In HYPERNOVA, an alien planetary system is in danger as its huge star Naidira is becoming increasingly unstable. Realizing that it is only a matter of time before an apocalyptic hypernova explosion destroys their entire planet Hadea, the Scynthians devise a plan to escape their planet and rebuild their civilization elsewhere in the galaxy.
Their salvation lies in an interstellar teleportation device. Unfortunately, the raw materials required to build and power up such a device have long been depleted on Hadea due to centuries of overpopulation.
The only place where they can gather more of these elements is on Hadea’s moon, Haya, an inhospitable world with a toxic corrosive atmosphere and inhabited by violent creatures. In a desperate, last-ditch effort to save their race, the Scynthians send an expedition to Haya to find a way to power the escape technology and save their culture from extinction.
Engage in a role of a Scynthian leader and make the first step towards saving the Scynthians from certain oblivion.
The main challenge with animations in Hypernova was performance. In a strategy game, a great number of units may be displayed on the screen at once, so performance can quickly become an issue.
While the programmers did a great job in hiding all the assets on the map not actually being seen, each building and creature also had to be optimized as much as possible. Optimization included low mesh polycounts, LOD (level of detail) meshes, shadow meshes and simpler skeletons. The buildings in the game are organic/robotic and technically don’t differ much from the creatures.
All the buildings and non-bipedal creatures were animated in Maya, using simple custom rigs.
Since the creatures in the game don’t do much more than walk, attack and die, the animator setups in Unity could also be kept as simple as possible:
Because of the small size on the screen, each creature had to have a very distinctive walk and attack animations. The average length of both attack and walk animations was roughly 30 frames.
A non-bipedal walk cycle example:
Roughly half of the creatures were bipeds and were animated in Motion Builder, where the animations could be retargeted from creature to creature and easily retimed and modified. (No motion capture was used for creature animations)
A bipedal walk cycle example:
The only two examples of complex animation are the intro and the outro. Both were animated in Motion Builder. (No animation was done in Unity)
For better performance and predictability, the use of physics was limited to intro and outro.
Physics objects, used for simulating floppy ears, can be seen in the picture below:
And finally all this in action :)
Haya is an alien moon, populated with nasty creatures of all shapes and sizes that want to chew your face off and reduce your colony to rubble in all...
After a year and a half of development we finally launched HYPERNOVA on Steam. Check it out!
When we entered the production stage of Hypernova: Escape from Hadea, we had to create a completely new world.
To save a race facing extinction could be a noble thing to do, but sacrifice another one along the way could be a bit problematic?
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