I recently added a new effect that desaturates the game world based on the player's current infection level. As the player's infection progresses, the game world itself loses more and more color, until it finally reaches a state of nothing but greys and red blood when the level has reached near its max. This is done via a custom shader that uses a fairly simple desaturation algorithm which is applied just before the blood effect is laid over the base texture. The infection level is evaluated via an animation curve and the resultant value is used for calculating how much desaturation to apply, keeping the game in a constant state of slowly shifting between a world full of vibrant colors and one that is devoid of any color except the dark red of blood. My only option was to do these calculations via a new shader since applying desaturation via post-processing would have resulted in the blood being greyed out as well, but after another crash course in shader programming, I have managed to get the results I was after. On top of that, since this shader is significantly less complex than Unity's standard shader, I've received a slight performance boost as well.
I've also implemented a Sobel edge detection effect via post-processing that uses depth calculation to add a nice sharp outline around objects. I'm still not fully committed to this change since objects near the ground lack any outline at all, but I'll revisit visuals at a later date once I've had time to let these changes simmer on the back burner.
Being a fan of all things Mythbusters, I have wanted to build a Panjandrum for this game ever since being introduced to it via Adam Savage's TV show, "Savage Builds." In one of those episodes, he attempts to improve upon the original design but unfortunately fails at doing so. For the uninitiated, the Panjandrum was a massive, rocket-powered, explosive-laden cart designed by the British military during WWII. The shape of the weapon itself was just outside my scope of Blender knowledge, so I knew that building it would also be a fun way to learn some new methods of creating game models.
Given that he inspired the idea, I also opted to implement a few temporary changes to one of the playable characters to make it resemble Adam, thereby giving him the opportunity to finally send off a working Panjandrum. Altogether, the process took the better part of a day, but I am already coming up with numerous ways in which I could incorporate this into the gameplay itself, the most likely of which being that the player needs to blast their way through a massive horde of zombies as well as a locked quarantine gate located behind the horde. This would give the player a side task of collecting enough metal and even having to locate a generator and fuel in order to weld the thing together.
However it ends up getting implemented, you can see the mayhem in the video above, as well as an excited Adam celebrating the resultant destruction in a way that I feel suits his personality well.
The Two-Year Mark
This week marks two years since the day I decided on a whim that I wanted to shoot some zombies in the head - a decision that ultimately led to what is now known as RIZN.
There's been a lot implemented since that first day, especially considering the fact that the first gameplay video I took of this project featured a player character that wasn't even carrying a weapon. There's still a long way to go before this game is ready for release, but I am getting closer and closer to having a demo available that will serve to give player's a taste of what I ultimately hope to deliver. With plans to wrap up the final pieces of procedural level generation as well as multiple UI updates slated, I'll have more to share on RIZN very soon.