Category Archives: VFX Assets

Buntaien Focus Stance Effects v1

The different Focus Stance effects (all v1) in action

Let’s continue to go over more of the assets for the GM interface of “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” specifically more about the Player Viewer side, and how it can control aspects from the Map Viewer side.  As for what you see above, interacting with each character portrait will activate a designated particle effect for each Buntaien.  Each one has a different color – the color that specifies their unique powers – but is basically the same effect repeated for each.

The purpose for these particle effects is to signify to each player when a character is in Focus Stance or not (the effect being on means that character is currently in a Focus Stance, while it being off means they are not).  For now, during a battle in “DDnD,” players have to take two actions before their turn is over.  One of those turns always has to be a move (players can move in any direction around their Character Medallions, unless their area is obfuscated or plainly blocked off), however, they have a variety of options for their other action.  For this example, one of those actions could be to place their character in a Focus Stance, which is a great boon to the character.

While a character is in Focus Stance, their attack and defense stats are raised from a D4 die to a D6 die (which basically strengthens their attack and defense by up to 2 points).  Typically if a player sees another player in Focus Stance, it is ill advised to attack them, unless their player is also in their own Focus Stance (the simple reason for this is because without being Focused, they can only attack and defend with a D4, compared to the D6 while Focused).  The only way to take another player out of this Stance is to inflict damage onto them (but again, that is more difficult and mathematically less likely to happen without also being in a Focus Stance).  One sure-fire way of defending against another Focused player is to use a Throw action against them.  Throws typically have a very high chance of success and automatically inflicts at least 1 point of damage if successful, so it is, for now, the best technique to use against an attacking – or even defending – Focused player.

Player Turn Effects v1

The Player Turn effect in action

Now that we’ve gone over most of the VFXs seen on the Map Viewer side of the GM Interface for “DDnD – Unsung Saviors” in earlier posts, we can start going over what can be seen on the Player Viewer side of things.  As simple as it looks above, the indication of whose turn it is in the game (typically while in battle, considering when players are exploring, they typically stay in a group, and move and act organically instead of in a turn-based way) is only dependent on whose portrait is glowing yellow from the background.  To achieve this small effect, a GM just needs to click on whichever Character Medallion’s turn it is (which the Medallions will be on the Map Viewer side, as explained before), and the designated portrait will light up!  Clicking and dragging away the mouse cursor from each Medallion will also turn off the golden portraits.

This was one of the last effects I created in a desperate attempt to finalize a “perfect” version of the GM Interface the first time through.  As we all know, iteration is the mother of greatness, so I want everyone (even the current players, included) to know that I still plan on going back to recreate a lot of effects, graphics, and systems and overhaul them in appropriate and miraculous ways!

Map Reveal Effects (Fire & Electricity) v1

Map Reveal Effect (Fire) in action (during Campaign #1)
Map Reveal Effect (Electricity) v1 in action

I used the same free Shader asset from the Unity Store I had used on the POI and IOI effects – posted about earlier – and went on to create two different textures in Photoshop; one for a fiery effect and the other for a more electric feel.  After messing around with the other effects I had made, it wasn’t too difficult to implement these new ones, and I didn’t find myself changing too many options to get the desired effects I was looking for.

Within “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” certain parts of maps will be covered up by a shape of a similar color to the environment.  One should think of the “fog of war” effect used in many video games, however, the way it’s used in this is slightly different.  Typically two reasons this “fog of more” (as I would like to call my version) effect would be used when the player’s characters can’t see in the game world.  For the fire effect example above, when the players enter Level 5 of RuMa Temple – known as the Sanctus Cathedra – they can barely see their surroundings, everything being blotted out by an old darkness, with only a beam of light above them to help them see.  After examining the area and through some experimenting with their environment and Buntaien Powers, players will figure out how to lighten the rest of the room up, revealing new, important sub-areas to explore.

Back on the subject of Buntaien Powers: each of the 5 Buntaiens have a distinct Essence that they can harness with their souls.  Like with typical RPG games, the roster of magic being flame, energy, water, earth, and wind – and is the same for “Unsung Saviors” – but this game designates certain physics-based qualities to each (even though that last piece of information is irrelevant for this discussion).  With the fire effect, Luka – the flame Buntaien – would have to create a makeshift torch by harnessing her combustion abilities from within the wood, which would set off the Map Reveal (Fire) effect seen above.  As for the Map Reveal (Electricity) effect above, using a Buntaien that can harness energy (electricity being a primal form energy can take) might be able to power up certain areas that were inaccessible before.

POI Reveal Effect v1

POI Reveal Effect in action (during Campaign #1)

Through the past few years of going to school for game development and working on indie titles by myself and with others, I have learned many facets of the production of video games: creating models using Maya, creating textures using Photoshop, utilizing the Unity engine, understanding gaming design principles in a more technical light, and even some basic programing with C#. However, I rarely ever delved into the world of sprites and VFX elements, but with the recent creation of “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” I have gained much needed experience with both!

Just like with the other POI (being an IOI – or Item of Interest) I posted here recently, this POI (Point of Interest) is also known as a POI (but named for a Place of Interest).  Instead of using a monochrome emblem with a question mark (like with the IOI), I decided to make this one have a sort of colorful flare, and went with gold (a color that tends to jump out to humans, presenting something of worth to most of us).  The reason for using an exclamation mark instead of a question mark was to indicate a difference between items that players could collect and use (the latter), versus things that could help move along the story, be interacted with, or otherwise important to the story/game, in general (the former). I also wanted there to be consistency in the look of all POIs (regardless of their sub-genre), so using the same type of emblems and particle effects and creating small changes between them seemed like a viable solution.

Under all golden POIs (which I’m now thinking of renaming to LOIs – for Locations of Interest – to create a clear distinction) will be an important object that can be interacted with by players to further along each campaign or to optionally deepen their experiences in the game.  In the example above, once the VFX happens, the initial sprite disappears, revealing a golden and purple-colored structure, known as the Adytum Apex Tower, found in the beginning of Campaign #1.  Once unveiled, players can examine this structure, further revealing that it is a puzzle of sorts, one of many they must solve in order to get further into the mountain this tower sits upon.  Once the group-based puzzle is solved, players are allowed entry into the RuMa Temple mountain they have sought after.  There are many other POIs (or LOIs) in Campaign #1, and all serve as very important game design elements, to help keep a flow to the story and gameplay, and add excitement and interest to the players.

IOI Reveal Effect v1

IOI Reveal Effect in action (during Campaign #1)

Through the past few years of going to school for game development and working on indie titles by myself and with others, I have learned many facets of the production of video games: creating models using Maya, creating textures using Photoshop, utilizing the Unity engine, understanding gaming design principles in a more technical light, and even some basic programing with C#.  However, I rarely ever delved into the world of sprites and VFX elements, but with the recent creation of “DDnD – Unsung Saviors,” I have gained much needed experience with both!

As one can see above, an emblem of sorts (just like the one used for the Character Medallions) is being perforated, while orbs of light trails out and away from it.  Once the emblem with the question marks dissipates, a new emblem is revealed underneath, but this time with a different graphic on it.  Above is what I’ve termed as an IOI (or Item of Interest), one of many POIs (or Points of Interest) scattered around each of the maps in the campaigns of the game.  With this specific one, players can find them, reveal the items below, and then pass out the gear appropriately to one another.  Specifically for the example used, the item revealed is known as a piece of Gear, and is a RuMa Temple Gi Headband (which is part of an entire Gear set that players can collect in Campaign #1).

I eventually created a Unity prefab for IOIs by first making a standard question mark emblem and then some item emblem (which at this time were the 4 pieces of Gear I posted about not too long ago) sprites using Photoshop.  After importing them into Unity, I then created a simple particle effect of white light orbs bouncing away from a center point of the emblem sprites in random directions outwards, each one with a white trail coursing behind them.  At this point, I was going to have the light orbs just do their thing and then the question mark emblem simply disappear, revealing the underlying item.  However, I was in the mood to learn more about shaders and was able to find an amazing and free shader on the Unity Store.  I went into the original shader script, edited it, and then created a unique shader texture to get the desired effect I was seeing in my mind’s eye.  Lastly, I created a simple “IOIReveal” C# script that would allow GMs using the “DDnD” Interface to simply point and click on each IOI, allowing the VFX to take place.