Every RPG worth a damn needs to have some goblins! FoM is no different, in fact one of the first enemies you’ll meet in the game is a goblin. Like any other design we want our goblins to feel original and we want the story to back up their existence.
I started collecting tons of references for goblins and similar to mythical humanoids – a good way to know what to avoid and what to keep. In the end the most important thing in a good character design is personality. I wanted FoM’s goblins to have plenty of personality ranging from goofy to sinister.
Here’s few sketches I did.
Wow it’s been a crazy and turbulent month after GDC. We’re at a point where we need to get funding sorted which means presenting, negotiating, talking and waiting a lot. It’s tiring as hell, but we’re positive we’ll get there eventually. So because of the slightly draining circumstances we’ve completely neglected our public presence and the forum.
In case you haven’t seen our GDC trailer already:
So here’s a quick update for all of ya’ll.
Our week in San Francisco started with Game Connection where we had an insane amount of continuous meetings. Here’s a shot of Bendik and Erik at our table.
It was a great event and since we were part of the Selected Projects we had the chance to present our game.
Here’s Erik talking about FoM.
GDC was massive! Located in the entire Moscone Center there was a lot of walking involved and zillion things to see and experience. We were part of the Nordic Pavilion stuck in the middle of giants such as Intel, Nintendo and Sony. It was quite exciting standing there with our little indie game and we we’re lucky enough to get our own monitor and table!
Our composer Eiko Ishiwata came “all the way” from Vancouver to join us at GDC.
Where I met the one and only Tim Schafer.
Back at GDC we had a go with Oculus Rift. We were even featured in this Road to VR article!
Eiko is playing the VR version of Hawken.
Oculus Rift VR reactions featuring me and Eiko.
So that’s it! We’ll get more into specific outcomes of the conference in later news.
In other news – FoM is coming to WiiU!
Since GDC we have been getting in touch with all our new contacts – including Nintendo!
We recently announced that FoM is coming to WiiU and that SnowCastle is finally a Nintendo developer so there’s lots of stuff happening with that.
Here’s a few articles about our Wii U announcement.
We wanted to show you another little piece of our game; The Reckless!
The Reckless is Amon’s ship, his pride and joy, pieced together from scraps of salvage he finds in the desert. Like I showed you in the last post, it hangs in the dockyard while he works on it, but we want him to be able to take it out to explore more of the world during the game.
Figured I’d show the process on it. Frits did the concept art, I did a quick ortho, a color pass and the textures. The always excellent Thomas Pasieka did the 3D work on it!
First up; concept art. This is a collection of the sketches Thomas was given to work with.
Then Thomas set to work. Seeing as how we’re on different continents and timezones, we work via email, skype and dropbox and of course the Unity Asset Server. Typically I’ll come into work and find my dropbox updated with stuff like this, which brightens my day:
If just talking doesn’t cut it, we do a paintover with written descriptions. Here’s one of the feedback loops from Frits to Thomas:
Once the 3D models sits right with all of us, we jump into UV mapping and texturing. We use 3DCoat for pretty much all of our UV and texture work at this point. Here are some screengrabs, and a shot of the reckless in game once we finished up!
Have a great Easter, gang! We’ll see you again soon!
The SnowCastle Games team
Hey everyone! We haven’t been by in a while, sorry about that.
We’ve been keeping our heads down and working towards GDC and GameConnection in San Francisco, both of which we’re very excited about!
If any of you are going, it would be great to see you!
GDC Exhibit Area
GDC Expo Number 1432 (Nordic Pavillion)
We’ll be bringing some new footage and it would be great to see you guys and talk about games!
We are also nominated in the Selected Projects awards at Game Connection! We are honoured to see Festival of Magic up on the list! Click the banner below for more info on that, and keep your fingers crossed for us!
On another note, I thought I would show you some concept art for a new area we’re working on; the Dockyard. The Dockyard is located at the foot of Desert City which straddles the border between the sea and the desert.
I started as usual with a bunch of sketches and here are a few of them.
Quick note on this sketch sheet; it was done on a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″ tablet. If any of you concept artists see this, it’s a great choice for those of us who paint! It comes with a pressure sensitive screen and stylus. Coupled with the “LayerPaint” app it works great as a portable digital sketchbook!
This was done in photoshop as usual.
We discussed and found it too complex, it would be very expensive to create all the assets. The gameplay we have planned for the area didn’t really fit either. This kind of chaotic area sort of invites to go interact with everything, and we wanted to focus it on the house where the Dockyard master lives, and the Reckless (Amon’s ship, which he is constructing from stuff he finds in the desert. We’ll get back to you with more on the Reckless!).
Here is the cleaner, more to-the-point environment we ended up on.
I also did a production art sheet for our environment artist to work from
We’ll make a follow up post on the implemented area when we have it in Unity.
Oh! If any of you want to read a little more about Festival of Magic, Gamer.no wrote about us a little while back. It’s in Norwegian, but google translate does a pretty decent job of translating. Have a look over at gamer.no!
That’s it for me this time around. Take care!
This is the headline in Norway’s largest business paper today. The article notes that Festival of Magic was the big winner in the latest round of the Norwegian Film Institute’s grant program. This is the second round of funding Snow Castle has received for the Festival of Magic project from the Institute and brings the game a big step closer to release.
A great week at Snow Castle as we received word of the grant yesterday! With the new round of funding secured, we are moving firmly into production.
”We believe Snow Castle again will make a great game that both gamers and reviewers will enjoy,” says Kaja Hench Dyrlie, head of the Film Institute’s game section. Of course we couldn’t agree more. Now we are looking forward to GDC and the opportunity to show Festival of Magic there. Do drop by us at stand number 1432 so we can show you what it looks like.
We will also be at the Nordic Game Conference in May, so if you want to meet up with us there, give us a holler!
In other news, we also released a new and extended version of Hogworld as a free-to-play app this week. Initially it includes English, Spanish and German. We hope to add more languages soon. It looks gorgeous, especially on the iPad, so if you have one you need to download it right away!
Making of Plumpet Islands
We were not quite happy with the design of the previous harvesting island (see blog post). Problem with the design was that it was not scalable enough. We intended to add lots of stuff along the way, but the shape and size did not support this. Our Art Director did some new design sketches…
Although this design did make it more intuitive what the player could do, it was still not modular enough. So he made another where he split the different sections apart into separate islands.
This was a much better design for several reasons. We can now add new islands as we se fit. Also note how the harvesting island and mountain are built by combining simple rocks. We began to make pieces and assembled Plumpet Island (the island with the windmill above) and Barnacle Bay.
The house will be replaced with another, but we have simplified the production process without loosing visual quality.
In the previous harvesting island we made before christmas, we had the barnacles grow in the garden, but seriously – barnacles grow in the turf. With the new design we spilt spud production and pearl production (ammo for each Spud gun and pearl cross bow).
Both the mountain on the beach above and the island walls of Plumpet Island are constructed based on 7 different rock meshes. We have used Unity’s vertex paint shader to enable the green grass texture on the rocks.
That is it for now…
I wanted to show you guys some more desert concept art. Couple of posts back I showed some stuff from the Zenit Desert area. Back then we figured the area would end up in sort of a bowl in the desert with a temple ruin sticking out of one of the sides. We decided it’d be way cooler to approach the temple in more of a flat environment where it’ll be much more imposing sticking out of the flatter ground (also it eases our job with the camera, avoiding it clipping into sides of the desert that are higher up than the character).
The arid desert and the rocks sticking out of it is still in there though, but as the player draws closer to the temple, things take on a little more order to guide straight towards the temple.
As the player approaches the temple we’ll switch the camera angle to a more overhead view, but that’ll come in the screenshots later. I was tasked with developing the entrance area (and the puzzle you’ll find there) visually. So here’s a jumpcut to a closer view of the entrance.
That’s it for me for this update, but we’ll get back to you with more from this area soon!
Have a great weekend!
“Look! He’s just a little guy!”
No he’s not! And he’ll stomp your face in if you think otherwise!
The Crabler is in 3D, guys!
I’ve spent the past few days sculpting and texturing this badboy up. It’s been a fast and fun process. Actually probably one of the most efficient characters I’ve done in a while. It’s not a complicated character though, so that definitely has something to do with it.
I’m pretty happy with how the 3D turned out compared to the 2D art. It’s pretty much dead on with some minor adjustments that my art director really liked! Hopefully he’s going to look really cool animated in our new desert environment scene.
The process is basically the same as every other character i’ve done. You can check out the latestIvory post or jump on to The Miner for more on my workflow. Or check out some sculpting videos ofThunder!
Thanks for viewing. I hope you like it!
I’ve been working on Ivory for the past few weeks. She’s the female protagonist and is a contrast to Amon both in looks and background. She’s a ranger class and uses a crossbow with magic abilities. She’s arrogant, stubborn and independent. Here’s some of the progress making the In-Game 3D model:
As you can see she’s a very beautiful character. Now to make this look good in 3D we need 3 things: A well sculpted high poly model. A low poly model with nice topology flow. And great Texture maps. This is especially true when it comes to her face.
With characters like this I usually start with the head. It’s just a personal preference, but I think it’s easier to adjust the body to the head later when I have that done. So with the head I really need to get some likeness from the concept as fast as possible. This becomes a tweaking job very fast, because small adjustments can alter the look of a face drastically.
The texture and hair will help this alot.
I usually block in the underlying body after the head is complete. I use zspheres in Zbrush and try to focus on silhouette and shape. Just trying to get it as near to the concept as possible. After that I go into Maya and block in the basemeshes for the equipment and clothes. Then back into Zbrush for repositioning small tweaks and detailing.
When the sculpture is done, it’s time to do the low poly. I do this in Topogun. It esentially lets you paint polys on top of a high polygon model reference. This takes about a day on a character like this. And it’s important to think about animation when it comes to poly flow. The mesh needs to have enough polys where there is deformation. Like the face, knees, elbows etc.
The final model was rendered in Marmoset Toolbag for presentation. This is not the ingame engine.
I hope you guys like it!