Flat Worlds Dev Diary #1 - Steam Greenlight

Cool GIF

Flat Worlds is now on the Steam Greenlight. It is a space transport game built for VR.

You can view a teaser video here: https://youtu.be/3egkL6sN1LA

Cool gif huh? That's what's used to attract people as they go through the sea of games awaiting to be Greenlit.

At first I made this:
Static but okay

Had a look around at other greenlight games and saw all those flashy gifs used as cover images.


Now I wanted one too.

A lot of them though, were a bit in-your-face. I wanted to do something a bit more tasteful and subtle.

Then I had a thought - wouldn't it be nice if just the clouds moved?

I'm no GIF expert, but I knew to get those clouds moving, I needed to start by recording a video off the game. Luckily I had just used OBS (https://obsproject.com/) to record the VR demo used in the teaser video.

OBS also allows you to record part of a window on your desktop. So I fire up Unity, and create a video out of the scene editor view.

I could have placed a camera in the game, ran the game, captured the footage using ShadowPlay to get something better quality, but who has time for that. It was going to end up being a tiny gif anyways.

So I have my video - I needed to convert it to a gif. Luckily if you type in to Google: 'video to gif', you get http://ezgif.com/ as a first result, a great site that did exactly what I needed. So I create the gif, slap some text on it, and end up with a 20MB file. Steam only allows you to upload an image less than 1MB for this branding image slot.

Using ezgif, I applied lossy compression, colour reduction, and transparency optimisations, ending up at around 900KB. It took its toll but I was comforted by the fact that this gif would show up small on Steam, although I just noticed that the back cloud ghosts slightly as it hums along. It has a lot of frames, frames that I could have removed to achieve the same target, but I needed to keep those frames to keep the cloud movement smooth and allow it to wrap around the planet (to stop a sudden jerk).

I'm pretty happy with the result - if you look carefully you can also catch the water swaying which is nice.

Sorry for the imperfect loop.