Creator : (Alphabetically) Alekai McAdam, Axel Kazis-Taylor, Frank Zhang, Luna Wu, Nate Smith, Raveena Panja, Sawyer Smith
My Role in team : Tech Artist, 3d Modler
Greensong is a narrative adventure about an aging community of friendly animals.
Set in a mystical forest at the base of a mountain range, players take the role of The Fox, summoned to the woods by a spirit after a fire devastated one of the area's most prominent landmarks: the Heart of the Forest. Shaken by the catastrophe, the various residents of the forest's retirement community have isolated themselves from one another, afraid to make the hike through the smoldering ruins.
Players are tasked with collecting the materials necessary to rejuvenate the Heart of the Forest and send the woods down the road to rebirth.
The game was intended to discuss emotional topics such as recovering from loss and trauma. The game inspires Danielle, mental health therapist, and Youtuber, to make a video that talks about this game as she plays through the perspective of a therapist. If you are interested, check her video here.
The Game was featured on IndieCade 2021 NYU Game Center virtual booth
For this project, I mainly focused on shaders, visual effects, and tech-art works. Sadly, one of our teammates had to leave the group for 2 sprints. So I shifted some of my focus to 3d modeling, rigging, and 2D texture for that 2 sprints. In general, I’m in charge of the in-game visual aesthetic for this project.
All materials in this game use our custom shader. We decided on a low-poly cartoonish look for the game from the first day, so I started building a cartoony toon shader. The toon shader takes lights from the environment, recalculates that, and maps the result with a toon shader graph. It outputs a cartoonish look that can be modified with specular and tint color easily. It can also adjust how much light the material will grab from the scene, which is helpful in place with funky lighting. It also allows color variation, so one tree material can produce different shades of green in different trees. This toon shader later evolves into so many things, including the emission shader, Vertex movement shader. We also made a shader for the terrain to render the cartoony looks on top of the texture paints.
The skybox shader and the water shader are the two that I’m most proud of. With the skybox shader, the developer can adjust the sky color in different heights and how they blend. The thing I like the most is that developers can customize the cloud movement and water ripples movement with those two shaders. And since all movements are happening in GPU, it didn’t affect the performance much to get a great effect.
To get better performance, I also implemented the LOD system. It works well with the vertex movement shader and fog. So the scene is lively and detailed nears player, and the layered background won’t kill your machine. I was struggling to get the dithering effect done during phase change. Luckily, it was finished at the last minute, so shifting from one LOD level to another will have a nice fade-out and fade-in effect.
For the environment design, I made three particle systems, including smokes and flying leaves to juice up the liveliness of the forest. We have 4 post-processing effects that gradually transform the mood of the scene from bleak to cheerful. I would say that making those 4 effects and tweaking the color is the task that I enjoyed the most during this whole development process because it feels beautiful to see what we have got this far 🤩
Through the 6 sprints, I kept developing models for the environment and NPC. We create the figure of 9 tail fox based on ancient Chinese mythology. In Classic of Mountains and Seas, a Chinese classic text and complication of mythic geography and beasts, 9 tails fox was the forest’s protector named as “Qing Qiu”, which means “Green Hills”. This is also where our title and narrative of the game come from. I’m so glad that I can embrace a part of my culture as a Chinese in the narrative of the game
In the end, I would love to thank all my teammates ❤️❤️ it has been a pleasure for me to work with our team through the past 4 months to make this project that we are all super proud of. We are located worldwide in different time zones, but we are super understanding and caring about each other throughout the period. It has been a wonderful experience working with all of you ❤️ Also thank you, Clara, for all the helping on the way; we couldn’t make it without you 😘