Want to create a treasure-hunt level for your game, complete with pirates, gunboats and lost islands? Or a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with zombies? Chances are that whatever adventure world you’re imagining, Synty Studios has published a complete Asset Store package to help you realize it. You can get your hands on all of these and more, including world-building systems and AAA-quality Snaps packages, at over 90% off during our limited-time Asset Store Mega Bundles sale.
The 3D designers behind Synty Studios are living the dream: creating cool content, helping game devs get stuff done, and enjoying the freedom of working for themselves. They started publishing on the Asset Store in 2014 when co-founders and 3D artists Mike Clephane and Andrew Stairs launched the Simple Town cartoon asset pack, a blocky modular city designed for fast and easy prototyping and game design.
“We both had full-time gigs, but really wanted to have more freedom, whether it would be getting more funding to work on our own personal projects or just being able to eventually get freedom from the corporate life,” says Mike. "Within a few years as asset publishers, Andrew and I were able to quit our day jobs and go full time at Synty Studios. It was always a dream – but with the Asset store, we were able to make it into a reality. It’s been a hell of a ride.”
Today, the small New Zealand-based team has a whopping 78 packages on the Unity Asset Store, each with built-in storytelling potential.
At first, Mike and Andrew stayed with their Simple series of cube-based, low-poly landscapes and figures that work well on low-end mobile devices. But they started to feel stuck in the style’s restrictions and wanted to explore more detailed work.
“We looked at a bunch of references and settled on a hybrid mix of our Simple series (color and modeling techniques) and the up-and-coming popularity of faceted assets,” Andrew explains. “Being modelers, this mix worked perfectly because we got to spend most of our time in Maya modeling rather than doing too much texture or Substance work.”
This fusion defined Synty Studios’ iconic polygon style (this massive POLYGON – Apocalypse Pack is a good intro to the look and feel of their creations), an aesthetic they’ve spun into myriad thematic packages. Each of these toolkits offers a comprehensive set of stylized art assets that Unity users of any skill level can simply drag and drop into a scene.
“I like to bring our worlds to life with the characters we create,” says Andrew. “We try to simplify each character to its bare elements. Our Simple Series was a great example of this as the character models are so basic. It's a few core features that make it instantly recognizable.”
In 2017, Synty Studios won an award for best artistic content on the Asset Store for their POLYGON - Pirate Pack, which they call one of their biggest achievements.
Both Andrew and Mike draw from a deep well of experience in digital art, modeling and game development. Mike started training in 3D animation right out of high school, later working for large and small game studios as well as on big-name films like The Hobbit and Planet of the Apes. Andrew studied design, then architecture, eventually finding his way into the games industry through VFX. He says that he is always tinkering with game ideas in his spare time.
As Synty Studios expanded, the team has had to shift their focus. “Support has always been a challenge. But as we grew and released more content, it meant that we had to support more stuff. Keeping customers happy is the number one priority for any publisher,” Andrew explains. “It's not as much fun as creating new content, but that's the core of what we do. We create a technical product that needs to be supported and maintained.”
“Helping others realize their dreams is also really important to us,” Mike continues. “We get thanked all the time by people who have heaps of coding knowledge but can’t make art themselves.”
The team has found their assets popping up in all kinds of places, from an episode of UK’s The Gadget Show to super-fun Aussie indie game Pummel Party. Idoneus Digital even deployed Synty Studios assets in Argonaut, a motion capture-based application designed to inject some fun and excitement into hospitalized children’s rehabilitation therapy sessions.
“I think a lot of our ‘fans’ like to play around with our assets, and they use them to learn or just have fun,” says Andrew. “For a lot of them, it's like digital Lego. I like to think our assets make people happy when they press play in Unity and they have successfully brought our characters to life with a system they just spent hours refining. That moment is what it's all about.”
Want to add a little Synty Studios magic to your project? Get up to 17 of their asset packs at over 90% off in the Synty Studios Mega Bundle until December 30.