Chapter 6: Envisioning Cinderella's World
Creating the Environments
I had a lot of fun with this one- I had a few sketches of how I wanted the world to look, and was able to find some really nice 3D assets for Cinderella's house, surrounding farm, the woods, the Prince's Castle, and the inside of the castle and Cinderella's house. I laid out the basic sets- houses, trees, mountains in the back- and then added in objects that were needed for different activities. I spent extra time trying to add in some fun decorations to spruce up the sets and make them more homey, and then towards the end of development I went in to adjust the lighting. That ended up making one of the biggest differences- suddenly the evening and interior scenes had a lot more magic to them. Instead of being just "less bright", there were candles, lamps, moonlight- it made a bit difference in atmosphere.
Not knowing much about the limitations of Unity, I put all of the sets together in one huge scene- Cinderella's house was connected to a path through the woods that was connected to the Prince's Castle. Exactly like in my sketchbook! However, our game got pretty sluggy pretty fast- it turns out creating every location in the game every time you load the game is kind of memory intensive. Scott did some experiments and found out by chopping up the sets, the game loaded a lot faster- so we cut up the sets formally into Cinderella's House, the path through the woods, and the Prince's Castle.
From a Sketch to 3D World
I sketched out all the locations by hand before I started on 3D- I've found it to be helpful to have a sketched out guide of what you want before jumping into digital art, so I tried to treat this project the same way. I planned out Cindy's house, inside and out, the castle, inside and out, and how they were laid out respective to each other.
Cindy's house ended up being a 3D asset so it's not exactly like the sketch, but it was helpful to have the drawing for placing other props (flowers, fences, lamp posts, etc). The interior castle sketch was the most essential- I was really starting from scratch, so having a visual guide to build out a royal ballroom was super helpful. Some of the decorations were riffed from what was included in asset packs, but I'm really proud of how it all came together.
I wish there was infinite time to work on projects, if there were I'd have gone further with the castle exterior. I did go back at one point and add in some rocks around the moat, torches, and a few other decorative elements, but if I had forever to work on this project I'd totally decorate this scene to the nines.
Setting up the File System
Prefabs, Scenes & Bugs
So when we dropped prefabs of each location into the scenes, we figured I could keep working on the sets, update the prefabs, and voila! The locations would update across scenes without any further effort. It worked like a charm, but after a while we'd start to lose changes Scott had made to scenes- we finally figured out, through much trial and error- that when you update the prefab, you erase any custom scripts, attachments, etc attached to a prefab in particular set. So I'd add a new flower pot outside the house, hit update, and the game would break every time had a scene outside the house. Scott came up with a plan- I'd get the locations as finished as I could, we'd update the prefabs one final time, then we wouldn't update them any more. Any changes would be manual. It added a couple extra steps to update assets in the locations, but at least I stopped overwriting scripts and attachments left and right.
Hi! It's me, Laura!