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Basic Tutorials

Obstacle Game Mini-series #5: Finishing Touches

Polish is one of the most crucial parts of making a great game. This is the last tutorial in the Obstacle Game Miniseries, and in this one you will explore how to theme your level, clean up unnecessary items and add some beautiful architecture and landscapes to make your world feel vibrant and alive.

Firstly, use the Drone to remove the old level completely from the level. An easy way to do this is to use the Extrude tool to lower the original route into nothingness.

Delete the “death” objects by using the Select tool to select them (RT) and then press LT to delete them completely.

Themeing Your Level

Now to theme the level in a Tech Noir style. There are many neon Props and Voxels within the Crayta Library, and you can use these to give highlights and interesting visuals to your level. 

For inspiration, consider some of Tech Noir classic films such as Terminator, Alien and Blade Runner. Look for the use of Neon lights and the textures and colours that are prevalent throughout. 

Creative Control: Adding FlairThe great thing about building games is that you can express a thought, an experience or a story that you want to share with your Players. Use the theme of your level to explore some of your own ideas. Imagine new worlds and don’t be afraid to try out new things and imaginative combinations.

Return to the start. You can use a signifier here to give the Player an understanding of what to do, and to make the world feel more realistic. 

Open the Library, and add the Chevrons Arrow C Prop to your Hotbar.

Place it on the wall next to the Elevator.

Use the Library to explore some additional Props that might fit within a high-tech office building. For example, behind the Player I have added a futuristic Cafe Door and Keypad.

These items tell the Player a story, showing that their Character has come from somewhere, and not just arrived in the game.

You can use strip lights to lead the Player in the right direction, and Vending Machines make the world feel lived in. You would normally have Vending Machines by an elevator so that people can snack whilst they wait (people still snack in a Tech Noir future right?).

Moving outside the Player is running along what seems to be suspended platforms in the sky. Whilst this is an interesting concept, it doesn’t really work with the theme.

To fix this, edit the Voxel Mesh so that it feels more like a superstructure from the future and add some Props to give it life.

This blank wall above the Elevator can host some neon-art.

Roof related Props can be put in clumps to make the roof feel more “roofy”.

Searchlights start to build the picture of a secure building.

The secure building narrative is further emphasised by barbed wire on the edges of a first floor roof.

There was a large unused space at the bottom. A good way to fill this was to create a small scene like a monorail station.

It doesn’t need lots of detail, as the Player will never see this closeup, but it’s worth adding a couple of small touches so that it feels alive.

Tech Tip: OptimisationWhen you add Props that the Player will never touch or interact with, it is worth making sure that they are not impacting the games performance. Open the Entity Editor for these Props and uncheck collisionEnabled.This stops the physics engine from calculating the collision mathematics for these Entities 60 times per second (or more), meaning that it can spend more time in giving the Player a great experience.

The rooftop pathway is also a good opportunity to add some neon. This first part is supposed to be very easy, so highlighting the edges is helpful to the Player.

The scenario for the Vault Door scenario needs some work to make it feel more realistic. 

The floor switch for the Vault Door sticks out because it doesn’t seem like a necessary aspect of the building. Add a fence at the corner transition to the narrower pathway and make this feel like a different part of the roof – somewhere that enables technicians access to the power and lights for the greenhouse. 

Try building a Voxel platform and adding some more Props to add drama to the situation. Lighting Props and Neon Voxels look great here both when the player is on the rooftop pathway and from a distance when they are riding on the flying cars.

The neon strips that run down the shaft add a real sense of depth inside the shaft.

Within the greenhouse, you can amp up the difficulty a little bit. Add more Saw Blades with rotateAndMove Scripts attached, and add another Statue (Cemetery) but without the PyroDetonator. The Statue (Cemetery)’s gives a solid aesthetic to this section – gothic elements work well in this theme, and the large greenhouse keeps the feeling futuristic. Additionally, the second Statue (Cemetery) Prop without the detonator makes this section slightly more difficult also.

You can also uplight the Statue (Cemetery)’s with a Light from the Primitive tab in the Library. Change their colour in the Entity Editor to make them shine green, giving an ethereal glow to this area. Change the pathway to be a solid green neon Voxel to further cement the palette for this unique area.

The flying cars currently appear from nowhere, and seemingly disappear into thin air when they have completed their journey. Let’s remedy that.

Create a new Voxel Mesh called CarTunnel and add it behind the Flying Car Prop.

Use the Voxel tools to build a tunnel for this car to appear from.

Change the inside of the tunnel to be a dark Voxel that soaks up the ambient light, such as a black Plastic (Dull).

Use the Entity Editor to move the Voxel Mesh so that it is in front of the Flying Car Prop. This will make it seem like the car is emerging from the darkness of the tunnel.

Adjust the dimensions and dress the tunnel so that it fits the theme.

Make duplicates of the CarTunnel Voxel Mesh and position them so that the Flying Car Props drive from and to them on your map.

And of course dress the final Checkpoint area, which should finish the narrative for the level. For example, by adding a Blimp Prop it gives the Player the feeling their Character has made a daring escape, and hints at a world and a story larger than this level!

Adding Sound

To add that final element of polish, you can also go back through your level and add some sound effects and music.

Start by adding some Tech Noir style music to the game. Synth Wave 80s Throwback Music fits perfectly, so open the Library, navigate to the Sounds Tab and add this to your Hotbar.

Add the Sound in the game.

Open the Entity Editor for the Sound.

Uncheck the ranges checkbox.

This will ensure that the background music plays whilst the Player navigates the entire level, adding a great score for this kind of game. Turn off 3d to ensure that the music is not only located within the corridor.

For the lift sound you can add a continuous hum in this area such as Industrial_machine_hum_tonal_amb.

Open the Entity Editor for this ambient Sound. Move it so that it is in the center of the lifts movement range, and reduce the rangemin to 300 and rangefallof to 450 so that it is specifically within the proximity of the lift. This means that it will only be audible when the Player is near the Sound

Tech Tip: Rangemin and Rangefalloff

These two values can be used to determine the reach of the sound. 

Rangemin specifies how far away the sound can travel at its full volume. You will see that by changing this value, you increase or decrease the size of the sphere that represents the distances this sound will travel.

Rangefalloff specifies how quickly the sound will become inaudible once your Character has left the range of the sound.

On the roof there is a good opportunity to add some ambient noise of the world that this level exists in. Add some Wind (Medium or Heavy) Sound to your rooftop.

And use the Entity Editor to position it high above your platform.

Notice that the range sphere for the Sound only just touches the rooftop. This way you will only be able to hear the wind when you are on the roof (rather than inside the building). You should position some additional wind sounds along the platform, taking into consideration the range sphere, and ensuring the sound will not be audible from inside the corridor or the greenhouse (because this will feel unrealistic).

The next key Sound to add is the door opening for the Vault Door Prop. Open the Library and add the Mechanism_steam_switch_01 Sound to your Hotbar.

Add it to the Vault Door Prop and open the Entity Editor for the Sound. Uncheck the active checkbox.

Tech Tip: Turning Off “Active”

Sounds which have the “Active” Property ticked will play automatically when the game starts. You need to uncheck the active box if you plan to trigger the sound to play when something happens in the game, such as when a door is opened.

Open the Entity Editor for the Vault Door Prop and locate the Properties for the LockedDoor Script.

Use the dropdown menu to select the Mechanism_steam_switch_01 you added to your Vault Door Prop. This means that when the door is opened (by the Player jumping on the floor button) the door will make this sound as it opens.

Using what you have learned about sound so far, you can dress the remainder of the level using the ambient Sound and the Sound Effects from the Library. Make sure to maximise their effectiveness by using the rangemin / rangefalloff values, and you can create variety in your Sounds using the pitch and volume Properties. Add Sounds to the doors that open, add Sound effects to the Saw Blade Props and the Flying Car Props in order to make these aspects of the game come alive. Add ambient sounds within the greenhouse, and use high and medium winds across the Flying Car timed jump puzzle.

Once you are happy with your sounds, playtest your game thoroughly, and tweak any sounds that might need moving. 

Recap

In this tutorial, you took a run-of-the-mill obstacle course and gave it a huge injection of fun. Your player gets to ride on top of an elevator, drop down into a shaft, dodge saw blades, jump on flying cars and parkour their way up the side of the building. Not bad for a day’s work!

Even More Polish

Now comes the even cooler part! Adding more polish to this level and continuing to embellish the Tech Noir / Retrowave theme.

For inspiration, consider looking at visuals from Tech Noir classic films such as Terminator, Alien and Blade Runner, as well as modern homages to these, such as Kung Fury or Blood Machines. Look for the use of Neon lights and the textures and colours that are prevalent throughout, and see if you can replicate these.

To make your level really shine, it is worth investigating the Advanced Mode in order to change the world lighting and effects. You will need access to a mouse and keyboard to do this, but it will add a lot of impact to the neons.