Sunday, May 2, 2010

What's behind door 2?

Hurray! We got a follower. Although a blog can also be handy to review your own progress after a few years, the purpose is to reach other people of course. Besides from a friend and an email, there hasn't been feedback so far, so this is flattering :) Hello Kyle. Human Head studio's...--> Prey?

Installed some freshly modelled radiators this week after some complaints about the cold.

Now since there is at least one person on this planet reading this tiny place on the World Wide Web, let's give some more details about the project itself. Having progress on the graphics, physics or players handling flashlights is nice, but what exactly are we trying to achieve here? Well, besides from having a good time and learning something, the goal is to create a horror game. Or at least a demo, because making an entire game on your own is not going to happen in a hundred years of course. I may be a dreamer, but not stupid. Pyramids weren't build by two slaves either. Just like any other ambitious project, you can't do without (talented) manpower. But rather than begging people for help on the internet fora, I'll do my own homework first; writing the engine + tools and writing down a solid game concept.

Unfortunately I'm not in the position to attract mappers, modelers, sound engineers or artists with a salary or a project that is guaranteed to hit the store shelves. The only weapon I have is charms. Finding a few talented people that love the game concept can make all the difference. But talented people usually get their paid jobs at Pixar or a big game studio. So, the only thing I can do is trying to create an "impressive" demo and then wait... very, very patiently... Chances are small, but at least I can't say I didn't try.

The game itself will be a horror game. But unlike most other games the thrill doesn't rely onto killing hordes of demons with 100 liters of Heinz ketchup. Not that I don't like gore or action, but I found that fear often lies in suspense and the "unknown" rather than actual confrontation. A little bit like The Blair Witch project, but with a more bizarre setting like that can be found in the Silent Hill games or Hellraiser movies. The purpose is to put you in a surrealistic world that never feels comfortable; Soviet era skyscraper "Tower 22".

You'll wake up in your apartment and start your new job as a caretaker in this massive building. Wiping floors, painting walls, delivering packages, replacing lightbulbs and other dull jobs. However, you'll start to feel claustrophobic soon. Most windows are barricaded, the floor lay-out doesn't make sense, and you can't find an exit anywhere. In fact, you don't even know at which floor you are. And above all, you never actually saw someone from day one. The boss calls you once in a while, but you never met him. And although the building is full of traces, where the hell are its inhabitants?

In your free time, you'll start to explore the building. The deeper you dig, the stranger it gets. An ordinary apartment door on the corridors can reveal something much different than you might expect. And of course, you won't be alone forever... But instead of killing enemies, you'd better stay out of their way...

What would be behind this mysterious looking door? Find out in a next exciting episode


  1. I've been reading your blog too, keep going:)

  2. I also read the blog. Very interesting reading. I really like the way you use light and shadows.

  3. Thanks! Well the lighting technique is not too special, just dynamic shadowmaps with softened edges ("Variance Shadow Mapping"). The real challenge is Ambient lighting. It's a mixture of a fixed color per sector, SSAO, a pre-baked Ambient Occlusion map, and a realtime (low-resolution) generated lightmap.

    A background thread will render the sector onto a flat 2D lightmap texture with direct lighting applied. Then the CPU will read those pixels and spread it out to other patches that can rewceive the light. For example, if surface patch X can see the other patches Y and Z, it will collect light from them. This is repeated a few times, et voila: indirect lighting. Results are rendered back into a lightmap texture for final usage. Three actually, like Halflife2 does Radiosity Normal Mapping.

    Prrt, difficult to explain now. I had a couple of beers and wine. Tomorrow we have a bachelor party, so I had to prepare my liver already :)