This week we return after the holidays with an interview with our Creative Director, Lee Devonald. He talks a bit about the customisation in Conquest. We also show off some of the progression of the character development so far. Also, get some money off some dreamy web hosting!
Posted by closed-account on Jan 5th, 2011
Happy New Year, Heres hoping for a good one!
We're back to our weekly developer updates. The alcohol is all gone, the cake has been eaten, and the presents have long been opened. We're back to work on Conquest, and we're starting the year as we mean to go on.
This week's article is focused around the character customisation system. It's mostly going to give you an insight into what is coming. But we're also going to show of a few images of the current progress with it.
It's also good to mention that we've picked up two talented programmers. So while gameplay wasn't something we were focusing on before now. It's definitely going to start showing itself over the next months.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what are you up to at the moment? What is your experience within the Games Industry, and when did you join the team?
From there I moved on to making my own characters for Jedi academy, and then on to freelance. I joined Crystal Core a couple of months ago. Originally the idea was to create an episodic RPG type game with a small group of friends under the CC name. But that went out the window and we all pulled together to work on Conquest.
2. As Creative Director, how much control do you have over the visual and gameplay areas of development?
3. With Conquest's customisation system, how does this effect character development. What is the process of providing content for the customisation system?
This one mesh was fully UVW mapped, and the entire body was textured. From there it's simply a case of sculpting different heads from that one mesh. Each face texture blends "somewhat" seamlessly with the existing body texture; the only difference to the mesh itself is vertex positions. So within the game all that has to happen is to call up different textures + vertex positions.
It's sped up character creation quite a bit.
4. Visual style is very important in videogames. How was the art style of Conquest developed?
By stark contrast though, roman buildings were almost universally white or terracotta, leaving a very "boring" look in some ways. With very little contrast between buildings other than the architecture itself. Celts having very similar building styles, but due to materials were full of greens, reds, browns etc.
Ultimately we decided on a fairly realistic looking game, so I hope we can pull it off. I just keep having to remind myself that often realism is achieved through imperfections rather than perfect symmetry.
5. How much of the artwork is accurate to Roman and Celtic history?
Similarly Celtic weapons will be as accurate as possible to what materials and building styles they had available to them at the time.
6. What other influences and references are you using in the visual design of the project?
In an effort to maintain realism, good reference is everything. I've got pictures of all kind of different faces, clothes, cloth types, metals...
7. How much customisation is possible with the current character system?
A couple of things we've left out of customisation though, particularly for the Romans, are things like age. It's not that it's difficult to set up, but more that the roman army was quite strict about who was allowed to serve at a particular age.
8. What will we be seeing from you over the next few months?
9. What games are you playing at the moment, and who is your favourite game character?
10. That concludes this interview with Lee Devonald, Creative Director for Conquest: Hadrian's Divide. Would you like to add anything before we finish here Lee?
As promised, here is a preview of the character creation system. This image shows three variations of the characters face/head. They are all using the same polygon structure, and therefore can share animations, armour, materials and the body and hair meshes. So essentially you'll be able to pick from a variety of different heads, and then on top of that, choose your hair style and colour. Then any face paint, tattoos, and other items.
It's very early. But the plans are in place, and the artwork to support it is now being produced. So you can probably expect that by the time the early combat system is in place, you'll also have some amount of customisation available at that same time.
The next image we're showing off is an update to the last concept we showed. This is the 'before' version of the Celtic Village. This is our next map, which will see the Romans storming for control of a Celtic settlement. It's a vital step for the Romans. Enabling them to set the Celt's back even further.
And finally, we'd like to give you something for free. We've been a customer of DreamHost.com for just over a year now. They've provided the best hosting service yet. With brilliant support, Subversion and FTP thats easy to use. Not to mention the other stuff we haven't even used yet. So we're giving you $75 off of your new signup with DreamHost. Just make sure you enter the code, and it should be discounted from your order!
That's all this week. Although we did well considering we spent more time drinking and celebrating! We'll be back again next week. Until then, feel free to sign up to the community forums. Read this and leave your comments here, or on the Conquest blog. Or be our friends on Facebook and Twitter.
On the recruitment front, we're looking for Environment Artists and someone with an understanding of Scaleform and Flash. Email us your portfolio/CV and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!