Lacuna Passage is a story-driven exploration and survival game set on Mars, drawing inspiration from titles like Dear Esther, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even Pokemon Snap. You play as Jessica Rainer, the only survivor of the crashed Heracles mission, investigating the disappearance of the first ever manned mission to Mars. You have several tools at your disposal, but most important are your skills of observation. You will need to uncover mission logs, recorded audio files, and other physical clues left behind at critical mission locations in order to uncover the truth. There are 25 square miles of open terrain around the crash site for you to explore, and in order to find the missing crew of the Hermes you won't want to explore blindly. You must carefully manage your vital resources or you will find yourself stranded in the great red wasteland with no food, water, or oxygen. Time and nature are your enemies in Lacuna Passage.
While we toil away on development of Lacuna Passage we thought we might give you a peek at some more concept art, a new shader, and our progress with the terrain creation.
Posted by x70x on Oct 15th, 2013
We have really hit our stride with our art style, due in large part to our concept artist, Brandon Kern. Check out some of his work below.
As we worked on bringing these concepts to life in 3D we realized that our equipment shader just wasn't up to the task. The normal maps were not as pronounced as we would have liked, and it was difficult to define strongly contrasting materials. Our models looked somewhat desaturated and ubiquitous across what should have been different surfaces. We set about creating a shader that would give us greater control over contrast and material definition (things like fresnel lighting, reflectivity, edge highlighting, and specularity). Below you can see the result of our efforts. It is now much easier to see the difference between surfaces like shiny plastic, dull metal, and rough rubber. This improved shader is still in testing since it was created using an alpha version of the upcoming Unity add-on "Shader Forge", but we are excited with the results and hope to utilize the eventual commercial release of Shader Forge.
We've also been hard at work detailing the full-scale terrain that will be featured in the final game. Proper textures will be applied much later, but the massive heightmap is coming together quite nicely and should present the player with a wide variety of real Mars geographic features to explore. Check out a little preview below.
Find out more about how we are creating our terrain in our previous devlog.