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Charon : USC AGP 2022 Game

Role: Environment Artist

Year: 2022

Genre: Adventure

Platform: PC


Charon is a third-person action rower where you play as Charon, ferryman of the Underworld, who risks a treacherous journey to help his friend reach her lost lover in the afterlife.



My Roles:

  • Collaborated with student-based team of 29 members to ship a Greek mythology-based narrative game in one year

  • Built 20+ modular stylized environment props: rocks, columns and statues through Maya, ZBrush and Substance Painter

  • Planned out trim sheets to save rendering time and add modularity to game

  • Unified all the material style by creating an export template in Substance Painter

  • Adjusted attributes in Unity Engine and laid out modular assets, skybox and shaders to finish scene


Purple - Key Palette of Underground

  • Based on Greek Mythology, Charon is based on the river connecting earth with hell, in which we decided at the very start to have an obvious "purple" color in indication of ominousity and danger. By doing that, we designed almost everything purple except for the characters on the boat.

  • I made a skybox that is rather chaotic - a real life stone cave with oil paint filter, and with a strong purple color overlay.

  • Although players can barely see anything on the sky, the ambience gives lots of purpleness to the environment.

Trim sheet - My first trial of optimization

  • My art lead @CarysGooi specifically asked me to make trim sheets for the pillars in game. I at the same time was very willing to learn this new concept so I took the challenge of optimizing the environment.

  • It was the first time I got in touch with technical art stuffs, so I was grateful I had the chance to learn trim sheet and how texture streaming works in games.

  • 3 pillars and 1 fountain are combined into one map, using 1/4 the texture streaming pool size. Because of this, we barely ran into any optimization issues for the game.

  • Broken pillars were cut in Maya so they functioned similarly as the existing full pillars.

Set Dressing - Modular design with stones

  • In making the cliffs, I made 6 variations of stones. Each rock is with less than 100 vertices. I modularly dragged the rocks and formed cliffs on the sides of the playable area.

  • Paintover is very helpful in this stage and @JackBailey provided us with great paintovers to work off of.

  • We entered greybox stage for 3 months, then we started filling things in and got somewhere after the end of 2021. It was a great progress.

  • Dealing with stones can be tiring, but extremely fun! Writing about this 2 years after I finished working with Charon, I found myself engaged in environment art much more than before. This exprience with rock-building really anchored my interest onto environment and tech arts.

(Early level design greybox)

(Paintover by Jack Bailey)

(First pass of set-dressing)

(Beta Gameplay)


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