Tag: em-8er

Happy Halloween Omniframe

Happy Halloween Update

Just for fun, for Halloween Tommaso drew a costume for the Omniframe. “Neko-frame” is a cute, pink Omniframe with cat tail, paws and ears. It’s perfect for candy gathering missions this Halloween!

While this isn’t a real frame design (except, perhaps, as a cosmetic option? Would you like one?), the frame does highlight that we’ve started work on customization options for the Omniframe prior to starting its 3D modeling. This was not a part of our deliverables for this milestone, but was needed to make sure we “built the model with customization in mind.” Consider it a bonus collection of art work (we won’t be modeling these options or adding customization in game until a future milestone).

We took a little of the extra budget you guys provided us and explored eight different customization areas. We also designed an example of what a “light” and “heavy” version of the Omniframe might look like.

The light version of the Omniframe (“Codename Sly-Dancer”):
omniframenew-pieces-sly

The heavy version of the Omniframe in Hard-driver covered mode (“Codename Bison”)
omniframenew-pieces-tank-shield-hard

The Omniframe can be cosmetically customized in eight areas (note these are just cosmetics, except for weapon pods, not craftable upgrades with stats):

  • Head with optics
  • Shoulder weapon pods
  • Shoulders
  • Jet pack
  • Wings
  • Lower arms
  • Thigh plates
  • Feet

We think we will be able to get a tremendous amount of variations out of the Omniframe “look” with these areas. Selling cosmetic options for these areas (except for the shoulder weapon) should provide one good stream of revenue for the game to support the costs of our zero-monthly-fee online servers.

This will be the last blog entry on this website before moving to a new, dedicated site for Em-8ER, the new name (still pronounced “Ember”). We changed the name to avoid confusion with the mobile game and the Steam game currently on the market. Em-8ER is the planetary designation of the world where players will be at war with the shape-shifting Tsi-hu.

While we are currently behind on production, we just completed the modeling of the THMPR and will have a grand unveiling of the model on the new site next week. We’ve also invested in the logo for the game, which will also be unveiled on the new site.

Now that the modeling of the THMPR is done, we can move on to to rigging it, animating it and importing it into the Unreal engine, as well as texturing it in PBR based materials using Substance Painter and Substance designer. More information on our updated production schedule will be posted next week as well.

Thank you for your support and your patience while we ramp things up! We have more exciting developments happening in Em-8ER that we’ve not yet announced but that we’ve begun to develop thanks to your extra support! We’ll be sharing these as update on the new site as we complete them!

Ember Promo Kaiju

EM-8ER Update – October

Hello Emberites!

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!

warrencolllage

Update – Warren Louw Joins EM-8ER Team

We’re excited to announce that Warren Louw is joining the team to help design and illustrate the characters for EM-8ER! You can see his art in the featured collage image on the blog post. Character modeling and customization in a future EM-8ER playable mockup funding goal, but we’ve used some of the extra funds to start this process early.

Warren is a well known illustrator who’s work has graced the covers of DC Comics and ImagineFX magazine. He’s well known for his beautiful females and crisp illustrative style.

Did you catch that? Thanks to your incredible support on the last milestone, we will be creating BOTH male AND Female characters for the game! Personally, I’m thrilled we will be able to offer more options to player and I thank you once again for making this possible.

Meanwhile, JoeSolo is hard at work producing the model for the first 3D test print of the THMPR model, which will be mailed to Gatestrider and Max Kahuna backers. We expect the printing production run to take 30-50 days due to the speed limitation of 3D printing and hand painting the Max Kahuna rewards.

Work also continues on developing the Unreal client. We have a basic framework up and running, but we’ll need to wait for THMPR to be game-ready and rigged for animation before importing the model into the whitebox test level that will ship with the art-preview EXE to backers.

The Tsi-hu human nickname contest is also proceeding smoothly. We’re impressed with several of the submissions and your vote participation has been outstanding.

Finally, we are working on finishing up the forum titles for all backers. We do this via e-mail address, and where the e-mail used for Indiegogo and the forums differ, we have to manually contact backers to establish their forum name. Thank you for your patience!

If you’d like to see more of Warren Louw’s work, you can find him here on DeviantArt:

Ember Promo Kaiju

Fundraiser Successful. Milestone 2 & 3 Fully Funded. Work, Work.

Wow! What an impressive second fundraiser for EM-8ER (Ember, our massive planetary wargame). Final stats are:

  • 467% Funded
  • $23,353 raised of $5000 goal
  • Fully funded in just over a day
  • 330 Backers
  • DOUBLE the number of backers than previous milestone

Now its time to buckle down on the work. After credit card and IndieGoGo fees ($2300 or so) It will take some time (15 days) for funds to clear (21 days for Paypal), but that won’t stop us. We’re either currently working on or about to move onto:

  • Adding backer forums names by end of week
  • Ordering plastic for 3D printing
  • Wrapping up modeling of the THMPR (high poly nearly done)
  • Test printing torso for rewards
  • Create low poly game mesh for THMPR
  • Texturing THMPR with Substance Designer
  • Creating 1st draft of Vision Book
  • Getting our Unreal Engine framework in place
  • And much more!

Backer reward delivery will start with forums badges, which should be up by end of this week as we process the list from IndieGoGo. Plastic will also be ordered this week and a test print made of the THMPR torso. Once that is approved we can move to printing all the 3D bust rewards. At about 2-3 print per day, max, we’re looking at 30-50 days of solid production to get these done and shipped. We also have to hand paint the 5 Max Kahuna prints, which will be fun!

But while our printer is whirring away, we’ll be working on the Unreal EXE sample of the THMPR and having it made game-ready, rigged and animated (a small set of anims: walk, drill, etc., no combat yet). We’ll be looking to find a contract animator to help us with this in the coming weeks.

I’m super excited about EM-8ER. Thank you all so much for your faith in the vision. We look forward to making this game a reality with your help.

– Mark Kern

Ember Promo Kaiju

Ember Reaches 20k Funding – New Poster Revealed

We’ve reached over 20k in funding! To celebrate, we’re releasing a new image for the design book. It’s THMPR vs Kaiju, the creature that will attack the THMPR when it returns to base during your escort. You’ll have to help it fight off this big beastie as you escort your THMPR back to base. (post-KS feature, not for Playable Mockup)

Milestone 2 – 400% funed, 8 days left

For this milestone, we wanted to raise $5000 to create:

Finishing the THMPR model, texturing it and adding shaders
Creating a couple basic animations: a simple walk, simple drilling
Importing it into the Unreal Engine to allow you to trigger its anims
Create a 20 page PDF and soft-cover, illustrated design vision book

Milestone 3 – Omniframe modeling unlocked

When we reached $10,000 in funding, we were able to fund Milestone 3, to be completed 1-2 months after Milestone 2:

Model the Omniframe (without character)
Texture and add shaders, rig it for animation
Import it into Unreal, create a movement demo of jetpacks/gliding

Use of Additional Funds

In an event that surprised us all, and without any asking for more money or having stretch goals, the community managed to raise another $10,000 for a total of $20,000 raised. This is amazing, and we are very grateful for the support.

We’re using some of the funds to help create additional necessary concept work (some of which will also be featured in the delivered design vision book). These concepts include the Kaiju mini-boss for the THMPR, a better drill arm inspired by the fan art that we loved, and adding a hand instead of bear-trap claw to the THMPR.

As we plan out future fundraiser milestones, we’ll use these funds towards reducing the cost and fundraising of each additional milestone. For example, if we need to raise another $10,000 for character customization and modeling, we could use some of the reserve to reduce that goal to $7000. We’re likely to spread this out over several milestones.

The remainder, around 10%, we will save in reserve for unanticipated future needs.

No Stretch Goals This Milestone

You’re gotten us ahead by more than we expected! As a result, we won’t be announcing any stretch goals or asking for more money. We just want to deliver what we promised and to do our jobs well.

Thank you again!