Hi, Im Danny – the 3D artist behind the graphical changes introduced in Richie’s Plank Experience. The focus of this blog post will be the artistic decisions and a few technical notes and advices for all you game and VR devs reading this. Now a year later our team is bigger and we are working hard on more exciting projects, but more on that at the end of the post.
I need to include a disclaimer early on – while I was directly responsible for the changes and the looks of the game, nothing would look this good without the vision and inputs from Richard and Toni – the husband and wife team behind Richie’s Plank Experience. Thank you for bringing me on the team!
Just like the game starts – let’s take a ride up the new elevator! I kept the marble floor design, but used better textures and added the soft warm cove lighting on top that always makes a space pretty. The elevator feels warmer and more inviting that way.
We kept the button models the same, but a panel was added including a better look for the buttons. The text was moved to the left so that the text is more visible and people don’t accidentally push the buttons.
Often people believe sunsets a beautiful, but there is an unexplored beauty in daylight scenes. Notice how the rhythm of direct light and shadow adds another level of depth in the scene.
Because this rooftop was the closest to the player, it was very important to us. While I got rid of the water cistern, we added more detail by adding more geometry, antennas, vents and a crane instead. You can also notice that we made the building a bit higher so it is closer to the player on the plank.
The orange rooftop had an ‘identity’ I wanted to preserve. The conflict there was that the orange was too vibrant and unrealistic. I cleaned it up a bit and added the structure on top that broke up the square silhouette.
One of my favorite optimisations is this crane. Notice how the support structures go diagonal in the updated version. This allowed me to make it look better and reduce the polycount by 30-40%
One more note on this image – we used a architecture visualisation HDRI for our skybox. This is one of my tech tips – use arch viz HDRIs – the expensive ones. Buy a pack of 10 and you are all set for a few games at least.
Overall I aimed to keep the project’s layout and feel the same and just push it more toward the physically accurate look. While my background is in creating realistic CG renders, I never say that photorealism is the most important. Aesthetics are always above graphics. And while Richie’s Plank Experience is not photorealistic, I find the transition from the bright rooftops to the dark shadows very similar to the sensation I get in real life.
Oh and of course the city got bigger – who doesn’t want more buildings to fly between! Here is a gif comparing the city layout when I first started working on the project and when I was done with it.
These two Fire Deck gifs show a more dynamic view of what the flying mechanic and the city have gone through. These two gifs sum up more than 2 years of work and what can be achieved by just polishing the game a little bit more every day.
For everyone who made it all the way down! Here are the promised exciting news:
Richie’s Plank Experience is coming to PlayStation VR on the 12 of December!
Santa Simulator has just been published on steam! Everyone who owns Richie’s Plank Experience on Steam just got the Santa Simulator for free in their library!
We’re officially working an open world adventure game using the flying mechanic found in Richie’s Plank Experience. Find us on our Discord Channel for exclusive news: https://discord.gg/aSG5QZe