Devlog: Trees, Plants, and More

Welcome to my first game development log. In this series of logs I’m going to break down my work on a month-to-month basis showing you my methods and progress on my beloved game, Zombie Jack.

What is Zombie Jack?

First off, you might be asking what is Zombie Jack? It’s a co-op couch-party game for you and all your friends where you must fight the undead with whatever you can find. Sporting goods, chairs, broom, whatever you can find. Pick it up and start swinging. Why? Because the best games are the ones you share with friends (and have zombies).

Jack’s House – work in progress. Blocked out basic layout.
Basic mud-map of part of the first level.

While the game is 3D, the camera only movies from left-to-right on a rail (more on this in future logs). Here you can see a basic mud-map used to position the first couple of assets.

Pine Trees

Pine trees rigged and animated to give life to the background.

I started this month off by creating some 3D assets for the first level beginning with the pine trees. Rigged with bones and animated in blender, this tree sways gently in the breeze adding a bit of motion and life to the background. This single model can be reused and scaled randomly to add a bit of variety.

Original pine tree concept models from 2013.

Notice the change in design from the original 2013 concept versions. This change is to better suit the current style of the game.

Tall Grass

Tall grass – slows players movement speed.

I wanted to implement some obstacles as well as dress up the levels a little and one thing that came to mind was tall grass. Tall grass you can squish! When players run through it they will be slowed, which I believe will make for some interesting navigational decisions when trying to avoid enemies.

Modelled and animated in blender, painted in Krita, and then imported into Unity. There I finished it all up with a simple grass script that lets you squash the plant when you run through it as well as apply a slow to the player.

Picket Fence

Next I needed some boundary assets. The fencing around Jack’s house was the next to come. I thoroughly enjoy painting wood-grains. I don’t know why, I just do.

Blender modelling – picket fence for Jack’s front yard.
Completed 3D model ready for painting.
Painting the UV texture map in Krita. A great, free alternative to Photoshop.
Final product imported into the game. Check out them sweet grains.

That’s it for this devlog. Thanks so much for reading. If you want to stay up-to-date with my progress you can subscribe to the newsletter below. Also feel free to drop a comment. Thanks again! Have a good one.