Tag: unity

Transparency with Depth Sorting

A classic rendering problem in realtime 3D graphics is overlapping transparent surfaces. Well, I recently wrote a shader for Unity that renders alpha transparency with correct depth sorting. My solution isn’t unique, but I don’t see a lot of people talking about it (I certainly didn’t know it before) so hopefully this will help people out.

The depth sorting in this shader still only works well for hard-edged cutouts, but you can mix cutouts with smooth semi-transparency in the alpha channel, and any rendering glitches will be restricted to only the semi-transparent parts. This is a huge improvement over having those rendering glitches apply to the entire model, and hopefully my explanations give you a full appreciation for the tradeoffs being made.

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Merry Christmas!

Short update post because Merry Christmas! Lots of work on various side projects of mine, but the only thing of note for Eschatown is that I discovered Character Creator 2D. I purchased that tool and hopefully I can rapidly create a bunch of character sprites that way, as opposed to the vector dude I mentioned previously.

Eschatown’s Prototype

We’ve just uploaded a prototype for you to download and try. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Just go to the game’s page for both Windows and Mac builds of Eschatown: https://midhavengames.itch.io/eschatown

This version is still very early and rough, and very few sprites are in the game so far. However the writing and systems are pretty far along, so we are testing balance with this prototype. Let me know what you find!

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Working on an RPG: Generating the Map

I’m now over a month into the basic RPG I mentioned in the last post, so a bunch of systems are in place. In my last post I talked a lot about the narrative system Ink, but this time I want to get back to what is a frequent topic on my devlog: procedural generation of maps. Here is what I came up with for the map of city regions:


(The weird batches of horizontal lines are actually lines of text. That’s just to test applying textures to quads strewn about the map, and will eventually be replaced with images of buildings and trees.)

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Dusting off my 3D art skills

I’m not entirely sure what prompted this (possibly restlessness from being under lockdown) but this month I’ve been digging up old 3D models and animations of mine. I’ve been sprucing up old models and putting them on Sketchfab, and am planning to eventually put some (especially animated characters) on Unity’s Asset Store.

While I’ve been primarily a game programmer for a long time now (as is best exemplified by my book about programming in Unity) I actually started in game development as a 3D artist. As a result, I am still fairly skilled in that area, and also have 3D work in very old backups. I mean really really old files, so old that it’s been a non-trivial task converting them into usable forms.

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Procedural Gear Generation

So I’m homebound, just like most everyone else. I was actually already working remotely most of the time so this hasn’t been a huge change for me personally, but the pandemic is causing big difficulties for everyone around me. Like, say, my mom who lives in South Korea, or my sister who is a doctor in New York City.


As for my coding projects, quite a while ago (around a year) I’d seen a reddit post about this interesting approach to generating pixel art equipment. I’ve had it bookmarked all this time, intending to try this myself.

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Outline Both Squares and Hexes

So I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with rendering lines on the ground, for the map in strategy and tactics games. Last post I already had this effect working for a square grid, but it wouldn’t work for hex grids because it was dependent on drawing pixels to match the grid. I ended that post by brainstorming ways to support hex grids, and have had great success working on the problem since then.

I uploaded a WebGL demo to try, and here’s a video showing the territory outlines shader working on both square and hex grids:

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