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NO ESCAPE Compositing/Layers Breakdown

Posted by (twitter: @mattdivito)
Monday, August 22nd, 2011 1:25 pm

I knew that if I wanted to sell the ‘story’ of my game NO ESCAPE, I was going to need a strong atmosphere. I’m guessing not many game devs consider After Effects an essential tool for their process, but because I do motion graphics work for a living, I knew that AE could give me solid results quickly. So, here’s a quick breakdown of the my layering/compositing process:

Layer 1: Background 1

Initially my background only had one layer, but the result looked fairly flat, so I decided to break the background elements into two layers, which allowed me to get a better parallax scrolling effect.

Layer 2: Background 2

The ‘main’ background. The buildings were modeled and rendered in Cinema 4D. I used the Environment tool to add a layer of fog, which is why elements that are farther away are more faded.

Layer 3: Foreground

Also created in Cinema 4D. I rendered everything out using an orthographic projection, which is why the foreground looks flat even through it was modeled in 3D.

Layer 4: Rain

The rain was added in After Effects with a very useful third party plug-in called Particular. I created one single rain drop and set up a particle system to do the rest. If there’s anything I’ve learned from rainymood.com, it’s that rain makes everything better!

Layer 5: Smoke

The smoke was rendered in Cinema 4D using its PyroCluster shader, which creates pretty convincing little smoke puffs fairly easily.

Layer 6: Water Overflow

This is a small detail, but one of my favorite things in the whole game. After I was more or less done with coding, I knew I wanted to add a few more details including this little water overflow coming off of the billboard. I set up another particular system in After Effects, this time using the built in CC Particle World and this was the result.

Layer 7: Lightning!

The last thing I added was a few lightning strikes, which I thought came out pretty cool. Created in After Effects using the built in Advanced Lightning effect. I timed the strikes so that they would come a few seconds before the thunder claps in the audio track, and positioned them to where the player would likely be at that point.

So there you go – a HUGE downside to doing things this way is that having this video background increased the size of the .swf dramatically. If I was a more competent programmer I would have tried to create these effects dynamically, but alas. Hope this was somewhat interesting, feel free to ask any questions about Cinema 4D or After Effects if you’re interested.

Here’s a link to my entry:





Posted by (twitter: @mattdivito)
Sunday, August 21st, 2011 2:09 pm

Putting the final touches on my game NO ESCAPE. I’m not really a programmer so I knew from the get go this was going to be 95% graphics, 5% gameplay. Here’s some screens:

No Escape

There's no escape, can't you read the sign?

Rainy Moods: Becuase rain makes everything better.

I haven’t made a game in three years, so this was pretty fun – but I do have an embarrassing question to ask. Can we submit games made with ActionScript 2.0 to the main competition? How would one submit the source code for that, since my code is just small chunks associated with different movie clips?

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