Post news RSS Character Special - The Undead Priestess WIP

Meet our first new playable character, and learn some of our design decisions as we move to finish her modelling. Note that it is a work in progress.

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Welcome everyone to this special article! Instead of a simple blog post with status updates, I thought it'd be fun to talk about something we have been having a good time working on: designing the undead priestess for Co-op play. We've still got a couple of armors left before she's completed, but I think it's an interesting journey and always look for feedback! All the modelling and texturing work is thanks to none other than Riddick3


Fitting Room

The intention of the Co-op mod character selection, as stated before, is to bring in the models from Multiplayer so not everyone has to play as Sareth. For a little added fun, we've decided that we want to design some custom armors that are themed around each of those characters. It only makes sense.

Armors


Dark Messiah has 7 wearable armor items, 1 demonic armor from Xana's transformation, and then a default model making a total of 9 unique models required for each character. Since the default model is going to just be the base multiplayer model with no editing done, it means we are going to have to consider designs for 8 armors.

Additionally, we need to set some ground rules for how we are going to design the armors. For starters, it's important to take inspiration from the main motifs of the character design as it stands. What type of color palette do they have? What is the most defining property of their design? Next, we look at what purpose the particular armor serves. Is this a mage armor meant for the best mages? Are they assassins, or thieves? How fortified are they? Then, we can move onto their faction inspiration. Are they undead or human? What does that faction believe in? Finally, we can consider inspiration from other Might and Magic games. Has a person of this faction worn something similar in another game? Can we find overlap in designs?

Staying true to the core DNA is extremely important to us, but we may take some liberties every once in a while because we just like to. If we step too far, we'd want to be called out on it. Anyway, I think you've got the point, so let's start talking design.


Enter the Undead Priestess

The Undead Priestess is the medic class in multiplayer, and particularly specializes in either preservation or corruption. These are two the most important defining properties when we consider the type of personality this priestess has. They are considered powerful healers, with the ability to completely resurrect their friends at the cost of their life, or dish out some really strong damage. Needless to say, it's a very confidant caster.

The basic model


We chose to start with her for an honestly lazy reason: She's the least clothed of the character roster. It'll be easy to drop some armor pieces and modify her mesh without having to get rid of other components.

Looking at this design, you can already get some ideas for strong motifs. The big eye popper here is her haircut. It's inspired above everything else, so we'd want to keep that intact. Looking at some of the more passive design choices, we see the clear male-fantasy sexualizations. This is a game that came out in 2007 after all, and they had a target demographic. Personally, I don't think we need to incorporate it any more than keeping the figure. Now, the most important thing is her practical decisions. You can see half her body completely corrupted from spell casting. Actually, her left hand is scorched with a channeling apparatus cuffed around her arm, implying this is her main casting arm. This is an absolute necessity to keep consistent, given her passions as a magical character. This analysis was good enough to start a brain storming session.


The Warrior Armor Tree

The three warrior armors, from lowest to highest tier, are the Chainmail, Plate, and Shadowsteel armor. Each one basically increases the protection of the wearer, duh, but more on Sareth's armor sets you would be hard pressed to see that difference. So for this armor set, we decided to visualize the changes with some logical progression.


Given that it's chainmail armor, the obvious start is to give her some light reinforcement along her exposed skin. You're not very armored if you're exposing flesh. However, we took extra care to ensure the casting arm was remained untouched. When you are casting necromancy magic, there's an element of heat being applied. You don't want to melt your chainmail off, so we keep it clean and flexible. Finally, for that extra protection, we reinforce her green garb with a more armored metallic structure. Her thigh area is also given some defense with some lighter material plates. Tier 1 is pretty done.

A very simple increment here is to reinforce the already existing armor. Plate armor is generally improved along the core components of the armor, so adding a stronger chest piece made sense here. The chest piece is actually inspired from another Undead class, the Warrior. We also strengthened her thigh pieces with some proper plates. Tier 2 completed.


For her Shadowsteel armor, her strongest variant, we give her the final set of protection she needs to dish out damage. Pads are extended out a little further towards her biceps, and her boots are given the upgrade treatment for some butt kicking. Speaking of pads, shoulder pads are extended out and given some offensive capability incase anyone wants to try their luck. All of this still consistently inspired by the undead warrior class, and some rust added for the undead side of her objective. Finally, and of course, we give her a form of helmet, and what better helmet for an undead creature than a magically reinforced skull? We keep her hair visible, her casting arm clean, and she keeps an intimidating watch.


The Assassin Armor Tree

The Assassin tree is actually fairly simple with only two increments, the Assassin's Garb and the Master Thief Outfit. This didn't make much sense to us progression wise. If I was going down a sneaky tree, I would surely become a thief faster than I would become an assassin. Plus, the Sareth variants of these armors are just simply recolors. There is minor reinforcement, but not that much extension. Obviously, we try to play with that idea.


For her "Assassin's Garb" we are going to treat this more as a thief's outfit. Someone who needs to move slick, flexibly, and undetected. We decided not to give her a mask (although this may change), but we started by muting her bright green garb. We also cover the skin with a finely crafted fabric for agility, all the while of course keeping her casting arm untouched. We did, however, start operating on either arm in a different way.


For the left arm we started giving her some pain and completing the cloth design. Necromancers believe in death as a means of escaping the frivolous pursuits of mortality. Of course, the only way to do that is to bleed yourself away, so with this gauntlet she tunes into her inner masochist and cuts deep inter her skin, through that stealthy fabric. These gauntlets also double with some offense capability.


For her right arm, given that this is her casting arm and that she's going down the path of death in favor of assassination, we introduce some disgusting decomposition. You'll notice gangrene on the fingers and a lot more scarring around her arms. We'll be carrying it to the final tier of her armor.


The goddess of death! Honestly, we were inspired a lot by Hela's concept design in both her cartoon and movie debut. We swap out her cloth outfit for more tighter fitting enforcement, and give her some black reinforced armor. We keep the cloth and gauntlet on her right arm for flexibility, but we introduce an expansion to her iconic hair with a lethal helmet that channels a both Hela and a very demonic horn design of a very familiar Succubus that joins Sareth on his journey. We're happy with the way it turned out, but we may shorten her helmet horns in the future to match Xana's typical length.


The Mage Armor Tree (CONCEPT TALK)

There are only two mage armors much like the assassin armor, and they are ALSO recolors. For our priestess, this is what I have dubbed the SPECIALIZED armor. This is her moment, her ideal skill path at it's strongest, so we need to do it justice. This is why I don't really have any pictures to show for this at the moment, but join me on the conceptual conversation of her first tier.


The necromancer's often wear their channeling garbs around their waist and down like a skirt. So, we need to do this same sort of thing for our Priestess. However, we want her to exude that confidence and power that she has before, so we want to play with a combination of a little femme fatale design and our necromancer's standard casting appearance.


The most iconic femme fatale appearance is the waist high slit cocktail dress, so let's work that in. We don't want the garb to fully cover her legs, instead giving her a burned and torn cut that effectively produces the same slit you would see in that dress. The burn would align with her left side, given that is her casting side.


We also need to give her more casting capability, and where there's more magic there's more symbols and especially there's more seared and burned flesh. These symbols are just painting tests to ensure we have hit the proper flesh-to-disgust ratio and I think we nailed it.

Necromancer's objective is to become a Lich, so what the Priestess may become in her maximum magical power needs to satisfy that disturbing turn. I'll keep that close to the chest until we're done!


Closing Remarks

I know I didn't discuss the Demonic armor, but there is a LOT of consideration going into how we will handle that. I anticipate it will be the very last armor we work on, and will likely only be after we get some practice with other character variants like warriors or human-faction models.

Anyway, I hope this was as interesting and entertaining for you to read as it was for us to think about. We're obviously not done, and we have plans to do second passes of all our earlier designs once we get deeper into the design stages to ensure we are being consistent with character decisions and ideas. Plus, as we improve, we will want to keep all our work to that rising quality.

On a side note, we have hit 1000 subscribers on our Youtube channel which is a big deal! To celebrate, I put out a nice video special where I answered a bunch of questions people had asked. You can learn a little about me, where my start was, my plans, etc. If you want, of course :)

Now, for the standard reminders, our Discord is available if you want to talk with me about anything, so come on down using this link: Discord.gg ( select Dark Messiah from the #role-assignment channel )

I accept all pings, questions, suggestions, and etc.

And of course follow me on Twitter for some of the in-development postings. It's still a very good way to keep up with the minutia of these: Twitter.com


Thank you so much for keeping us alive!

Comments
R0ADKILL
R0ADKILL - - 1,183 comments

Will Knight/Warrior character from MP be acailable. They look cool by default.

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KingDavidW Author
KingDavidW - - 84 comments

Absolutely! The plan is to bring all the characters in and give them the same treatment as the Priestess

Reply Good karma+3 votes
stab-k6
stab-k6 - - 1 comments

Any chance on beta soon?
Wanna go through dark messiah with my friends

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KingDavidW Author
KingDavidW - - 84 comments

Waiting on Ubisoft to clear us. We've gotten the legal approval but now we need the paper work. Once that's done I'll start putting out closed testing requests in the discord then open it up

Reply Good karma+2 votes
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