Hey guys! I’m happy to announce that I’ve got something really special in store for you. It’s a project I’ve been working on for a while and I hope you’ll look forward to it.
I don’t have a lot of screenshots to show you at this point, so you’ll have to settle for reading for now.
There’s a tl;dr at the bottom if you’d prefer.
So without further ado, let me present Project Placeholder!
[SIZE=5]- What is Project Placeholder? -[/SIZE]
Project Placeholder is an experiment to create a vast collection of high-quality placeholder and game-ready meshes, with primarily UE4 and Unity in mind. At the time of writing, I have created around 300 meshes, 100 textures and 200 audio recordings, as well as a few UE4 Materials, Blueprints, Particle Effects and Terrains.
But this is only the beginning of the beginning. I’ve looked through pictures of various games and movies and noted everything I could see and written a list of over 1000 planned assets and am currently checking it off, one asset at a time, and new things are added to the list all the time.
And the best thing is… all of this will be released for free.
While this many assets require a workflow that promotes quantity over quality, great care is still being taken to make sure that all assets at least have correct dimensions, low polycount, correct physboxes, sensible origins and read well enough for people to see what they represent.
The package will be released in the not too distant future, and thereafter constantly updated as new assets are created. I’ll try to batch the releases so one week I might release an update with various weapons, and the next week is dedicated to buildings, then spaceship modules etc.
…And that is only phase 1. If this experiment works out, I’m planning to eventually begin phase 2 where the assets will be remade and polished into photorealistic game-ready assets with 4K textures, multiple handmade LODs and rigs and animations where applicable. All free to dissect, modify or use as they are in any project.
- Why should I care about it? -
If free wasn’t enough to pique your interest, there are multiple benefits of using such a package.
- First is the timesaving aspect. With this you can instantly begin prototyping your game with no art roadblocks. Even creating a box to serve as a stand-in model will take more time than just using the search field to find a Project Placeholder mesh that exactly represents what you need. You can also use the placeholder meshes themselves as a base for creating the final assets or just a scale and shape guide.
…and if Phase 2 happens, it obviously means that you can use the high quality models as they are or just slightly modified for the final game instead of creating the assetse from scratch.
Second, by using this, all placed assets are ensured to be in a correct scale in relation to eachother and the player. This is especially important for VR projects as well as for accurate physics.
Third, it helps for planning and time estimation for your project. You can quickly tally the number of placeholder assets you are using in your scene. Create a couple of final versions of your meshes and multiply the average time taken with the number of placeholder meshes left in the scene and you can judge whether you will meet that deadline or if you should cut down on non-essential assets or hire more artists.
Fourth, you can begin alpha/playtesting at a much earlier stage and the people who test your game will be less confused as they interact with actual meshes rather than just coloured boxes, making the actual play experience more accurate to the final product.
For free? No seriously, what will it cost? -
Absolutely nothing! The plan is for it to be completely funded by Patreon.
- What are the benefits of pledging on Patreon? -
Without support on Patreon, this experiment will not happen. I don’t have an income, and while I’d love to do this for free, the truth is that I will need money to afford to eat and live. The more support I get on Patreon, the more time I can spend to work on this. If I get more than I need, that means I can hire additional artists to help finish this package faster.
If this experiment turns out out the way I intend it to, it can be a complete game-changer for the games industry, similar to what Twitter Bootstrap became for websites. I envision both large and small studios making use of this, and perhaps not only for games but for movies as well. By becoming a patreon for Project Placeholder, you will be a part of this, and as thanks, you will be immortalized by having your name or message on an obelisk in the package, shared along with all other patreons.
Pledging more will grant you additional bonuses, such as being part of the decision-making process to vote upon which assets should be made next to get the assets you need for your game sooner, access to early releases, additional textures, development videos and such. I haven’t thought about it too much, so if anyone here has an idea for what would be a good reward, please post it!
- I can’t afford to pledge. How else can I help? -
I get that. Many of us game developers are students or unemployed, eating ramen to survive day to day. That is why I wanted to release this for free instead of selling it. However, if you use this package to release a game and start making millions, I hope you would consider donating a bit at that point as a thanks.
Other than that, helping spread the word to other developers who might be interested in this is always appreciated. On gamedev-related Facebook groups, subreddits, forums and so on.
You can also help out by telling me what placeholders you consider essential for your project. Maybe I’ll notice something I’ve missed. However, the wishes and suggestions of the patrons come first, of course.
- Whoa, that’s a lot of text. tl;dr? -
Thousands of meshes, sounds, textures, effects. Released for free, but development is supported by Patreon. First release soonish, and will be constantly updated after that.
So, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this! Love it? Hate it? Questions? Suggestions?
Patreon link will be coming as soon as I finish that page. Please suggest ideas for rewards!