How to make the graphics for Star Driller Ultra

So a lot of praises has been made about the graphics in Star Driller Ultra. How did we make such beautiful graphics in a short amount of time?

Well, actually, it’s a lot easier than you think.

Part 1: Making the model in Blender

First, open Blender.

Easy enough...

Easy enough…

Next, click on “File” on the menu bar, then “User Preference.” Tap the “Input” tab, and change the “Select With:” from the dreaded default Right to the far more sensible Left. Finally, click “Save User Settings.”

You will thank me later.

You will thank me later.

Uhh…where were we? Oh, yes: make a shape.

Way ahead of you.

Way ahead of you. See? A cube!

Select that shape with the left mouse button, then go to the right pane and click on the gear tab (called Modifier).

Modifier selected

Modifier selected

Click on “Add Modifier”, and select “Wireframe.”

And this is where the magic is about to start!

And this is where the magic is about to start!

Now your shape is a wireframe!

It doesn't look that nice, though.

It doesn’t look that nice, though.

After that, it’s just a matter of adjusting the thickness value on the modifier.

That's more like it!

That’s more like it!

Now you can save this model in your Unity project’s Assets folder, and let the game engine do the rest.

Part 2: Toon shading in Unity

Next, we need to import some toon shaders in Unity. Open Unity, then click on “Assets” under the menu bar, and select “Import Package -> Effects.”

It's a poorly-worded location to put toon shaders into.

It’s a poorly-worded location to put toon shaders into.

Open the Unity project, and drag your new model into the Scene.

Wait a minute...that's not toon shading!

Wait a minute…that’s not toon shading!

On the Inspector panel, there’s the Material component properties displayed on the bottom. Scroll down there, and change it’s shader to “Toon -> Lit”

Ooooh! So many shaders!

Ooooh! So many shaders!

The cube will still look a bit ugly because it doesn’t have a ramp set. Change the ramp to a horizontal monochrome gradient that’s 2 pixel tall, and 256 pixels wide. This will act as the gradient applied to the object in response to the lighting.

A very sharp gradient as a toon ramp.

A very sharp gradient as a toon ramp.

For Star Driller Ultra, we used the ramp below:

Enlarged for your viewing pleasure.

After that, just change the Main Color on the material to whatever you want it to be.

Let's make it unoffensive green.

Let’s make it unoffensive green.

Part 3: Image effects (bloom!)

But wait! If you switch from Scene pane to Game pane, you’ll notice the graphics isn’t as awesome as Star Driller Ultra.

Not awesome enough.

Not awesome enough.

That’s because we’re missing some image effects; specifically, bloom. Fortunately, we’ve already imported it, remember?

Again, poorly worded.

Again, poorly worded.

Click on your camera, and in the inspector pane, use Add Component to add the following three image effects, in order.

  1. Image Effects -> Camera -> Vignette and Chromatic Aberration

    (Adds darker, blurry parts at the corner of the screen)


  2. Image Effects -> Bloom and Glow -> BloomAndFlares

    (Adds blooming light effect)


  3. Image Effects -> Other -> Antialiasing

    (Soften shapes with jaggy edges)


Furthermore, for Star Driller Ultra, We’ve adjusted the values in each of these image effects under the inspector as follows:

Lots of numbers.

Lots of numbers.

And that’s about it. You can see the results for yourself.

A true work of art.

A true work of art.

1 Comment

  1. Alexschick says:

    Thanks for writing this!

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