Dev Diary #16 - welcome to the new year

Hello everyone, First of all welcome to 2019! The Christmas period was a long, much needed break. Since it’s the new year we wanted to show you some of the content we have been working on.

ENVIRONMENTS

We have included a small video showing more work on platforms, a couple of assets and basic mood of the level. We also have some exploration shots for the Laboratory environment.

CHARACTERS

After we finish enemies, the focus will be working on Security Guard and his mutated state. We have also been working on the Scientist and his unfortunate mutation.

The Security Guard allowed us to test building characters from individual pieces, so next in line will be first AGI Tech character gear so we can start working with gearing up in game.

scientist_std.jpg
scientist_mut.jpg

ANIMATIONS

Security mutant is first non standard rig in the game.

WEAPONS

The next weapon for the main character is Energy Rifle. So far we have been working on textures, so the final version will probably be included in next update.

CODE

One of the major updates this month is functional spawn manager, which allows us to populate maps with lots of handy settings. It will give us freedom to generate maps without having to place all enemies for each of them again.

Thanks for reading and see you next month!

LKR.

Dev Diary #15 - November's update

Hi, everyone Christmas are behind the door so we have some news and updates for you.

100+ members at Discord

Our discord channel broke first 100 of loyal members! As a thanks for your support we have some goodies for you. 5 large stickers and one black t-shirt (L size). If you will share our blog to any social media with hashtag #DEICIDES and share the link with us at our discord channel(social-posts section) you will have a chance to win one of the prices. Competition ends at Monday 3rd of December 10 am (London time).

image0a.jpg

CHARACTERS

One of the first enemies -Security Guard- is in the game already and Mutated version follows straight after.

Security_guard_mutated_zbrush.png

ENVIRONMENT

First level to test our workflow is Asteroid Mine. Level and assets are still in progress but we want to share with you our direction and style.

Mines_Gate_render.jpg
asteroid_mine_02.jpg

CODE IMPLEMENTATION

We are working towards basic combat experience. It involve few implementations which will help to get proper feel of it. So our coders created mouse-over outlines, floating damage system, flash on hit and basic enemy health bar. All is in stage of prototyping and not reflecting final look of implementation.

SCIENTIST CONCEPT

Another enemy in works is Scientist. Mutated version and necessary details in progress.

MUSIC

Last but not least our Sound designer put together couple of ideas and created longer combat track.

Hope you enjoyed our November’s update see you next month!

-LKR

Dev Diary #14 - Holidays Update

Hi, so after a couple of months of “Blog silence” (blame the holidays) we return with a large update. We have some characters, environments, code, design and even music sneak peaks for you.

Characters

Over the last couple of months we have been working on different variations of gear and the modifications of the Agility body-type.

EXO-SUIT - gear set for the agility body-type. One of the first pieces of equipment the player gets in the game, helping the player character to become an efficient contractor without any body modifications. Below you can see some examples of the Zbrush model, exo-suit in-game and also a running test.

exo_zb.jpg
2018-09-25-22-43-36.gif
run.gif

TECH MODIFIED

Another character piece we have been working on lately is the transformation of the AGILITY CHARACTER with Tech modifications. It's not fully implemented in-game yet but the images below are from low poly/ ingame version of that character.

agi_tech.png

SECURITY GUARD

For our First enemy we started working on the Security guard. As this is the first enemy we thought we would go with something more generic and then push it more with mutations and more interesting attack mechanics. Below you can see the initial concept and zbrush sculpt of the Security guard.

securityguard_mutated.png
security_guard_01.png

INVENTORY SYSTEM

It would not be an Action RPG without a proper Inventory system. As a starting point we created a white-boxed prototype of how it can all work and what sort of equipment type you can wear. Video below shows a few of the UX decisions we are working on to create a familiar and pleasant experience.

Environments

ASTEROID MINES - SPACE ELEVATOR

more progress done on the skybox especially on the space elevator for asteroid mines. Basic texturing and animations helping to set up the feel of the depth in the level nicely.

space elevator.png
lift.gif

Weapons

We also have a few more additions to our weapons design ready to be made. Namely PDW (one handed ranged weapon) , Double barrel shotgun and Energy rifle.

weapons_2.png

Music

Last but not least below you can hear a few music tests and ideas for ambient sounds (safe zone) and Combat zones.

It has been a good few weeks and its great to see parts of the puzzle coming together.If you want to know more you can find us at our DISCORD CHANNEL.

See you next month with more updates. Thanks for reading

-LKR

Weekly Dev diary #13 - Weapons

FROM CONCEPT TO GAME MODEL

Hi, I would like to introduce to you today the work of our 3D artist Jirka. He's currently working on weapons and equipment for our characters. Our weapons are probably higher resolution than what they need to be in game, but the reason behind it is to look good in character selection screens, inventory or even for marketing purposes. 

 

 

This is all reflected in the workflow which is pretty standard: 

  • create concept art and gather necessary references
  • create temporary low poly model
  • create hi poly model
  • reduce it down to final low poly model
  • unwrap uv maps
  • bake normal maps
  • texture it in substance painter
  • check in the engine... 

 

Weapons are fairly flexible for future modification so we are expecting that we will do a few variation of each. 

 

SNIPER RIFLE

First weapon created is the sniper rifle for our Standard "conventional" weapon( for non-modified characters). This weapon is based on magnetic technology accelerating bullets - known as a railgun. 

sniper.jpg

 

LIGHT MACHINE GUN

Second concept to model is the Light machine gun. Another standard "conventional" weapon. High attack speed, heavy caliber weapon ideal for spray and pray type characters.  

LMG.jpg

Switching to monthly updates

Hope you enjoyed our progress so far. We have decided that to be able to share more quality diaries with you, we will have to change our feed schedule to monthly basis. This will give us more time for more imformative posts about our progress. If you are enjoying our weekly feeds we will continue with smaller chunks of information at our discord channel, so all of our members can enjoy it first hand!

Thank you 

-LKR.

Weekly Dev Diary #12 - environment skybox

Hi, my name is Martin Kocisek (Myers) and I’m responsible for the environments of Deicides. 
I saw the post from guys at Hardwired on their facebook gamedev group about them looking for help, and since I’m a simple guy I hit reply as soon as I saw a project as exciting as this one. 

ASTEROID/SPACE BODY - strip MINE

My first task on the project is to create an Asteroid Mine environment and the focus of this blog post will be on the making-of of skybox for this environment. 

 

"Skybox for top down camera action RPG?" – you may ask. Well let's call it background then. 
Because this particular level will take place on mining platforms built at the opening of a large surface mine of a small asteroid, the player will be able to see a background environment under those platforms.
In the spirit of the old saying: you’re only as good as your references are, I spent fair bit of time collecting references of the largest strip /surface mines. The scale of those are breath taking, you can barely see huge CAT machinery if you are to zoom out. So i had nice references for scale and overall mood, next step was to find some photos of asteroids and comets to get a better idea of materials and textures.

ON WITH THE MODELING (and texturing)

   The whole processes uses a standard workflow:

  • basic mesh
  • high resolution sculpt
  • re-topology of low poly mesh 
  • unwrapping 
  • baking of normal maps
modelingfinal.png

Once I was happy with with normal maps bake and overall model work, I've start with the texturing.You can choose many tools these days but for me its Substance painter.It gives you flexibility and speed enough workflow to get great results in decent amount of time.

texturinggif.gif
texturing_final.png

UNREAL ENGINE TEST

All work on the model is done, so its time to test it in the engine. Testing of geometry, lights, performance or simply just see how Unreal translates your previous work in to the engine. To enhance the result I decided to create an additional detail normal map that I blended in to get some more details from the surface. 

But this was only a false summit. More work is on the horizon. What we need  now is to introduce some human build structures that would add more depth to the story of this place.

 

With the little peek into this next phase I’d like to thank you all for your interest and support. If you have any questions you can find me (and our team) at Discord channel.

assetsmodeling.gif

See you next time.

-Myers 

Weekly Dev Diary #8 - Tech Gun attachment concept

Hi, another week has passed. Our team is growing and with that so is the amount of time needed for production and design work. Its been a hectic few weeks, but I would like to take some time and introduce to you our concept ideas for gear and weapons in Deicides.

 

DESIGN AND STYLE

There are a few basic rules which we have to setup straight from the start.

 

  • How big on the screen will you see weapons and gear?
  • Is there any close up view like character selection menu, inventory, cut-scenes or just general presentation purposes?
  • How much "power-fantasy" we want to bring in to the game?

 

Like most Top down ARPGs our camera angle is quite high up. It will give us better game overview and also means that our gear does not need high level of detail like for example First Person Shooters. Having loads of details might even  be worse for overall form and shape readability. However we still need a more detailed version for close up shots like Character selection screens as well.

    Regarding the style, one of our major inspirations is Ghost in the shell and the way they sell slightly over sized yet functional looking weapons. "power fantasy" works really well here, you dont have a feeling that they are defying laws of physics most of the time, it feels believable. 

 

Ghost in the shell - gun examples above. ^^

 

TECH AND BIO MODIFICATIONS

In the world of Deicides you will start as a normal human character with conventional use of weapons and equipment. After your  body modification(either bio or tech) your body becomes the weapon. There is no need for you to hold a rifle when your arm, with the right attachment, becomes one.  

 

Tech precision weapons

In the image bellow you can see how this might work. For example as a low level character without modifications you will use Railgun as a precision class weapon(top image).

If you change your body to become Tech modified (cyborg), your hand will be replaced with a weapon itself. In this style we are creating all weapon and equipment for Tech or Bio characters. 

 

precision weapons and Tech examples

precision weapons and Tech examples

Weekly Dev Diary #6 - Environmental tile system

Hello to all in the Deicides network,

I am environment artist at Hardwired and you can find me at our Discord channel as PBY. 

EVERY BEGINNING IS DIFICULT

 

It was 1995 when I encountered 3D software for the first time. I was amazed by what Imagine 3d and Lightwave could do.

I spent all my time and effort seeking to learn and practice 3D techniques. We were just a kids but it did not stop me from sharing my experience with my classmate Lukas (LKR). We spent a lot of time tinkering with code and graphics on old platforms like the Atari 800 and Amiga 500+.

Time flew by and with all the ignorance of naive kids we ended up forming a video game company. With a lack of experience and real commitment it ended as soon as it started, but we already had a taste of game development.

Much has changed over the years; life stepped in the way of my dream to make a living as a CG Artist and I moved into IT System Administration. Those were dark years...

Eventually the light came back and I returned to CG, initially as a hobbyist, and then as a professional in subsequent years. So life has come full circle, and myself and Lukas are working together again, on a project I myself would love to play.

TILE SYSTEM

 

We know that randomly generated maps are one of the "core pillars" of great action RPGs, so before we even started we did extensive research into how other games handle this. Our main goal is to balance randomly generated content and hand crafted areas. We don't want the maps to look too random with lack of style and control, but likewise don't want them to be too streamlined.

It’s no secret that Diablo (though it’s slightly older now) is one of the greatest games regarding style and polish. I really like how Ed Hanes explained their dungeon level design in the video below. It pointed us in the right direction when approaching environment creation.

We are creating a tile based system for building the environment. We will need at least 16 basic tiles for each environment kit and this should give us freedom to connect any given tile with others, when setting up a level:

pavel_tiles.jpg

 

More variations of each tile will give us more room to play and generate environments which look handcrafted but are also randomly generated.

Once all templates are ready we can start generating levels and see how it feels to walk around them, so we can adjust things before the main work on environments is done.

The next step is to work on complexity, add height differences for rooms and platforms and break square pattern of rooms and corridors, etc. when all of this is finished, I will start to populate white box tiles with walls and floors, as shown in the examples below.

all assets are work in progress images.

all assets are work in progress images.

If you will have any questions, I am at our discord channel most of the time.

Thanks for reading and see you next time,

 

-PBY

Weekly Dev Diary #4 - Character art - agility bodytype

Hi, I'm a character artist at Hardwired and you can find me at our discord channel as LOBO.

TIME FOR a CHANGE

3D Graphics and game development has been my thing for over 15 years. I've been working on a number of different projects at many companies which has helped me to gain lots of experience and progress fast. But my dream was always to create "my own" game. Working for someone  could be frustrating some times and i know that only the right project will release my creativity at full potential. So you can imagine how happy I was to speak again with my old friend Lukas (LKR) last year, who responded to my ranting on topic of "getting tired of following other peoples projects and dreams and not my own” in one group on facebook, by saying he is about to start his own game with a bunch of friends-professionals he made during his career. He offered me the position of a Lead character artist and co-founder of the company. Over the years, I have been following Lukas's work, and I am amazed how much he evolved in art direction and style, and his ability to get better has been always inspiring to me. After several hours of chatting and going through all the art, designs and ideas they have, and the fact that they have a whole team ready to start I just said “yes”. Dark  cyberpunk with sci-fi elements of bio-mechanical enhancement, it was truly hard to resist.

Bio version of agility bodytype character (no equip)

Bio version of agility bodytype character (no equip)

With the first look at the art work I felt like this finally might be space for me to shine and after a long time to challenge myself and learn something new. Substance painter, Unreal editor, material library, and most importantly to be the decision maker who says how it should be done. To put it in one sentence it was the right spark (or a kick in the ass as we say in Czech Republic), which ignited my love for character art again!

starting version of agility bodytype character (no equip)

starting version of agility bodytype character (no equip)

CREATING THE PIPELINE

Above you can see two characters – basic version of agility body-type character and his progression to BIO mutation. To be honest the basic version was the easy one, no real challenge on the base mesh, nothing critical, re-topology and UV went well. The tricky part was actually splitting the character for future equip and gear interchanging, and later even modify/replacing limbs.

Questions like:

"Do we need the UV space for each part?"

"How would we combine each parts not to get hundreds of modifiers in the stack?" 

"How do we set the scenes for export?"

"What would be the most efficient way to manage hundreds of body parts?"

Way too many questions which needs to be answered to create stable pipeline.

Texturing

Texturing was like delivering a baby - very very painful. I was starting to get use to substance painter and my swear jar was steadily filling up with change as i progressed through new software inch by inch like an expedition through a jungle. Hours and hours of swearing, which would put any sailor to shame, testing and even more hours of finding solutions for a problem I could easily solve with my old workflow. At the end texturing in substance painter was finished. Our basic agility character is successfully animated and historically the first skeletal mesh in the DEICIDES game.

zbrush models

zbrush models

BIO version of the character was far more interesting to make. Sculpt in Zbrush brought some questions already:

"What the heck does the BIO deformed character look like?”

"What kind of skin does he have?"

"What will he wear when equipped and what will still be visible?"

After an intensive brainstorm, checking lots of movie/comics/games references we decided that the character in the first stage will still have some human anatomical features but there are many mutating aspects visible already. Pale skin, protein generating glands and vines, hardening of muscle and bones structure which create cosmetic "imperfections" and other minor things. Combine it with random sweatpants, absence of any body hair, deep black eyes and you end up with one tough MOFO :). The work on this character was so much fun, I am already looking forward to what our game brings next!
 

- Lobo

WEEKLY DEV DIARY #2 - TECH vs. BIO

Hi my name is Lukas Kraina(discord name LKR) and I am art director behind Deicides. First off all I would like to thank everyone who subscribed to our blog. Its nice to see people showing interest in our dream project. I would like to show you part of our character creation process which will hugely influence your experience as a player.

When you start your journey as a private contractor you will soon find out that the human body has its limitations, so after a while you will face a life changing decision...

BIO or TECH 

Choose your path wisely, because there is no way back. Once you alter you genes or start replacing your nerve system with synthetic neural network you have to live or die with that decision. 

Agility body type comparison - Basic , exoskeleton , tech and bio version.  equipment not included.

BIO

DNA alterations and mods are as common as plastic surgery; there is nothing that money cannot buy. Bio mods can change your body completely - from hardened bones, a second heart, faster metabolism or even a bone scythe extending from your forearm. Human may become something else, but at a cost. The side effects are unknown; your body will refuse any common technologies. 

TECH

Installing a neural network is just the first step in transforming your body in to a fully synthetic killing machine. If you desire robotic arms that can punch through concrete walls, neuro-links allowing them to remote control several drones at one time, eye-nerve port for your sniper rifle or just stilts like leg for speed and long jumps you will find right modification which will suit your style.

 

If you have any suggestions for nice bio or tech mods feel free to post it in comments or on our Discord channel

 

Thanks! LKR.