DEVLOG - Supersolar: a top-down action game

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I'm working on a little project in my free time, a top-down shooter, where the player controls a spaceship and fights against swarms of AI drones. My inspiration are games like Homeworld or Battlezone.

I'm trying to have a gameplay demo ready in a few months with the help of my programmer, with final art, then see where that leads. One of my goals is to make the ship, enemies and enviro as cool as I can, maybe go a little over the top. The units will be rather small on screen, so I'm keeping fat bevels and large details.

Here are some images from the prototype inside UE4, with blockout parts, and a wip for the drone's highres. Comments are welcome!

There's a lot to do, including final model of the textured ship and drone, a load of animations, some basic enviroment pieces, weapons and effects.

Ship blockout:



Drone highres:



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  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    looks really cool! love how much character you have managed to get in those ships.
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    Thanks lotet!  :D

    An update on the drone, with low poly and wip bake (still some fixing to do). This little guy is the only enemy in the demo, he'll have a couple of extra animations like being alerted to the player's presence, communicating with nearby drones, wiggling antennas, etc. Also on destroyed state, it will split in all the different parts, now with a burned up texture set.





  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    Exploded view with all parts and finished bakes (for now):


  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    I think your bevels are a little soft, everything is coming of a bit blurry. but I suspect that from your in-game perspective it might be reading really well.
  • r4ptur3
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    r4ptur3 polycounter lvl 10
    the organic movement of the ship is so awesome!!!
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    lotet: I just love fat bevels, I can't help it haha! But you are correct, the unit will be pretty small on screen and I want some nice highlights on it.
    Thanks r4ptur3!

    Here is another update, working on the high res of the player ship, the wing assembly. THe wing will rotate for strafing animation, for looking around, the flaps will extend when braking, and the whole thing will fold while doing some special moves.


  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
     looking awesome, glad to see your still working on this!
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    :D I'm planning to finish a demo and a trailer sometime this spring. I simplified a lot of the work: just need this ship finished, the drone textured and to make a simple environment level, blockout-type.

    Cockpit opening nr #1:


    Even though the cockpit opening won't be in the demo, I'm trying to plan ahead all the things I would like to have. I also want to have damage-able parts, so when hit, the main panels will fly off and reveal some cool innards.

    And my reference board for modeling the ship. I gathered a lot of references for the different parts like exhausts, wings, panel lines, etc and I'm doing a lot of trial and error trying to come up with some cool shapes that fit together. I'm mostly happy with what I have so far on the ship.


  • jwsargent_me
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    all the little animation detail your doing is so awesome, cant wait to see it in action someday :)

  • izaakb
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    izaakb triangle
    Dude! Awesome animating that prop. Killer!
  • izaakb
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    izaakb triangle
    Will you have parts that also shake/vibrate when the vehicle is in motion? That'd look really cool!
  • Shrike
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    Shrike greentooth
    Think about if you want to make a game or make art, if this is really supposed to be a game, prototype first and do the art afterwards. Don't make art and base gameplay on the art, thats backwards. Set yourself 2 weeks to get the core gameplay running, then you can start fleshing out if that works. Cockpit opening animations is like so far detached from what is important, you couln't find a better metaphor. Making one artwork after another and systems afterwards will be devastating for the health of the project. If its mostly about making art, then thats another story of course. Even for the art, I wouldnt go straight into baking, but prototype the enviroments, enemy types, unit, environment, building scale, camera angle and viewport, size, how do the factions look, how does the background distinguish from the foreground and so on. Its much faster to work in bulk after everything is set and questions are closed. 
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    Thanks izaakb, I was thinking of adding some engine vibration effects when moving, that would look pretty cool!

    Thanks for replying Shrike. Actually I did prototype in the past two years, fully fleshing out the idea (in the process I had to completely redesign the ship too). And last year, I added blockouts (which I'm using as a base for the baked models above) in the latest build, complete with mockup weapons, destructions, movement, UI, etc.

    I think I have a clear idea of what I want now and I'm mostly happy with it, but I can't really show anything I have. So the next step, which I'm working on now, is replacing the blockouts with finished art (version 1), polishing up what I have in my prototype, and making a trailer, promotional art, etc. I'm also making an environment, but it's not something large, more like a diorama, just for showcasing.

    Due to having a full-time job, I can't spend a lot of time on the project, so I'm trying to think a little bit ahead - cockpit opening won't be in the demo in the near future, but I don't want to rework my ship model later either, so the parts I'm doing now I want to be relatively future-proof. I also think I can integrate these details in the trailer even if they won't be in the demo.

    Also I have to admit that I'm focusing on the art - I think the premise of the game is simple and proven, my goal is to make what I put in the game look cool: the ships, combat and enviros.







  • jimsvanberg
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    jimsvanberg greentooth
    Man that ship it neat! =D
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    This is some next level mechanical animations roight here.
  • Art_em
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    Art_em vertex
    Dude, drop me a line if you need a hand with 3D stuff :) would love to participate :)
  • Optimus
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    Optimus polycounter lvl 2
    whats your polycount? lookin real good!
  • AmigoSt
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    AmigoSt polycounter lvl 2
    Sorry for noob question, but how so kind of animation transfer to Game Engine? Is it bone animation?
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    @jimsvanberg Thanks!
    @Brian "Panda" Choi To be honest, my rig is really simple :D basically just a hierarchy of control splines. It would be cool to add constraints and easier controls for the different movements, maybe sometime in the future
    @Art_em I might need some help with the environment, will let you know haha
    @Optimus The main ship is still in high res phase, but the drone is somewhere around 4000 tris.
    @AmigoSt PM'ed

    Here's another update. It took a lot of time to finish, but I'm happy with the final result. The ship has 5 hardpoints that the player will add different weapons. Since the ship's rotation is slow, the turrets need to instantly rotate to the mouse pointer to not affect aiming. They need to hold the weapons, and also have to rotate and not hit any other part of the ship. So the grab arms have 360 degrees of rotation freedom. Also the main turret discs can deploy and retract so the player can see what weapons he's changing.





  • Art_em
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    Art_em vertex
    Hey @huffer - sure. I mainly work in Maya and substance painter. Can help with props, layout and what ever you might need there :) here is my stuff:
    Behance: http://behance.net/art_em
    Artstation: http://artstation.com/art_em

    Cheers.
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    Here is a new update: the high poly of the ship is almost done. I still have some elements in blockout stage, but most of it is there:




  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    Taking a break from the ship's low poly, I started working on the trailer, which I hope to finish by April. It will include a couple of scenes separate from the gameplay, to setup the story, and the rest will be a showcase of movement and combat.

    First model: Voyager 1 probe that will be on screen for a couple of seconds:


  • Turks
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    Turks polycounter lvl 5
    This stuff is so great man! I love the ship so much. Great design, cool silhouette and love the chunky look. Keep it up dudeski!
  • nightfrontier
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    nightfrontier polycounter lvl 8
    Adding this thread to my favorites! Super excited to follow this :smile:
  • Clark Coots
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    Clark Coots polycounter lvl 8
    love the ship design, nice chunkiness to it and still mix of smaller/medium shapes. love that it operates mechanically in a believable way too
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Is it just me or does the satellite not really match the chunky style of your previous stuff?
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    @Turks, @nightfrontier, @Clark Coots Thanks guys! I'm really looking forward to start the demo level, it should be super fun to design it.

    @lotet You're totally right man! The Voyager model is the first one I'm doing using real world reference. I followed the actual proportions, and even though I applied fat bevels and simplified shapes like I did with the ships, it isn't enough. It would have worked fine, since you'll see it just briefly in the trailer, and it needs to be recognizable as Voyager 1, but it works better if I apply the same chunky fat style everywhere.

    So I redid the Voyager, and defined the style - very readable shapes, fat edges, exaggerated, but not cartoony or chibi-like proportions. It will read much better now in-game, and I can add more details, even though they aren't present on the real thing.

    Also have a logo now! :D



  • Protokoll_Studio
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    Protokoll_Studio polycounter lvl 2
    Really nice project ! Add to my favorite.

    For the Voyager 1/2, you should add the small and big antenna. With that the player can be able to know what is this particular satellit :smile:

    Keep it up !
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    new one definitely looks better :)
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    We have a damage model!
    MInigun explodes the drone, and laser beam slices through them. What's left to do though - add more variations to the sliced models and some cool FX.



  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    It has been insanely fun working on this game so far and I'm happy with how most things turned out. This month I'm trying to wrap-up the assets - the player ship, the drone - with final meshes and textures. I also want to finalize the demo level, so that I can cut the trailer together and release it.

    I have an advanced blockout integrated, particle effects, sounds and a basic hud. There's still some polish left to do, but here are some screens :D







  • CybranM
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    CybranM greentooth
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    @CybranM Thanks a lot!

    Here are some new updates - after a break due to my job, I'm now back to work!

    Drone texturing WIP. It's tricky to keep things interesting but simple enough to ensure details are visible with the top-down camera, but I'm getting close. I'll be making a couple of color variants too. The green module will be an energy pickup that drops from drones after they're destroyed.



    And integrated in engine:



  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Drones look great, I think you nailed it!
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    @lotet Thanks! :D I'm happy with the final result, and above everything it helped me take first steps towards a visual style and pipeline for future assets.

    What's new today - progress on the first level. This bridge / platform will serve as a tutorial before ending in open space.



    And some drones closeup!


  • Tectonic
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    Tectonic polycounter lvl 6
    I really like the soft bevel style!
  • Olingova
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    Olingova polycounter lvl 5
    Looking awesome definitely!! I look forward to see more
  • aclund3
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    aclund3 polycounter lvl 4
    That intro sequence. Yum. Awesome project so far!!!
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Looks amazing! the textures of the ship turned out above awesome.

    my only crit is gameplay related and very minor, but I think you could increase the hit box of the drones a bit :P
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    @aclund3 Thanks a lot! Can't wait to show more. :D
    @lotet Thanks! Haha, yeah, I'm doing a polish pass and I will tweak them. Next week I'll have a preview prototype public and you can blast these drones yourself B)

    I think I'm done with the ship and weapons for now - here are more images.



    This week I'm wrapping up the tutorial level. I don't have enough time left to bake everything as I'd like, so parts of the level use simple tileable textures and weighted normals:


  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    New update!

    I made a first trailer (pre-alpha):

    I packaged a downloadable demo for people to get an idea of what Supersolar is about. Some screenshots below. Most art is at blockout stage because I don't have enough time to bake everything as I'd like to - there's sooo much work!

    For a while, the project is on hold while I gather some feedback and think where to go from here. :#







  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Looks awesome, would love of there were more of an impact feel on the amp lazers, they feel a bit underwhelmnig atm. 

    I love where this is going though, Its amazing how much content you've managed to create, all the small things like sounds effects and tutorial text and such... 

    looking forward to your next update :)
  • Rodimus
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    Rodimus polycounter lvl 7
    Awesome project so far. Loving the GIFs you're posting :)
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    @lotet @Rodimus Thanks guys! There's a lot of stuff I'm not happy with and unfortunately with time and budget constraints means I have to compromise. Right now I'm working on an advanced demo, with more stuff to do in it, a boss, a completed level, fixes and improvements. It's due by October, also then I'll launch an indiegogo campaign - as it is now development can't continue and this is basically the last chance to make this game happen :#

    New stuff:
    Remade the UI as holographic projections around the ship:

    Working on master tile materials, greebles, decals, etc:

    Revamped movement - it's easier to control the ship:









  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    aw that sucks your so tight on schedule, its looking great though! keep it up :) cant wait to try it out when its done!
  • huffer
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    huffer interpolator
    Getting closer now, one month left! :s
    Here's what I'm doing now, a sneak peek of gameplay:


    New art for level, 80% done (the last polishes are the hardest):


    Started doing some props, like these cargo bots:


    A little tutorial for movement:

    Rework on weapons, better effects an destruction:





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