Zygote is a first-person action/adventure video game. Set in the near future, at a time when bio-engineering has fundamentally advanced, scientists now routinely integrate nano-technologies into human gametes. But the preceding years of class-warfare have born an idealistic chancellor, intent on eradicating the unmodified populace. The ruling senate reprieved his genocidal plans, but will soon capitulate. Only one person now stands in their way.

The protagonist, previously deported for treason against the senate, arrives in an unknown province to discover an emerging insurrection. A small group of unmodified, calling themselves the Kinship Resistance, have prepared plans to escape the province, return home and overthrow the chancellor. The protagonist joins the rebel alliance to master vital skills that will shape their combined destiny.

Zygote’s unique adventure is interleaved between it’s hand-crafted hub-world and it’s many procedurally-assembled platforming levels. The primary story develops as the protagonist interacts with characters, completes objectives and overcomes obstacles to recover the Angkor Orbs, unlock the Angkor Gate and ultimately return back to their homeland.


Zygote Alpha v0.1.2 - Indie DB

Zygote Chapter 1 Intro - Indie DB


Zygote’s primary game mechanics focus on 3d platforming, management of vital-signs, use of tactical sensors and player buffs, via the player’s Electronic Surveillance System (ESS).


The ESS monitors the player’s vital-signs to provide an overall health status, and includes:

  • Heart Rate,
  • Blood Pressure,
  • Glucose Level,
  • Blood Oxygen Level,
  • Core Body Temperature.

Every player action, activated buff, Patogen environment and Kinship challenge affects the player’s vital signs in real time. Blackouts or death are a threatening consequence to deteriorating vital signs.


The ESS also comes with a collection of active and passive sensors to monitor the player’s environment, including:

  • RADAR - Radio Detection & Ranging,
  • IFF - Identification Friendly Foe,
  • ESM - Electronic Support Measures,
  • LIDAR - Laser Detection & Ranging,
  • JAMMER - Electronic ESS Clutter Signal,
  • LRM - Long Range Microphone,
  • GPS - Global Positioning System for navigation,
  • COMMS - Communication system.

Zygote's Electronic Surveillance System

Using the ESS, the player can derive a tactical advantage or discover nearby points of interest.

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Blog RSS Feed Post news Report abuse Latest News: Modelling the Kinship Soldier

0 comments by GamesOfEdan on Apr 17th, 2015

This post takes a look at the process used to create the Kinship Soldiers for Zygote’s beta. The game is in development and I’m very excited to see these sort of details coming together.

Check out the IndieDB page for more information and download an alpha version from a few months ago in all it's 'placeholder' glory.


So a quick explanation of Zygote: The Rebel Uprising

It’s a first-person action adventure game. The player arrives in the middle of an emerging war between the Kinship and the attacking Patogens. Joining the Kinship, the player helps recover the Angkor Orbs to unlock the Angkor Gate and ultimately return back to the homeland. Along the journey the player discovers whom to trust, who’s being betrayed and why everyone’s isolated in a mysterious province.

These characters add story details and exposition, so it’s important that they deliver sufficient quality to present an engaging narrative and world.

The Starting Point

I use Blender3d for 3d Modelling, GIMP for image editing, Unity3d for the game engine and MakeHuman to build humanoid templates. I’ve been using various versions of each of these tools for many years so I’m pretty familiar with them - I like to call ‘this’ my comfort zone:


If you’re a hardcore modeller, you might start your 3d character model from scratch. By subdividing, loop-cutting, extruding and sculpting some basic shapes into something special. But I tend to start my humanoids from a baseline template model, mainly due to my lack of time and resources. In this case, I used the MakeHuman app to generate a basic skinned character that can be imported into Blender3d.

After initially importing the model into Blender, I cleaned up the basic model and created a ‘template‘ for all the humanoids in the game. I removed shape keys and tidied up the armature until I was satisfied with the basic setup and then saved the template 3d model in Blender.

Working between Blender3d and Unity3d couldn’t be any easier, since Unity has an excellent Blender importer that automatically reimports the model as soon as it detects an updated file.

Creating the Low Polygon Mesh


I cut the model in half, threw the left half away and used a Mirror Modifier to replace that side of the character. This meant I only had to work on half the model and kept both the mesh and armature consistent. I also add an Edge Split modifier to see the edges and set the object to Smooth Shading for visualisation.

Then I edit the model, by extruding, masking and moving vertices, and adding/removing edge loops as required. MakeHuman does a pretty great job of setting up the mesh topology, but sometimes I’ll have to do a bit of retopology to get things looking okay after my editing. In the end I test the model in Blender by entering Pose Mode and moving the armature (which I normally keep on a separate layer to avoid cluttering the view). I can visualise the joints and see how the model looks in different positions.

Sculpting a High Polygon Mesh

Next I add the Multiresolution Modifier to the Mesh, subdivide the mesh a few times from the modifier menu (in this case 4 added enough detail for my needs) and start Sculpting.


The high detail mesh will eventually be used to bake the normal map and be used as a reference when painting the base texture.

Painting the Basic Diffuse Texture

Blender allows you to paint directly onto the 3d model in it’s Texture Paint mode. Be sure to have the Textured Solid option enabled so that textures show on the model. I’ll paint the textures using both the low and high detail meshes. Texture painting is pretty cool. You can paint solid colors, gradients, procedural textures created in Blender or imported textures directly onto the model.


Before working with textures in Blender, the model needs to be UV unwrapped. Sometimes you can get away with using Blender’s Smart UV Unwrap, but I manually added seams to the Low Poly model to control the UV unwrap and resulting islands created in the output textures.

Baking a Normal Map

Blender has all the facilities to bake normal maps directly in the editor. First I needed to create a blank texture in Blender and assign it to the mesh UV vertices in Edit mode. Secondly, I change to Object mode and set the Preview option of the Multires Modifier to 0 to show the base mesh. Thirdly, I go to the Render panel, scroll to the Bake section, select the Normal Map output and enable the ‘Bake from Multires‘ option. Finally I hit the Bake button and watch as the normal map is generated.


This result in the high poly normals being baked onto the low poly mesh. I save the texture as a new Unity image asset and later assign it as a normal map in the model’s Unity material (I’m using Unity’s new Standard shader in the game engine).

Baking the Ambient Occlusion

While I’m in the baking mood, I created and assigned a new texture to the model. Then I changed the Bake output option to Ambient Occlusion and hit the Bake button again. The output is a greyscale image that I can use in GIMP to modify my basic texture and give it some depth/details.


Combining the AO and Base Texture

I opened GIMP and imported the base texture and the AO texture as separate layers. By overlaying the AO on the base texture and setting it’s blend type to Multiply, the result is a final texture that has new contrast and details compared to the original basic texture. NB: Unity’s shader supports an AO channel so I might use that with future modelling.


Creating an Emissive Texture

Unity’s Standard Shader has channels for diffuse textures, normal maps and emissive maps (among other things). To create the emissive texture I opened GIMP and loaded the original base texture. Then I overlayed an empty layer and filled it completely black, leaving it at about 50% opacity so I could see through to the underlying texture.

Painting the emissive layer in GIMP is simply a matter of adding colour where I want emissive light in the final Unity material.

I saved the emissive layer to it’s own image and placed it with the other Unity assest for the 3d model.


Testing in Unity 3d

Finally I had all the textures and mesh/armature assets ready for Unity. After import, Mecanim provides the ability to test and finetune the Skinned mesh. Normally, if things have been setup correctly in Blender, the Unity will Automap the bones and the mesh is ready for animating in the engine.

To assign the textures to the model, Unity uses Materials. I created a couple of materials for the model (one for the body/skin and another for the armour/clothes). I then assigned the AO-modified base texture, the normal map and the emissive map to the Unity material and tinkered with the parameters to achieve the right look.

Here’s the male Kinship Model in the Unity3d engine under a variety of lighting conditions.


Some Stats

  • LowPoly Mesh: 2,672 verts. 4,086 tris (full mesh)
  • HighPoly Mesh: 254,481 verts. 529,536 tris (half mesh)
  • Texture dimensions: 1024x1024

More Information:

Thanks for reading,


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Zygote Alpha v0.1.3 (Windows)

Zygote Alpha v0.1.3 (Windows)

Feb 19, 2015 Demo 0 comments

"Zygote: The Rebel Uprising" development build (alpha v0.1.3) has been released, requesting gamedev and community feedback.

Zygote Alpha v0.1.3 (Mac)

Zygote Alpha v0.1.3 (Mac)

Feb 19, 2015 Demo 0 comments

"Zygote: The Rebel Uprising" development build (alpha v0.1.3) has been released, requesting gamedev and community feedback.

Zygote Alpha v0.1.2 (Windows)

Zygote Alpha v0.1.2 (Windows)

Feb 3, 2015 Demo 0 comments

"Zygote" development build (alpha v0.1.2) has been released, requesting gamedev and community feedback.

Zygote Alpha v0.1.2 (Mac)

Zygote Alpha v0.1.2 (Mac)

Feb 1, 2015 Demo 0 comments

"Zygote" development build (alpha v0.1.2) has been released, requesting gamedev and community feedback.

Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 24)
indio68 Apr 16 2015, 3:36pm says:

this is an interesting game.for now i can't play it cux my gpu died and i'm now on my old x1950 pro...but i'll keep an eye on this. will be on steam too? what's the final price? thanks and good work

+2 votes     reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Apr 17 2015, 3:20am replied:

Thanks for checking out the game. Bad luck about your GPU :(

Aiming for this to make it all the way to steam in the future.
Working hard to make sure it's of the highest quality before asking customers for hard-cash, but I expect it to be in the typical Indie Price Range of around $15... Next step is expected to be a closed beta so if you're interested in playing the game & becoming a recognised QA beta tester then stay tuned here or on for the latest updates.

And thanks again ;)

+1 vote   reply to comment
indio68 Apr 17 2015, 11:33am replied:

thanks to you ,it's mice see dev's wants let players test the game before lunch..not many do this this days.keep up the good work

+2 votes     reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 5 2015, 4:09pm says:

Great job! I just finished the game and I relly liked it! It is original, the soundtrack is nice and the story is very singular. Congratulations. I noticed that there are two endings.. I will play again this game when the next updates will be released. And.. fix the stairs and the GPS :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Feb 6 2015, 4:12am replied:

Congratulations! And thanks for playing the alpha.

As you probably noticed, the game 'skips'a few chapters & fast-forwards to the end chapter(s). As development continues it will see more 'procedural levels' where you must recover Angkor Orbs & more 'missions with npcs' in the Kinship Province.

Most of the ESS sensors/monitors are not really being used yet, but future versions will use specialised challenges to test the player's mastery of the ESS and it's sensors.

I'll be sure to work on all the broken bits & a sincere thank-you for playing and for all your feedback.

+1 vote   reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 1 2015, 2:55pm says:

Oh, s**t! It continuously dies when I start a new game... What can I do?

+1 vote     reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Feb 3 2015, 2:18am replied:

It looks like a single 'slash' character in the game's database paths affected the Windows build, but the Mac build was fine. This was a recent accidental oversight on my behalf. I'll have to add a few more path validations in the world-loader so that paths work fine on Win/Mac. I've already fixed the prob & uploading a new Win build, but I'll add extra path validation code for the next version.

Thanks for helping me out. Much appreciated!

+1 vote   reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Feb 2 2015, 7:49am replied:

Crumbs, looks like a bug slipped thru.
I'll repost an update. Just wondering where you grabbed the download from? Was it here on IndieDB? Thanks.

+1 vote   reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 3 2015, 4:23pm replied:

yes, it was here!

+1 vote     reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Feb 2 2015, 8:44am replied:

Oh, another thing you can try, before downloading a new version, is to quit/restart program, then start a new game.

The game tries to reload the last 'save' during current play session, & if that's corrupted, this could cause a problem. Also, cutscenes used to (incorrectly) allow game to be saved, which could create this scenario.

+1 vote   reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 3 2015, 4:30pm replied:

I tried everything I could.. but nothing changed. Now I'm going to download the game again. If nothing changes, then I'll wait for the next update. I hope this problem will be fixed soon.

+1 vote     reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Feb 4 2015, 5:02am replied:

And thanks for your feedback.

Let me know how the new Win build goes for you, and keep an eye out either here or on twitter as I'll keep uploading Alpha updates throughout the upcoming months.

I can always do with more friendly alpha testers ;)

Thanks again!

+1 vote   reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 4 2015, 12:32pm replied:

I tried the game and I liked it, but there are a few things you can improve. I think it's hard to defeat enemies because they never miss you, so you will die lots of times. Luckily there is a quick save button. Then you can improve the inventory because every time I throw a fire ammo, i have to press F3 an select fire ammo. This might be annoying.
However, I like this game and I appreciate you are spending a lot of time on improving it. After all this is an alpha, isn't it? So, I'll wait for the next updates. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
GamesOfEdan Creator
GamesOfEdan Feb 5 2015, 3:56am replied:

Glad you had some success with the game.

One thing I'll have to make explicit to new players is that you can assign inventory items to 'quick slots' by dragging their icons over to the inventory slots on the left hand side of the inventory menu. An example can be seen in the alpha v0.1.2 trailer video at the 1:00 mark.

Then when you're fighting in game, you can simply use the mouse wheel to scroll thru your assigned quick inventory slots, or right-click to equip the first inventory item in the list. That avoids the need to constantly open your inventory and equip an item one at a time.

Thanks again for your feedback. I'll definitely be working on improving the enemy AI, including other enemy types, ammo types etc. over future updates.

+1 vote   reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 5 2015, 2:47pm replied:

Good job! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
ForTroPH Feb 4 2015, 10:46am replied:

Yeah! It works! Thank you for fixing that problem.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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