Hoa's Software Guide
Updated: Nov 22, 2018
Ever since we started sharing about Hoa, many of you have asked about the softwares involved in its making. So here we are :)
The short answer: Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Maya, and Unity (obviously). Here’s how and why:
The 2D software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5
With a lot of painting involved in the background and other elements, Photoshop is a must-have for us.
We recommend getting it under the Photography Plan which will only cost you US$9.99 per month. It is a great bargain considering what this powerful software is capable of. Somehow Photoshop CC 2017 was not compatible with our graphic card, and it got quite laggy, so we stick with 2015.5 and it still does it job
The brushes will have their own detailed article later, but in general we used three types:
(1) Clean, fully opaque ink-like brushes for blocking in shapes
(2) Transparent watercolor-like brushes to emulate hand-painted strokes and textures
(3) Chalk brushes for blending and refining.
The elements were painted separately before being arranged into sprite sheets by categories (bushes, branches, tree barks,...). The sheets were then imported and sliced up again in Unity.
The 3D package: Autodesk Maya 2018
For 3D there are a few choices out there: Maya, 3Ds Max, Blender. We went with Maya, with which we are most familiar and proficient. Nevertheless, if you feel more comfortable using 3Ds Max, or you are on a tight budget and prefer to save some money with the open-source Blender, just go with it. They are designed basically for the same purpose, and you just have to choose the one that best fits your needs.
Our toon-shaded look did not require much use of normal maps, so we felt no need for sculpting software like ZBrush, and instead just painted the details directly into the diffuse map. This saved us some budget and at the same time slightly boosted the performance.
The game engine: Unity 2017.3.0
This last one is a no-brainer. You can't make a game without a game engine, and Unity is popular for a reason.
I've used both Unity and Unreal, and enjoyed both of them. Unreal's graphic quality is superb (although Unity is catching up fast), that's why they are good for realistic and AAA-feeling games like PUBG, Skyrim... . Meanwhile, Unity is more flexible in term of the types of games you can make with it. With a very well-developed set of tools for 2D, a less steep learning curve, as well as a much bigger community and Asset Store, Unity seems like a more friendly choice for indie and inexperienced developers.
Unity offers 3 plans for you to choose from:
(1) Personal (free, for companies with annual revenue or funding up to 100k): A good plan to start with if you are on a tight budget or still testing things out. It gives you access to all Unity core features for free, until your games start making more than 100k per year at which point you will not be allowed to use this plan anymore.
(2) Plus ($35 monthly or $25/month with 1 year prepaid, for companies with annual revenue or funding up to 200k): Even if your annual revenue is not exceeding 100k, upgrading to Plus is well-worth it. You will enjoy 20% off majority of items on Asset Store, can customize your splash screen, and a lot of extra benefits (plus the dark UI looks really cool).
(3) Pro ($125/month, unlimited revenue or fundraising capacity): Personally I will only upgrade to Pro when I am forced to (either because my games are making more than 200k annually, or the team gets too big). Otherwise, just stick with Plus.
Currently we are using Unity 2017.3.0. It was the latest version at the time we started. We decided not to upgrade unless there are really useful new tools, and with Sprite Shape and other 2D features coming, we might have to do that very soon.
That's it for our software guide. We hope this was helpful and that we have answered your questions.
What you want us to share next? Do drop us more questions and suggestions in the comment section below, share if you find this helpful, and we’ll see you in the next blog post. Stay tuned! :)