First Art Update
Hello everyone. My name is Rob Nesler, and I am the Art Director on Project Eternity. I've been told I'm a potty-mouth, but since this is a public and safe (PG-ish) space, I will do what I can to control my bad words in this: FIRST ART UPDATE. There will be many more, hopefully with some visual candy for you guys, if I f’n feel like it, or if Fearg’ f’n makes me.
Right now, my intent is to bring you up to speed on what we’ve been doing for the last several weeks. It’s called: laying the groundwork; building the foundation, or doing the nitty-gritty.
Often, when starting a project, the artists and I just want to start drawing sh-ssstuff. Especially with contracted 3D games, we have a basic idea of the world we’re making, an initial list of some of the things in it, the basic parameters for making assets, and so we just get started. With Project Eternity, we are starting the development of a rich storied RPG from scratch, zilch, nada. Oh, and we rendered that really cool image for you all at update #20, and so we felt we could take a step back--Waayyy back.
We are stepping back some years in visual “perspective”: to a fixed isometric view--so, NO “perspective”--of an essentially two-dimensional world. The traversable environment is pre-rendered to a high degree of realism, but we’re using a modern 3D game engine: Unity, for 3D characters, creatures, effects and animated props to be rendered in real-time and to assemble it all together, seamlessly. With this decision we’ve opened up a whole kit and caboodle of possibilities in terms of visual fidelity, occlusion, lighting, effects, and physics. At the same time, we’ve created some immediate technical problems that needed to be solved, before we could all go out and start making sh...‘er...stuff.
If you’ve been reading/watching Josh’s updates, you must understand that we are creating a brand new yet substantially familiar RPG experience essentially out of thin air, complete with a fully realized fantasy world, including new rules, new races, new places, new nations, new lore, new creatures, new story, new characters, a whole new combat system, with specific armor and weapon types, new this, new that, and a whole bunch of other new stuff--really we’re creating everything from nothing but what spews forth from Josh’s blazing fingers and angelic vocal cords. “How does that work?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you: what happens is we all sit around a fire, in a far off and desolate wilderness, as he chants: what things were, and are, and what will be and sometimes why. We listen, we ask questions, and we discuss. We in turn, propose thoughts and ideas that are considered, further discussed, sometimes dismissed, but also sometimes gathered up and swirled into the glowing embers of this primordial glowing emergent world that is floating--NO!...LEAPING!!--out of the creative fuel, breath of air, and heat of our collaborative works. As well, we’ve decided to abandon the application we would normally use to create everything, for a supposedly-more-popular-more-capable app, and nobody really knows how to use it...
...BOOM! Yep, I just wrote and you just read THAT!...
...So, with our new software: Maya (the old software was Softimage) we’ve been making test worlds--we call them gray boxes. We’ve been making test characters--we call them gray characters. We’ve been giving them gray animation, we’ve been giving them gray (actually sometimes white, we’ll make some black ones too, we’re not racist) weapons, and we’ve been inserting them into our prototype worlds to prove to ourselves and you, that we know what we’re doing, and to lay the groundwork for expanding these vacant golems into player and non-player characters, that can interact with the world and other characters in a more meaningful and varied way--you know: picking up stuff, and hitting others with it, and taking their stuff and putting it on, or selling it--oh yes, and with color! Just kidding! Haven’t you been reading what I’m writing: this game is going to be DEEEEP!
So what the hell have art people been doing??
We have a very talented lead character artist, named Dimitri, and yep, he’s Russian, but he doesn’t speak it so well anymore--his mother is not happy about it, more on that later. In addition to a tremendous amount of early help getting basic traversable geometry, with a rendered scene that occludes 3D characters when they walk behind things (in essentially a 2D world--remember!) he’s been establishing the basis for weapon, armor and equipment attachment on our player characters, with Adam. As part of that he has to write documents. Booo!!! Documents Buh-LOWW!
Our other Character Artist; James is from China, but says he's from Fresno. He is essentially Dimitri's slave and willingly does whatever he’s told to do, because he doesn’t have to write documents. I sometimes give James direction, but I’m pretty certain that Dimitri tells him to ignore me immediately after I’ve left their office. Remember Dimitri is Russian, so he’s a little controlling, very direct and has high expectations. This isn’t a problem, however, because a) it’s his job and b) it just so happens that James is pretty good and making characters. He made our first character Edair, who can be seen running around with a morning star flail the size of a medicine ball--not his fault. He seems to know Maya better than Dimitri, but let’s his boss learn the hard way--keeping his ear buds in, pumping up the volume, and modeling and texturing his cares away. He’s making gray weapons now. For some reason Dimitri speaks Russian expletives perfectly.
Mark is our Lead Animator, and he knows his sh-tuff, but he made the Medicine ball. Needless to say, he will not be asked to make any more weapons. No no, it just so happens, that he was making it so he could test physics on weapons. So, it’s all good--we don’t care what things look like right now, we care about making things that matter, and making them right. Lately Mark has been testing cloth physics on our characters, as well as physics on weapons, and attachments. Prior to that he was building a basic set of traversal animations and getting them into the game. Crucial.
Antonio is our Technical Animator. He makes rigs, writes scripts that make rigs, and rigs the rigs. It’s all very technical. You wouldn’t understand. He’s a professional.
Polina is our concept artist, and is the only one really making pretty pictures, and you've seen a lot of her work, already.
Kien is currently on loan to Project New York, aka. The Stick of Truth. Don't worry, they are paying for him. We use code names for our projects, because we’re professionals. Project Eternity (also a code name) is Project Trenton. BOOM! Yep, you got it! And nope! I’m not gonna tell you any more about that.
Sean is making a dungeon! He’s been working with our programmers to come up with the correct way to build a massive and awesome level so that we can do all we need to do, as big as we need to do it, and in as little time as we can do it in. Again, crucial. Minecraft is his best friend.
Hector, our Lead Environment Artist is on a sabbatical. Yes! we get those here, again, because we’re professionals and only sometimes. Nobody knows why or how, but we're certain it's painful. And boy! is he in for a surprise when he gets back; he loves Softimage. People on sabbatical don't get images of their work posted.
Okay, so that’s it.
Oh, what about me? What the hell have I been doing all this time? That’s a really good question. Aside from running around and keeping everybody busy and doing meetings and stuff, and writing this update, I've been developing a style guide which involves a bunch of meetings and discussions, and I've been drawing a few things, which I will show, if I'm allowed, in the next art update.
Update by Rob Nesler
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