We felt strongly from the beginning that Path of Giants was to be a visually artistic experience. Not only did we want the player to enjoy playing the game with intuitive and seamless controls but to be able to explore this ancient mountain pathway along side the characters.
Wanting to really capture a cold and mysterious cavern that the player could slip into proved to be a bit tricky with our characters being adorable, but they were designed first so it was a welcome challenge!
Behind The Design
Path of Giants was created using Blender and Unity, a combination of software that we had to learn to use and get comfortable with quickly so that we could start production. Having a background in animation and using Maya, Blender was an easier one to pick up, but Unity was completely new to us.
Workflow between Blender and Unity - We had the Blender files placed into Unity for easy editing and integration. This way you wouldn't have to export fbx or model files, you could just quickly open it from within Unity, do your edit, save and then the Unity model would update. It made for the fastest method of creating and editing the levels.
Our Design Process:
1. Block out a puzzle - It was easiest to throw around cubes and map out the puzzle that we wanted in Blender and we would use tiny little cubes to represent the characters to test them out. We then brought them into Unity and placed all our mechanics in so we could test them out for real. Sometimes the pathfinding system of our little explorers caught ways to get around the puzzle that we didn't notice, so once we ironed out some sections it was play test time! We would try figuring out each other's puzzles and make notes of what was and wasn't working.
2. Level design - Once we were happy with the puzzle, we would take a screenshot into Photoshop and do a quick trace over for how we wanted the level design and environment to look.
3. Building out the environment - We could then build out the whole level in Blender.
4. Color Script - Once the level looked how we wanted, we were ready to finalize. We would pick the palette and add the gradients to the level before finalizing it with some lighting! For our materials we used the Unity Asset Colr by Dustyroom so we could get those lovely gradients that appear to flow into nothingness.
Each level is carefully designed and hand-crafted to be it's own theme and identity.
It was important to us that each level looked beautiful and interesting in it's own way, so that no matter where or when you paused the game, it would look like a perfect frame.
With the design, our goal was to capture the essence of a vast area encapsulated within this mountain world that’s been hidden for so long. With background areas that feel giant in contrast to how small the characters and puzzles are.
Our rocky walking paths were inspired by the pillar formations of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. An inspiration that popped up as we were deciding our game's title!
Photo credit: Beautiful World
We Love Doors!
There are some fun details to every level and my personal favorite is that each one has it's own door design when you enter. It became almost a challenge to see how many different door designs we could come up with, without them becoming too elaborate.
The difficult part was keeping them low poly but still fun!
Telling a story through Colors
Color plays a very important role in Path of Giants. Our characters and gameplay are very color specific and it was necessary for us to find a balance between the characters and the backgrounds all while being able to tell a story within the color itself - gradually getting warmer as you reach the end goal.
A feature that we felt strongly towards was wanting our game to be accessible by all, so the characters do have alternate colors that can be swapped for better visibility or differentiating them from one another.
Path of Giants is a delicately crafted experience for the user that we put all our attention into creating. All combined into a fun package that's not only puzzling but also beautiful and adorable!