Aztez – A Game of Conquest and Brutality

Common Aztez Art Questions Answered!

We get these questions a LOT:

  1. Is Aztez 2d or 3d?
  2. How do you outline your assets in black?
  3. What shader are you using to create your look?
  4. Why make a game in this style?

1. Is Aztez 2d or 3d?

Aztez is indeed fully 3d! That's why it works with the Oculus. Our characters are skinned skeletal meshes with 3d animations. The only 2d assets we use are in effects.


2. How Do You Outline Your Assets In Black?

For the outline, we use the traditional real-time method of creating solid outlines; in the mesh, we create a shell of faces around the object whose face normals are inverted, and then we color that shell whatever color we want the outline to be. In our case, it's black. You can see what I mean by "shell of faces" in this image. The shell is not a separate object in the hierarchy, and it uses the same UV and texture. It doesn't necessarily have to be the same object and use the same texture, I'm just saying that this doesn't have to be complicated to be functional. AztezIs3DAndInk2

So unless you've told your game engine to render both sides of faces, then the object will look outlined regardless of what angle you look at them from. This is a primitive solution and any object with an outline of this kind is going to have some bad angles. But it ultimately comes down to the style of your game. And for whatever it's worth, it's substantially less intensive a solution than post processing shaders, since it's just a couple more faces. AztezIs3DAndInk3

3. What Shader Are You Using To Create Your Look?

As for our shader, it simply self illuminates everything 100%, but also allows me to adjust the black parts of a texture from black to grey to white. This shader powers 95% of our game's objects, and I simply adjust the grayness per environment layer by duplicating the shader, adjusting the greyness, and naming it appropriately. So all objects in the foreground use "Structural Swatch - Foreground", and all objects in background layer 1 use "Structural Swatch - Background", and etc. This way, there is consistency, and anytime I adjust the material, it cascades to all objects in that layer. AztezShader

4. Why Make A Game In This Style? 

First and foremost, it's because I think it's cool. Production sucks unless you're making something you actually like producing. But it grants us a massive advantage, which I have outlined in this image. Click it for fullscreen! Why-Black-And-White That's it for now! I hope this was insightful and useful. I will keep adding to this list as I remember more frequently asked art questions.

  • Lone Wolf

    Awesome write up Ben, it looks great! Even had me fooled for a while and thought it was 2D!

  • Patrick Brand

    Looks fantastic.

  • locotx

    *SarcasticTone* Uh Thanks Ben! My son wants to be a video game maker now. =)

  • Emmanuel Maya

    I’m looking forward to this game!

    • It’s looking forward to you!

  • Chris Wagar

    That inverted normal trick is so classic