Blackbird Interactive：Unity 案例分析
How do you create heart-pumping excitement in a sci-fi game where there are no aliens or enemies? By remembering that in cold, dark space, the entire environment is the antagonist. In Hardspace: Shipbreaker you’re salvaging junk spacecraft to pay off your debt to Lynx Corporation. But watch out – there’s a good chance you’ll set off an explosion and have to respawn, increasing your debt. To bring this futuristic and suspenseful game full of highly detailed, immersive visuals to life, Blackbird Interactive (BBI) chose Unity.
为 BBI 美术师提供他们所需的工具和工作流程，以实现游戏的视觉效果目标，同时简化协作并加快开发速度
PC（在 Steam 上抢先体验）
约 25 名 Unity 美术师和开发者
- 使用 ProBuilder 和 Cinemachine 快速进行灰盒测试，以完成概念验证
- 更快的工作流程，几乎可在瞬间完成 FBX 格式 3D 数字资源的导入/导出
- VFX Graph 提供的爆炸性实时粒子效果拥有成千上万个独特对象，具有极高的视觉保真度，并且没有性能延迟
- 利用 Unity 高清渲染管线 (HDRP) 实现前所未有的区域和体积光照效果
《迷走深空：碎舰师》游戏总监 Trey Smith 说：“这对我们来说是沉浸式体验的重要组成部分。“你扮演自己，并成为故事的一部分。例如，我们对手部的设计会让玩家感觉像是他们自己的手，而不是什么机械臂。高度逼真的动画和特效也至关重要，因为它们能将你吸引到游戏中，让你更加关注周围发生的一切。”
能否实现该工作室所构想的太空环境，完全取决于视觉效果，而他们愿意接受这一挑战，因为他们是视觉特效领域的精英。“我们的创始人全是美术总监和太空迷，但我们也知道游戏玩法才是王道。所以，我们希望玩家既能被我们独特的画风环境吸引，同时又能乐在其中。”美术总监 Chris Williams 说，“而 Unity 可以帮助我们将这两个关键元素无缝结合到一起。”
实际上，该团队的所有成员都使用过 Unity。《迷走深空：碎舰师》技术总监 Richard Harrison 说：“Unity 不仅是一款 3A 级引擎，它还十分了解开发者的需求，能够让我们迅速开始行动，尽快完成概念验证。”考虑到游戏诞生（诞生于内部游戏制作节）时该团队的规模较小，并且需要解决一些重大的美术难题，这一点尤为重要。
核心 Unity 游戏制作工具
BBI leverages ProBuilder to determine how to properly manipulate, test, and craft the plethora of ships and other 3D models. “ProBuilder enables our designers to prototype ship layouts and gameplay props. Since object dimensions and other metrics are extremely important in our game, it lets us quickly iterate on rough blockouts to nail down an object size before asking Art for the final mesh,” says Elliot Hudson, BBI’s Associate Creative Director. “It really helps our artists build an efficient grey-box pipeline.”
To create many of the highly detailed and realistic animations, BBI used Timeline. For example, when a player begins their workday, Timeline is behind the power-up of all the lights in the hangar bay and the fire-up of the ship’s power source. “The first time our animator used Timeline, he loved it and immediately saw the potential for enhancing the realism of the game with cool details like that,” says Harrison.
They also used Cinemachine’s advanced camera tools for important design stages. “Our developers were able to quickly create proof-of-concept segments with Cinemachine that captured the vibe and tone of what we were trying to do. Being able to scrub a timeline and see the camera in the view was particularly useful,” says Trey Smith, BBI’s game director.
Over the course of the project, BBI also built a set of Unity-friendly tools. Much of their core shader technology, for example, was hand-coded for the game, but the developers anticipate greater use of Shader Graph to take advantage of Unity’s High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) capabilities.
“We used to re-UV the entire ship but then we started leveraging more things like property blocks that allow us to dynamically change properties on materials on the fly. Beyond that, we use a cleverly put-together shader in Unity that uses the HDRP back end. Karl Kent, our art tech wizard, created it to go hand-in-hand with the HDRP tech,” says Harrison.
BBI’s projection tool piggybacks on several aspects of Unity, including HDRP, to increase dynamism when they paint the ships at runtime. They also use a custom projection decal system to produce cool warnings in the ships, such as Danger signs on the bulkheads, for even more suspense.
According to Harrison, the ships don’t have a lot of animation, just a few here and there, such as the handles you use to open the doors and the doors themselves. “A lot of the animations that we do are baked into texture animations, things that you see as you work, such as the lights on the computer screens. The MaterialPropertyBlock, which lets us modify things in real-time, has been super helpful.”
The most complex physical animation they tackled was for the one-and-only character: the Cutter. “We had our animator rig up the character and animate the whole thing dynamically through Mecanim. It’s entirely state driven and parameter driven. It takes into consideration player velocity – where you’re moving, and how you’re drifting.”
Of course, it’s a first-person game, so players can only really see their hands and legs, as well as reflections and shadows from time to time. “It’s a pretty powerful moment the first time you notice that when you drift off to the left, your legs lag behind you to the right. We feel that adds a sense of weight and presence to your character – helps you “feel” you’re in a zero-g envionment,” adds Harrison.
Since many of the game’s 3D elements are created outside Unity, quick round-tripping to and from 3D modeling software, such as Maya, was particularly important to simplify and speed up repetitive processes. Williams says, “In some non-Unity environments, converting an FBX model could take half a day, but in Unity it’s almost instantaneous.” BBI built a custom editor, integrated within the Unity workflow, that lets their artists right-click on an asset and immediately turn it into a GameObject.
Another feature that significantly increased artist productivity was nested Prefabs. It lets them build a ship as a Prefab, made up of many smaller Prefabs, which in turn comprise multiple smaller Prefabs, so when they want to change a characteristic, they only need to make the modification once and it’s reflected throughout the model. In terms of workflow, this lets their artists get “under the hood” and assemble components on their own without having to code anything or rely on a programmer. According to Williams, “We were finally able to make a modular ship system with this handy feature. We wouldn’t be where we are today without nested Prefabs.”
In terms of always being in sync with the latest versions of Unity features, the team relies on regular updates via Package Manager. “We use a lot of integrated packages so it’s great to be able to sync when there’s a new version that might have an enhancement or bug fix we’ve been waiting for. The Package Manager has been an important enhancement to our workflow,” says Harrison.
supercharge the entire game, it’s not surprising that BBI tapped David Perdigon, their highly talented visual-effects artist, to create and control them. And when Visual Effect Graph (VFX Graph) became available, they adopted it immediately, finding it easy to use and tweak, and appreciate that it can handle far more digital input compared to legacy tools such as Flipbook or the Shuriken Particle System.
While it’s exciting to add eye-catching pyrotechnics into a game, they almost always cause performance tradeoffs, which was a dealbreaker for the studio. However, when they implemented particles with VFX Graph, BBI found they could efficiently manage greater numbers of particles and include more stunning effects, more often.
This is largely because VFX Graph smoothly integrates particles into the Post Processing Stack and lighting. “There was a big performance increase when we made the switch to VFX Graph, and now particles feel like they’re actually integrated into the world rather than being beside the geometry,” says Harrison. They also tap Bloom and other Unity color-balancing tools to ratchet up the game’s visual wow factor.
高清渲染管线 (HDRP) 是在太空中产生逼真、华丽光影的关键。例如，一个机库场景可能会有四、五个投影灯，开发人员需要平衡和调整反射光及移动方向的声音。“使用 HDRP 后，所有东西的响应都很灵敏，而且很容易理解，完全做到了开箱即用。”Williams 说。
HDRP 还帮助他们在被遗弃的舰船内部创造了逼真的区域光照，更增添了几分紧张感。例如，该团队使用了体积光照来在切割者给舰船加压时产生雾气和漂浮颗粒，从而营造出“污浊空气”的效果。这使得前照灯的光束就像夜空中的探照灯那样栩栩如生。在 HDRP 之前，BBI 曾尝试使用第三方工具来模拟此类体积效果，但发现它们代价高昂并且有局限性。“Unity HDRP 的强大之处在于，它是针对整个光照模型本身的系统化方法，并且完美实现了我们的需求。”Williams 说道。
与 Unity 携手共进，再创辉煌
BBI 对于游戏开发平台的选择非常谨慎，他们会询问自己什么技术和工具最适合他们的项目，然后进行全面的技术、设计和美术评估。Harrison 总结道：“我认为在我们完成第一款游戏《Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak》后直接选择 Unity 来制作《迷走深空：碎舰师》就足以说明一切了。现在，《迷走深空：碎舰师》已经上线了，我们可以肯定地说，我们当初的评估是正确的 - Unity 绝对是满足我们美术、技术和业务需求的最佳选择。”现在，BBI 正全力挖掘 Unity 的潜力，为完整版本制作新的功能和游戏内容 - 不言而喻，结果一定会让那些在这个美丽的“蓝领”世界中书写自己故事的切割者们感到满意。