It has been just over a month since my last update and we have been making progress on many fronts. The designers are all working at full steam and generating a wonderfully diverse set of ideas that are well written, nuanced, original, and sometimes creepy. There will be no lack of originality and deep game play in Wasteland 2. The team has risen to the challenge of making a rich world that will capture a post apocalyptic atmosphere and provide a unique experience for each player that dives in.
We are nearly complete with our backer web site which will consolidate our backer database with Kickstarter and PayPal and allow backers to upgrade their tiers or more easily change such things as shipping information. A soft launch is imminent and then we will roll it out for all.
We also have our first pass at a Wasteland 2 screen shot to share that is running inside the Unity engine. The process up till now has been in getting up to speed with Unity but also much discussion about look and feel. Our environment art director Koy Vanoteghem has written a nice piece below on our approach and process.
Releasing a screen shot this early in the process is a new concept for me as we typically want to hone in every element before we show it. But based on the requests and our desire for fan input, we are doing so to solicit feedback on the basic look. Please keep in mind that we have not put in the particle effects and post-processing which will have a dramatic effect on the scene, and this represents just one of the various environments for Wasteland 2 so expect to see other quite different locales. Also, this particular camera angle is on the low end of a range that the player can adjust upwards to a much more top-down view, for those who prefer that style during game play.
I am frequently on twitter sharing my thoughts, soliciting opinions on various subjects and highlighting interesting projects and technology. You can follow me at @brianfargo if you want to stay tuned into such things.
Again I thank you for allowing us to create this game the way it was meant to me made. We’re going to make you all proud.
In our effort to establish the appropriate look and feel for the re-launch of the Wasteland franchise, we sifted through a variety of media types available on the market for inspiration. Among all of the similarly natured games, CG film shorts, and various documentaries, it became increasingly clear that the modern day conception of a post-apocalyptic world has diversified.
Of course, the desert-oriented wasteland devoid of life was still there. But a newer and more compelling version which highlighted nature’s reclamation of vacated places took hold of our attention. This new conception gives us the opportunity to generate a variety of environment types while staying true to the narrative. It also allows the location and geology to dictate the flora and fauna, as well as the manner and state of decay. From the dry deserts and icy mountaintops of Arizona to the coastal conditions of LA and larger southern California region, each region generates its own flavor. You saw a bit of this in our early concept pieces we had commissioned. Because the early part of the game, where our development is currently focused, takes place in Arizona, this first screen shot depicts (surprise) a desert scene.
As we moved into prototyping game-play scenarios and in-game environments, we wanted to keep in mind the long-term strategies we had been talking about in the press. With our small team structure and the expectation of a significant integration of contractor and fan/backer based assets, we wanted to consider the efforts that would be involved in synthesizing those contributions into a consistent style and theme. The Unity engine has this wonderfully integrated asset store, full of props, environment sets, FX and tools, and it seemed the perfect proving grounds for our first pass at this new approach of game environment creation.
Certainly, purchased or prefabricated assets are nothing new; a variety of sites are out there selling “game-ready” props, and like most developers, we are familiar with that opportunity. But Unity’s Asset Store had a few distinct advantages that we found appealing. The store, being accessible from within the editor itself, along with the purchase, downloading and importing of those packages, made this surprisingly painless. Packages containing not only the models and textures, but also materials, particle attachments, and animations were ready to use and then modify immediately upon purchase. And so our goal was to purchase a variety of packages, modify them to suit our stylistic needs, and put together a scene by combining them with assets and textures generated in-house.
The big exception to all of this is of course characters, which we are developing primarily in house. RPGs have always generated strong relationships between the player and the characters they craft and breathe life into as the game progresses. And to this end, we will be working to create characters that can be read cleanly with our camera angles. Strong silhouettes and bold colors in costuming and accessories, and their animations and poses working with a camera angle (that is still being tested), seemed a tall order for this approach, and so in this shot a few examples of that effort are present.
We will continue to develop the style and look of the game, undoubtedly that is something that will evolve as we move forward and branch out with other environment types. As we become more familiar with our new found friend Unity, and the technologies that are available to us for lighting, shadowing, and material set-up/execution, we hope you’ll enjoy seeing it evolve along with us.