Elliott Ayling Elliott Ayling



Hanway Square 16,
London, England


+43 (0) 4213 215 235

The Railroad- Unity Project Write Up Neon Challenge Short Film

This is a copy of a post I originally made on Unity Connect, but as it is shutting down as of February 2021, I have reposted here.

My name is Elliott Ayling, and I’m a software engineer by trade. Feeling inspired by the Neon challenge and its submissions, as well as sci-fi and cyberpunk in general, I thought I’d give some environment design a go. Having no real experience on the art side of things, I relied entirely on the asset store for all my models, materials, and various other bits and bobs (full list below). I wanted to be as creative as possible within the confines of the models I could find on the asset store, without having to worry about scripting or code. Knowing the final product was going to be a recorded video, I also didn’t worry too much about optimisation outside of getting my bake times down. I’ve used Unity in the past for various coding projects, but they’ve never had a focus on the art, so this really was a great learning opportunity for me. Enough so that I restarted 3 times as I felt I could do it again, but better, with all the new knowledge I had gained. I had a lot of fun making this in my spare time, and already have lots of ideas for future projects I would like to try. But I think the next one will be on a smaller scale. I definitely learnt a lot about the art side of production, especially when it comes to lighting.

Old meets new in this cyberpunk mashup.


Making Of

Blocked layout.

Trying out some lighting.

Adding some buildings.

The only non asset store model here is the building on the left which eventually became the diner. I made using this the newly free ProBuilder.

Slowly filling in the scene.
Some transparency issues with the fog.

One of the first things I added into the scene was the volumetric fog, and the post processing effects. The fog really adds a lot of atmosphere to the scene, as you can see here:

Final scene.
No fog.

The post processing effects are also vital to the final scene as you can see in this comparison:

No fog, no post processing.
Fog on, no post processing.
Post processing, no fog.
Final scene.
No post processing.
Final scene with those lovely screen space reflections, and bloom.
After the major buildings and props have been placed.

The feature at the rear seen here, is just the Luminaris Starship from the asset store, with some pipes from the Pipes Kit layered over it. Both free and fantastic. The light is just a standard emissive.

The various dolly tracks I used from Cinemachine to control camera movement and drone paths.
My messy timeline.

Assets List




Covered Cars Free


Dieselpunk Hovercraft 01 PBR

Free Space Ships– The ships flying overhead.

Futuristic Robot MK-01

Idle MoCap

Industrial Storage Tanks – Tanks next to and behind the railroad cabin.

Instant Screenshot

Low poly combat drone- The final drone seen in the video.

Luminaris Starship

Man in a Suit

MCS Female

MCS Female: Sci-Fi Bundle 01


MicroSplat Puddles, Streams, Lava & Wetness – For the puddles and wetness on the terrain.

Modular City Alley Pack– For the lower buildings and a lot of the props and assets around the scene, including the Chinese lanterns and some of the signage. Really great asset for modular building.

Modular Diner Interior

Move Motion Free Pack – For the walking animations.

Neon Signs Asset Pack– Can’t have a neon city without neon signs.

Old Fund– For the entire back wall, and courtyard, as well as a lot of the props around the scene (including the old car). I found this set difficult to use modularly, but it’s fantastically made.

Old Television PBR FREE

Phone Booth

Pipes Kit



Railway Tank 15-1427 (Soviet Locomotives)

Rain Drop Effect 2

Realistic Tree Pack Vol.1

Renderpeople Free Rigged Models

Sci-Fi Scout Drone– The drone that we chase in the video.

Scifi Asset Pack 1



TE-109 (Soviet Locomotives)

Telephone Booth

TextMesh Pro

The Butcher

UBER – Standard Shader Ultra

Ultimate VFX

Victorian PBR Streetlights

Hologram Shader

VolumetricLighting – For the fog, point, tube, and area lights.

SlightlyMad/VolumetricLights – For the spot lights.

Post-processing Stack v2

Various public domain sounds from freesound.org.

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