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Post news RSS Verdant Skies - Water Reflections

I really wanted to make the world of Verdant Skies beautiful- and as a developer, I figured the best way I could contribute was with fancy graphical effects like these reflections.

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I really wanted to make the world of Verdant Skies beautiful- and as a developer, I figured the best way I could contribute was with fancy graphical effects like these reflections.

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I wrote the reflection shader with the help of Scott (thanks Scott!). At first, it started as just a way to animate the water, so the first thing to add was the rippling pattern that occurs on the surface. I won't get too technical here, but if you're interested in details, the core idea is using a normal map to displace your UV texture lookup.

In order to actually generate the reflections, we select everything that is "reflect-able" and draw it separately. We also draw the background color, which represents the color of the sky that is reflected by the water:

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Then we composite that reflection map on top of the water that we're drawing.

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The animated reflections are looking pretty cool, but it doesn't really look like water.. kind of like a shimmery mirror. So we blend in a texture as the last step. Have you ever noticed that when you look across a big body of water and see a reflection, that moving doesn't really change what's reflected there? There's a pretty constant gradient because of how the sky is reflecting in the angle of the water.

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(not in game art... it's a picture of a lake from Wikipedia)

In the 2D world of verdant skies, we simulate that by blending in a hand-painted water texture. The final result gives you a nice subtle color and texture difference from top to bottom:

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But this is what our water really looks like!

In other Verdant Skies news: Beth has been hard at work doing the level design for the real map. I've got a huge list of mostly small usability bugs to fix. Lizzy has been working on the art for the player- there's a lot of art to make for our fully customizable characters! More to come about that in a later post...

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