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Prototype(s) 6: Starting Unity Scenes

Summary: Created multiple scenes using Unity as a way to test out looks and shaders for my project. The most technically difficult thing for my project in my opinion is getting the post-processing look that I am envisioning. The reason for this is that some of the ideas that I have require shaders, something that I am not very good at and that I definetely need to pratice more on.

Originally, I wanted to try using Unreal Engine to create a dessert environment (mainly for the sand). However, Unreal did not open on my computer and after trying to troubleshoot for several hours, I decided to drop it and re-work my approach.

I then started by trying to see if I could work well with the 2D platform of Unity. I have worked on 2D a few times but not enough to remember everything. Thus, I opened a new project and imported a new landscape that I designed. I found it quite hard to get a 3D looking environment that is 2D. I was not very happy with how the environment look. I do like the art a bit but I think I can improve it next time.

Failure 1

I decided to move on and focus on components that I could add to a 3D environment. I really wanted to try to make sand since that is the most difficult part to render according to some game dev blogs that I have read and listen to (for instance, that was what took most time in the game Journey). I watched a couple tutorials and decided to start on my own sand shader. There weren’t any sand tutorials per say but there where some snow ones and I modified them so that they looked like sand.

This process was very difficult and to be honest, I had to really dig in the Unity forums to find helpful advice.

This is my first attempt. I tried to use the weight of the object to create a deformation in the terrain that would create a path. Needless to say it didn’t work.

Failure 2

The second attempt was more encouraging. Basically, I created a particle system that would follow the ball. Another camera maps the path of the particle system to create a height map. The particle system looks pretty nice and I like the way it leaves a trail, however, the normal map that it create was not working since the terrain is uneven and thus, when the terrain is higher than the particle trace, the camera does not read it for some reason.


I was very discouraged at the time, so I decided to go back and search for more documentation. I found this tutorial on making snow. I used it as a base to create this new version.


Since my 2D project did not work, I decided to make a 3D scene and make it look like a 2D game. I really like the look of platform game, so I wanted to replicate it in a similar style to Metroid Dread. This is called making 2.5 games, basically games that are 3D but look like 2D or that are 2D but look 3D.

After creating an environment, I experimented with creating fog and a bit of post processing effects to make it look a bit more like what I envisioned. This is how it ended up looking.

For Next Time

I’ll try to incorporate some of my art as 3D sprites and see if the physics still work without having to do custom colliders.

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