How to Make a First Person RPG game
As with all of our guides, we use Unity. Which is why we recommend it for your game. We often suggest purchasable assets. This is in your best interest for streamlining your project.
Our main purpose with these guides are to get your project up and running as quick as possible. So you can achieve optimal work flow, and spend more time doing the fun part. Designing your world and creating a game!
First Person RPG Genre
If you grew up on such classics as Skyrim, The Witcher, and Fallout 4, you’ve come to the right place. Thanks to huge advances in modern indie development, and access to nearly unlimited assets, it’s very possible to build your very own First Person RPG.
A big part of the experience for the players is being immersed in an open ended large scale wondrous world. Which use to take an entire team to make with custom coded software. Now it’s possible to generate worlds and populate them with randomized vegetation and props.
The current and most powerful tool in generating terrain and world scenes is Gaia Pro. Generate massive landscapes full of mountains, forests, rivers, valleys, rolling hills, oceans, and more, This should be the starting point for anyone trying to generate editable landscapes for your in game world.
Gaia Pro – Terrain & Scene Generation
When it comes to generating advanced and different types of terrains, there is hardly a limit in what you can do with the tools available to you on the Asset store. As you build a world for your adventurer to explore, keep these Assets in mind. Any good open world game will have different tile sets and themes of areas to discover.
Your typical starting zone and easier area for players. Not so overwhelming at the start and gives you time to build up to the harder areas. There’s plenty enough to get you started with whats in Gaia. Usually when you get into a good rhythm building these areas, you start wanting additional props and styles. Keep the look of these areas similar but not stale from repetitiveness. Our job is to present you with some great options
Bolster your forest, paths, trees, rock formations, fallen trees, wood, debris, and props.
Mountain Trees – Dynamic Nature
Bringing this starter type area to life a bit more, rivers always adds a lot of diversity. Also good to keep your options open for enhancing the type of area that will cover most likely 50% of your open world game.
R.A.M 2019 – River Auto Material 2019
Honestly, just clicking on almost anything by NatureManufacture alone should be enough inspiration for you to find exactly what is suiting to your green areas of your game. There’s too many potential options to list here.
Lava and Hot Zone
Typically the higher level area in most large scale games. But that really is up to you and your team. Flowing lava, volcanoes, glowing textures, heat wave and smoldering particle effects. There are plenty of ways to make a players immerse themselves into a hot zone on your world map. We recommend starting with this highly detailed lava asset.
L.V.E 2019 – Lava & Volcano Environment 2019
No need to stop there. There’s other great assets from other publishers that can really add to this part of the world. Perhaps you would like to do certain areas with some obsidian rock formations. Lava stones are also a great 3d prop addition. We also recommend this particular seamless textures for doing more wide open areas with lava.
Lets take a dive from the high smoldering lava flow mountains to the ocean. It used to be that most open concept games relied on water as an easy barrier. A simple way to prevent players from exploring into areas the developer wished to keep them out of. Also the logistics of traversing water would add extra development time. Almost all popular games have done away with this mentality and openly encourage players to go for a swim. Perhaps to seek treasure in the rivers and oceans. Fight water type monsters. As a means to cross into uncharted territory. What ever the purpose, it’s highly recommended to plan for water type environments in your project.
To start us off, You’re going to want a decent water system to begin with. This system is compatible with Gaia and will give your pristine and realistic looking water for your game.
Aquas 2020 – Water and River Sets
You’ll need more than just the water itself. Areas for your players to explore. This will involve your typical sand, rocks, and occasional vegetation. Rivermill Studios always puts together some incredible work. This underwater environment by them is no exception. It even includes, music, moving water weeds, animated jellyfish, and fish to get you started.
If you’re really on a role, and would like to implement more under water props to bring your water world to life, we have a few more suggestions. For your under water and ocean plants, Yughues has an excellent array of under water plant life. The sea fish package has plenty of animated fish to give your water areas that living ambiance. Some corals as well if you want a bit more of a tropical under water environment.
Underwater Plants v.2, Sea fish, and Corals
While your would be adventurer is swimming about, wouldn’t be much of a water environment without some properly placed underwater cave systems to explore!
Underwater Cave Environment Pack
Typically the more northern section of an open world map. Or even based on altitude alone. Some games even do a hybrid situation for having multiple snow areas. Truthfully, most players will never notice how true to real life you conform your cold and icy parts of your world. So build away on what feels right to you and your team.
The asset we recommend first for building a winter zone is Ice World. Another great addition by NatureManufacture. It includes everything prop and terrain wise you need to get started for building the snowy cold areas of your game. Snow covered trees. Icy lakes. Rock and cliffs covered in snow.
Adding some additional props and winter style of world, Winterland is a great addition to your world. This set is ideal for the more open and flat parts of your snow zone. Adding character without seeming empty and not fully developed.
There’s no great all in one solution when it comes to deserts on the Asset Store. But luckily there’s enough high quality separate packages to put together an amazing desert environment for your game.
When you picture desert, the Saharah is what obviously comes to mind. You want that endless rolling hills of sand look? Lost in an endless sea of sand. The perfect asset for that exist. It’s a great base for starting your sand zone. High quality texture and comes with a perfect desert skybox.
Sahara Desert Landscape
Areas for adventuring, puzzle solving, treasures, perhaps some way ward sand enemies. Ancient ruins go along perfect with your desert environment.
Modular Desert Ruins
Beyond ruins you’ll want a variety of props and doodads to keep things interesting between traveling vast distances of sandscapes. This pack has some of the best doodads you can find for a sand world.
Hand painted Desert Pack
Also some desert type rocks to add some variety to the surrounding terrain. Places to put traveling caravans. Excellent for use with hidden enemies to ambush the player.
Desert Rocks 1
Cities, Villages, Buildings, and Structures
Typically, every asset publisher that releases content to the Asset Store has their own signature style. Which sometimes makes it difficult to put multiple packages from different authors into one project. Luckily with a larger open world type game, you can easily use different styles of villages and buildings. Larger game studios will usually give separate villages or cities a unique look to set them aside from each other.
Man Made Structures
There are very few packages as complete as the next two we’re going to show you. This publisher has been working hard on making these be as complete as possible. Providing free updates over the last few years. Ultimate Medieval Constructor. Build towering castles that sit atop giant rock formations. Hundreds of prefabs for building houses as well.
Ultimate Medieval Constructor
Another asset Aquarius Max offers is the Ultimate Medieval Constructor. Which expands his work be offering more buildings and castles. Also some dungeons, caves, and temples. Definitely highly consider these two very complete packages.
Ultimate Fantasy Creator
Not that it all has to be purchased now. But when you get on a roll, this publisher has some great extras to really fill in the kingdom you are building. Reference back to here if you decided to add his other smaller packages. Fishing Wharf and Scaffolding. Survival Crafter: Housing and Structures. As well as Fantasy Castles Pack.
Fishing Wharf, Survival Housing, and Fantasy Castles
You are going to need a wide variety of normal city dwelling folk type objects. It’s assumed that your player will be able to enter some of the buildings. Interiors tend to look a little odd when they are mostly empty. Medieval Furniture and Props is a great place to start.
Medieval Furniture and Props
If you need to reference back to this page further in your development cycle, and are in need of more props, we have some more recommendations. We are also avoiding the low poly look for almost anything in a first person RPG. Low poly just doesn’t look good up close in game. And obviously everything should have the same style graphics. Medieval Props Package is some great work. PBR Tavern Props includes a very nice bonus demo scene. Medieval Props Pack has some great outside additional stuff.
Medieval Props, Tavern Props, and Medieval Props Pack
Caves and Dungeons
Obviously a major part of any 1st person perspective is exploration. What kind of game doesn’t come with many different caves and dungeons to explore among the way? For this section we’ll explore whats available in this section of the Unity Asset Store.
Probably the most popular set of caves on the Asset store. And for good reason K4 Manufactura has the look and feel down pat when it comes to a modular cave systems that feels unique yet eerie to explore. This is a highly recommended asset to start your cave building.
Underworld: Cave Environment
Adding another modular cave system to your arsenal never hurts. This one is also very highly reviewed. And depending on your different above ground areas, perhaps you’ll want some variation between the different zones and their respective caves.
The Cave System also comes with a variety of props and doodads. Runic stones. Bats and mice. Rusted metal grates. Old wooden lashed structures and walk ways. It really is a very complete cave system as the name implies.
The is a lot of cross over when it comes to the two. Many games start you in a cave, only to find a vast labyrinth of a hidden dungeon. Or vice versa. You think you’ve reached the end of a dungeon only to discover a deeper cave entrance that leads to an even larger underworld. It’s only suiting that we progress from caves to dungeons with this asset. The Cave and Dungeon Toolkit.
Cave & Dungeon Toolkit
Just when you thought this asset couldn’t get any better, you soon find out you can swap the textures between different tile sets. Mossy, Ice and snow, and sandstone. As well as the original look and design. It is an incredible asset that keeps on giving.
As with almost any asset, modular is typically the way to go. Which is why when we recommend assets, we almost always choose high quality modular ones. This is a great addition to your dungeon building work flow.
Modular Dungeon Pack
As we continue down path, or dungeon corridor we should say, it can’t hurt to recommend one more incredibly detailed dungeon asset. This one includes 100’s of prefabs. And even has some detail variation the deeper you go down levels. This one slightly leaning more towards the catacombs style of design.
Modular Dungeon Catacombs
Like with your game design concepts, there’s almost no limit to how expansive you can make your dungeons.
Loot, items, gear. The possibilities are endless. This is a big draw for a lot of players. Along with this kind of stuff, we tie into NPC’s and the whole questing system. Once we get into this part, the article becomes to large and varied to have only for 1st Person RPG’s. We have dedicated an entire separate article titled RPG Essentials. Which are the parts of RPG game building that work for both the top down and 1st person perspective.
Article > Devtoid – RPG Essentials where we cover the following topics and more.
- Inventory Management
- Loot, weapons, gear, and items
- Icon Packs
- Save Game
- Item Data
- Sound FX and Music
- Leveling and Experience
- Skill Tree Systems
Definitely bookmark that article for further reading later in development!
Usually you’ll want at least some form of customization of your players main character. Especially if you decide to implement multiplayer.
This is one of the hardest packages to find on the Asset Store. You want to be able to change armors and customize the character. A full character with animations and the ability to equip armors and change gear is near non-existent. Thanks to a ton of time and effort, we have the incredibly well developed Adam and Eva Adventurers.
Adam and Eva Adventurers
If you find that these characters are a bit too realistic of a style for your main character, there is a great alternative. Maybe not as complex customization, but they would be quicker to implement. The aptly named RPG Human Male Character and RPG Human Female.
RPG Human Male Character, and Female
Proper Prospective Arms
Even though these are excellent character choices, you’re still missing one very important factor. Every single 1st person perspective game uses a completely different set of hands presented in front of the camera. Trying to rig your model to properly show they’re hands holding a weapon, attacking, and interacting with objects is clunky and jarring. And there’s no reason to do it that way. This all starts off with a proper camera set up.
In unison with the camera controller, you will actually need separate arms from the actual model you are using. Especially if you ever implement multiplayer. But it’s also recommended because usually when you see hands that up close, they are not very detailed.
At this point in time, developers are usually doing this manually. This asset is the best thing that currently exists. You will need Mecanim for animation purposes. Also a way to implement glove and armor changes. Perhaps a publisher will jump on this opportunity and eventually release an amazing all-in-one RPG solution for this. For now, make sure to grab this asset.
First Person Generic Arms Pack
Props and Items
We’re assuming your world will be filled with a variety of items. Typically games these days no longer have a 3d object to represent every single item a player will have in their inventory. That doesn’t mean there is nothing on the ground or tables anymore though. Sure you may pick up some jewels off a body or out of a chest. But you still need that actual 3d chest.
Treasure and Loot
A classic item and prop type. Even if you don’t choose to show everything on the ground, we’ve never played an RPG that didn’t have treasure chests at some point.
Gems and Coins, Gold Coins, and Treasure Chest with Gold
Perhaps not quite as suiting for the game type we’ve built up here. Considering it’s low poly and stylized. But that doesn’t mean the texture artist on your team can’t update the models for a more realistic look. This is one asset that’s hard to pass up considering the quality, and amount of objects provided. They can be great placeholders until they are updated or replaced as well.
Fantasy Treasure Loot Kit
Weapons and Armor
Selection does narrow down a bit on the Asset Store when it comes to realistic weapons. As with the rest of this guide is themed, we’re going to assume you’re going for the slightly more realistic look. Think Skyrim. And not so much World of Warcraft. (We are writing an article on stylized RPG assets. So stay tuned!) So we will continue that trend. This is a great weapon set. Swords, shields, axes, and more. All very highly detailed and will look great being swung by your hero or a menacing Orc!
Medieval Weapons Collection
While we’re still on the topic of weapons and armor, we should mention these few assets. These are created by industry veteran InfinityPBR. We are slightly hesitant to include these in the list. Only because of the large file size. This publisher typically includes the actual Substance Painter files alongside with the 3d objects themselves. Which can be a huge bonus if you or someone on your team is proficient in Substance Painter. So if you have no problem with that, you have some highly customizable armors and weapons. Which is a major plus to any developer that is planning to make a lot of variation for their game to keep it exciting.
Weapons and Armour PBR Pack #1 and Armor Pack 1
If you are looking for inventory icons for any of this treasure, loot, equipment, armor or weapons; we will be providing a ton of assets in our RPG Essentials article.
You’ll eventually be scattering these throughout towns, cities, camps, and villages. Searchable containers trigger dopamine in your players. Don’t let them down and have nothing searchable outside! Give them these barrels, baskets, and more.
Something not really included with a lot of the village and city builder kits is light sources. This is an excellent little pack. Works great for interiors light sources. As well as exterior. Like walking paths and sides of buildings. And while we’re at it, some more barrels for tucking into building corners and alley ways never hurt. Perhaps some blacksmith tools as well. Really fill out this world.
Modular Medieval Light Sources, Barrels and Boxes, Blacksmith Tools
While we’re on the topic of miscellaneous medieval props, this is a suiting pack. Bones, skulls, skeletons, and even dragon skeletons. Perfect for cave systems. Or even throwing some bones in dungeons or abandoned houses. You’re imagination is the limit!
Bones & Skulls Pack
A great way to set up part of a quest. Or perhaps a random spawn that players can encounter. An enemy encampment makes your RPG world feel more immersive. It’s also fitting to actual medieval times. Many merchants, knights, travelers, and thieves camped as they traveled. Or would camp nearby roads waiting to ambush weaker groups.
Camp – Game Props
Enemies and NPC’s
It would be a very empty world if there was no enemies or random computer controlled players for your player to fight or interact with. For the most part, we’ll try and focus on complete 3d modeled and animated enemies and NPC’s that look great up close. There’s a wealth of creatures on the Unity Asset Store. But it’s paramount that the quality is reflected with the rest of the world.
This is one area the Unity Asset Store does not lack in. Monsters, creatures, humanoids. Everything you can imagine. There are thousands of different types and kinds. Which is great news for developers. This can incredibly speed up development time. Since we don’t know the specifics of your exact style of game, nor it’s inhabitants, let’s start with the basics!
Part of making your world seem more alive is adding creatures and critters. Some of which are a formidable size and are great in starting areas for new players. Hardly a better place to start that with this pack of enemies and wild beasts. Which contain all the starting basics like rats, ravens, scarabs, spiders, bats, and more.
Wild Life – Randome Beasts
These packs are an amazing place to start. With all the animations already being taken care of.
We’re going to assume that as your players progress, they will encounter tougher foes. Typically a progression like this has players encounters aggressive humanoid like enemies. So let’s look at some Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls.
Fantasy Horde – Orc, Goblins, and Trolls
Polygonmaker has a massive library of enemy types similar to this. Far too many too list in this article. Definitely check out the rest of their stuff when you’re considering enemy types for your game. Their stuff looks incredible close up which is what you want in a 1st Person Perspective game.
This next one has giant lumbering creatures, humanoids, and dragons. Probably end game enemies for the most part. Don’t let the price tag scare you away. This single pack can save you months and months of development time. One of the most complete packs we have ever come across on the Asset store.
Heroic Fantasy Creatures – Full Pack Vol: 1
We could list stuff all day from the asset store in this category. Instead just check it out for yourself from time to time as development progresses. Just bookmark this link!
Also known as non player characters. Which you would think would include enemies as well. But in today’s gaming, it usually means all other friendly characters that are not played by you or someone else. Your town villagers, blacksmiths, quest givers, etc. These characters should stand out with some difference in looks. But not too much. So a pack that allows for some variation is preferred. Fantasy Horde – Villagers achieves all that and more. Even including bonus items.
Attacks and Spells
Particle systems and effects can be somewhat complicated in Unity. Especial for beginners. Luckily for us developers, publishers have taken a lot of the pain and heart ache out of those jobs into the form of easy to implement assets. They have gone above and beyond what some of us even imagined making with these tools.
Most of the recommended enemy packs already come with animations. If you chose the recommended ones here. So you won’t have a lot of extra work involved with setting them up. Maybe a few gaps you might want to fill in. More importantly is your main character. There will be a wide variety of actions and animations you will want to eventually rig to your main. Casting spell motions, attacking, and generally interacting with the world around them. Animating used to be tedious and time consuming. Luckily for you, there’s a great solution for that. Mechanim by Explosive.
RPG Character Mecanim Animation Pack
Magic and Spells
Great news for developers implementing spells and particle effects. Publisher seem to love creating a wide variety. With so many quality ones on the store it will make choosing a particular set difficult. Which is a good problem to have.
Honestly it’s probably worth checking out the entire category and see what style fits your game. Enjoy!
Hit Effect Shaders
One very underappreciated effect added to games these days are the visual cues of attacks. We aren’t talking about sword swinging animations or the particles in a spell. There is a very real satisfaction of having a landed hit visually trigger an effect on the object itself. This is in addition to the animation from what ever is being hit or effected. Normally it’s subtle enough players don’t even realize its happening. Things like the entire enemy turning a white for a millisecond on impact. A slight shaking of the screen for a big spell or critical hit.
Don’t forget that the camera controller we mentioned earlier in this guide features a camera shake option. Utilize it without overdoing it!
Systems and Templates
Most of everything up till now has been more so the fun parts. You will have to implement multiple systems behind the scenes for some obvious reasons as you continue your development journey.
User Interface GUI
From the launching window of your game, to the many selection and character options, you will have a lot of UI design considerations. There are several very well put together UI systems. We typically like to recommend these three very well put together GUI’s to give you an idea of what’s out there. Even if they cover 90% of your UI needs in your RPG, that’s a great start.
The first Burnblade UI. The traditional RPG type interface. Followed by Demonic UI. A favorite of ours. Especially if you’re going for that darker Diablo feel. And third we have Emerald UI. A great take on a stylized UI without overdoing it.
Burnblade UI, Demonic UI 8k, and Emerald Treasure GUI
Controls and Controller Input
You’re going to be inputting a way for players to control their character no matter what. Keyboard and mouse are going to be obvious first choices. Even if you don’t release to console, tons of people prefer playing First Person RPG’s with a hand held controller. Rewired is an amazing asset that speeds this up. Yes, there are manual ways to do this in Unity. But a clean, all-in-one solution is so much more preferable. The earlier you get it in, the better off you will be.
Work Flow and Game Creation
As we mentioned before, putting every step into one article is a bit overwhelming for the causal indie developer. So we have made a separate RPG essentials article that will also cover the following:
- Gama Data
- Multiplayer Services
- Sound FX
Article > Devtoid – RPG Essentials
Between these two articles, that should be pretty much most the info you need to launch your very own RPG.
We hope that our article has served as a great starting point. There are a lot of different aspects to consider when building a game with this many types of systems. In an effort to be readable, yet informative, we hope this guide has served you well.
As with all of our content, this is an evolving work in progress. Comments and discussion is more than welcome! We update constantly to keep up with the evolving indie game market.