Vertical Slice

Weight: 15%

Due: Week 6 (February 26th, 2018)

Now that framework is completed, we need to answer the rest of the outstanding questions regarding your pipeline. Vertical Slice is designed to solve the final pipeline you intend to use, and supply your director (in this case, me) with a talking point so that the pipeline can be approved.

Examples of things you need to tackle in Vertical Slice include:

  • Final Modelling Pipeline
  • Final Shader passes
  • Final Lighting Model
  • Final Post Processing Model
  • Final Camera Attributes and Settings
  • Final Controller Scheme
  • Final Blueprint Pipeline
  • Final beat and pace section of a level
  • Packaging and Deployment
  • Finished Beauty pass on Concept Art
  • Polished animated sequence

So, why Vertical Slice? Vertical Slice puts everyone on the same page before you invest many, many hours into your project. It gives us an end goal that everyone is excited about, and a target to hit. More importantly, it gives time to iterate and refine those pipelines in the event that the proposed target doesn’t yet hit expectations.

Further, when you’ve had the chance to refine and polish the pipeline, it removes many questions during production, and you can now focus on hammering through the work without having to develop pipeline in situ.

It may seem counter intuitive to be working out things like final lighting and post-processing now, but keep in mind the value of reverse engineering things like shaders, and modelling based on and to work with your target output.

Vertical Slice is not your whole project!

Keep this small – think, a small portion of your final scene, a portion of your character model, something that supplies a good cross section of the materialism you’re trying to achieve.

For game and level designers, try for an objective segment of a single player game (complete with necessary feedback UI), core weapons or inventory for a gameplay segment.

Animators, target your final framerate and rendering pass(es). Focus on one small piece of animation or gesture and refine that to a finished piece to capture the final pass of subtle motion and body language.

Note that this milestone is specifically about quality not quantity. Scope is the first issue that gets messed up at this gate - keep it manageable! Having said that, be careful to select something which exemplifies a good cross-section of your project. For example, you don't want to pick something that would require 90% of your shaders to complete, but you DO want to pick something that has a good cross-section of sample shaders - how you'll accomplish a metal, a wood, an organic, a rock, a water... just not ALL of them within a category.