is set at mostly at sea.

I've been using the project as a way for me to do productive stress-relief (if that even make sense) that is other than gaming and let's me implement what I've learned from other systems & disciplines in a more simplified manner without having to worry to much about achieving great modern visual quality.

Also letting me implement some of cool modularity in my work and use it as a teaching moment for my Patreon & Twitch channels.

Overall it's been very fun for me to implement this type of aesthetic and keeping true to the overall texel density to give the whole thing a very accurate pixel-art look with modern lighting.

The Launch of Avatar Frontiers of Pandora

I worked 5 years on this game and I wasn't there for the end-push since I got an opportunity to work for Pow Wow and try out smaller-team development that I've always wanted to do. On this game however I did a lot of things.

Early on I was one of two artists at the start of this project, later on the team grew and I took on the responsibilities as Biome Head leading a small team of artists dealing with the art production of Biomes & the procedural generation in regards to biomes.

A while after that they asked me to move over to World Tools & Design. Where I was responsible for the World Building & Generation of the world. I helped design & create tools. I setup standards & procedures on how to build the world, made benchmarks & held workshops for artists/designers to get the most out of the tools and make them aware of the new features coming into the production.

and a while after this, I was asked to join the Landmarks team as an Associate Lead. Point being able to help the landmarks team do their work (I also owned landmarks) but also since I had been working on the World Proc Gen for so long I could also help the landmarks team setup their landmarks properly to work as they should.

Overall it was a really long but giving project, but after 5 years of development I kind of felt like I needed a change which is why I left before the end.
The game launched now in December and has been really well received. The World Design & World Art being praised by a lot of people and even by Digital Foundry themselves. :)

What have I learned this year? And looking ahead

Oof it's kind of hard to answer this question. This year I've done a lot of things, I've lived game-development to the best of my ability trying to improve on all areas. I wish I also delved deeper into C++ but the sad truth is that I havent had time to truly do that, right now as I write this is the first real vacation I've had this whole year and its usually during my vacations I spend time learning about bigger topics so that I can get into it.

In general if I were to quickly list the things it would probably look something like this:

  • Scoping & Evaluating Production for my own projects
  • Gone deeper into VFX
  • Become very comfortable in Blueprint & Making tools in Unreal Engine
  • Learned some Houdini
  • Delved deeper into PCG from a Production Standpoint
  • Animation & Tech Anim
  • Learned how to take care of & love a bunny :P

I dunno its kind of hard to like figuring out everything I learned this year, looking ahead this coming year though. It will definitely be interesting! Lots of more focus on what I'm doing for Bloom & Gloom and I can't wait to share with you guys what we've been working on. 

And I just want to say another thank you to everybody that has supported me this year, letting me act all important and give advice left & right even though I barely know what I'm talking about :P

Let me know what you guys have been up to in the comments or maybe write your own blog-post! It would be cool to read!

Here is to a great 2024! 

Until Next Time!
Warping out

Summary of the Year 2022 - The GameDev Focused Year

General / 01 January 2023


I thought I would try and summerize the last year of my life in a blog post just as a reminder as what has happened during the year, what I've been doing and what I have learned. It's actually quite suprising how much time you have to learn how to do different things during a whole year O_o

So in general this year I've been streaming a bunch of Art but also a whole bunch of game-development in general. 

Opening up UE3 again to look at old scenes

At the start of year I decided to open one of my old UE3 scenes, a Konoha Scene I made back in 2013. It's made in UDK and it was actually lovely to see it in its glory in DX9 and FXAA but in 4k resolution. I'm super happy that I've kept this scene safe mainly because it reminds me why I love stylized art and how that started quite early for me.

Testing UE5 Lumen Early Access

To try out UE5 I decided to make a quick little scene just portraying a rather empty kitchen relying on mostly the lighting setup to make it look nice. It's actually quite hard to make a really nice interior daylight look without the exposure going crazy and all the windows looking outside becoming full-white. That balance is a very tricky thing to get which I struggled with a lot but still managed to decently succeed with.

I still decided to go for a night shot since I wanted to check what Lumen was capable of when it came to moving objects, lighting through a window and having moving/flickering lights. The rest was doing some blueprint work to get wind, cloth and some moving parts in there all tied to the wind.

You can see it specifically on the window curtains, the lamp and very subtly the cupboard door.

The year I learned Unity

It's also the year I decided to learn how to use Unity. Where I wrote a detailed blogpost regarding being a new user in Unity and coming from Unreal. I had a deep look at the tools they provide for world building and their viability for bigger productions. Since that time I have actually dropped Unity because of several reasons. That said though I did learn a lot and I did produce some art in Unity as well as a whole other bunch of stuff which I will showcase below.

  • Learned how to code in C#
  • Learned how to Use ShaderGraph
  • Learned world building & tools in Unity in general

Made an Ocean Shader (ShaderGraph)

Created a new? technique for shader-based variation for grass (ShaderGraph) 

Learned how to make these types of breakup shaders, this is in (ShaderGraph)

I also learned that you can utilize the Matrix 4x4 Node in ShaderGraph to store data kind of like how Unreal Engine does their Material Attributes. It really sped up workflow when working with bigger graphs.

On the side I was also making some art inside of Unity URP just to get a feel for how it works and what is available to you, this particular scene was inspired by Journey and making use of a sand-shader that I made from scratch plus learning how splines work in Unity.

Made a lil flag shader.

Kiru - The Samurai Arcade HordeMode Game

My prototype hobby game project Kiru actually started in Unity during the Summer Vacation. I was doing a C# Unity course and learning, at the same time I decided to make a small prototype project written in C# , it ended up as Kiru my hobby project. In this particular case I was making a combo system in C# + learning how the animation systems worked in Unity.

After I decided to drop Unity I decided to remake the project in UE5 instead. Currently it's completely made in Blueprints and features

  • Robust Combo Component System
    • Combo Component can be attached to any BP
    • Combo system based on Animation State Notifies telling the combo component what attack to execute next using Montages + Interface calls.
  • Wind Manager
    • Manages the wind direction and the shaders
  • Round / Spawn Manger
    • A round-based spawning system that uses completely abstracted data to easily add whatever BP classes you want to spawn where the enemies/projectiles etc are responsible for their own behaviors. Ie you can spawn anything and when whatever you spawn is destroyed it counts towards completing the wave.
  • Enemy Base Class / Projectile Base Class
    • Health, AI, Behaviors, Attacks , Projectile Deflection
  • Custom Character in Blender -> UE5 on the UE5 Manny Skeleton

  • Runtime Retargeted for maximum compatibility

Wind Manager

Blender to UE5 Manny compatibility + Runtime retargeting

I also learned how to animate in Cascadeur and import the result into Unreal Engine. Animation isn't really my strong suit but it has been a fun side-activity to learn as well during the end of the year :)

Special Jump move implemented in Kiru Unreal, the arrows representing the character direction and the player input direction.

Tenement - Retro FPS Horror

On the side of everything else I also started dabbling in creating a retro-inspired FPS horror game called Tenement. Though its currently on ice. It's kind of hard to show off since its just a very dark game in general made in UE5.

  • Real time lighting using Lumen
  • Interfaces for interacting with objects
  • Reading notes / Using flashlight
  • A system for sequential events (ie one event can trigger another event in a sequence setup manually by the user)
  • 256*256 sized textures (max), definitely a feature.

I guess that has been the whole year. It went by rather fast to be honest and in the middle of it we also moved apartments. It's been somewhat crazy.

Looking ahead towards the year to come

I don't think I have any ultra specific goals this coming year. In general my approach is just to strengthen my weaknesses.

I need to do more of:

  • General Tech Art
    • Dive deeper into HLSL
    • Tools Programming (Editor Utility Widgets)
  • C++ Deeper Dive
    • I still do most of my programming in Blueprints would probably be good to spend more time in C++
  • Learn more about procedural generation
    • I study procedural generation a lot in general but I haven't actually implemented anything myself
  • Animation + Tech Anim
    • It's been my focus for the last two-three months. I need to go deeper to be able to feel comfortable and achieving what I need to achieve for successfully being able to prototype gameplay + characters.

Hopefully I can do more mentorships and add more value to my patreon as well. I know that not everybody is interested in game-development specifically and want me to do Art-specific patreon content but the truth is that I feel like I want to go beyond "just art". It's starting to be even less important to me than game development as a whole so I think I will stick with it and see where it goes. Art will always be my main strength but I feel like I have the luxary to expand into other areas and should do so while I have energy to do it.

Thank you all for supporting me throughout this year and for following my progress, it's been a really crazy year with lots of learnings, let's look forward to the next :)

Until Next Time!
Warping out

//Chris R

Unity - WTF is going on

General / 15 July 2022

Hey guys!

Like a lot of you guys know, I've been delving into learning Unity with the plans of potentially making game prototypes and creating tutorial resources for it. However in the last few weeks of me evaluating it and especially in the last few days I'm just left with a bitter taste in my mouth regarding some of the high-level directional choices that Unity are making.

Unity Merging with IronSource:

Unity Game Developers obviously not being happy about Unitys Direction

Unity decided to shut down Unity Anwers and then went back on their decision [Support forum for Devs]
(they decided to shut it down, community hated it , because its obviously a bad decision.),on%20the%2023rd%20of%20June.

Unity CEO calling its user-base "Fucking Idiots"

Unity Cancelling Gigaya

I think the cancellation of Gigaya is somewhat of the last straw for me, because Unity has issues for medium and large scale development. It's the number one complaint from its game dev user-base, Unity doesn't have a flagship game that push their own tech forward, that makes the engine better for everybody, that inspires its users to push onwards. Game development is hard and costly, and they cancelled it because of these reasons believing that they've learned "enough" and its not worth pushing further. It's just proof of the fact that Unity can't even push through their own issues of their own game development.

They don't believe in game development enough to even support their own internal game dev team financially. In the end, they make it really hard to defend them or Unity as an engine you want to stand behind.

in fact, it's so hard to defend that most successful games don't even advertise the fact that they are made in Unity and most devs actually pay to remove the Unity Splash Logo in their game. It's even advertised as the first feature of their Unity Plus subscription.

^ Right there, the first feature in the list of features of the Plus subscription.

So yeah, it's hard to defend them at times like this. Does this mean that you can't make great games in Unity? No, of course you can. But you're also making games in a "Game Engine" for a company that seem to care little about games.

So where does this lead me in regards to what I was planning in terms of evaluating their toolset, tutorials and what not. Well essentially this:

  • I will not continue the Unity Evaluation Based Series
  • I will not continue to make art in Unity
  • I will be sharing what I've learned so far as free resources on here
  • I will be spending my focus on Unreal again

As for the wonderful devs that use Unity, keep on working hard! It just sucks to be spending so much effort on a company that doesn't care about its core-users.

Outcast by Appeal - Innovation before the year 2000

Article / 19 June 2022

Outcast (1999)

Outcast is one of my favorite games of all times, getting somewhat annoyed by the fact that very few has played this game and me having to tell people why all the time, I decided to actually breakdown and show people why its great and part of its greatness coming from the fact that its a game from 1999 doing incredible things.y

So Why is it great? A quick breakdown of one of the most innovative games of before the year 2000

Outcast is a an action adventure game made in 1999 for PC.

  • The US government sends a probe to an alien world in parallell universe, there the probe is discovered by an un-identified lifeform that attacks it causing an energy backlash that causes a blackhole to start forming threatening earth
  • You're tasked to travel into the parallell universe and to  investigate/survive and try to fix the probe.
  • The game got good reviews back in the day and was lauded for it's technical achievements. The game was way ahead of its time.

Sadly , few ever played it.

Other notable games released in 1999

  • Shenmue (City Open-World)
  • Silent Hill
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • EverQuest
  • Counter-Strike
  • System-Shock 2

Enter the Remake

  • The remake of Outcast is called Outcast : Second Encounter and is the game I’ve recorded all my footage from. 
  • The remake is a purely visual remake where all the original ingredients, gameplay, animations & sounds are intact.
  • They are even using the exact same world footprint and even navmesh.

Features of The game

  • A zone-based open world featuring several Zones with enemies and friendlies occupying and moving around the space.
  • Fully Voiced & Fully orchestral score
  • Dialogue options
  • Third person action combat & stealth with a variety of weapons
  • A mount you can ride and shoot from

but what is really cool about the game are mentioned below:


Language Learning

Appeal spent a lot of time making sure that "investigation" part of the game is actually about Learning about the world and its people and cultures.

In this example, I just arrived in a major city speaking to one of the first Talans (natives) I found , he mentioned the word " Bok "  in a sentence and I thought what does that even mean? And in the next dialogue choice I get the chance to ask the question.

  • When you first arrive on Adelpha (the world the game takes place in) and travel to the different regions of the game, you’ll inevitably end up speaking to the native population. However, you’ll realize it’s a mix of English and their own native language that you don’t understand.

  • To gain an understanding of their culture and language, you have to ask the natives NPCs what specific words mean and learn about their culture and important locations.

  • Once you learn the word, phrases or location the Codex is updated with the Talan (natives) word and meaning.
  • Not all NPCs have all the information. You have to walk around and ask several NPCs to get their point of view or their specific knowledge about people/locations/history.

  • Knowledge is local to whatever region is in, NPCs might not know about what is beyond their own home region.

NPCs scripted to walk to other locations

This type of feature isn't uncommon in modern games but it's still very impressive for a game released in 1999. They walk across the open world, potentially dealing with weird terrain and enemies.

  • There are instances in the game where you ask NPCs to accompany you to places or ask them to help you out with tasks

  • Here is an example of me asking & following one of the Shamaz (shamans?) to heal one of the Riss (rice?) workers in the fields. This would have happened even if I wasn't currently present at the location.

NPCs scripted to work

These features aren't necessarily uncommon in modern games but it's hard to find a game these days where transactions in games will have the NPC actually hand you the item in question. Again, this is 20 years ago. Amazing stuff

  • Walking around in the villages/cities you'll notice that there are plenty of NPCs that go about their daily lives doing work and walking around.

  • This add a lot of life to the game having both NPCs and Named NPCs not staying around in the same space all day.

  • Here is an example of NPCs carrying boxes around the city.

  • In the game you will also notice that both the player and NPCs can sometimes hand each other things during dialogues. Which is a neat and nifty feature since most of the items you pick up during the game can also be held in your hand when taken out of your inventory. Like keys to open doors.

NPC Events - NPCs giving the player messages

This is a good way to let the player know that there are NPCs looking for you in the game and a much better way to let the player know that there are available potential quests without having the player always approach everybody or look at some town board for quests.

  • Since the game is quite open-ended without objective markers, appeal (game developer) has made a couple of interesting choices regarding how to give the player information.

  • Travelling around the world NPCs will sometimes call for you to approach them.

  • Giving you information about certain things OR letting the player know that other NPCs are looking for them.

Localize NPC feature - Far Away

This is something that might seem mundane and simple but even today this doesn't happen. The player is basically triangulating the position of the NPC he's trying to find. It also gives the world and its people a more connected feeling.

  • Without objective markers or a good map it can be quite tricky to find people. Appeal however added an interesting feature to the NPCs called "Locate Talan (Native species)"

  • You can ask friendly NPCs to help you locate specific people. Since they're moving around in the world.

  • If the NPC is far away, the NPCs will state something like  "He is to the west of me, but I saw him moving that direction so he might be even further West."

Localize NPC feature - Close

This is something that to do this day isn't happening in video-games since usually an objective marker or a UI map help you find everything you need. And it's always somewhat disconnecting the player with the world he's supposed to inhabit. This however, is a brilliant and simple solution.

  • When you move around the world you keep asking NPCs where the specific one you're looking for is, you begin to triangulate their position.

  • Eventually you will be rather close to the NPC you're looking for. Then the NPC you're asking will simple point in the direction of the NPC you're looking for and say something like: "X is over there" and point in that direction.

Growing more powerful

  • One of the more interesting aspects of Outcast is the fact that the game focuses less on player power growth and more on weakening your enemies by sabotaging their resources.
  • Resulting in the enemies being less tough, have less powerful weapons and low morale.

Actions including:

  • Shutting down Riss Production (Plant based foods)
  • Stopping the main food production / animal catching (Meat based foods)
  • Stopping weapon production by shutting down the mines that gather resource for weapon production.
  • Lowering morale, by going through steps to affect soldiers wages.

Gathering a resistance

  • Eventually by undermining the efforts of the bad guys, you end up creating local resistances that in each region will start training and eventually fight.

  • Which is also shown in the game, when you come to a certain point they will setup training camps in the different regions.

  • The game concludes when you've helped the regions gain independence from the oppressive soldiers, weakened the enemy army and eventually take the fight to them.

Final Thoughts

  • For such an old game I think there are many things that are way ahead of its time and there are plenty of good lessons to be learned.

  • The game was released two years before Grand Theft Auto III and featured open-world zones, fully voiced dialogue, dialogue options,  a mount, fully orchestrated score, combat & stealth.

  • The game was also created during a time where the hand-holding wasn't really a thing. There were no objective markers or maps telling you where to go, so the developers created in-game contextual ways of giving the player information. It's honestly a great way to make you feel more connected to the world you're in.

  • To be able to actually succeed in the game you'd have to actually put an effort into understanding the culture, what words mean and what meaning they have to the natives.

  • Oh and if you have time one rainy night, it's definitely worth a try, but at least maybe this breakdown gives you enough information about what's good about it.

Thank you Appeal for such a wonderful game!

oh... and Outcast 2 is on the way

That's it for me! 

Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

Unity 2021 - Impressions from New User

Article / 14 June 2022

Unity Impressions - Part 1 - Default 3D World Building Toolkit 

So I'll just start off with this, a few months ago I decided to learn Unity, I decided to evaluate it as an engine of choice for development with the focus obviously being on the 3D Art and 3D World-Building aspect. We as game developers and studios wanting to make games, evaluate the product and what It has to offer. Which means, we evaluate the core set of features it provides, at least initially because it's  really hard to convince someone to use a product when you have to often have end it with: "Yeah we don't have that, but you can find it on the marketplace". The marketplace shouldn't really be in the calculation in my opinion that said however, there are some crazy talented developers on the Unity Marketplace that are worthy of mentioning.

I've been working with large world games my whole career, as both a professional environment artist, tech artist and essentially tools designer/developer. That's essentially the basis of my perspective and I'm basically writing this to just get my thoughts down on paper but I also hope to help some people who are interested in this stuff realize what is good/bad with Unity and what they need to do to compensate for some of these things.

I also want to say that even though I have some negative things to say about Unity WorldBuilding Toolkit , I don't want to undermine the incredible work each of the engine/tools developers put into lately. It's already a great product, proven and viable for a wide-range of genres & scopes. I'm just trying to point out what I feel could be done better for the sake of the dev community.

I have only used Unity for a short while so I'm bound to have totally misunderstood some things or be plain ignorant about stuff, feel free to correct me :D

I've been using Unity 2021.3.4 URP

General Development

Unity uses C# (very straightforward language for programmers, pretty easy to get into for Tech Artists)

Unity uses Scenes

  • Scenes are the equivalent of a levels in Unreal

Unity uses "Game Objects" for everything

A Game Object is like a container for anything

  • It's component based, you can add components to the game object.
  • Place a mesh renderer component inside of a Game Object, and its an actual Mesh Object that you can place in the world
  • Example: The Terrain is a Game Object with a Transform Component, Terrain Component & Terrain Collision Component.

It's pretty useful and straight forward way of working. Though in the heirarchy / outliner, you also use Game Objects as Folders to child other game objects under it. Which is pretty messy visually. Apparently there are marketplace addons to add folders to the heirarchy however, with performance increases as well.

You can Create Prefabs out of multiple Game Objects

  • Game Object with mesh renderer component & collision component = Mesh Asset
  • Game Object with Particle Emitter Component = VFX Asset
  • Game Object with Scripts Component = Whatever you need it to be a tool, utilities or game mechanics.
  • Put them all together into a prefab and you have for example: Barrel mesh, fire particle and scripts dealing with whatever gameplay mechanics need to be attached to it for heating the player up.

Above = URP , 100% not out of the box though.

Unity Render Pipelines

Multiple Render Pipelines

  • Built-In - General Purpose Render that has limited options for customization
  • Universal Render Pipeline (URP) - Scriptable, customizable and optimized for a wide range of platforms
  • High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) - Scriptable, cutting edge, high-fidelity graphics for high-end platforms

In general it's confusing

  • It's hard to keep track of what render features are for what render pipeline
  • It feels like the Unity team is divided in their goals
  • It forces you to constantly look twice or thrice if marketplace items support your choice of pipeline
  • Different workflows sometimes for implementing the same thing
  • Unity releases a lot of versions, the documentation becomes out of date very quick leading to very confusing moments

Unity is Small Games Focused?

I would say that the default toolkit in Unity forces you to create small games.

  • If you want to create medium sized or large games you will have a bad time with the default toolkit.
  • Medium/Large games will definitely force you to use the Marketplace Addons to fix functionality that Unity is missing
  • Then you are at the mercy of 3rd Party Tools made by potentially solo developers that are already supporting a lot of studios out there.
  • The issues can be mitigated obviously if you yourself is a good tools programmer or have people in your team to develop tools for you, but the reality is that we want to make games not focus all of our attention on Tools.

A lot of tech/tools developed for Unity are developed individually with little to not considerations of other systems or how people want to work

  • It seems a lot of people rely on marketplace content to get production up and running
  • It makes it feel like Unity Tools team are focusing on the wrong things

Does that mean you shouldn't use Unity as your game-development tool?

Heck no, Unity is still a very good option to develop your game in, the important thing with any game-development tool is to know what it's good at and bad at and adjust your game project and expectations accordingly

Art/Tech & World Building

Terrain System

Unity developed a new terrain system a while back, it comes with some really nice sculpting features. The rest however is pretty bad in my opinion.


Terrain Sculpting:

  • Destructive Workflow (ie you sculpt ontop of your already work, no layers)
  • It's pretty quick overall
  • Lots of useful sculpting tools
    • Erosion, Masks, Ramps, Filters, Stamps, Terraces, Transforms,
  • Sadly no Clay-based brush (sculpted from the bottom up , makes it easier to make natural stuff instead of weird blobby shapes)
  • No spline based modelling out of the box (ie no paths/roads/rivers)
  • Support for Multi-Terrains
  • Very little bad things to say about the sculpting tools, they are really good.

Terrain Painting & Layers & Materials:

Layer Painting Brushes / Features

Leaps and bounds better than Unreal Engine for painting out layer masks.

Allowing for Terrain Filters for painting (very good)

  • Slope, Height, Concavity/Concave
  • Math operations (Abs, Add, Clamp, Max, Min etc)

PBR Setup (Albedo, Normal map, Mask (Metallic, AO, Height, Smoothness))

URP Allows for 8 Terrain Layers

  • Uses an RGB Control mask for each layer painted (Typical RGB splatmap)
  • You can use Shader Graph for the Terrain Shading, however it's not officially supported and it's definitely tricky to get things working the way you want to. I also have no idea how to access more than 4 layers in Shader Graph.
  • I think one is supposed to be able to do 8 Layers in URP, and I definitely have no idea how to access a second splatmap using the terrain system to add more. (Unless I add stuff manually in the shader)

Custom Terrain Shading

  • if you want custom, you either have to figure out how to make a Shader Graph version of the terrain shader or create something from scratch in HLSL (or use whatever is provided for you in the marketplace)
  • If you create a custom Shader Graph terrain shader, I personally don't know how to access a second splatmap for painting a second pass on the terrain.

Foliage / Object Placement (Trees & Detail System)

Overall impression, it's very bad. 

They call it Trees & Detail, but in reality its only meant for straight trees and grass. I have a lot of bad things to say about this system, it's a major reason why it's hard to consider Unity for medium & large game projects.

Tree System

Painting out Trees

  • Simple painting brush
  • Individual Tree Properties are really limited though
  • Has option for scale variation
  • Has random rotation on the up-axis(y)
  • No Align to Terrain Normal (ie you can only have straight trees)
  • This also makes it hard to use the Tree System for any other of kind of prefab you want to paint out like rocks.
  • No options for painting on specific terrain layers.
  • No species/container options
  • For species or randomization of a set of objects to place
  • It becomes really messy if you have a lot of different objects/trees

Automatic Billboarding

  • Only works if your tree is using their shader (fair enough but cluttery) 
  • Not sure how to disable the billboarding
  • Chances are that you'd want a custom solution for this anyways

Automatic Bending of tree + wind

  • Only works with their shader (fair enough but cluttery)

Details system

The details system is meant for "details" but the reality is, its a grass placement tool that isn't very good. You attach a texture to the system and it allows you to populate the terrain with billboard grass. You can use it with custom prefabs but it has issues, more info below:

Default Setup:

  • One polygon square grass/plant that will face the camera direction.
  • It looks bad and very few games these days use this technique so it's pretty old too

Custom Prefab for Grass/Rocks etc (custom mesh / custom shader)

  • It works but not really
  • Placement Options 
  • Width and Height Scale Variation
  • No rotational options, No align after terrain normal
  • Results in a lot of floating grass
  • No procedural way of placing it
  • Doesn't support LODs
    • This is a pretty huge deal.

Here is my test scene in URP + Grass Mesh, does not align to terrain

Here is the Unity HRDP Terrain Sample Demo Scene, with grass not snapped / aligning to the terrain normal

So how do you populate the world with rocks and debris?

Honestly there isn't a great way to do it with the original toolkit available. Neither the Tree system nor the Detail provide good and flexible placement options or object avoidance and if you want to use the grass system to place custom prefabs it doesn't support LODs. 

Here is an image from a 3DBuzz video from 2011 in Unity 3, showing the Terrain Detail System. That's more than a decade ago mind you. It seems that even after 10 years this system works the same way with the same flaws. So yes, in general, I would say that this system would need a complete re-haul and Unity needs to take workflow & tools development a bit more seriously for the sake of the production of any future games made in Unity :D

To sum it up: To build bigger worlds you need the Unity Marketplace or your own tools programmer.

Shader Graph

Shader Graph is pretty good, overall.

That said though some part of me feels like this should be a given already, ShaderForge, Amplify etc... there is a decade of work gone into Unitys options for node-based shaders already. What Unity themselves are offering are barely better than the other options.

Though at this point it might still just be better to use Amplify since Shader Graph is still very early days and not implemented across Unitys Systems (All the points above + some below).

You create Materials and assign what Shader Graph it should reference

  • It's equivalent to the Material -> Material Instances in Unreal Engine
  • You can create sub-graphs to encapsulate shader code for re-use in other Shader Graphs
  • Hard-Coded variables in some systems can be accessed with the Reference if you create a Property in the BlackBox

Has a set of decent default shader templates to start out with for very basic usage

Complex Lit, Lit, Simple Lit, Baked Lit, Unlit, Particles Lit, Particles Simple Lit, Particles Unlit, Decal

No Cheap Subsurface / Foliage Shader out of the box

  • Pretty big deal if you are an artist wanting to make foliage for Unity
  • Have to find something on the marketplace or go have to go digging online to find a solution in URP

No Default Access to Light Direction, Shadows or Additional Lights

  • Ties together with above problem, if you want to create your own foliage shader solution from scratch.Good thing there are some very nice people online that share their knowledge, here is what worked for me:

2021 Doesn't support Shader Graph for Post Process Effects

  • It seems to be working in HDRP Newer versions

Sometimes buggy, I can't really explain it.

Sometimes inputs stop working, you can be getting Vector3 values out of one node and then not be able to connect it to a Vector3 input on another node. You have to re-create the whole chain.

  • Sometimes when creating pin-nodes, for example I have a Float value coming out of one node, then I create a pin to organize my graph, the pin itself forces the float to become a Vector3 or 4.

Where to go from here?

I guess you might want some kind of summary of mine so I'll just give my answers in the form of questions that I answer.

I'm an Artist , should I use Unity or Unreal Engine? 

Using Unity as an Artist, is a lot harder than using Unreal Engine. The reason is because you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get what want. UE5 has more features and is overall more user-friendly for Artists. Unreal Engine is exploding in popularity, which means its not hard finding resources and tutorials for it none of which are out of date.

Unity on the other hand lack so many things sometimes that you have to crawl through the dark web to find solutions for custom things that you might need.

What does this mean for Unity? Well to get the artist community on your side to create promotional work for free (essentially) Unity should focus on improving the approachability of Unity. Ie Ease of Use to get what you want/need on the toolside especially.

I am a Solo Developer should I use Unity or Unreal Engine?

I would say that it depends on your game scope and what you prefer coding in. C# is very straight forward, it's pretty easy to get up and running with some simple stuff in Unity. If you look at the issues I've listed above, Unity definitely has some issues when it comes to building worlds but it can most likely be fixed with marketplace addons.

Unreal has its own issues especially UE4 + Dynamic Lighting. I think one thing that is valuable for a solo dev to look at is up easy it is to make stuff yourself with the different tools and how well equipped the marketplace is to handle anything you might need. The unity marketplace is fantastic for example, so many crazy tools for world building there which are a lot more in-depth and intricate than the tools offered on the UE marketplace (in my opinion).

Don't trust me? Check Atlas out. You don't really see that kind of stuff on the Unreal Marketplace.

Why are you learning Unity?

  • Initially I just liked the look of Unitys Bloom Post Process, it looked soft and magical

  • My interest grew and I decided that I wanted to make a portfolio piece in Unity and at the same time learn how to use Unity

  • I realized that there aren't a lot of learning material for Unity or guides on how to make art for it and what you need to know as an artist moving from other engines into Unity. (Even though there are a lot of studios that use Unity)

  • That eventually grew into me deciding to take a C# Course for 3D Games in Unity

  • One thing led to another and now I'm evaluating Unitys current World Building Toolkit & Tech since I might want to try and build a portfolio project that is a bit more organic and bigger using Unitys tools + Marketplace Tools.

What do you like about Unity?

  • Unity URP is really light-weight. I love that, you get crazy high frame-rates, it feels really good.

  • The renderer looks different from Unreal Engine, Artstation is over-saturated with Unreal Rendering looking projects. I think Unity has a nice look to it because of the differences in the renderers.

  • I like C# , it's a bit more straight forward than UE4 C++. I've had a lot of fun coding in it though I havent had a chance to try Bolt or the Animation systems yet. They seem pretty solid at a glance though.

Here is a current WIP of my scene I'm creating whilst learning how to make art for Unity:

  • Some part of me like that its a bit more elbow grease to get stuff done, but it's not really a good reason to put in an evaluation haha!

What do you dislike about Unity?

  • I dislike that their world building tools are made for a singular purpose. For example the Terrain Tree and Details system. it's so specific that it should be called Straight Trees and Billboard Grass System. It's not flexible at all, plus the systems are more than a decade old.

  • I dislike that there are several render pipelines, they are developing features that people want for different pipelines and the delivery of those are might or might not show up for the pipeline you are using. It's confusing and the whole thing feels divided in attention.

  • From what I learned, They keep changing things: UI , Animation, Render Pipelines, Input Systems..etc, it essentially means the original design for these weren't future proofed enough or able to scale up to meet with the demands of modern workflows. It's too bad because so many changes has essentially led to making lots of resources out of date.

  • To be blunt and borderline mean: Essentially it feels like the Unity team hasn't created a modern game themselves and all of their tools reflect their inexperience in the needs of devs & larger productions.
    • I say this because in direct comparison you have Epic, who actually make very successful games in their own engine. Driving the development forward improving the lives of all the developers using Unreal.

    • That said though, their latest sample game Gigaya seems awesome and definitely 100% in the right direction and I fully approve of this approach to things.

What Unity Marketplace items make up for Unitys weaknesses?

This is a bigger topic of discussion that I will probably cover in a future part of the blog.
Mainly because since Unity is lacking in some areas it has made the Marketplace Community prosper into something amazing. So there is always something good and bad with everything so I'll definitely go through some Marketplace stuff when I can :D

What do I have left to talk about?

Lots of things!

  • Scenes / Collaboration in Teams
  • World Building Tech
    • Streaming
    • Scene Management
    • Lighting / Interior / Exterior / Open World
  • Marketplace Addons
  • And lots more... I honestly can't think of everything right now xD

But for now I guess this is it!

Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby

UE4 4.27 - RTX GI - Quick Production Viability Analysis

Article / 15 February 2022

Nvidias RTXGI is a dynamic global illumination solution for UE4. I spent this weeks stream investigating if it would be viable to use in game production and what it's good at / bad at. That said, I only spent 30 minutes or so tinkering with it so take what I say with a grain of salt. It could be that I'm missed settings or doing something wrong, and I definitely think you should check if the points I'll be writing below are right or wrong.

- Download RTXGI plugin, place it in the plugins folder of 4.27
- Following the common setup, enabling DX12 & Raytracing
- Using r.globalillumination.experimentalplugin 1 & r.rtxgi.ddgi 1 CVARs
- Testing DDGI Volumes out in a completely new made scene.
- Directional Light, Sky Atmosphere & Skylight (All Movable)
- Post Process to check Raytracing Settings for Reflections

I could totally be missing some kind of settings or plugins or whatever to make all this work but yeah this is the stuff I found with the brief moments I spent with RTXGI this evening. I thought it would be a good idea to document my thoughts, it's not like Nvidia will be putting the flaws of their tech on their feature list on the website xD.


Overall Impressions:
- Very good diffuse color bounce
- Seems somewhat performant though I haven't thoroughly checked it yet.
- Lots of flaws right now (in my opinion)


  • Low Density Probe Counts create visual artifacts in spaces between the probes
    • Can be mitagated to some extent by changing view bias & normal bias.
    • Below is a higher density of probes, somewhat eliminating the artifact problem as well.
    • Definitely needs more environment props/materials to hide whatever the artifacts that come with the GI.
    • Low Density Volumes should probably be used in outside areas?

Volume Blending:

  • One of the bigger selling points is that you can use multiple volumes with varied density for your needs in your levels/art-scene.
    • Creates a pretty harsh blend between volumes
    • As far as I know there is no good fix for this. One would have to carefully control the transition areas and hide the seam in doorways or with props.

Skylight / Atmosphere Support:

  • Skylight blends nicely in outside areas, but the this GI system doesn't support any sort of skylight occlusion.
    • Skylight Intensity set to 1 in inside areas will still globally light the environment, like you can see in the above shot.
    • The result will be a little bit better if you divide up your volumes into Interior Volumes and Exterior volumes. Thus limiting the interior volumes to the skylight already.
    • It could definitely be better though since the skylight still applies its intensity on the indirect lighting globally. Like you see here where the skylight is still lighting the back area of the room.


  • Bounce GI from Any Light are not properly reflected (Raytracing Reflections Nor Screenspace Reflections)
  • Manual Cubemap creation doesn't work with Raytracing or this GI Solution. (Why would it, it shouldnt need to , its raytracing)

Ending thoughts:

  • At least from my own short experience with it, it doesn't seem to be a good replacement for Lumen. Currently the RTX GI tech lacks proper communication with the Sky Atmosphere and Skylight, and from what I can tell can't actually see the bounce lighting in screenspace reflections, raytraced reflections nor do you even have the option to make your own manual cubemaps to solve this issue.

  • As for the Sky(light) Occlusion, you can still do it the old-school way by controlling SkyLight Intensity with Trigger Volumes or line-tracing the sky. That however only works around the character itself, so it would only really work properly once you enter dark areas for example, not looking into them.
    • Seperating Volumes does mitagate this issue somewhat, by it's not a great solution. since it's hard to get really nice blending between volumes
  • Would I rely on this for a game production? Probably not in its current state. When I'm looking for a dynamic lighting solution I obviously want it to work with all the other tech.
    • I have a hard time believing you could make a really good convincing reflective environment with lots of bounce light.
  • Please prove me wrong! :) Would love to see this tech work , so if you guys wanna confirm or deny my suspicious, please go ahead!

I opened up UDK/UE3 again and repaired an old broken scene.

General / 06 January 2022

aaand check it out people !

it's running in UDK/UE3. This scene was made back in 2013-2014 way before...any fancy rendering or tools. (photoshop ftw) but now I can see it in high-resolution in the viewport (from which I grabbed these shots below) and in ultra wide as well because..why not since I have the monitor for it :D

Hiding seams with tilable textures

Tutorial / 14 November 2021


So I've been going through techniques to hide seams on tree trunks and roots during using tilable textures on my art-streams (Tuesdays 8pm CET).

Here below is a snippet of what I'm doing in my own scene:
(you can find the progress videos on my patreon:

I thought it would be useful to write these techniques down for you guys so you could have a look and learn from it.

So usually the issue when you're working with tilable textures on organic shapes such as roots or trees you always end up with seams wherever the branches end up connecting to the main trunk.

Solution 01 - Adjusting the UVs to create a seamless look from particular angles

This technique is probably the most straight forward one.

Essentially it just means that you would have to strategically place the seams in and weld the UV shells together in areas so that the seam become less visible from certain angles. In this particular example above, the seams are actually above and below the branch, but the its perfectly seamless from the side, since the UVs are welded to the trunk UVs and then skewed in the direction of the bark (upwards) to slowly transition from the bark going upwards to the bark going up along the branch. 

Solution 02 - 2 UV sets and material blending

This technique uses two UV-sets. One main one which would be a regular unwrap of the whole trunk, adding seams where the branches connects to the trunk.

Then you do a second UV-set where the seams aren't placed in the same area as the first and vertex blend between the two to create a seamless result.

- where its black its using UV0 (where there are seams on your original unwrap)
- ie where red is painted its using UV1 (where there are no seams)

Here is a simple shader-graph to set this thinking up.

Solution 03 - Mesh Shell around the seams to hide the transition:

This technique requires that you first to the proper UVing and uwrapping of your mesh. Then after its done, you create a shell around the seams you want to hide.  Align the UVs of the Shell Mesh to go in a similar direction as your branch and vertex paint the edges of the mesh where you want the blend to happen.

This is a very straight forward technique and potentially easier to wrap your head around. Here above in the graph you can see the Mesh Shell Material, which is using the same Bark Material but also blends the result on the edges using vertex color (could be any color).

 I hope this was helpful and if you wish to support me in future tutorials or my art/game dev streams then you can do so here for 5-6 USD.

Legacy Game Project Update 01

Making Of / 15 July 2021

Hello There!

Here is some insight to what I've been doing during my spare time. The last few weeks for me has been waking up at 6am, work until midnight with breaks for taking care of the puppy, eating and occasional outside activities :P

In general I've been relearning how to code (ue4 c++ and blueprint), rig/skin, animate, sequences, VFX etc.... basically all facets of game-development so that I can basically just try and do stuff by myself as far as I can go time-wise.

I also decided to reboot my old UE4 project, scrap the old code and in with the new. Rewrote locomotion, got proper state machines for my locomotion states (not the animation graph stuff, actual state machines so that I can properly encapsulate the code for when you're in different states and not rely on millions of bool checks).

Generally code-wise, the project is in a much better and organized state than the previous one, which is a great.
and then I started adding in the basics again.

(all actors interact with the water (ue4 water plugin), playing sounds and particles now)

Such as:
- Creating State Machine Functionality for Locomotion
- Character Movement (3rd person movement + strafe aim mode)
- Character Actions (Jump, Sprint Jump, Mantling, Interactions)
- Interactable Objects (Pickups, Readables, Weapons, Switches)
- World Interaction (Sounds, Particles, Music, Water Shader + FX/SFX)
- Combo System State Machine (Attack classes + tweakable modifiers)
- Combat Juiciness (Hit FX/SFX, Hitstop, Screenshake)

It's hard to put everything on a list without it growing into a huge thing of tiny specifics.  Essentially what I want is a decent foundational framework that I can use to get started.

Doing this of for the last month also made me realize how little time I actually have spent concepting the world or the characters..

(character water sounds + splashes)

I do have some idea about what I want it to be but doing concepts (not that Im good at it) or creating 3d or levels can kind of come after I've created the basic functionality of most of the things. Like yesterday when I started making the basics of the enemy base class and I started thinking about what kind of enemies I want, and then spiraled into thinking conceptually what I want but also production friendly stuff.. 

(interactable objects basic features)

I realized that at some point soon I have to kind of decide on what bone-setup I want for the different enemies, it'd be good if I could rely on a minimum set of skeleton setups (4-5?) would be awesome so that I could reuse most of it and model/retexture characters. 

I guess I have to think about that some more or start dividing up my days during  summer for different department tasks XD Right now I'm just going off my own Trello board of every basic thing I need to get in before I get started blocking out the starting areas.

(fooundation for combat, combat state machines, hit-timing etc)

Oh well, the next thing I'll probably hop on will be basic AI Behavior Logic & States and it'll probably just be the weird straw-man idling , picking new locations to walk to within his zone and then following the player around trying to attack him if he enters the detection radius (and potentially sightline?) :P

Eeeeeither way, that's the update

If you've made it all the way to the end, congrats :P If you're interested in what I'm doing you can always join my patreon or twitch streams, follow me on twitter or here on artstation.

Until next time !
Warping Out!

//Chris Radsby

Hobby Game Dev & Progress

Making Of / 23 June 2021


It's been a couple of months since I took a break from programming, however I'm back to it and actually decided to reboot my own project and make sure the foundation is actually better and less messy. There were a couple of decisions for this:

  • I went to fast into programming detailed game-mechanics (free climbing system with IK, Physics based ropes swinging)
  • The Foundation was bad. The walking, running, jumping all felt kind of crap
  • The foundation for some of the programming was bad

Here are some old gifs of that:

Onto the new

So I went back to basics and made sure the locomotion went from Basic UE4 

but I had to do some update to my character, so I redid the skeleton, rigging and skinning
(it's definitely not a fun part of this whole thing)

To this below, which generally allows the user to move around more smoothly. I also have an aiming mode so the character can strafe and aim. Later on I'm intending this mode for stuff like a rope-hook or something like that or throwing things.

With the basic "feeling" of the locomotion in I had to deal with the biggest issue I had in the last iteration of the project which was that my movement states or any state for that matter was handled by either UE4 Enums or by pure boolean checks. Making new functionality really messy.

Here is a good read if you like this kind of stuff, but essentially it boiled down to, whenever I made a new function for my character I had to manually ensure that the player couldn't access other functions whilst doing something else. Example, not sprint  when jumping in the air. This meant that generally I spent a lot of time just bug-fixing things.

The solution for this is to make sure that when a character enters a state , he's accessing functionality that only exists in this state , the easiest way to do this is to use a Finite State Machine. The main issue is that UE4 doesn't actually support it natively, so you have to rely on kind of a messy workflow using Enums, which work but it's a bit annoying to get a good overview of what you're doing.

So I got to work and actually got my hands wet with a code plugin called Logic Driver Pro and with the help of a kind soul (Alzahel) on discord I started to learn how to work this plugin since it's definitely not a plug and go type solution, however when understood it's pretty straight forward.

My character now enters the right state (as shown on the preview visualisation) allowing me to run certain function upon entering, In the state and when the state is exited. Which is perfect, whilst making sure the transitions to other states are limited. Extremely powerful and very helpful.

After this I decided I kind of disliked looking at the gray character so I made sure I brought over the cel-shading and my eye-tracking solution from the previous project.

That's pretty much it for the last few weeks of work, if you're interested in this stuff then you can always follow me on my Patreon to get more insights , check out my livestream on twitch where I stream Art and will eventually move over into more game-development as I go ( I want to hit a good foundation before I start streaming game dev stuff).

oh and if you have any questions just ask em below! 

Until next time!
Warping out

//Chris Radsby