Soar to new heights with D.R.O.N.E.

by Five Studios Interactive

Last modification: 25 Jul, 2019
5 mins

The fabulous Five Studios Interactive guys

Game development can be very empowering, where it’s no longer necessary to be in the same city or country as your co-creators. That’s what the Five Studios Interactive (FSI) guys have proven. Working remotely from Poland, Spain, and Austria (they actually met online while searching for solutions on the Asset Store) this team of developers has put together a fast-and-furious arena shooter.

“I was working on a game prototype and needed a good terrain solution,” Peter Rößl recalls. “Nate (Nathaniel Doldersum) and Tom (Tomasz Stobierski) individually offered the most advanced tools for my needs, so I reached out to them.” The three soon teamed up and collaborated on promoting and integrating each other’s assets, including TerrainComposer 2 (Doldersum), Relief Terrain Pack v3 (Stobierski), and Horizon[ON] (Peter Rößl).

Continuing the partnership, they added two more members to the team – Jakob Rößl, lead texture artist, and Ferran Galvañ, lead 3D artist – and dreamed up D.R.O.N.E. According to Doldersum, D.R.O.N.E. is based on Jakob Rößl’s [MoDuLaR] PBR SciFi Pack, combined with UBER shaders, as well as the team’s love of remote-controlled vehicles and user-created games.

Jakob Rößl, Lead Texture Artist; Tomasz Stobierski, Lead Graphics Programmer; Peter Rößl, Lead Game Designer; Nathaniel Doldersum, Lead Programmer; Ferran Galvañ, Lead 3D Artist

Fly a drone in your own arena

As a D.R.O.N.E. operator, FSI puts you in the role of a modern gladiator fighting for fame and reward throughout interstellar tournaments. As Jakob Rößl states, “We are creating a game full of excitement but free of human violence. It’s fast, strategic, creative and inspiring. We fuel the adrenaline rushes with high-end graphics and an enjoyable level of user input like MinecraftD.R.O.N.E. is all about fun, speed and creating your own game.”

Once the game is available, players will be able to customize an existing drone or build their own, as well as craft, share and rate customized arenas set across myriad landscapes, ranging from dripping rain forests and scorching sierras to futuristic cities and far-flung galaxies.

Even though the platforms and delivery date are still TBD, the gameplay is well advanced and includes solo and team modes for furthering your conquests in your favorite arena. Early enthusiasts are impressed by the fast load times, the variety of terrain, and details like mind-blowing weather.  

Let there be light, and instant terrain

 D.R.O.N.E.’s beautiful and amazingly detailed terrain and levels can be created quickly. FSI employs an Arena Editor, which players use to create their own worlds.

The Arena Editor lets players quickly create stunning worlds.

During the development of D.R.O.N.E., Doldersum perfected his TerrainComposer 2, which the team makes great use of. As well, they added custom shaders for some impressive visuals. Jakob Rößl confirms: “The Unity Shader enables you to create a terrain shader that textures easily for creating natural-looking cliffs, peaks, and dropoffs. This means you can automatically apply grass, dirt, and cliffs exactly where you want them.”

D.R.O.N.E.’s custom interlocking mesh capability is another pillar of gameplay, as Jakob Rößl explains, “The Arena Editor uses what we call the ‘puzzle system.’ With it we let you snap together premade meshes intelligently, giving you nearly 1000 different ways to piece objects together with a natural look and feel.”

Economical collision geometry provides fast rendering and realistic physics via the Arena Editor.


Bringing the rain, without the pain

D.R.O.N.E. uses Time of Day to control gorgeous sunsets and sunrises that dramatically change your unique creation. For wide-ranging precipitation and storms, UBER shaders were used, courtesy of the team’s Stobierski, which he describes as a “standard shader on steroids!”

UBER shaders take gameplay up a notch with dramatic weather.

As far as physical settings go, builders have a cornucopia to choose from, including lush greenlands, frozen tundras, lava fields and more. And to seamlessly move from one to another, FSI taps Unity’s Multi-Scene feature, as Doldersum underlines, “Everything environment-related we put into another scene, which allows us to swap the environments in less than a second.”


Unity's powerful rendering easily handles huge numbers of dynamic objects.


Even with all the customization, D.R.O.N.E. arena payloads can be stored efficiently and cost less than 400KB. The buff node-based system is what allows the data to be compressed, resulting in file sizes more than 20 times smaller. And despite a staggering overhead of dynamic objects with physics and decals, powerful rendering is achieved. Concludes Stobierski, “Unity’s DX11 cleans up everything sweetly and gives us an amazing performance, which is so crucial for our adrenaline-hungry pilots.”

  • 3ds Max
  • Unity
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