Monument Valley is a stunningly beautiful iOs game, set in an Escher-like world with carefully crafted levels. While the game is short (I finished it in about one hour), its calm beauty and mind-bending puzzles really do leave an impression.
Several readers already spotted Blender in 'Behind the Scenes' video of ustwo studios and I had a chat with David Fernández Huerta about the role of Blender in this project.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi BlenderNation! My name is David Fernández Huerta, and I'm an artist and animator at ustwo games, makers of Monument Valley. We're based in London.
What does your studio's workflow look like?
"[Blender is] as powerful as any other professional 3D software"
We made our game in Unity, so the first step is to design the levels in Unity's level editor using a set of basic 3D shapes. Once we're happy with the design of the level we take a screenshot and bring it to Photoshop, where we decide what the level could look like (although it always changes along the way). Then we create the custom meshes and textures for the level using Blender and Photoshop, and combine them using TexturePacker, so we can optimize texture sizes, UVs, etc. We import these new meshes in Unity and build the actual graphics for the level, creating any new materials or particle effects we may need as well. Finally, we bake a lightmap (in Unity) and make our final adjustments. After that, we leave the level rest for a couple of weeks, and then get back to it and tweak or improve any rough edges.
(Blender appearance at 1:30)
Why did you decide to use Blender?
It's free, and as powerful as any other professional 3D software.
Was there any Blender feature that particularly helped you create Monument Valley?
As an animator, I found the Action Editor extremely useful. I also love how flexible the armature system is, and the fact that you can modify your rigs and don't lose all your animations like in other major 3D packages.
How did you design the Escher-inspired scenes? That must be hard with conventional 3D tools?
Not really. Making graphics for games consists mainly in tricking the eye into believing things are what they look like and not what they really are. In this sense, Monument Valley is like any other game, only our tricks are different to the usual ones.
Which part of work are you most proud of?
Everything in this game is so different to any other projects I've worked on that it's very difficult to choose just a single thing. Being part of the team behind Monument Valley is what makes me proud.
Do you have a tip for beginning 3D modelers or game designers?
Think first, then draw, and finally model.