Two things with this update. First, I wanted to say it’s been an incredible blast to be working on the game. I’m so excited about the setting (Massive Planetary Warfare), the Kaiju theme, the art direction, and the incredible new tools for game development. It’s all thanks to you, and I’m super grateful to have this chance to make Em-8ER.
Second, I wanted to update you on the team’s efforts:
– Joe has been working on the THMPR high-poly model. Some of you have caught his live-streams where he uses a program called zBrush to create the mesh. ZBrush is like digital clay you can push and pull to create your model. It’s pretty amazing to watch and I suggest you pop in on one of his next streams to see for yourself.
– I’ve been working with Warren on the characters for Em-8er, starting with the female. Character modeling will be an upcoming fundraising milestone but it’s important we lay the ground work beforehand. I gathered a large number of references and notes together while brainstorming more about Reaper culture and the terraforming process (you’ll see why this is relevant later). Warren has turned around the first draft of rough sketches and it’s already looking really good. We’re going after a mix of realism and stylization. I’m a bit tired of the “cartoon hero” look so many arena shooters are doing these days. I want to make sure Em-8er stands apart, visually.
– Tommaso and I are about to embark on some refinements to the Omniframe. Specifically, we are identifying which parts are customizable and starting to break it down in preparation for modeling. The Omniframe art asset exe is the second goal after we’ve created the THMPR. This will make sure we have all the customization points considered when we build it. While customization is not a part of this milestone, we want to make sure the current model will support it when we get to that point.
– Art pipeline. I’ve been doing a deep dive into the Unreal Engine, starting with the art pipeline. Since this is an art asset milestone, I want to make sure we’re fluent in getting assets into the game. Unreal is an incredible engine, and I wish we had it on some of my prior games. The new Physically Based Renderer is a great advantage not just for looks, but for speed of creation. I’ve been working with creating materials with a program called Substance Designer and importing them into Unreal. Using Substance Designer is way to create PBR textures procedurally, instead of using photographs or hand painting.
– Server research for the future game. While not part of our milestone (and no multiplayer planned for even the playable mockup), we need to start looking at how we’re going to create a server that can handle an online shooter with the scale of a planetary wargame. On Firefall we learned that our lag compensation model hindered our ability to give creatures great AI and limited some of the things we could do. I’ve been working with a new programmer on the team on some of these issues and we are currently in a long research phase that will last 4-6 weeks. If this works out, we may have a new person joining our team!
That’s it for now. Our immediate goal is to show you a complete THMPR model, and then move on to texturing it and importing it until Unreal.
As for physical rewards, please forgive us as we concentrate on the digital ones first, as these are most important to the game. 3D prints and books will take some time to manufacture, and we want to make sure we complete the digital model of the THMPR before we start printing even just a part of it. Again, once we have the model, expect 40 days or so of manufacturing time.
See you soon for our next update!