We've been working on Proven Lands with a super small team for some months now, creating a game in you become an explorer - not just another sandbox item collector. Packed with the real mysteries of physics, biology and chemistry, plus tons of (hopefully) reasonable science-fiction, influenced by Star Trek, Don't Starve and Project Zomboid.

In Proven Lands survival is our strongest concept. It starts with a stranded astronaut -- you. You fight hunger, thirst, strange animals, weather and even the nature itself. Give the pre alpha demo a try, attempt to survive for a few days. Right at this moment you’re able to eat everything with your helmet on (for demonstration reasons) but because we aim to be a hard sci-fi game in the future you’ll have to take off your helmet first before you can eat anything. Your initial spacesuit is weak and old. However you’ll need an armored one to survive against stronger animals and armed aliens later on – oh, and you’ll need better weapons than an axe.

As soon as you’ve mastered the first terrain biome (desert), there will be plenty to discover such as steppes, savannah like environments, forests, big rivers, caves and different planet types such as ice or volcano - each filled with tons of items and characters. The AI game master will watch your influence in a region so after some time more intelligent animals, and perhaps even aliens will start to attack you. First off though we start with simple alien villagers and introduce you to a rather basic storyline. And, because it’s a sci-fi survival game, build devices, smaller machines, factories and before you basically upgrade your “camp” to a small one-man outpost -- similar to an advanced camp in Don't Starve, just deeper, bigger, and more sci-fi.


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0 comments by thesetales on Mar 26th, 2015

Hi guys,

Jeffrey here. It is my first blog post, so I would like to start with a few words on how we actually work together in a tiny team. A long time ago we decided to take time for the concept art first before we throw ideas at the 3D designers, in order to develop a juicy atmosphere and feeling for the look of Proven Lands.

So the creative process for Proven Lands usually starts with Rafael throwing a few buzzwords at me during short briefings, mostly at lunch. It’s like “It will do this, is this tall, and it could be influenced by the creature so and so in this film”. And if it feels great, if we agree on that, I promise to give it a try. This works pretty well, as we already have a common pool of inspiration that fuels our vision of the game, which includes basically all Ghibli and Pixar movies, as well as Japanese mecha anime and retro futuristic sci-fi and enjoy chats about movies like Nausicäa, Enemy Mine, Alien and so on. After swapping several ideas with him I do some research at Pinterest and tumblr to mash up reference pictures, to help me defining texture, anatomy and the like later.

I finally start swinging my stylus, creating some lose silhouettes adding a minimal amount of detail to them. This very beginning is in fact one of the most exciting steps during the process, shortly before things start to take shape and I can still leave space for happy accidents. This is a very fast procedure and allows me to create a big variety in a short amount of time. I chose a selection of the most promising shapes to refine them further, yet storing everything I created thus far in a separate layer. Keeping things proved to be quite comfortable, not just as a backup, but also as a stock for interesting elements that might not enfold their potential in the initial sketch, but by putting them into a new context, especially when stuck with a current sketch. This „dump“ grows over time and serves as a great overview for the direction that the design takes, enabling me a more focused and self-iterating way of creation.

At that point I also start consulting my reference cluster to define details and make the design more plausible. By now Rafael peaked over my shoulder at least once and we eliminate the weaker designs and adjust the overall direction if needed. Following up is a final line drawing that I color and shade in a few variations, usually with regard to the environment we’ve created or have in mind already. The coloring process changed from a very painterly approach in the beginning to a flatter, more accurate and faster one, that leaves textural choices to a great extend to the 3D artists, yet encourages a stylized, cartoonish look for the final models. This is probably the biggest difference to a big studio where you have specialized concept artists working on higher quality concepts for a long time. As soon as we are content with the colors I create orthographic views, commonly the front, back and side, which is a great opportunity to recap former design decisions with regard to volumes, which were not visible from the angle of the initial drawing. When done I hand the design over to Rafael who will use it to instruct the modelers over time.

- Jeffrey

Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 84)
Guest Mar 11 2014, 4:45pm says:

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ArtiQ Mar 10 2014, 7:07am says:

Yes! Another survival sandbox game, i was looking around for some, finally found this! It is looking great, can't wait for it. Keep up the good work guys ;)

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Guest Feb 25 2015, 2:32pm replied:

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thesetales Creator
thesetales Mar 10 2014, 12:16pm replied:

:D hm. we probably should call it a 3d survival sandbox? hm

+1 vote   reply to comment
Dakcenturi Mar 9 2014, 9:51pm says:

Looks pretty great! Best of luck. Glad to see yet another Unity indie dev team going up on Kickstarter!

+2 votes     reply to comment
thesetales Creator
thesetales Mar 10 2014, 3:50am replied:

thank you! btw, nice zombie game you have there. looking forward to

+1 vote   reply to comment
Dakcenturi Mar 10 2014, 8:32pm replied:

Thanks! Best of luck on the Kickstarter.

+1 vote     reply to comment
SacredWaste Mar 8 2014, 8:13pm says:

Looks amazing. Although I won't be able to pay for it or even run it for that matter. I wish you the best of luck.

+3 votes     reply to comment
thesetales Creator
thesetales Mar 9 2014, 8:16am replied:

daymn. hm... ok, why not! just checked and lowered the smallest digital copy reward/pledge to £9. we will also have a humble store with the same rewards/pledges, which will open for the next 100 years ;)

+2 votes   reply to comment
Gn0meSlice Mar 9 2014, 8:58pm replied:

Humble Store, awesome. So you're planning to do it DRM-Free! Please consider IndieGameStand as well, they have a setup similar to humble. You can add files, platform keys, extras, whatever you like. And their portal for developers is apparently very easy to use. Indiegamestand.com

+1 vote     reply to comment
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