Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Alersteam

Member
  • Content Count

    12
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

116 Neutral

About Alersteam

  • Rank
    Member
  1. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    NICETIES OF ART DIRECTION The visuals of Exoplanet: First Contact have changed significantly since the Kickstarter campaign. The world of K'Tharsis has become much more alive and interesting thanks to new types of plants, animals, rocks and other remarkable assets. Much of this progress wouldn't be possible without our talented art director — Ivan Taranenko, who is going to tell you about his art career and his work on Exoplanet. I`m watching you freelancer I was interested in drawing, as well as in video games since my childhood, but after graduating high school I didn't even think about game development career and started studying software engineering in a university. After a while it became clear, that I'm not ready to dedicate my life to this particular profession and after getting my diploma I decided to try myself in advertisement by becoming a designer working for one of the agencies. It is about that time that I became interested in graphics. A hobby grew into a passion and I realized that this is how I want to earn my livelihood.   One of the best Exoplanet: First Contact concepts according to Ivan After leaving the job in the agency, I started working as a 3D artist in a game development studio "Meridian'93" which was making desktop strategy games as well as freelancing for larger projects (such as Disciples III: Renaissance). This is where I honed my modelling skills, got familiar with animation and started to devote much more time to drawing, changing my line of work and after a while I became a lead artist. Unfortunately, the studio stopped making strategy games and dived full-on into making casual ones, which I didn't deem interesting and deserving of my attention so I have left the job and started thinking about my own project. A couple of my friends joined me — a programmer and a level designer. Together we started working on a small indie game Bravada. We spent two years working on it, and even though at the end our expenses didn't pay off, I have received priceless experience, learned a lot and got to know firsthand about many pitfalls and nuances of the industry.   The next significant project for me was Legends of Eisenwald. Here as a freelancer I contributed to the interface of the game, the map and designed the final version of the logo.   After Legends of Eisenwald I continued looking for a job and stumbled upon an ad on a forum which said that a small indie team is looking for an artist to work on rocks and cliffs. The project looked interesting, but unfortunately I didn't have anything suitable for that job in my portfolio at the moment, so that same evening I drew a concept and responded. That's how I became an artist working on Exoplanet: First Contact, and a few months later was promoted to an art director of the project.   Terraform corporation reserves the right to interpret the word "pleasure" at its own discretion Working on this game is incredibly interesting. I believe that we're producing beautiful concepts, especially characters and weapons. The unusual setting of space western is also very close to my heart as well as the genre — despite my passion towards turn-based strategies (Disciples) and stealth-action titles (Deus Ex, Dishonored), roleplaying games were always number one for me. When I was a kid, my friend got a first PlayStation and we spent a lot of time playing Tekken and Twisted Metal. But I truly started loving games after I found Final Fantasy VIII — I was astounded by its story and how it managed to evoke my emotions. Then there were Planescape: Torment, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Fallout, Fallout 2, Gothic — these games were masterpieces. And, of course Gothic II: Night of the Raven — this is probably the best Action RPG that I ever played. This last decade changed a lot. We've got more powerful and functional engines, more polygons in the models, and the industry itself became more demanding towards highly qualified specialists. All this allowed to bring the visuals to a new level, which in turn affected the work of artists. Dishonored's incredible visual style, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt scenery that shock your imagination, colorful Uncharted 4 artbook, Metal Gear Solid art performed in sumi-e — all of these are wonderful sources of inspiration.   Han Solo would like to get his attire back But there is also a fly in the ointment. I believe that contemporary games have lost their adventurous spirit: developers copy themselves time after time, reproducing models of successful projects with minimal changes. Sure thing, in this business every mistake has a high cost, but I'm hopeful that at least some of the companies are going to find the strength to change this situation to the good and step away from boring templates. Meanwhile, this lack of adventurism is going to be compensated by indie developers, and I would like it very much if Exoplanet: First Contact becomes such a brave and interesting project. Visuals and appearance play a huge role and are my direct responsibilities as an art director. Most importantly, the game must have a consistent visual style, otherwise it's going to look like a patched blanket — unaesthetic and unprofessional. Therefore it is crucial to look after each concept, model and texture while improving the existing graphics and creating new concepts. I spent a lot of time analyzing other games, looking for not only inspiration and references but for concrete technical solutions. As a perfectionist I believe in the ideal result, though I do understand that the process of improving certain things could be infinite. So I try my best to approach each task pragmatically, striving for the optimal combination of quality and spent time. So how will the final Exoplanet: First Contact look? It's important to note, that despite a lot of technical and budget limitations we strive towards realism in the game: that's why we do not exaggerate proportions, especially in regards to weapons and characters. Next we have landscape detalization. Gradually we add new types of plants, small stones — all this significantly affects location's appearance. Painstaking work is carried out on the sky: the most attentive players are going to notice that we've changed the sandy color to standard white-blue tones. Nevertheless, the color of the sky is going to change depending on the location. Currently, I plan to create a couple of concepts that are going to demonstrate how the game world is going to look in different times of day and various weather conditions, be it rain or a sand storm.   We've also changed the water: our programmer made it look much more realistic, which is going to be even more noticeable with correct lighting.   Correct lighting is one of the most important aspects, which is going to allow us to improve the visuals of the game significantly. Right now, Exoplanet doesn't have the advanced dynamic lighting we want it to have, which notably lowers the beauty of the picture: for instance, objects in shadows seem to be flat and unrealistic. More innovative lighting techniques (skybox, ambient occlusion) are going to allow us to solve much of such problems, as well as unlocking the full potential of existing assets in the game. Summarizing, it is important to note that such big project is a very ambitious goal for such a small indie company. But working with the team, I understood that people at Alersteam are passionately driven guys very much like myself: we understand each other well and are solving issues successfully. Everyone is eager to be the most use to the project as possible and are results-oriented. I believe that this approach will let us achieve our goal, no matter how ambitious.   IN CONCLUSION We're always on the lookout for new ways to make our project known to even more people. And today we would like to make an important announcement: we're partnering with www.grabthegames.com. Its owner Rafal has helped us already on numerous occasions and is a close friend of our team. Like all of us, Rafal believes in Exoplanet's success and is going to help us however possible to reach even more players. Finally, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that you can get updates about Exoplanet development not only from Kickstarter but also from other sources, and more frequently. So please, feel free to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other official feeds, and of course don’t forget to check out our forums and participate in discussions — we’re trying to get the news out there daily. Furthermore, each your like, share and repost helps us find new interested players, and we’re grateful to each and every one of you who recommends us to your friends. Thanks a lot for your support. Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:  
  2. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Hi! We're still working on optimization and can say the finish is close as never. That's a really big deal for modern projects, both indie and AAA. So now the build work much better and looks like Jack is not into break dancing anymore. We gonna miss that a little bit to be honest! The game itself now look more like release version, but it's still an early alpha! Today we'd like to share some new screenshots and remind all our backers that alpha testing is coming. Also we'd like to remind all our developer friends and press that you can join the list by dropping the message to PR[at]alersteam.com   Click for the full-sized image!   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:  
  3. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    One of the consequences of the human invasion is a brute-aborigine. It's a result of genetic mix of humans and of the natives, a huge and strong creature. Usually they're used in mines as unintelligent and submissive workers, though some brutes are both smart and strong, which makes their social status undoubtedly different.   Click for the full-sized image!   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:  
  4. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    The indigenous people of K’Tharsis   We’d like to present you an updated version of the K'Tharsis' aboriginal representatives concept art. It's hard to overrate an importance of a race that is going to be interacted with very frequently during the playthrough, that's why much time was spent carefully designing them.   Though native population of K'Tharsis isn't very technologically advanced, it mastered the antigravium works long before first humans stepped on their land. They craft from it jewelry as well as more functional items, such as weapons.   As the worldwide practice shows, a contact with an alien civilization is rarely beneficial to the ecology and population of the less advanced civilization, and aborigines on K’Tharsis weren't an exception. Once lived in their own closed world, they got new neighbors, who slaughtered much of the tribes and enslaved the most remaining. Nevertheless, some of the nomadic tribes are still free and frequently raid humans.   Click for the full-sized image!   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:  
  5. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    New Screenshots from Serene Valley location We'd like to share some WIPs from upcoming alpha version and notice all our backers (again) that we're about to start the closed alpha testing. Only tiers with immediate access to alpha verion can take a pert. But if you're a journalist, game development industry specialist or blogger feel free to drop a message to pr[at]alersteam.com to join!   Click for the full-sized image!   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:  
  6. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      The world of K'Tharsis has been through many changes since the last alpha version, and today we'd like to share with you footage of a new location. To achieve the best results, our team has decided to stop relying on bought asset packs. We’ve already told you about making of cliffs and rocks, and now we also have palm trees and other cool models. While this kind of approach does take more time, it allows us to produce more unique and satisfying content for you.   Unfortunately it also means that our Steam Early Access release date was postponed, but don’t worry: in about a month we will release a completely new closed alpha version for our backers.   Afterwards, depending on your feedback, we're going to decide the Steam Early Access release date. The first impression is critical, and we're going to take your feedback very seriously, look at the project from another perspective and try and fix all the critical problems so that the Early Access version could deliver much more enjoyable and smooth experience with the least amount of bugs. Also, we’d like to make it up to you for the long wait by offering you more gameplay time! According to our stats, even a cursory look at all of the points of interest in Exoplanet would take a couple of hours, and the storyline and some side quests will help you spread the enjoyment over a bunch of evenings.   And if you’re interested in joining the discussion and to check out our new alpha version, you can still do this at our website.     Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:  
  7. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Hello friends! This year we're gonna try our best to keep you up to date and release updates more frequently. We’d like to tell you more about soundtrack and animal world of K’tharsis this time! Take a look at full update on Kickstarter.     Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:      
  8. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Happy New Year!   Hey everyone! We're often being asked about our team members, and gradually we share more about those who develop Exoplanet: First Contact. In one of our previous updates you could find out about our lead programmer and about his decision to develop a game using his own engine. Today, in the first part of our update our soundman Mark is going to tell you about new sound recording devices that will allow us to extend the possibilities of our sound design. If you're into tech and videos with unpacking you'll definitely enjoy this one! And of course, a big thank you to our backers: without you our upgrades wouldn't be possible.   Watch the video on YouTube:     We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!     Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  9. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      Modular armor experiments   We'd like to showcase some of the renders of modular armor. Currently this system is in active development, so that in the future we would be able to combine various animated large objects (in other words, flexible) such as pants and body armor as well as decorating them with rigid objects and accessories like hats, sunglasses, helms, bracers, backpacks and body armor gadgets.   Modular light and medium bounty hunter armor. Parts can be combined with other sets.       Postnuclear space cowboy?   So don't be surprised if somewhere in K'Tharsis' plains you stumble upon a raider or a merc with provocatively naked chests, or if you take a resting bounty hunter by surprise, you might have the chance to check out his trendy Sci-Fi underwear.     Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  10. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    The most popular six-shooter in Exoplanet   One of the priority tasks for our artists lately is weapon and armor redesign. We aren’t satisfied with current models, which aren’t always optimized for 3rd person view in respect of geometry and detail emphasis. A lot of things that look good from first person aren’t even noticeable from 3rd person view, which means that armor and weapons need to be reworked, some of the details made larger and more noticeable, though without overdoing it to the point of a cartoonish look of course.   Attacked by humans, cyborgs, aborigines and other aliens? The Equalizer can always even the odds.   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  11. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

      Dear friends! First of all, we would like to thank everyone for your votes because Exoplanet: First Contact is one of 18 RPGs in TOP-100 of IndieDB Indie of the Year Awards.     And now we need you to vote for us one more time if you are still in love with space western old-fashioned RPGs. There are 11 other RPG games among upcoming role playing games: some of them really great and we’re in really good company.   It is very important for us to spread the word and to get attention to Exoplanet, to show it to the world as a game with huge potential. We’re not looking for a first or even fifth place but we would like to be a great upcoming RPG among the others RPG in TOP-100. Thank you very much.   VOTE FOR EXOPLANET: FIRST CONTACT HERE!   Or just click on the picture below:  
  12. Alersteam

    Exoplanet: First Contact

    Howdy, dear Exoplanet backers and RPG fans. This update came up to be a bit long and a little late, since we wanted to reach a certain important milestone and show you the results of our hardworking art director and lead 3d artist, who were working on such important environment details like rocks and cliffs. 80% of K’Tharsis’ surface is a rocky desert, and we wanted to build the first levels of our game in this particular biome, to set the player up for a western style at first, before throwing him into exotic alien landscapes. The results of our work are described in detail below, followed by first demonstration of the modular armor system and general ideas for weapon redesign. We’re hoping that both players who know a thing or two about the process of game development and those who are more knowledgeable in this regard would find that kind of information interesting. Have a nice read!   K’Tharsis’ rocks: on our method of landscape design and decoration.   In our previous updates we’ve already talked about the process of creating a level and also showcased our heightmap editor that supports terrain patches with holes in them, which allows us to create a more complex geometry such as caves, overhangs and other types of advanced land patches for player to walk on. However, the current generation of gamers wouldn’t be satisfied by a simple heightmapped terrain painted by a couple of different textures as it was done in years before 2006, since generic hills and valleys wouldn’t look convincing even with the help of advanced terrain projection algorithms. Surely, we at Alersteam wouldn’t want to create such simplistic pathetic excuses of levels. Our goal is to create locations that are fun to explore, that have a vertical aspect to them as opposed to plain old and boring runway strip level design, that literally screams “You’ve reached the end of the world” at you, when you hit its invisible borders. All Exoplanet’s locations will have natural boundaries that don’t make the player feel as if he isn’t allowed to go somewhere because of, ahem, reasons.   WIP: part of our location built with modular rocks and walls   But you can’t really make an interesting level with soft hills made by heightmaps even with the help of generic rocks. When a level designer wants to create a more interesting terrain with valleys, ravines, uniquely shaped rock formations and whatnot, it’s impractical to achieve this with engine level editor. This is where custom meshes come to the picture, where particular points of interest are created as unique meshes. When working with artificial levels, technical objects, various sorts of machinery etc a large number of different meshes could be created which are then assembled into a specific piece of machinery or a laboratory of some sort, not unlike LEGO. Assembled from simple pieces, in able hands it could be used to create stunning structures.   Most of the games which inspire us are using the same level creation process or some sort of a variation of it. In our case, it allows us to work mostly without relying on 3rd-party editors for shaping the complex landscape and our terrain geometry. We can just generate a heightmapped patch of a desired size (or several of them), mold it to our desire, cut out holes for caves and various unique locations (a cavern with openings in the stone ceiling for instance, or a cave system at a side of a canyon), and decorate the level with meshes, decals etc, all without leaving our editor. In theory, a modmaker would be able to open one of our existing levels, and be able to change the terrain, add/delete objects and have access to all of our assets right there in our editor, as well as the possibility to add their own assets, import textures, and even create completely new levels from scratch.   U- and C-shaped walls in editor (the seam is left visible intentionally)   We’ve started by creating a couple of rockface drafts to help us decide on a final form and by working on a level prototype to find out the scale of assets and distances from which they should be visible without fidelity deterioration. First of all we’ve made some convex and concave walls for the level with a starting height of about 60m, since this is approximately the average height difference in our level’s terraces. The mesh set should contain at least 3 of those meshes for each of those big walls or cliff faces, if you will. They could be easily extended if needed.   Each of these meshes has a unique diffuse, normal and specular maps in 2048×2048 resolution. We could have used tileable textures of a lower resolution, but a unique texture looks better and emphasizes rock edges and overall relief. Despite the fact that modern PCs have a plenty of VRAM to handle large textures, we don’t want to be too wasteful by making the resolution of our texture maps too large, since in this case the player would usually see these meshes from a distance. Natural barriers that the player would be able to come much more closely would be smaller in size and respectively with a larger visible texture fidelity. Additionally these huge U-and C-shaped walls are modeled as one-sided meshes to lower the polygon count in the scene (the player is not supposed to see their backside), though they are shaped in a way that makes it easier to combine them with each other and with the terrain without visual inconsistencies.   Gameplay simulation, from player’s perspective. Camera angle makes a lot of difference   Flat rock formations are also needed for hiding horizontal seams and building ledges as well as decorating lower cliff faces. These ones are examples of the middle sized meshes, they are limited by 15m in height and from the player’s point of view the texture is more detailed in terms of texel to screen pixel ratio.   Each flat rock has different geometry on its sides for more visual variety   We’ve also thought about introducing some variation into such surfaces that look the same for example a protruding rock formation. That’s why we’re also making separate rock assets we call I-shaped rocks or simply I-rocks. They are also suited for a larger relief and are about 40m in height, which is of course also could be scaled up or down to some extent. I-rocks can help to decorate larger natural formations or work as standalone assets if needed. We’re planning on making a whole set of such rocks to give our level designers and modders a higher degree of freedom, and more building blocks for their creative   I-shaped rocks can be rotated to show different looking sides   It’s also important to note that our rock texture doesn’t have a particular direction. This was made deliberately, and allows us to rotate those assets any way we want. They don’t have a visible “up” or “down” sides which makes it easier to fit them into any creative arrangement one might think of. This approach does have a downside of being more generic and less realistic, but in future, due to decals and lighting it won’t be noticeable. We’re also using a well-known detail texture technique, for those who like to check out cliff surface very closely.   Detail texture applied to the large mesh: the difference is clearly visible   Needless to say, unique rock formations will have their own unique meshes, like natural bridges, peculiar obelisks, arcs etc, though those aren’t a priority at the moment. At the final stage of building the level all seams should be well-hidden beneath smaller details like a bunch of smaller boulders and rock slides, broken cliff pieces, flora etc. This way we’re trying to create a more naturally looking environment, where the annoying seams and transitions between traversable terrain and natural vertical boundaries are almost unnoticeable.   Mysterious big structure teaser   Learn more about Exoplanet: First Contact:    
  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!