UVs: The Good, Bad and Ugly

 

Elliott Mitchell Auto Unwrapping UV Devil 2016

UVs are often shrouded in mystery, or simply an afterthought to many 3D artists and game developers. Not only are UVs essential to texturing 3D models in Unity, UVs are required for Real-Time and Baked Global Illumination(Lightmapping). Unbeknownst to many, UVs may also have a profound influence on runtime performance and an artist’s iteration cycles.

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[image title=”Good UVs” caption=”Good UVs”]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Elliott-Mitchell-Good-UV-2016.png[/image]
[image title=”Bad UVs” caption=”Bad UVs”]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Elliott-Mitchell-Bad-UV-2016.png[/image]
[image title=”Ugly UVs” caption=”Ugly UVs”]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Elliott-Mitchell-Ugly-UV-2016.png[/image]
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Earlier this month, Elliott Mitchell (co-founder of Vermont Digital Arts) delivered a quick ten minute lightning talk on the subject of UVs at the Boston Unity Group. His presentation is a high level overview of UVs for the given truncated format. 

Keep an eye out for a more fleshed out talk on UVs in the near future. There is so much more to cover. Here is a link to Elliott’s slides.

Unity Asset Store Gives Waggle Words That Extra Polish

Check out this video of Vermont Digital Art’s co-founder, Elliott Mitchell, as well as Adam Simonar (NVYVE Studios) & Evan Doody (Darkwind Media) talk about their favorite Unity Asset Store products. Elliott is using Circular Gravity Force, Koreographer, and Chromatica Studio in Waggle Words for VR and mobile. Check out the game footage!

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Circular Gravity Force

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Koreographer

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Chromatica Studio

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Waggle Words is Coming!

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You and me and baby makes three. And another baby makes four. And two cats and two dogs and six chickens makes fourteen. And then Mama decides she wants honey bees and the total soars to somewhere around 25,000. That’s the family that makes up Vermont Digital Arts.

You could say that we are all the worker bees. Papa is an artist and programmer and does most of the technical work at Vermont Digital Arts. Mama is the Queen Bee who sits back and is fed royal jelly all day … oh no, wait, that was my fantasy. No, Mama flits from one thing to the next, writing, designing, organizing, keeping the hive running. The two youngest humans in the family make games, stories, art and music.

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One day the youngest human thought that it would be cool to have a game that was a cross between Spell Tower (http://www.spelltower.com/) and Chip Chain (http://chip-chain.com/), so a meeting was called. Everyone (except the chickens and the bees) gathered around the dinner table and talked about what such a game would look like. Mama took notes and then a few days later made a paper prototype. Being a beekeeper, she used hexagons to make a honeycomb board and took the name Waggle Words from the movements that bees make to communicate with each other which is called a “waggle dance”.  

The family decided that Papa, a trained artist who wanted to hone his programming skills, would engineer the game himself. Learning how to program requires time, patience and extra baking. Thankfully, Papa was up to the task of learning and Eldest Child who loves to bake kept everyone happy with lots of treats.

Finally the Vermont Digital Arts family has a playable game. We are so excited about how Waggle Words is turning out. It is a super fun, strategic, single-player word game AND it will also be a groundbreaking multi-player VR game. Just wait!

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Vermont Digital Arts at Unite Boston 2015

Unite Boston 2015

Unite 2015, the annual Unity game developer conference, is scheduled to be held in Boston, MA, September 21st – 23rd! Isn’t that exciting?!?

I’m Elliott Mitchell, co-founder of Vermont Digital Arts and the Boston Unity Group. I am honored to announce that I will be presenting at Unite for the fourth consecutive year! My session, Unity Maximus: Art Optimizations for Maximum Performance in Unity 5, was announced on a list of talks published on Unity’s blog yesterday. This talk will be geared towards helping artists and designers who are beginners with Unity 5 art optimizations.

Unity Maximus: Art Optimizations for Maximum Performance in Unity 5, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22nd, 5:00-5:30, Ballroom A.

Unite-2015-Unity-Maximus

Many platforms, like VR and mobile, place high demands on developers to meet acceptable frame rates or else risk failure. Often, the art assets in a Unity project look fantastic but no matter how optimized the code base is, the build just doesn’t meet the desired frame rate. Unoptimized art assets, including some art which may be purchased on the Asset Store, can seriously hinder performance on demanding platforms. In this session, we will highlight some red flags to look out for in a variety of art asset types and identify key optimizations that can be implemented into your art pipeline to significantly increase performance on demanding platforms. Art asset types covered will include:

  • 3D Models, Animations and Rigs
  • 2D Textures and Sprites
  • Materials and Shaders

I’ll likely cover a few more topics like lightmapping & post process effects.

I hope to see you at Unite 2015 Boston!

Best,

-Elliott

EDIT 9/18: Changed the time and location to Tuesday, September 22nd, 5:00-5:30, Ballroom A.

School’s Out Summer Sale

Schools Out Summer Sale

School’s Out Summer Sale! July 23rd – July 29th

Kids want a summer of fun and parents want a summer of learning, growth and skill. What if downtime could be both fun and enriching?

Presenting the 2015 School’s Out Summer Sale (July 23rd – July 29th)! Enjoy discounts on 8 amazing, awarding-winning games and apps for both iOS and Android that are packed with fun and entertainment to last all summer! Made by the most innovative and creative game designers from all over the world, these games are guaranteed to keep kids both entertained and sharp in the summer heat.  And they’re just as fun for adults too – so enjoy some time playing these games with your kids this summer!

[fancy_images width=”125px” height=”125px”]
[image title=”Agent Higgs by TestTubeGames” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/agent-higgs/id526613680″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/AgentHiggsIcon.png[/image]
[image title=”Backyard Engineers by Filament Games” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slice-fractions/id794730213?mt=8″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/BackyardEngineersIcon.png[/image]
[image title=”The Counting Kingdom by Little Worlds Interactive” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-counting-kingdom/id925814105?mt=8″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/CountingKingdomIcon.jpg[/image]
[image title=”Earth Primer by Chaim Gingold” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/earth-primer/id956678532?mt=8″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/EarthPrimerIcon.png[/image]
[image alt=”Slice Fractions by Ululab” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slice-fractions/id794730213?mt=8″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SliceFractionsIcon.png[/image]
[image title=”Spin Spell by Vermont Digital Arts” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spinspellhd/id452320603?mt=8″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SpinSpellIcon.png[/image]
[image title=”Tin Pan Rhythm by Tin Pan” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/app/id963594351″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/TinPanRhythmIcon.png[/image]
[image title=”Word Mess by Masala Games” link_to=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-mess/id504739597?mt=8″]http://vermontdigitalarts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/WordMessIcon.jpg[/image]
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Check out the official School’s Out Summer Sale webpage to learn more about the featured games and participating studios!

 

Empowering Artists Designers and Non-Technical Types to Make Games in Unity – Elliott Mitchell, Unite Seattle 2014

*Re-posted from what Elliott Mitchell wrote on the Indie Game Collective blog on August 24, 2014.

Elliott Mitchell speaking about Shader Forge at Unite 2014

Elliott Mitchell speaking about Shader Forge at Unite 2014

As is too often the case, non-technical people think that they can’t create games in the Unity game development engine because they lack coding expertise. Elliott Mitchell, co-founder of Vermont Digital Arts and the Boston Unity User Group, debunked this myth in his Unite 2014 talk: Empowering Artists, Designers and Non-Technical Types to Make Games in Unity.

Elliott Mitchell speaking about playMaker at Unite 2014

Elliott Mitchell speaking about playMaker at Unite 2014

During his talk Elliott discussed:

  • Games such as The Counting Kingdom by Little Worlds Interactive that were developed without much coding
  • Specific coding concepts and aspects of the Core Unity editor that are necessary to know before making a game in Unity
  • Tools, scripts and other helpful assets on Unity’s Asset Store which help ease the pain of not knowing how to code well
  • Community resources for people developing in Unity


Watch the video of Elliott Mitchell’s Unite 2014 talk: Empowering Artists, Designers and Non-Technical Types to Make Games in Unity, here, if the embedded video above does not work.