Whenever I write a demo, I try to take screenshots of the work as it develops. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. Firstly, it’s nice to look back and see the progress. Secondly, sometimes I work myself into a creative dead-end with a scene and it can be good to look back and get some inspiration from earlier variations.
I’m trying to figure out how to improve my working methods and the screenshots things has always worked well for me so, while working on The Next Level, I made a conscience effort to take more screenshots than normal.
I love looking at other people’s work-in-progress shots. Since I now have a load of shots of my own demo, I thought it would be good to share some of them with you.
The engine itself was a development from the one used in 0xAnniversary. That demo was based around voxels so it only ever had to render cubes. This time I added model loading and animation:
I also started experimenting with what became the first scene quite early on:
Here are a couple of early shots from the first scene of the demo:
The diagonal cubes didn’t really work, but the looked nice I’m glad that I took a shot of them.
The tunnel scene had a lot of changes in style and colour during development. I particularly liked the two blue versions. I think they actually look nicer than the final version, but I went with red to keep a common colour theme going throughout the demo.
This scene took some time to get right and I wasn’t happy with it until right near the end of the demo’s development. Once again, the scene didn’t feel like it fitted in with the rest of the demo. And once again I eventually realised that it was the colour. Changing from blue to red in the final version made the scene blend in better.
The city scene was fun to develop. The buildings are generated from a number of small pieces, stitched together by code. The algorithm is quite configurable, allowing a lot of control over the size, shape and placement of the buildings. The actual selection of how and where to build each building is based on random numbers – change the seed and get a different city, During development, I grew cities on a cube using the same parameters but with a different seed on each face:
The stylised look of the final scene was created by shining strong lights on the buildings to, then doing an edge-detection pass and finally adding blur and colour. You can also see here that I originally planned to have the buildings grown out along a thin strip:
Finally, here’s a test shot of an effect o the city scene that looked nice but got cut because it didn’t fit with the rest of the demo:
The idea was inspired by the Chemical Brothers video for Dissolve.
And now you know what went into making the demo.. go and check out the final version: