The image above is Kelp Forest. Painted by Cory, Kelp Forest represents an environment vaguely reminiscent of what a diver might see on Earth, but with unmistakably alien features. Thin anchor stalks lead to rich foliage-like structures just below the surface, creating an underwater forest through which a player will weave.
Diverse environments are one of Charlie’s key design elements. Two weeks ago we revealed Lava Zone, a concept resplendent in reds , yellows, and oranges. Kelp Forest represents an utterly different gameplay experience, and we hope that players will be able to explore many more environments. Creating believable and immersive transitions between environments has been a key technical challenge that Steve has been considering recently.
Animation bones overlaid upon an early Kelp forest model
The presence of two divers would implies a desire for multiplayer. While it is our dream that Subnautica will one day feature multiplayer capabilities, we are determined to release a great game in a reasonable amount of time. This determination means sacrificing features that while undoubtedly cool, are perhaps not totally critical to the core gameplay experience. Some day, you might swim through the Kelp Forest with a friend at your side!
Right now, Unknown Worlds is on Christmas / New Year break. Just before we all scattered for a few days rest, we created our eighth prototype ‘build.’ It featured our first attempt at creating the Lava Zone environment in-game. While it is far from being ready for a public showing, it was exciting for us to be dodging steam vents, watching pillow lava grow, and navigating around volcanic structures. One day soon, we hope that Kelp Forest will make it into a prototype build. From red, to green, to what next?