Guide to Making a Beautiful Game: How I Built a Principal Office = Finale!

Hello all!

This weekend, I built a Principle Office for my final in this course! I used everything I learned to build this, and it looks great! Check it out!

That fog through the window… The battle was harsh indeed.

Step 1 — Setting Up the Room

First things first, you must set up the room. Place all the objects where you want them, especially if you want to use URP or HDRP. If you start in a different pipeline, anything you drag in that is not part of the pipeline you chose will be pink and you will have to change the shader every time. Once is enough!

You also don’t want to start with lighting or post processing. Start with no filter to see how things will be and if they look good before adding a filter, then you can only make it better!

Step 2 — Choosing what Render Pipeline to Use

Like I was saying before, if you want to make a game that is running on a low-end system or smartphone, choose SRP or URP. If you want to run on a high-end PC or console, choose HDRP!

I chose HDRP to harness all the possibilities!

Step 3 — Fog and Lighting

Even in a room so small, fog can still bring some real awesome effects to the room! I’ll get to how I lit up fog in a bit though… Bad times.

In my scene, I added an overhead light, a set of sconces, and a desk lamp for indoor light, then added a “sun” to shine light through the window.

That window was a battle… You would think that light would just pass through a clear window. It won’t at all until you change some settings on the linked material. After several frustrating minutes fiddling with it, enabling Alpha Clipping was the key! Still though, that effect is the best!

Lighting in games can really mess with your performance. When you are making movies, the software takes time rendering each frame and if you make the scene with several lights and effects, the longer it takes to render the frame. On the other hand, when making games, the software is supposed to render several frames per second, so just keep that in mind when trying to make a scene! When running my scene at UHD(2560x1440), I am running at 55 FPS. That’s pretty good for rendering that light beam from the window!

Step 4 — Light Probes and Baking Lights

Light probes make a more realistic light but require items to be contributing to the global illumination (GI). When you make an item contribute to the GI, you start making baked lightmaps. Baked lights are lights that won’t move in the scene. Example, if you move an object with a shadow, that shadow will remain.

Baked lights are awesome but won’t make moving shadows in your game scene, so we need a mix of static and dynamic objects and baked and real-time lights!

  • Static objects typically won’t move automatically contribute to the GI for baked lights.
  • Dynamic objects are moveable objects like the player or enemies. Real-time lights and light probes are used for these objects.

Set up your light probes all over the room, then set random objects to contribute to the GI. I set a piece of the ceiling, the sofa, and rug. These items reflect light for the light probes to give our dynamic objects a more realistic lighting!

Step 5 — Post Processing, Reflection Probes, Dust, and Decals!

Now that everything is in place and lighting is taken care of, let’s add post processing! I added bloom for better lighting, color adjustments to compliment the sun beam, ambient occlusion for some awesome shadows, and vignette to make a dark ring around the camera! Things look great now!

Reflection probes and screen space reflections are used to make accurate reflections in your scene! I added a mirror to demonstrate that.

I used the particle fog from the control room to make my dust flakes by the window. I just made them much smaller and aimed them down.

Then I used GIMP to make the words on the whiteboard. I exported a .PNG of the words, put it onto a material with the shader HDRP/Decal, added it to a decal projector, then aimed the projector at the whiteboard! That seemed like a great way to go in a principal office.

Here are a couple more pictures of my scene! I had so much fun making the control room and this office!

I will see you on the next course!

Thank you for your time!



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Marcus Cohee

Marcus Cohee


I am starting Unity and learning the ropes as I go! Let’s take this journey together!