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Darkness Revealed Update 20 - A Grand Entrance!

Hello, everyone! How's it going?

In the last update we started working on the external caverns environment. We created this area as a transition from the base ocean to the completely different caverns level. Our intention wasn't to make a completely new environment, but simply to ramp up a certain mood. We also thought the caverns deserved a grand entrance, so we'll be showing how we made that too! Let's get started!

The Simple Solution

As it often happens, our first shot at this level was to create a brand new biome. As it turns out, it kinda broke the mood progression that we so carefully planned. We also had no need for a new biome. The external caverns were a lot more about decorating an area properly to make it feel like you're slowly stepping into a new place. Many times in game development, a complex, development-heavy solution isn't the best one. So we went for a simpler approach and created a mix of the two main levels, with the background cavernous walls being the only new prop. Here's how it worked out in game.

Entering Act I's Final Frontier

If the transition from seabed to exterior caverns is meant to feel like a natural change of scenery, the same can't be said for the moment when the player goes from the exterior to the interior caves. That's a big, dark, unknown place, and Dave is risking a lot if he decides to enter! We needed a big, ominous entrance to the cave that would naturally convey this idea of crossing a point of no return. As usual, we started with some thumbnails just to get a general idea of prop placement and the general size of things.

We liked the idea of the entrance resembling a mouth with sharp stone teeth, as if the player was about to be metaphorically swallowed into a new world. We also liked the stalagmites being placed as pillars or totems leading to the actual entrance in a mostly ritualistic way. And the walls in the back helped convey that this place is big and extends in unknown directions. The mockup below is the result of this effort.

Rendering it into useable assets was a straightforward process, as we maintained all of the things we liked from the concept and worked out some new ones like the whale skeleton in the background (another coherent, appropriate omen of Dave's difficult decision of entering that place). We liked the final result! If feels natural and believable, but there's also something odd about it, as if some of the stones and pillars were just too perfectly placed, like it's some sort of temple or ruins... What is wrong about this place? Well, you'll have to play the game to find out! :)

That's it for today! 

Do you like how the final environments turned out? Do you have any other suggestions? We'd love to hear! We are always hanging out on Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to stop by! Or, if you want to receive exclusive updates, sign up for our Golden Chest

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