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Darkness Revealed Update 18 - Designing Aspects of an Environment's Mood (Part 2)

Hello, everyone! How's it going?

In the last update we started working on the caverns environment. The caverns are Act 1's final level and it's an area where mood matters a lot. We want it to be dark and gloomy, and have the player feel threatened at all times. Our first render of it, was a bit too mystical, so today we're gonna show the process of toning it down and making it darker and scarier. Let's get going!

Final Adjustments

With the caves pretty much done, we worked on testing new things with that environment to see if we could further enhance its gloominess and depth sensation. The caverns are our first indoor setting, so it was the right time to experiment a bit and decide how to approach this kind of level. Our first test (left image) was pretty simple, we adjusted blur levels in the background and foreground layers to increase the depth. The second test (right image) was aimed at created a strong, blurry, pale layer in front of everything to simulate an underwater fog. 

After those two last tests, we thought the new blur levels worked out fine and we kept it for the final image. The underwater fog however, despite increasing the feeling that the environment is actually underwater, didn't look that good. It killed a lot of the cavern's personality, so we did not apply it. 

So that was pretty much it for the caves. The final render still has a lot of the personality the first render had, but with a more realistic approach, the glittering floor and the bright plants, however, were kept, and this adds a bit to the mystical side of the place. The environment feels believable and this enhances the survival aspect of the game. The background and the blur levels contribute a lot to the area's depth, and the 3D camera parallax we have going in the game. We also made some final adjustments to some colors that felt a bit off, like the corals and columns, and called it a day.

Importing to the Game

To wrap it up we'd like to show you guys one last thing, a small part of this environment's art kit. If you can't remember what an art kit is, or what we used it for, we gave an overview on it in this update. The caverns art kit was pretty straightforward: the tileset, a few platform objects like plants and corals, some foreground columns and the background walls. For the back walls we made a bunch of cracks and cuts that were tileable and could fit perfectly with the complete wall or with other cracks. This was done for both the further wall and closer one. This gave us quite a few decoration possibilities and helps so that the level doesn't always feel the same.

That's it for today! In the next update we'll show how developing the caverns helped us create some of the other environments left for Act 1!

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