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
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!
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!
Hey guys! We’ve been hard at work preparing for Game Connection in France where Bendik and Erik are right now talking to exciting people about Festival of Magic! One of the things they have a long is a pre-alpha teaser which we made. We wanted to share that here as well!
Here’s the video! We hope you enjoy!
The SnowCastle Games team
Hey guys! Long time no post! We have something cooking that we are super excited to share, but we can’t just yet. Next week!
In the meantime, I finished up this crossbow concept that one of the characters will use as a main weapon and figured some concept art would sweeten the waiting!
I give you Brave Slinger! (cue drumroll)
Starting with the highs, GDC was one long high of relevant, high quality sessions one after the other. Mostly we split and followed separate tracks and probably covered 20 plus sessions together. Rather than delving into each or some of them, let me instead try to share some general trends that seemed to cut through the whole event. First, the gaming industry has never been more exhilarating, promising and confusing than in its current creative destruction of everything just recently seemed tried and true. The future never looked more promising. The gatekeepers of the old order, both the platforms and the publishers are no longer the only game in town. They have to change and they know it. Power that first shifted to the developer, now clearly is moving towards where it ought to have been all the time, to the gamer. But the gamer is also changing. The stereotype of yesterday is there, but is now a minority. Large new groups of players have expanded far beyond the young male demographic and this is where the growth and action is currently. Zynga was bashed both in the creative and business sessions, yet grudgingly it was admitted that the social gaming and free to play mechanisms perfected by the likes of Zynga mainly are responsible for this phenomenal player growth. Who are these players, and what do they want in the future? Hardly another FarmVille, most agreed. But they want choice, they want free to play, or at least free to try, and they will vote with their wallet, but most of all they want to be entertained, and they will pay for quality and sustained entertainment value.
As for independent developers such as us, the bonanza of the early iOS period definitely is over. The competition is fierce and the marketplace is maturing with the big players muscling in on these new platforms. Yet this is where the action still is. If you had to sum up GDC 2012 in two words it would have to be mobile and free to play.
Than you to GDC and to all the speakers, no one mentioned, no one forgotten! Great job! We’ll be back! You confirmed our belief: We are in the best industry ever!
As for gamescom 2012, I am sorry to say that, on entering the first hall, pangs of doubts hit me, literally, in the stomach, with ear-splitting immediacy: Is this juvenile testosterone driven megalomania, the same industry I just professed I loved? Will it ever grow up? Seriously, are the booth babes still necessary? And why do these mega displays all look the same, hall after hall of continuous sensory rampage? Is this what we want to be known for? It is certainly something not deserve being remembered for.
Or is it just me getting too old?
- Erik Hoftun