Hurtling through endless cloudbank! - WIP... help? =)


Hey folks! I’ve had an interest in real time VFX specialists since I read this topic, so I’m excited to have found this forum…! I’m a very minor indie game developer (program in C#/Unity3d, model & animate (badly) in Blender, paint / texture Krita/Gimp) working on a pitch for a mid-sized first person puzzle game.

The game setting requires banks of rushing clouds pushing past the locations that the player investigates. The sun illuminates this environment, but it does not pierce through and when the clouds part, they only reveal further distant enormous banks of cloud and the distant dots of your neighbouring airships. (A little like the backgrounds of these Howard Hughes dogfights… but close, suffocating like the intro to The Kingdom). Bioshock Infinite is a good reference, but it’s way too bright and airy…

I’m trying to do this without going ham on particles as I’d like to make the game work on as many systems as possible… and there’s also a slight retro aesthetic to the design, so I’ve plumed for scrolling uv shaders with alpha mask textures (Blender doesn’t support exporting vector alphas). This results in a bunch of overdraw, but nothing like what pumping out multiplying particles would create…

Unfortunately, I’m not quite there in terms of sheer density - I really want the surrounding clouds to seem impenetrable, gargantuan… I’m not there yet, and honestly I think I need some advice from experienced hands.

Can anybody give me some advice on particle usage, skyboxes, lighting or… really, anything else? I’m loath to just keep layering cards, given the overdraw…!

Thanks for reading this. Any assistance is much appreciated.


PS: I have some examples of the project that I can upload in my next reply - unfortunately I’m restricted to two links for my first posts as a new user. My regards to VFXBot, by the way, that’s a nifty forum tutorial…

I’m also aware of some amazing cloud work (including a competition!) on clouds in this forum, but a lot of it is for Unreal and I’m unsure of how much it relates. Something of a VFX newbie here…!

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I’m hoping this won’t be considered a double-post - I’m just trying to provide some useful reference here.

Here’s a webplayer and here’s the project.

I’m aware of some AMAZING work done with clouds on this forum, but a lot of it is for Unreal and… I’m not sure how much it relates to my goals.

If anybody can suggest some games I should be studying as an example, I’ll do my best to check 'em out.


Well, building a custom skybox has definitely improved things. Does the very light dusting of particles have any perceptable effect for you folks?

I’m wondering now if I need to try and copy @JangaFX 's techniques here (or basically copy the awesome Doom 2016 sky…!). Should I write my own Unity shader or try to build this with polygon models? Should I build a custom skybox model and use that to flow offset coord parallax textures around the environment?

Also need to alter that shader a little so that I can tint the sky on the fly - hey, that rhymes…!

Again, critique and suggestions much appreciated. Happy to share any materials from the project.


PS: By the way, I should mention, all models in the demo are NOT intended for the game and were mocked up over a few minutes. This is a shader test…! =D