Player tool model

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’d started to mock up some ideas for the player character’s tool model.  To keep things simple I decided to just have a single “universal” tool, and over the past couple of weeks I’ve been developing this idea further.

The model

I wanted something relatively compact that wouldn’t get in the way, but still could provide useful feedback to the player.  I settled on an appearance that references VR controllers and the like, and also takes inspiration from some great ideas from the GearBlocks community!

First step was to model it in Blender.  My modelling skills are rudimentary at best, so I like to keep things pretty simple, but I think it turned out OK.


By the way, the handle has the same radius as an axle in the game, and is designed to fit into the player character’s hand!

Status display

Then after dropping the model into the game, I got to work implementing a status display for it.  This uses the Unity UI system with a world space canvas positioned just behind the tool’s transparent screen.  I customised the UI shader slightly so that the UI elements are emissive with an HDR colour, making the display glow brighter than its surroundings (looks pretty cool at night!)

Builder tool display, mostly empty right now, but in the future will show the status of some options that I’m planning on adding:


Material tool display, shows the currently selected material:


Linker tool display, shows which link types are currently selected to be edited:


Painter tool display, shows the currently selected paint colour:


Particle effects

Lastly, I worked on improving the builder tool “energy beam” effect a bit, and added another effect (a glowy sparks thing) to represent the source of the beam.


I also trigger the glowy sparks effect when the material or painter tool are changing things (I’ve removed the old paint spray effect).  I’ll probably have to revisit these effects (improve their appearance, maybe add sounds etc.) but for now they’re a decent step in the right direction.

This video shows everything in action:

OK, that’s it for this update.  Thanks for following along this year, for your invaluable feedback, and as always, thanks for your patience with my slow pace of development! 🙂

Happy holidays to you and all the best for the new year (here’s hoping it will be an improvement on 2020!)

New gears now in the game

This week I’ve been working on a Python script for Blender to procedurally generate the meshes for all the various gears I need.  I’ve also added support in the game for crown gears, which engage with neighbouring spur gears at 90 deg.

Next I’m gonna extend the Blender script so it can generate a rack gear mesh, and then have a go at implementing support for rack gears in the game.