Live Story: Character Concept Art & Background

When playing a game, you come across all kinds of characters and enemies with unique designs and features that tie them into the story and their environment. This week, we spoke with Chris Borden from our team at Outhouse and artist Grant Gossler about the background of some of the characters you will encounter in our upcoming release, ‘The Ancient Remains’, and give you a sneak peek at some of the concept art.

With the first chapter of our game being based in an ancient temple, our first set of characters are based on Egyptian mythology. While there have been many interpretations of characters such as Anubis and the Sphinx, working with artist Grant Gossler helped the team bring their vision to life. When asked how to make an original looking character from something that has been reimagined time and time again, Gossler said it is about using recognizable traits for each character while adding new and interesting details. He explained about the character Anubis, saying he was trying to give him a primal, underdeveloped human feel while still staying true to the legend itself.

Check out the art below to see what you might run into while exploring the temple along with background information on the character that helped drive the design.

Ammit is a female demon made up of the 3 largest man-eating animals known to ancient Egyptians- the lion, hippopotamus, and crocodile. She lived near the scales of justice in the underworld and devoured the hearts of the impure.

The Sphinx is said to be the guardian of gateways. Men have been driven to madness trying to solve the sphinx’s riddles.

Ancient Egyptians worshiped snakes, especially the Cobra. The Naga were servants of the gods. These deities have been summoned by priests as servants to help guard the temple. They are very clever and strong.


Lector Priests were extremely intelligent and powerful. The Gods granted them the ability to practice magic and perform rituals.

In ancient times, Faceless Temple Guards were warriors and protectors of the pharaohs, known for their loyalty, strength and bravery… but nothing more. The lack of the face symbolizes that most warriors live and die anonymously.

Anubis ushered the dead to be judged at the scale of justice. When talking with Gossler, he said he used chains on the arms to help show scale. The chains are a standard size ahuman would interact with, but on Anubis’s arms they look thin and string like showing just how large he is.

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks coming in the new year!

Audio in VR: Creating 3D Sound

Audio in a virtual reality environment is one of the most important pieces to make a player feel immersed in the experience. As a game is created and designed, sound not only needs to fit the look and feel of the game, it takes on another level of difficulty and expertise when making it 3D for VR. We sat down with Bethany Borden, our resident sound composer & designer, and she shared three things she has learned while creating 3D audio that all sound designers should keep in mind when creating audio for a VR environment. Read Bethany’s tips and experiences in her own words below.

Realism
– the quality of representing a person, thing, or situation accurately or in a way that is true to life

I had an “a-ha moment” at GameSoundCon in LA this year. Chris and I were sitting at a table in one of the rooms where water, coffee, and tea were available, and occasionally a waiter would be walking around carrying a tray.

All of the sudden I heard a loud sound behind me, which alarmed me and caused me to jump. I turned and saw that one of the waiters had dropped his tray, and that eased my mind once I knew what the sound was and that everything was okay.  I thought, “That is why sound is so important in VR! One unknown sound can change your whole mood and almost force you to look in certain directions.” In a virtual reality game, you are there in the room or environment of the game. You can turn 360 degrees in order to see everything, but that leaves a lot that you can’t see when you’re not looking at it. Music cues and well placed sound effects will help users know where to go, what to do, and what or who is coming to help make the experience completely realistic.

When playing PC, console, arcade, and mobile video games, the music and sound effects come out of the speakers or headphones and the most that can happen logically is for you to hear the sound to the left or right, because you can only see left to right. There is nothing above you, behind you, or next to you while you’re playing these games. In virtual reality, the sounds are attached to the object in the game, so if you look at it, it will sound like it’s in front of you. But if you turn to your left, you will hear the sound in your right ear. If you turn 180 degrees, it will sound like it’s behind you. This is a very new concept, so programmers are working hard to make tools that audio teams can use to implement sound, but right now it feels like every man for themselves as we all try to figure out how to create the best experience in VR by making the best SOUND experience in VR.

Keywords:

  • Spatialization – the direction of incoming sound
  • Synthesis – the creation of source sounds

Immersion
– the state of being deeply engaged or involved

One of my favorite games is ‘Serious Sam: The First Encounter! The game has everything I’m looking for: combat, weapons, unique characters, a story, humor, loot drops, hidden items, puzzles, and last but not least, great sound design. At the time I played the game, I was still teaching music and hadn’t written a note for or implemented a sound in video games. I did notice, however, that when I was in a particularly intense combat scene, the transition of music into the dangerous fight would make my whole body tense up and prepare and also make my senses very alert. Once I had killed the last enemy in the wave, the music would gradually dissipate into something calm that signified the end of danger and a sense of relief. It was usually at that time that I even noticed the music that had made me feel the way I felt during the fight. Basically, the idea of immersive sound design is for the player to feel what the music or sound effects intend them to feel before they actually notice them or think about them.

Usually, the music in games is the most effective way to help people connect with the game emotionally.  In virtual reality, sound effects are actually much more important, because they alert you to feel something when you hear them and try to figure out what the sound is and where it’s coming from. Michael Abrash said during his keynote speech at Oculus Connect 2 that the goal in VR is to drive the human perceptual system, which includes manipulating as many of the human senses as we can, resulting in creating the most immersive experience. Sound is one of the areas where there is a pretty clear path as to what needs to happen to get the desired results, but there is not an easy way yet. Audio engineers and programmers still have a long way to go, but leaps are being made every day as more people are researching and experimenting with sound in VR.  

Keyword

  • HTFR (Head-Related Transfer Function)a response that characterizes how an ear receives a sound from a point in space; a pair of HRTFs for two ears can be used to synthesize a binaural sound that seems to come from a particular point in space.

 

Watch this example of HTFR with headphones

Balance
– mental and emotional steadiness

You get motion sickness when one part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves) senses that your body is moving, but the other parts don’t. This conflict between the senses causes motion sickness. Your eyes see motion, but your body doesn’t sense it. Luckily, many steps have been taken with the visuals and mechanics in Virtual Reality to now prevent most people from feeling any negative side effects like motion sickness while experiencing VR.

The definition of sound is vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s or animal’s ear. Physical vibrations plus sound make you feel like what you’re seeing is real, creating a balanced experience.  When we were creating the bow and arrow for our game ‘The Ancient Remains, I worked very closely with the team to make sure the correct sounds were being implemented, and our lead developer added vibration in the controller while you are pulling the arrow back in order to create tension along with the sound effect. The vibration stops on the release of the arrow while the release sound plays, creating the feeling of the weight of the arrow. But if those sounds and vibrations didn’t match the visuals, the experience would feel slightly off-put, even if you didn’t quite understand why. Sound is 50% of the VR experience, so balance is key!

Keywords

  • Propagation – how sound moves around the space
  • Binaural – recorded through two separate microphones and transmitted through two separate channels so that the reproduced sound seems to surround the listener and to come from more than one source.

Helpful Articles About 3D Audio

VR for the Holidays

The Happy Hour Podcast Show Visits Outhouse Games: Part 1

On Saturday, October 22, Kyle Duce traveled over an hour, podcast equipment in tow, to visit the Outhouse Games studio. We were happy to provide the opportunity for him to experience video games in virtual reality for the first time. Afterward, we sat down with Duce and recorded two episodes of Happy Hour with Johnny & Duce podcast show. The first episode focuses on his overall experience in VR and his feedback on the games he played, including our game The Ancient Remains, which is currently in production. Check out the podcast below.

 

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite moments from this episode along with some additional information we thought would be fun and interesting to share.


“The biggest difference for me was the control factor- it’s completely different!” -Kyle
(starting around 4:30 of the episode)

 After playing The Lab by Valve, Serious Sam VR by Croteam, and The Ancient Remains on the HTC Vive, Kyle immediately noticed that a big difference between playing VR games vs console or PC games is having a controller in each hand, working independently to aid you in movement, combat, and interaction while you’re playing the games. He said that the controllers were very easy to use and that they don’t have a big learning curve. Most people can pick up playing a game in VR, even if they have never played video games or it’s been awhile. However, Kyle has a unique perspective on the controllers because he has Parkinsons’ Disease, a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. A symptom of PD is shaking, which caused Kyle to struggle with steadying and aiming the controllers independently, especially in Serious Sam VR. He compensated by resting one hand over the other to kill the mobs and still did a great job. We’re thankful for Kyle’s feedback so we can try to make our games as accessible to as many people as possible.

 


“Your guys’ bow and arrow was amazingly accurate!” -Kyle
(starting around 6:30 of the episode)

Kyle used a bow and arrow in the game Long Bow by Valve first, so he was able to compare their mechanic to ours. Take a listen to the podcast to get his exact thoughts about Long Bow. He did say that it seemed like our team captured what it really feels like to shoot a bow and arrow. We explained to him that several people on our team had real life experience with a bow and arrow. Plus our Community Manager, Liz, brought in her long bow for all of us to experience. During development of this mechanic, we tried out several other developers’ bow and arrows to see what we liked and didn’t like. We spent about 2 extra weeks on it, but we think the results made it worth the time invested.


“That’s the future of gaming right there!” -Kyle
(starting around 12:30 of the episode)

There are a few factors working against VR being in every home right now, including price point, lack of content, and complexity of the setup. If you think about when the iPhone, XBox One, or Play Station 4 came out, they were facing similar issues. With time and experience, there will be more quality content as well as a more affordable price for the systems. Kyle is convinced that once people try this, they will not want to go back to regular gaming.


“VR is a big upgrade not only in gaming, but also in technology.” -Bethany
(starting around 14:50 of the episode)

While Kyle feels comfortable using controllers that require both hands, the controllers are actually a big intimidation factor for a lot of people who haven’t played video games in awhile or ever. Most people can now pick up VR controllers and quickly learn how to use them, which we observed at OrlandoiX last month where we watched 500+ people of all walks of life try out our game. This is the technology of the future for so many more reasons than video games as well. People are creating social opportunities, entertainment experiences, virtual shopping experiences, and more.

img_2198 img_2208

We really enjoyed our time with Kyle. Please take a listen to the entire episode if you get a chance. Stay tuned as we will be recapping episode 2 and sharing further insight on what we chatted about. Here’s to the future!


Connect with Happy Hour with Johnny and Duce

 

Live Story: Meet Liz

Ever wonder who is behind our blog posts? Liz George is our Community & Content Manager and our final team member profile for our Outhouse Live Story. She not only runs our blog, she does marketing, community management, and partners with Bethany to provide support on our social media channels.

Outhouse Games: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start working at Outhouse Games?

Liz George: I started with Outhouse in January this year working with the team to help manage the community and the content we create for the company.

OH: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

LG: I actually asked for my job. I wanted to work in games and wanted to find a good company to give my spare time to, so I reached out to Bethany and ended up meeting with her, Chris and Phil for lunch. We met at IgnitionINK and hit it off and here we are. I have community and content management background and wanted to put that experience to work in the game industry. It has been really exciting watching the company grow and I’ve been able to learn and do so much that without this, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so. This year has been such a busy and amazing year, I’m really grateful to be on such an awesome team.

OH: What made you want to work in gaming?

LG: I love games. I grew up fighting for my turn on the NES with my brothers and the only game they would let me play was Super Mario 2. Being able to play as Peach and be one of the stronger characters in the game left a bigger impression that I thought it did. I never thought I could work in gaming, because I’m not an artist or developer, but every company needs marketing and community management, so I can work closely with something I love doing something I’m good at. It is a win-win.

OH: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Content & Community Manager is like?

LG: It is a bit all over the place, but my work is primarily project based. I like to review what projects and tasks are on my plate, make a list, and then tackle it. I like the variety, one day I can be working on a blog post and the next day on the website. The job is really creative, I can come up with content concepts that we use on the blog and social media, brainstorm ways to engage our community, and just really be different in the ways we can talk about the company and our games. It is such a good outlet, the team gives me a lot of freedom and their trust, and that feels fantastic, and I think that shows in my work.

OH: What programs and tools do you use every day?

LG: Slack for talking with the team, Grammarly to catch the little errors I might miss, Photoshop to create and edit visual assets, WordPress for the website and blog, and just a plain old web browser to get where I need to go!

OH: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

LG: My desk is portable, it is in my backpack. When I am set up at, I have my MacBook, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a bunch of knick-knacks. However, one of the things I love about this job is that I can pack up my computer and go work somewhere. I find I work better somewhere with a cup of coffee and music playing than being in an office.

OH: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

LG: Right now, I’m working with Chris to talk about updating the website to start marketing for the game. Last week, we reviewed different layouts and ideas about how to promote the game. It is pretty neat to start marketing something like this from scratch.

OH: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

LG: Last week, I was able to bring in my bow and arrow for the team to use. What was really cool was when I first tried to play with the bow and arrow mechanic in the game, it felt really natural for me. I was super impressed that it was so smooth and that it felt so accurate. The stuff our team builds always impresses me.

OH: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

LG: Before Outhouse changed its focus to VR, I didn’t really know much about VR. It has been really interesting learning about all the different products and games out there, and then seeing what we are making. Learning the new technology and then writing about it has been a challenge, but I’ve found it fun and now I’m excited to see what happens in the industry and how it changes the gaming industry.

OH: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

LG: I’ve learned just how long this technology has been in the making. I remember hearing about the Virtual Boy, but VR always seemed like some kind of fad that never took off. Now, we are seeing the idea of VR and the technology finally match up and it seems to have come out of nowhere overnight, but that isn’t the case. There has been so much research and work done before now and I think that is what is going to make VR really stay in the market and change gaming.

OH: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

LG: Find what you are good at, and be the best at it. Like I said before, gaming companies aren’t just looking for artists and developers, they need everything else a standard company would need from HR to marketing. If you love what you do and add an additional passion like gaming to it, you really have an unstoppable combination. So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get discouraged because you can’t do the typical gaming job, figure out what you are good at. Work jobs that will give you those skills, even if they aren’t in gaming, you are still developing those essential skills that can be applied to a future role in the industry.

Live Story: Meet Pam

Every studio needs a great Developer, and that is where Pam comes in. In our latest installment of our Outhouse Live Story, we introduce you to the talented Pam Werrell.

Outhouse Games: Thanks, Pam for talking with us today! Let’s start at the beginning. When did you start working at Outhouse Games?

Pam Werrell: January 2016.

OH: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

PW: Programming games is a dream come true. One of the best days of my life was when Chris called to say I got the job. It has been awesome watching the company grow. It is amazing to see how many years Phil and Chris have invested in order to get the company off the ground along with the respect they’ve earned in the game community.

OH: What made you want to work in gaming?

PW: Atari Computer camp and programming games on TI-99A as a kid. Games like King’s Quest and people like Roberta Williams were the inspiration of wanting to develop games.

OH: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a Developer is like?

PW: The day starts off with hardware setup and check, finding pen and paper, opening text editor and trying to remember where I left off the day before. From there each day is different because each day brings new problems to solve or old ones to fix.

OH: What programs and tools do you use every day?

PW: Paper, graph paper preferred. Pen, Sublime Text editor, Unity, Searching docs.unity3d.com and stackoverflow.com.

OH: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

PW: Exercise ball chair great for bouncing on when thinking and limits carpal tunnel. Paper, paper and more paper. 2 VR headsets and 2 controllers, 2 monitors, one keyboard, one mouse. Lots of cords. Water. Disinfecting Wipes. Small piece of something to manipulate while thinking, current item is a twist tie.

 

Pam's desk here at Outhouse.

Pam’s desk here at Outhouse.

 

OH: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

PW: Just finished fire arrows and will be starting dwindling/refilling oil supply for torches and lamps.

OH: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

PW: Juggling objects in VR. One day I will be able to do it.

OH: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

PW: Working with the hardware to make it feel and work like you were actually present in the game.

OH: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

PW: The new headsets no longer make you motion sickness when you follow some basis guidelines about framerates and how the camera moves versus player’s movement.

OH: What do you like about working with VR?

PW: Holodeck technology is finally being realized.

OH: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

PW: Logic, logic, logic – very problem comes down to answering what needs to happen when and what if this happens. What are the responses and how do they interrelate and how is that different for different people. Constantly getting input from as many people as possible is necessary. The logic that makes sense to you does not necessarily make sense to another person. No one person can do development it takes a team of people to make it great.

Live Story: Outhouse Levels Up at OrlandoiX

It has been a very eventful few weeks for Outhouse Games. Last weekend we were at OrlandoiX showing off our latest game, ‘The Ancient Remains’ to attendees. We attended OiX last year, but this year we wanted to create an interactive exhibit to bring people in and give us feedback about our game. We upgraded our standard booth with a new backdrop, two TVs to display active gameplay, an iPad kiosk for surveys, along with a computer to run the VR station with the HTC Vive. “We really wanted the space to feel open,” said Chris Borden, co-founder and business manager, “Phil and I spent a lot of time designing the layout so that we could interact with people more directly instead of over a table.” The layout of the booth was extremely important for the VR experience, as there had to be plenty of room, but also because the team had to get close to attendees to put the VR gear on them. Chris explained why so much thought went into the layout. “The team had to build a level of trust with each person because we were essentially blindfolding them. We wanted them to be comfortable and feel like they were being taken care of while playing the game.”

 

Attendees experiencing our game in our booth during OrlandoiX

Attendees experiencing our game in our booth during OrlandoiX

 

Our mission during the event was to gather information on how we could make the game better and feel more immersive. We did this by collecting survey information, but also by watching the players interact with the game. A great example of this is the wand in the demo. The wand shoots fireballs by pressing the trigger on the controller. However, the team noticed that a lot of people were flourishing the wand and were trying to flick it in order for the fireball to come out. “This isn’t something I would have thought of and didn’t think it would end up being such a thing, but when you watch people do it over and over and over, that means the game has to change,” said Chris. Overall, the feedback was fantastic, especially on the bow and arrow mechanic. In the demo, you were able to use a wand, torch, and a bow and arrow. We wanted to make sure these mechanics felt natural to the player, especially since VR is still a new experience to many people. “We are not only teaching them how to use a bow and arrow in the game, we are also teaching them how to move in a VR environment altogether,” Chris explained, “we are focusing on the quality of gameplay, not quantity. We really want to lessen complication and just allow the player to play.” Quality is a high priority for our team. We spent real time on each mechanic. A month was spent on the bow and arrow mechanic and a few weeks on the fireball and wand. The plan has been to focus on each system individually and think them through all the way to the end, so the player can pick up a controller regardless of having any experience playing a VR game, and have it feel natural and give a positive experience.

 

OiX attendee checks out our bow and arrow mechanic

OiX attendee checks out our bow and arrow mechanic

 

The biggest surprise of the event was the team winning ‘Best in Show’ for our VR title. When we asked Chris about winning the award, he said “It was awesome, I felt honored. I was very appreciative and proud of our team and the hard work we put into the booth.” This is the first big award for the game studio and it means a lot to the team. “It means we are on the right track, we are doing the right thing and it feels great to be recognized for it,” said Bethany Borden, our Sound Designer & Composer.

 

Chris accepting our ‘Best in Show’ award at OrlandoiX

 

The next steps after sharing the demo is to take time and really dig into the data and feedback we got not only from OiX, but from the other events we have been attending. From there, the team will tackle any changes and start adding more features, characters, real-time lighting, additional sound elements, and polish existing systems. “We heard from people who played the demo that they thought it was a finished game when it is far from finished,” said Chris, “what we have looks good, but we want to work on what we have to make it look even better.”

 

Our amazing team, from L to R – Matt, Adam, Pam, Liz, Phil, Chris, and Bethany

 

Stay tuned for our next Live Story where we introduce another member of our amazing team, Pam!

Live Story: Outhouse Gets Out of the Studio

Outhouse Games has had a lot of opportunities these past few weeks to get out of the studio and go to some great conferences not only to get the word out about our newest VR title, ‘The Ancient Remains’, but to also do what we do better. Right now, we are currently at OrlandoiX with a live demo of our game, but at the end of September part of our team headed to the other coast to attend GameSoundCon. Our Sound Designer & Composer, Bethany Borden along side our Co-Founder, Chris Borden, headed out to Los Angeles to take in as much as possible about game sound and design.

Bethany and Chris aboard their flight to LA

Bethany and Chris aboard their flight to LA

We sat down with Bethany to chat with her about the conference and what the team took away from the experience. When asked about the conference itself, Bethany explained that “industry professionals give presentations and sit on panels that educate our community in things like workflow, great tools, techniques, tips, and tried and true practices.” She explained how the conference offered multiple tracks and it worked to her and Chris’s benefit.  The team divided the panels by their expertise so they could attend as much of the conference as possible without getting overwhelmed or miss something they wanted to attend. “Chris mainly went to the VR focused classes, and I went to the Pro Track sessions, which had a variety of musical and technical presentations” Bethany said while sharing their strategy. “Chris has the ability to understand a lot more at the technical sessions, when I can go to the music sessions and understand them.”

One of the big reasons for taking this trip was education. With so much information being shared in such a specific area of game creation, there were a lot of opportunities for the team to find real ways to improve their skills and our game currently in development. “I learned some great techniques for recording voiceover for video games, particularly for VR, such as recording actors in ensembles instead of separately, rigging 2 microphones on the actors’ heads to allow them to physically act out their lines while saying them so the sound is captured accurately, and to be careful how close or far away actors are from the microphone.” By learning these new techniques along with others from the conference, Bethany is excited to apply them as our game continues to down its path of development.

Bethany with Sandy Schnieders during a panel at GameSoundCon

Bethany with Sandy Schnieders during a panel at GameSoundCon

A panel that engaged the team was ‘Beyond Wild Hunt Musical Evolution of The Witcher Series’, which Bethany said personally inspired ideas for ‘The Ancient Remains’. “The composer wrote a simple child’s rhyme song, which was used in the game sung by children, but this also became a theme for the game music and was used in a dark and sinister way. I absolutely loved that idea and wrote a rhyme on the plane ride home, which I’ve since written music to. I plan to record some of the music next week at UCF!”

Needless to say, the conference had a lot of great information to offer both Chris and Bethany and we are excited to see how it impacts and improves our current project.

Bethany offered the best advice she took away from the conference:

  1. “Consistently do things that scare the shit out of you!” -Michael Bross
  2. “Don’t give up. Never give up.” -Stephan Schutze
  3. “It’s okay to make mistakes.” -Adam Gubman
  4. “Find a mentor.” -Caron Weidner
  5. “Be so good that you can’t be ignored.” -Steve Martin

Stay tuned for our next Live Story, where we recap the amazing happenings from OrlandoiX!

 

 

Live Story: Meet Adam

It is time to meet another member of our team in our latest installment of our Live Story. Up next is our awesome 3D Modeler & Texture Artist, Adam Flores!

Outhouse Games: It is your turn for a profile, Adam! To get started, lets talk about how you came to Outhouse Games. When did you start working with us?

Adam Flores: I started working remotely in Novemeber 2015 and started working in office in January 2016.

OG: Can you tell us about the experience of getting this job and what it is like to see the company grow?

AF: Getting the job was awesome! Watching the company grow has been a great experience. I didn’t really know how much went into a small business like this, but seeing how hard Chris and Phil work to keep work coming in is very inspiring.

OG: What made you want to work in gaming?

AF: I can’t really say it was one particular game or experience, but I’ve always loved the art in video games. Knowing that someone would play something that I had a part in making gives me a sense of joy. Hopefully I can inspire someone else to get into gaming through the artwork we create.

OG: Can you tell us what a day in the life of a 3D Molder & Texture Artist artist is like? (

AF: That’s my primary role, but on a day to day to basis it can change. Working in a small studio like this is great because I can do many different things. I’ve had to rig and do some minor animation, very minor. I’ve done a little shader writing, very little, and even a little bit of scripting.

OG: What programs and tools do you use every day?

AF: MODO, Photoshop, Zbrush, and Unity are the primary programs.  Every once in awhile I’ll use After Effects.

OG: Can you tell us about your desk setup?

AF: Currently it’s mess but it has my essentials, a Wacom tablet for texturing and sculpting, and a VR headset to test see how a scene looks in VR.  Also it’s littered with toys.

 

A quick shot of Adam's desk

A quick shot of Adam’s desk

 

OG: What are you working on right now for our latest VR title?

AF: I’ve just recently finished a snake and some broken statues, but today I’m going to be doing some particle effects for the magic elements of the game.  

OG: Can you tell us anything really fun or unique about our upcoming title?

AF: Right now I really love the destructible physics in the game and I’m looking forward to when we implement the magical abilities.

OG: What has been the most challenging part of your job now that you are creating things for a VR game?

AF: Making everything look good and keep the frame rate high. Oh yeah, fire…. Making realistic looking fire that doesn’t look flat has been a fun challenge.

 

Adam hard at work on Bash the Vote 2016

Adam hard at work on Bash the Vote 2016

 

OG: What is something that you have learned from working with VR?

AF: There are so many factors to making a good experience that it’s hard to limit it to just one thing. Your scale is definitely a crucial portion of VR. Being a bit too tall or too short in VR can make the whole thing seem off.

OG: What do you like about working with VR?

AF: Seeing everything we’ve created come together is probably my favorite. The lighting, the interactions, and the sound immersing you in a world you helped create is very satisfying.

OG: Any advice for someone wanting to get into the gaming industry and do a job like yours?

AF: If you want to be modeler/ texture artist, you have to practice those skills everyday. Find something you like and recreate it, then do it again, but faster and better. Never limit yourself to one thing though, at small studios it’s good to be a little knowledgeable of the other things that go into making a game. You don’t have to know everything, but at least be willing to learn and step out of your comfort zone. I didn’t really think I’d enjoy shader writing or particle effects, but it’s been amazing seeing something I’ve created in a virtual world.


Connect with Adam

 

Live Story: Sneak Peek of ‘The Ancient Remains’

Right now our team is at the Melrose Center in the Downtown Orlando Public Library sharing a demo of our newest title, The Ancient Remains. But don’t worry, we have some great things to show you from the demo right here in our Live Story!

Top down view of the demo

The demo takes place in the first chapter of our game within a temple inspired by ancient Egypt. There are 5 rooms the player can explore, the Starting Area, Treasure Room, Burial Room, Embalming Room, and finally the Shooting Gallery. The player can explore freely, as this demo does not include monster encounters, but they will be able to get a feel for the environment through the art, design, and sound.

After the player gets their bearings in the Starting Area, they can begin moving through the world to the different rooms. Our team has taken their time to design every part of the temple down to they pillars you see throughout the rooms.

Closeup of the pillars within the temple

Closeup of the pillars within the temple

Each room has something different to offer. The Treasure Room has just that, treasure. The player can check out different ancient artifacts along with lots and lots of gold items. Moving into the Burial and Embalming Rooms, there are tables, tools, scrolls and tablets. One of the most interesting items in these rooms are the canopic jars. These jars were used during the mummification process and were used to store the internal organs of the person being mummified.

Canopic jars located in the Burial and Embalming Rooms

Moving through these rooms, the demo ends in the final area, the Shooting Room. This area is where the player test out our archery gameplay. Phil Bias, our Project Manager and Co-Founder, is really interested in what players have to say about the Shooting Room in the demo. “I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback from the demo so we can keep improving the bow and arrow functionality.”

The demo is making more than one stop for players to get a sneak peek of the game. This coming week the team will be heading to the University of Central Florida. Our Sound Designer & Composer, Bethany Borden, is collaborating with Thad Anderson to create original music for the game. Anderson is a teacher of percussion, music composition, and music technology at the university. Borden and Anderson will be showing the demo to UCF music students who will be assisting by actually playing the music for the game. Having them see and experience the demo will help the students get a feel for the game and environment, this will assist them with understanding the music they are playing. The team hopes to start recording the music with the UCF team starting in the fall.

Stay tuned until next week where we will be sharing more of our Live Story about our upcoming game and our amazing team.