Hunger of Darkness #2 - Building a prototype
Greetings to all readers of our blog! After a rather long time, we are back with another entry about our largest game project to date, Hunger of Darkness.
It has been a long time since the last blog entry, but don't worry about missing any important news :). That's because the development is going quite slowly, mainly due to the complexity of the project, and the fact that we can only work on it in our free time, during evenings and weekends. Thankfully, we are getting closer to our first playable prototype!
In the last blog entry, I focused on the origins of the project, and the main character. The game is based on our original minigame Hunger of Darkness, in which you play as an undead. As we developed the prototype, we started playing with the idea of replacing the undead with a creature called revenant. Having an original main character that has returned from the dead to spread destruction and revenge was a great thought. It would however require a different style of gameplay, and the entire Hunger of Darkness would have to be redesigned.
Revenant or a zombie?
We spent a long time considering both variants, and decided to ask the players too. I'm very glad that despite our small fanbase, many of you have contributed and shared your opinion. In the end, the poll results were nearly identical with only a two vote different, which proves that this decision was indeed very difficult to figure out :). Thank you for your feedback!
In the end, we decided to give up the revenant, despite it winning by the two votes, and going back to the original idea of the game :). The main character will be an undead. The main reason is, that we want to create a somewhat open game, where the player has a lot of freedom in their decisions. Revenant would require a specific story and quest line, and the motivation for his actions would be complicated. It would not be bad per se, but it would be quite a different game. Another reason is the atmosphere of a zombie apocalypse, where the player observes a change of their beloved world into chaos. In this case, the player is also the main participant as well :). But we don't want to completely leave the idea of the revenant, because we have many ideas as to how we could develop it. Perhaps in another game.
The epicentre of the apocalypse
The principle of the game was figured out, and the next task on the road to the prototype was the game environment, in which we can test the AI and perfect the game design. By that time, we already had a nice base in the form of several city models, including a park. You may remember its first version:
Eventually we developed other parts of the game world, including a forest which will most likely be the start of the game. We also created a small town square and gardens, so right now we have an ideal environment for testing and we get a good idea of how the game is going to look. Personally, I have to say that environment creation is one of the most enjoyable parts of game development. After all, it is what I enjoyed the most in our previous games, including Warped Times and our unreleased GTA-like project Life of a Criminal :).
Creating an entire expansive 3D environment is quite a challenge. Most level design and graphics experience we have is from 2D projects, and our Warped Christmas minigame where we tried a 3D conversion for the first time. In Warped Christmas, we had a simple 3D terrain made of basic shapes, with basic buildings, city objects, and a 2D background.
It was more of a 2.5D game, on the other hand Hunger of Darkness is our first fully fledged open 3D environment. Before we move on, here is a screenshot from Warped Christmas:
We decided that a similar style as in Warped Christmas would not be right for Hunger of Darkness, instead we decided that the aesthetic of the environment should be more memorable. We took inspiration from the real world, which is full of interesting places. I think it was a good decision, as it helps us learn how to make an environment that feels realistic. We're using this approach to develop the map and individual objects and assets, by looking at unusual locations in the world and taking inspiration from them.
As we develop the game further, we will work on improvements and the overall style. Besides working on the gameplay mechanics, we are also focusing on creating and selecting textures for the modeled city. It is also important to keep the fact of the ongoing apocalypse in mind.
Visuals of the main character
When we figured out the main character, we were put in front of another task – decide and model its exact appearance. Right now, we have several work in progress models for the pedestrians and other characters, but the main character is still missing. We do have a couple ideas, but we want to make sure that the main character, who is going to be in front of the player's eyes all the time, can represent the game as best as it can. Our Minecraft-style character model is only temporary before we come up with something more interesting :). Another important aspect of the character is an upgrade system – as the zombie gets more powerful, we want its visuals to reflect that. The main character's appearance thus ended up being one of the most important points, and I hope that in our next blog entry, we will be able to showcase our progress on the main character.
Our primary goal is to create a working prototype of Hunger of Darkness. After artificial intelligence, the next challenge will be the fighting mechanics. We're not yet sure if we make something similar to the original game, or try going a slightly different way. But that's still a long time away, and we will most likely talk about this more in a special blog entry.
To conclude the entry, I would like to remind you that you can follow Hunger of Darkness on its newly created pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. We also have an official website which will be updated as we develop the game. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletter under this article. Soon, you can expect more interesting content from the development, which we will be sharing on our social media.
Thanks to all readers who finished reading the blog, and who follow the development of our game. In the next entry, I will hopefully show you our main character and the next steps towards a playable prototype :)
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