Hello, this is Patrick, I am the new intern at Rat King and today I have the glorious opportunity to write about a cool new feature I added to the game. Birds!
In some games the birds are more of a visual adornment, but in our game Patou they have a playful reason to exist, because they are interactive, yeah!
How it started.
I often start drawing something to get an idea of how it might look or how it should work, so I first did these nice drawings of some bird-like creatures.
But somehow I wasn’t sure if the player would be able to recognize these creatures as birds, so I went in a different direction and started modeling a very simple bird model, but still in a very low poly style, only to change direction again after I got the suggestion that the very abstract bird shapes would fit much better into the game.
So I took the old version (below left) and cut some parts off and added some vertices here and there and et voila, the new version (below right) was born.
The fist idle animation of the bird with over 900 frames was a bit too much.
Then in the second iteration I shortened it and each of the animations ended up with 60 frames.
Fun fact, for the fly animation cycle I searched on youtube for a 2D front animation of a bird and then looked at the keyframes as a reference for my frames.
In the end there were 4 different animations. Two main animations and each had an extra animation like the idle animation where the extra animation plays after a fixed random time cycle where the bird stands up and shakes its wings.
The other extra animation is gliding during flight.
The texture got a more abstract and hand-painted look, like the other assets in the scene.
I also wanted the wings to feel strong but somehow translucent at the edges, so I left the egdes more bright.
And in Unity, I added the exact same texture to the emission to make the edges shine brighter.
It was fun to program this, but it took me a while.
How it works: At the beginning of the game all birds spawn under a main point (green) at points where they can sit (red)
And when the player runs into the boundary (green circle) of the birds …
… they get the call to start searching after a new random destination point (green) and find a free seat point (red) to sit on.
Then a spline is created with some additional points in between and the birds …
… begin to fly on the spline in the direction of their new seating points.
All the points are also very modular, so you can set them anywhere in the world as many times as you want. And it works like magic!
Thanks for reading.