All posts by danlearmonth

Alpha Version coming soon!

The team have been busy getting Ice Flows to Alpha stage testing.

All the major components of the game are in place… The bedrock, the sea and the ice, the controls, some level progression, tutorial stages, scoring, bonus rounds and penguins.

There’s a lot still to come but first we need to test this core functionality to destruction. Within the next few days we’ll be releasing some parts of the game as an open alpha and invite you all to try it out.

Here’s a few teasers for the mean time…

MainMenuGIF

MapScreenGIF3

(Data on level selection screen from BEDMAP2 (https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/bedmap-2/) and MEASURES (https://nsidc.org/data/docs/measures/nsidc0484_rignot/projects)).

What do we want? Data!

Large parts of the Antarctic have been surveyed thanks to the huge efforts of Antarctic scientists over the previous few decades… this gives us a great opportunity to use this data to inform our game world and get it into the hands (and minds) of our users and the public.

We’ve been cooking up a workflow that allows us to take large data sets, optimise and stylise them and bring them into Unity where we build them into Ice Flows. This should be perfect for the environment backgrounds and level selection maps…

GisSample4
BEDMAP2 data in Unity

For the curious the workflow goes a bit like this…

Raster GIS data > Geotiff > Photoshop > 3DSMax > Unity

(See https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/bedmap-2/ for details of the data sources)

Developing a style

What goes into making the style of a game? First we must consider…

  1. Your audience – will it be liked?
  2. The capabilities of the team and budget – can we do it?
  3. The learning objectives of the game – should we do it?
  4. The technical capability of your platform – will it work?

It needs to be fun/eye-catching/engaging, work well on all devices, and leave the player with an understanding of ice flows and their subtle nuances.

So far, we’re developing a look inspired by the master of low-poly, Tim Reynolds. It’s fast, it’s fun and can provide a visually coherent world in which to set our game. It also makes for some awesome landscapes….

Art style prototype
First style prototype published to web.
Antarctica low poly from GIS
Then using BEDMAP2 GIS data to create low poly terrain.
Antarctica2
And mapping onto a sphere to create the southern hemisphere.

(See https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/bedmap-2/ for details of the data sources)