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For all Eternity

I didn’t do too many postmortems so far but I have the feeling this project deserves one. I love adventures. I love technology. I love 3D. And I am a bit too ambitious at times.

I created the concept for The Eternals with a multi-chapter story in mind, time-manipulation as a big element, an exciting story twist and a complex interwoven world where things that you experience in the very beginning suddenly make sense in the end and play an important role.

While that sounds all great to me, the flip-side of that is, it simply takes a lot of time. And, I strayed away from the path too much due to being too fascinated with technology. What I spent most time on retrospectively? Light-mapping. Sounds weird and it probably is. For me it sometimes has this aquarium-like, defragmantation-progress-like tranquility, seeing light and shadows transform even painfully bad programmer art into something that looks nearly acceptable or could be claimed to be some fancy art style.

The thing is, back in the days with Unity 5, this took hours. Literally. You would hit bake and then be surprised by some UV that you had missed which now caused black spots ruining the whole bake. So I fixed it and baked again. And again. What a waste looking at it retrospectively.

If there is one advice to follow, it is simplicity in all you do, focus on the main path, 80% is better than perfect, get a minimum viable product done. I preach this at work all the time but in my spare-time I am too easily distracted by technology.

After a big pause, the world has evolved a lot. Light-mapping my new project in Unity 2019.2 on a GTX 2080 GPU takes merely 20 seconds. SECONDS. With a much better and more realistic result. It is unbelievable. Shaders and render pipelines have changed. Unity assets became incompatible. Scripting APIs were deprecated.

Doing an import of the project shows quickly: it’s in a place where only a lot of migration work can really revive it again. And even then, it would not utilize the new concepts which exist now. So there is only one reasonable thing to do: Cut my losses, be happy about the many many learnings and fun hours and invest myself into a new, exciting project 🙂

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