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
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…
“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!
This week we looked at how to design and implement variations of each creature type in FoM. Instead of having a gazillion kinds of cannon-fodder, we have a few carefully designed creature types that really adds interest to the battle system. So e.g. the Crabler is one organic creature type with an aggressive and defensive behavior pattern that requires the player to use specific strategies and choose his/her abilities and pairs wisely.
As you can see below the Crabler will have different looks and weapons depending on its level and element type.
This “armor-sets” or attachment modules will all work with the base rig and mesh of the creature and lets us add a lot of variation to each monster type.
Next time I’ll go into some more detail on the production art and the whole 3D translation process.
Have swell weekend!
Spent most of last week working with both the content and visual design of the monsters for our desert outdoor environment! We had an original design for an armor plated lion-like beast, but decided to save that design for a boss battle and start fresh.
The Desert Armor Monster has two modes in combat – defensive and offensive. Its element is Earth and it is the only desert creature vulnerable to fire.
I ended up with the design below – the Giant Rock Crabler. It fits the desert environment, easy to read, not too hard to animate and looks both intimidating and cute at the same time.
These spider varieties were inspired by the adorable Jumping Spiders. I really liked the look of the four big eyes, but the whole quad legged design felt overly sci-fi and did not fit the desert. The Spider just ended up goofy-looking which is not what I wanted. The creature had to look brutish – big, lumbering idiot of a monster!
The Horus giant design. This is where I got the idea to place the armor on the front arms/legs. A gorilla like giant with an eagles head and giant fists of stone was overly far-fetched and would be hard to animate. I think it’s important that the concept of a fantasy creature is easy to read – both visually and conceptually – soooo this one was a no-go!
The first designs I did. We quite liked the Pokémon-ish scaled dog, though it did not fit the requirements for this particular creature.
Well I better get back to drawing monsters. If you have any brilliant monster ideas feel free to share them in the comment section.
Hey guys! Friday art post! I just finished this enemy design for Festival of Magic and wanted to show you guys! It’s pretty large, constantly flying and it can swoop in and give Amon an uppercut with that nasty horn. We’re working on a new environment where this guy will be an encounter. Frits is doing the system design for him now! Can’t wait for Hans Kristian to make the 3D model and animate this sucker!
Modeling sheet and texture variation suggestion:
Other than that, you can vote for us for the Indie of the Year (IOTY) award over on IndieDB! It’s super easy, just follow the link below and click the big old banner on the top saying “Vote for this game” at the top of the page!
Have a great weekend everyone!