Shrimp Magicality is a short adventure game I have been working on for awhile. It’s our crew’s second attempt at using Unity, a game development engine, and 3D assets. In our previous game jam project, Fatal Runtime, we tried to use 2D assets in Unity and learned it was a giant pain in the arse. Unity was not meant for 2D graphics, and while the developers of the engine are trying to create tools to better the experience, at the time we were developing Fatal Runtime, it wasn’t there. 

We had to use third party applications like Tiled to create our maps, that used 2D pixel art, and then import it into Unity. It was difficult for us to juggle learning the ropes of the engine, and utilizing a graphical style that went against the engine. It was also a process that didn’t work for my more spontaneous way of thinking. I like to create things on the fly, which means a lot of revisions. I ultimately convinced the team to scrap Fatal Runtime in Unity, and rebuilt it hastily in RPGmaker. 

Though we were able to deliver Fatal Runtime, it wasn’t a solution that would suffice for our future vision. We wanted our next project to be completed using Unity. We either had to adapt using Tiled, or figure something else out.

In the past, I ruled out exploring 3D mediums due to a severe case of motion sickness. I haven’t been able to play most 3D video games or even films with shaky cameras like Saving Private Ryan or the Blair Witch Project.

During the pandemic, I realized that doesn’t have to be a complete limitation. To pass time during the quarantine, I poured a thousand hours into Animal Crossing. I was able to play the game without inhaling Dramamine because it had a static camera. I had a ton of fun designing my island, and found fulfillment in creating a 3D world. That gaming experience became my gateway into the third dimension.

In my process, I’d sketch out logos and areas for these fictitious businesses and concepts. I’m most agile with traditional tools, so I rely on pen and paper. These allow me to quickly capture my ideas.

Once I was satisfied with a sketch, I would begin translating the concept into 3D. I would use Adobe Photoshop and Asesprite to develop a color palette and create textures. It may not be efficient for everyone to bounce between two different programs. In my case, Photoshop is a tool I’m quick and comfortable with. It was good for creating fake logos. Asesprite is specific to pixel art, and it is useful for creating textures and smaller details where Photoshop is too clumsy.

Crocotile3D’s ease of use helped facilitate my transition from 2D pixel art to 3D low poly. Meshes are easy to create, textures simple to apply (I intend on using it in my future projects beyond Shrimp Magicality!).