Post news RSS Life's a Beach Latest News: Custom Characters, Models and Music

An update to the L4D2 custom campaign Life's a Beach. Information on our custom characters, models including the cruiseship and music tracks.

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Another period of busyness comes to a close! I came down with a nasty flu and then moved to an apartment with no internet for 3 weeks. So we are back to work once more and we have new content to show for it.

Custom Characters We have been developing the characters over the last few weeks, fleshing out their designs, personalities and voices. From the beginning we didn’t want to just use the official survivors or even re-skin them, our aim is to create a campaign with its own personality and the characters make up a big part of this.

The challenge is to create a group of survivors who can provide a purpose and entertain players without over riding the experience. Killing infected is the core of the experience, everything else is complimentary and should enhance the experience rather than detract from it.

Our survivors are an oddball cast who provide humour from their conflicting personalities, but more importantly they are being designed to work well within the game. The official survivors perform two key roles (beyond just killing infected) that are vital to the game:

  • Information
    • Conflict: where infected are, if they are being attacked or a avoiding an attack
    • Assistance: pointing out the location of pickups
    • Environmental: Where you should be going and how to do so
  • Aesthetic
    • Silhouette: Their unique outline
    • Colour palette: Their unique colour scheme

Being provided with accurate information is vital in a fast paced game such as L4D2, our characters may not like each other but they will keep each other informed! Spotting your allies in a frantic crowd of monsters requires a design that instantly stands out, little details are lost and you need to make sure the bigger picture (their silhouette) is immediately identifiable. Picking colours that stand out against the drab and deteriorated colours of the infected also makes spotting a much easier job. Without these traits working as a team would be impossible, we are working to ensure our survivors have them too.

Here is a summary of our characters, we will be posting more details about them in the near future.

Prison Guard

A man past his prime who never managed to climb the ranks, he was tasked with transporting the Prisoner when the outbreak occurred forcing them to team up. Now’s his chance to be the leader he always wanted to be! But the other survivors can’t take him seriously…

While on “business” in America this Yakuza was arrested and convicted of murder. Serving a life sentence he finds himself freed and forced to work with a group of “baka”! Cold and calculated, he couldn’t care less for his allies and will abandon them as soon as they outdo their usefulness.

Business Woman
While others cowered in fear this old Glaswegian battle-axe picked up the nearest weapon and started swinging. She still hasn’t stopped and has found some survivors she can exploit for a while, so long as they accept she’s the boss!

Dubbed the kid by the others, this resident of Rio Sierra can provide the group with useful information about the town. The Beachfront he once skateboarded down is now a hellish warzone, he is willing to put up with the others verbal abuse if they will just get him out of there.

In the gallery we have concept art of the survivors; they are subject to change so please let us know what you think!

Cruise Ship

Life’s a Beach begins on the Cormorant, a large cruise ship that sails the west coast of America and has now run aground in Rio Sierra. Level 1 takes place entirely inside the ship with survivors working their way from the cabins down to the cargo hold to escape.

With the layout largely finished we have been focusing on lighting and populating the level with custom models and textures. Level 2 see’s the survivors exiting the ship, requiring a large 3D model. One of our 3D artists, Eric Naquin, has worked on building this colossal ship taking it from some of my scribbled designs and reference images to a full in-game model (complete with detachable lifeboats!)

We have a WIP image of the ship complete with a new coat of paint and Cormorant logo!

Music Music makes up a large part of the L4D2 experience, it tells players what is happening without them having to have a visual connection. Taking advantage of our sense of hearing is something often neglected in videogames, L4D2 does not disappoint! As I mentioned before we want LaB to have its own personality in all areas, built on the foundation L4D2 lays down.

LaB has a 60’s musical style to go with the sunny surf beach location. Crunchy guitars and upbeat tunes are paralleled with dark and ominous vibes. However this is no easy task, the last thing we want is to force players to relearn all the important sounds and songs they are used to. So we are taking the existing music and remaking it with our own spin, making it fresh and new but recognisable at the same time. This requires a lot of play testing and when we have playable versions up we will take all feedback on-board.

Here is a list of the music we are currently replacing and including:

  • Intro’s for all levels
  • Special Infected jingles and songs
  • Saferoom
  • Death
  • Finale and Credits
  • Original music for locations in the campaign

We may do more, we may do less but this is our overall plan currently. We have uploaded a new version of the L1 intro and our Tank song. The tank song is a good example of how we will be replacing the L4D2 music while keeping it familiar. Tell us what you think, they are WIP and all feedback is welcome!

Team Vacancies

We still have team vacancies for Level Designers and 2D/3D artists. If you're interested in working on the project and have prior experience in Hammer don't hesitate to contact. You can also go to our vacancies page for the full list of current vacancies.

That’s all for this week, expect another update in the next 2-3 weeks and in the meantime we want to hear your feedback on the work so far!

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