Project Grub Update
It’s been a little while since we posted so apologies for that firstly. At the moment the project awaiting to transfer into Milestone 2, however due to circumstances we have had to pause Project Grub for a little while until we have sorted things out. Don’t worry, Nerfgames will keep you posted on what’s happening and when we will be able to concentrate fully on ‘Project Grub’ again. Until then here’s a little something for you to look at.
This is a concept image of the grasslands, the area in which the prototype will focus on.
With the team working on features that rely on one another, it has been key for us to work to a project plan. Using the magic of a Gantt chart we have outlined the expected deliverables and a point at which they are required called Milestone one. Milestone one is expected to be completed by the 4th of June 2012 and will help outline both the work requirement of the project, as well as the practical implementation of a number of the content pipelines.
Milestone one outlines two puzzles that are to be experienced during the prototype. The first is a relatively simple puzzle and it introduces the user to explore the differences between the three attribute directions in which they can evolve. The second is a late game puzzle that is expected to push the skill requirement of gameplay and the character, Speed. In order to plan these puzzles we sculpted our rough level designs in clay. This gives both the designer and the modellers on the project a good feel for both scale and dimensions of the scene. The images below are a first iteration of the first puzzle.
The milestone also includes the first iteration of UI. By using the Cryengine for developing the game we have access to a technology called Scaleform. Scaleform allows us to produce a relatively complex UI in an easy and manageable way using flash technology. We will be a posting our UI progress soon and will explain the processes and its pro’s and con’s.
Our designer continues to produce beautiful concept art and has begun to work on the First Stage Evolution characters and is now working with our modeller. Production of high-quality textured models is now well under way, and we hope to show you some images of their progress soon. Working on these will result in a collection of non-rigged models for later testing in the engine during milestone two
Further investigation into the limitations and ability’s of the c++ integration offered by Cryengine is also continuing. This first stage focuses on removing a large amount of the default behaviours and functionality that we will not be using during the production of the prototype. The vast majority of the c++ programming is performed in Visual Studio an IDE. The team is familiar with these so adaptation to the new code base has been rapid.
Finally a redesign of the shape of our world has been decided. Whilst the existing world looked nice, there was an absence of realism to both the layout of the biomes and their shapes. After doing some fresh research I am now beginning to redesign shape of the world and will have some pictures and a new post on its progress for you soon.
The first iteration of a puzzle in clay, hence why its fairly rough
Who’s the Boss?
By now you are probably pretty well acquainted with our Evolutionary pathway creatures. You will have a fair idea about how each works and what abilities they have. You have seen some early concept work for their home landscape, but this world with its creatures is still missing something.
Just like in the natural world, the challenge for life comes from the need to survive. This stems from the on going battle between predator and prey. The predator in the natural world has been the catalyst for making their prey develop better eyes, ears and smell in order to catch them out before its too late. In response to this, predators have evolved to combat against their prey’s advances by becoming faster, seeing through precise forward facing eyes, and developing larger canines and grabbing claws. In order for Grub to grow into a fully fledged Speed, Strength or Agility character will depend fully on what the player comes up against. Our predators, which we have for the moment dubbed ‘Bosses’, are the strongest creatures that reside in each biome. In order for you to surpass them in evolutionary terms you must challenge them. Challenges could be as simple as out running them but could also be as complex as using the world around you to pen them so to give you an upper hand when exploring more maze like environments.
The Bosses in ‘Project Grub’ are an example of when evolution stops because of a lack of challenge. The Bosses are from an age of creature before Grub’s time, and for years have reigned supreme. Now Grub is on the scene they are under threat from being pushed off the top spot. In order to prove Grub’s worth the player must succeed in all the challenges the bosses throw their way to gain a chance of taking their place as dominant species.
The look for the Bosses for now, is a harp back to what we had originally sketched out for Grub. We spoke before about its look being too clunky, but this worked brilliantly for an old species of crystal creature. We wanted to really play with the glass and metal textures and make them the opposite colour to Grub to show the distinct differences between the two. By doing this we have begun to concept out a creature that is a threatening and aggressive looking beast and one that conveys that this Boss means business.
Below are the first pieces of concept art for these creatures. We focused on designing the Boss for the Forest and Tundra to show that we intend to have contrasts between each animal. Even if they follow design rules, the blue colour and metal frame, we want to show how they match their selected biome, just like how Grub’s look matches its learnt abilities.
Flora and Asset development
With our early concept art helping give our vision some clarity, we decided it would be best to move onto designing some assets. We had separated our world into the habitats we wanted to concentrate on and now decided how each collection of assets would differ depending on which biome they were for. We researched into plant life which helped concept out our versions of the flora. We have focused heavily on the Grasslands to showcase this, since it will be the environment we wish to share for our demo. Looking at grasslands and meadows we knew we would have to develop crystals that implied the different clusters of flowers, moss and grass you find there. It’s important that each habitat has an eclectic mix, since the player could use the appearance of different flowers and plants as a guide. This along with larger crystal formations will act as landmarks to help players as they traverse around the landscapes and discover new ones.
Below is a collection of assets for the Grasslands and Tundra. By having them together we could use them as direct contrasts to each other, which helped in areas such as form and colour pallet.
Developing the world
Creating the concept art for Project Grub has been challenging due to our design requiring another worldly twist to allow the characters to look at home in. For the world to work the player must be able to recognise what biome they are in. Essentially Project Grub’s environments are dressed up versions of what we come into contact with here on Earth, so for example we all know what a Tundra or Forest looks like and we are all familiar with the plants and animals that reside in them. Using this as a starting point the team was able to push the boundaries and create a make believe version of each biome along with its flora and fauna. The world is important for the player, depending where they are can effect how they choose to adapt their creature. It has to serve as both a function for evolution and as a place that can be explored for hours.
Below is a collection of early concept work for the Tundra and Grassland. At this time in development the team was playing around with different ideas how we could utilise the crystal.