Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Alba is a small open world ‘chillectathon’, that sees you play Alba, a young girl on holiday with her grandparents on a beautiful spanish island. Alba’s adventures in ‘Pinar del Mar’ will see her take on animal photography, wildlife preservation and even uncovering grand political conspiracies.

Developed by ustwo Games and relased for Mobile, PC and Switch, you can find out more about this game at!

“Not only have ustwo created a world that is stunning to look at, but they’ve crafted a narrative that boldly shouts that this girl can.”

Photo landscape

My work on this project was primarily as a Graphics Programmer and Technical artist, and my focus was split between
a. making the game look as beautiful and authentic as possible (easy) and
b. making an ambitious open world game run on ancient mobile hardware (less easy).


My work on Alba involved a lot of fun elements that helped bring the natural world of Pinar del Mar to life. Countless natural effects, a dynamic time of day system, skies, clouds, plants, terrains, a huge number of systems go into running and open world like this efficiently.

Night duckweed

One of the systems I’m proudest of is the oceans and their interaction with the island. This is something that most games will fake, cheat or sidestep completely but we really wanted to do something special here.


Our level design tools were semi procedural, and the island layout was in flux, redesigns and the shape of the coastline changing often, we knew that whatever solution we used would have to be automatic, procedural on top of being beautiful and performant.

Our eventual solution utilises a variety of dense data textures generated at compile time, using signed distance fields, height maps, pre baked noise and a sort of modified, velocity aware flood fill (our secret sauce), to generate waves that would believably flow into shore side terrain, while being completely stateless and lightning fast to render.


Alba also had to support some particularly old, early 2010s era mobile hardware, so we had to make sure that we could achieve all of this in a format that would be able to gracefully scale down the performance spectrum.


While the world of Alba is compact, it is incredibly dense, and open in a way that didn’t allow us to hide much at any given time. Almost every part of the game is potentially visible from every other part of the island at all times and the design of the game meant that almost everything had to be loaded into memory at once!

A lot of the work done in this field is hopefully invisible to the user, but Alba involved a LOT of memory optimisation, a lot of investment into instancing systems including a custom compute based grass system, a system for baking lightmaps while preserving our dynamic time of day and a lot of work with the art team to help them optimise assets.

albaTerrain.gif Our terrain system was optimised for maximum interest with the minimum number of texture reads.