The weather outside may be frightful, and it may have been a few months since we’ve updated you guys on our doings, but work continues regardless! Here are a few updates on the content we showed you guys last time.
First up, the bushwhacking efforts in the jungle are going well. For those just joining us, most of the work produced by our art team begins as rough blocking geometry, which may not be exactly accurate in terms of shape or detail, but are extremely accurately placed, thanks to the system of camera matching we use (object triangulation using the original game renders).
The colored outlines are our geometry, the background images are original renders from Riven.
The rest of the art team, meanwhile, continues to work on their projects. 233 continues to shape up — here are a few of the props that have been developed so far:
Texturing for these models will begin soon!
Finally, we are working on fleshing out the Jungle Island Basin area that we showed at Mysterium, filling in the gaps of missing objects and textures from Mysterium. Here’s one such object, a fishing net from the village, which has been modeled but not yet placed:
Now, bundle up and stay tuned for more updates; we’re heading back into production season!
Every year after Mysterium, the team takes a bit of time off as a breath of fresh air after the mad dash to complete our demo in time for August. That brief period of exhalation has been thoroughly enjoyed by each and every one of us, and it is now safe to say that we’re back to work.
After our success with last year’s goal, we have decided to split our team into three distinct groups. The first group, which is the majority of the team, is focusing on finishing up the Village Basin area that we showed off at Mysterium. This includes completing the unfinished assets as well as fixing any remaining glitches and generally fine-tuning the engine.
Meanwhile, two of our artists are off blazing new trails for the project. We’ve discussed our camera matching process in the past, our technique of getting 1:1 geometry based solely on images from the original game. Matt, our expert camera-matching guy, has already begun to apply this technique to the rest of Jungle Island, which is the first stage in expanding our in-game area beyond the Village Basin. In these screenshots, you can see our progress on matching Gehn’s throne and the upper walkway in the forest (the line overlays are our work)
Once areas are fully “matched”, we create very simple stand-in geometry for the area, so in-engine work can begin before the final assets are completed, or even started. The stand-in assets are then replaced, one by one, with final art, until the area is complete. This is the state of the 233rd age currently – it is fully blocked-in, and Kelly, one of our amazing artists, is beginning to create detailed assets, based on the blocking geometry.
Here you can see one of the elements she’s working on, albeit still in an early, unpolished phase:
We’re very happy to be back to work – as nice as a break is every now and then, we all love working on this project, and are excited to be able to show you guys some pretty cool stuff in the weeks and months to come.
The team is finally home, back in the land of stable internet connections. While we do not yet have access to the footage of our actual presentation, we’ve gone ahead and recorded a walkthrough of the area we demonstrated on Saturday, so you all can get a nice, high-resolution view of what was shown there until the actual presentation can be posted.
Also important to note is the fact that this area is still a work in progress. Many textures and objects are placeholders, or missing altogether. That said, work has progressed since Saturday, and there’s actually one or two assets that have been added to the area since then!
We’ll post the official video of our presentation as soon as we get access to it. Until then, you can watch a capture of the justin.tv stream here!
The Starry Expanse team is now gradually making their way back to their respective parts of the world, and we are beginning to pick up where we left off before Mysterium. We have a video of the content we presented on Saturday at Cyan, and we’re working on getting it uploaded (the hotel internet was simply too slow for an upload to be feasible). It’ll be up before the week is out.
Until then, here are two of our slides from the presentation, which we think make very nice wallpapers. Enjoy!
(Note that these images are based on renders from Maya, not in-game shots!)
We’re at the Mysterium hotel in Spokane, putting the finishing touches on our presentation on Saturday! The URL for the live stream (both for the other presentations as well as our own) is justin.tv/mysteriumcon. Be sure to tune in around 1:30 PM tomorrow (that’s Pacific time!) to catch our demo live. If you can’t watch then, we’ll record it as well for viewing later!
And if you’re here in Spokane with us, come talk to us! Most of us don’t bite!
UPDATE: It looks like we’re running a bit behind schedule, we should be up and running by 2:30. Hopefully. Never can tell with Mysterium, unfortunately!
UPDATE 2: Still waiting, sorry!
We here at 59 Volts are feverishly working day and night to put the finishing touches on our demo for Mysterium next week. Our presentation will be on Saturday, August 2nd, at Cyan Headquarters in Spokane, WA. We’re currently scheduled to start at 1:30 PM, Pacific time.
If you’ll be attending the convention in person, great! We can’t wait to meet you! Our plan is to set up our demo in the con room after our presentation, so that those who make the trek out to Spokane can play around with it a bit.
If you cannot attend Mysterium in person, there will also be a live video stream of our presentation. We’ll post more information about how to access that when we get closer to the day of the presentation.
There’ll be an unprecedented percentage of the team present at this Mysterium (nearly half of us!), and we can’t wait to show you guys what we’ve put together. See you there!
Back when we first announced that we would be switching to Unreal Engine, the first asset we showed you guys was a hut from the Jungle Island village. In the intervening time, we have completed much more of the village. In fact, all of the huts are now detailed and textured, and the walkways connecting them are also coming along nicely.
Here’s a peek at what the village looks like running in Unreal:
These shots only show the village and beginnings of the walkways, with terrain and other assets stripped away. You’ll have to check out our Mysterium presentation on August 2nd to see the complete scene!
Mysterium is being held during the first weekend of August, at Cyan’s offices in Spokane, WA. We hope to see you there!
No new assets to show off this week, but we do have a couple of updates to show you guys. Specifically, a few of our older models are now sporting some beautiful textures!
First up, the submarine exterior has been kitted out with a beautiful battered copper material. We’re still working on perfecting the details, but it is already up and running in Unreal 4. Unreal’s new physically-based material engine is absolutely perfect for surfaces like this, and we’re taking full advantage of it.
Secondly, the awesome wahrk skulls that we posted last time are now made of bone, instead of the shiny gray default material. We think they look much better like this.
As we get closer to Mysterium, we’ll be working hard on fine-tuning our demo. Expect more updates like this in the next few weeks!
A few weeks ago we showed you a preview of the counting toy featured in the village schoolhouse. The toy, however, is only a crude, small-scale model of the full-sized gallows, so this week we’d like to share the genuine article!
Used to punish those deemed disloyal to Gehn, the cone-shaped wahrk gallows features prominently in the Jungle Island village basin.
The gallows is topped with the skulls of Wahrks (five of them), the most powerful creature in Riven – a symbol both of the power of Gehn, and of the gruesome death awaiting those deemed unworthy.
While we pride ourselves on the accuracy of all of our artwork, the skulls in particular were given extreme attention to detail. Here’s a more detailed look at the model itself:
While the wahrk gallows is not yet fully textured, we look forward to the asset being completed and brought into Unreal within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for further updates soon!