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  • Orchestrating Gameworlds: A Prefab Primer

    - Nathan Cheever

  • The Concept

    Every scene can be made with a number of prefabs. Take a look at the following diagram as an example:

    Now let's see how prefabs let several people work on the scene:

    The Art Team works on the Ground Terrain A location:

    • Artist 1 models Building D with indoor lighting to be used in 2 locations.
    • Artist 2 models Building C to be used in 4 locations.
    • Artist 3 models Building B to be used in 3 locations.
    • Artist 4 models Building A with indoor lighting to be used in 4 locations.

    Artist 5 is lighting the whole scene. Some lighting features on-off logic with Gameplay.

    The Audio department is working on ambient Sound for the scene, mixed with Gameplay.

    The Design Team is providing gameplay to the Ground Terrain B location:

    • Designer 3 is creating a generic prefab for assigning AI and stats for a Train Event.
    • Designer 2 is creating City Tower logic to be used in 4 separate places in Ground B.

    And lastly, Designer 1 is providing gameplay for the overall scene in the Master Scene.

    When any person is finished, they check their prefab into Source Control to share with the rest of the team. When the master scene is opened again, any existing prefab is updated with the latest changes. When new content ready, the user should be able to pick them from the Resource Browser to add to the scene without restarting the editor.

    Example Scene

    Let's group areas in a scene into prefabs, allowing several people to work on each area:

    A Designer takes a city block and creates a series of prefabs from it:

    • Each building is named appropriately and saved as a prefab.
    • A city block of prefabs is saved as one sector (optional).
    • The master scene is now a framework of roads, game logic, prefabs, and sectors.

    Artists individually open each prefab building to edit it:

    • They can replace the stand-in model with a final version.
    • They can even add new objects like doors, windows, lamps, lights, etc.
    • They can open the sector to understand relations between each building prefab.

    When a Designer re-opens the scene, all prefabs are updated with changes the Artists have made.


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