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The Making of a Monster

Creating a good 3D model is one thing, but having it 100% support a vision is another.

Creating a good 3D model is one thing, but having it 100% support a vision is another.

In one of the previous posts we have shown what it takes to make a weapon. Now, let’s see what it takes to make a monster.

The pitch to the fantastic 3D modeler Paweł Jaruga was as follows:

  • A galley slave
  • Same enemy faction as the “swordsman”
  • Dead, inflated body of a drowned man
  • Big, and ogre-like, but not of the standard ogre fare
  • To keep with the naval theme, his weapon is a ship cannon
  • He wants to murder us, but we feel sorry for him

Of course the pitch was more detailed, but that’s the gist of it. I’m also skipping some stuff in the original description to avoid lore spoilers.

But I’m not going to go about the making of in the same format as before. After gathering all materials, I realized that showing how we started at this…

…and ended with this…

…would basically be a two hour read, with dozens of pages and images. Like, just to give you a sample of how professional and thorough was Paweł’s approach to the work, here’s just an example work-in-progress image that was attached to an e-mail full of further details, explanations, questions and concepts:

There was a thought present even behind the “simple” things like the metal fittings on the pillory (and that image is just a fragment of a larger one):

In short, imagine the work on the crossbow, just multiplied by ten.

So what I want to do instead is to show how in his final design, Paweł managed to include everything we asked for. Going point by point…

A galley slave. The whip scars on the back, the chains around his hands, the pillory, and old, torn and dirty rags – they all suggest a slave or a prisoner. Without him at the oars, one can’t really sell that the monster was specifically a galley slave, but the general vibe fits.

Same enemy faction as the “swordsman”. The red eyes and the rotten skull for a face place the enemy where we needed him to be. The one extra linking element is the cannon…

…with intricate ornaments resembling the ornaments on the “swordsman”, and a certain phrase with religious connotations. Obviously, the weapon also fulfills To keep with the naval theme, his weapon is a ship cannon requirement.

Dead, inflated body of a drowned man. From the modelling point of view, the slightly bloated body and bloated feet help, but most of the “drowned man” theme is expressed through the textures: the wet clothes, the color of the skin. We’re still not settled on the final colors, as many variants work. For example, this a more morbid version:

…and we’ll return to it at the end of the project, during the final touches.

Big, and ogre-like, but not of the standard ogre fare. Making an enemy big is not really a challenge, but coming up with an ogre/troll-like character that does not feel like a typical fantasy one is hard. Still, I think that Paweł managed to make a monster that is both easily recognizable and original. The main element that helps is the uniquely designed hood.

He wants to murder us, but we feel sorry for him. This is the best part. The most impressive thing for us in this design is that all elements synergize. It’s not that this element sells this, and the other element sells something else. On the contrary, they all support each other and in a way are inter-changeable. For example, literally everything – the scars, hood, pillory, bloated body, chains, skull for a face, etc. – help produce somewhat sad vibes surrounding this character. Killing him is supposed to feel more like putting him out of his misery rather than fuck you.

Although the latter is not out of the question, considering how hard it is to kill him.

Question of the Week

Oddly enough, the core team is still of the same size: eight people. Out of the eight, five worked on Ethan.

Three people left. 1) Iza is now free-lancing in the movie business for the biggest vfx studios in the world. 2) Krzysztof wasn’t that much into shooters, he joined another dev to work on different types of projects. 3) Adam helped to get Witchfire off the ground, then started the work on his own personal project.

Not typically for game development, no one was fired, and there’s zero bad blood or anything like that. Simply, we finished one project, started a completely different one, and during that transition some people chose to pursue things more exciting to them.

Three people joined, two designers/programmers and one designer. You can follow Kacper, Paweł and Karol on Twitter and watch their nefarious schemes unfold in real time!

Soon, there will be nine of us, though. We needed one more coder, and he’s joining us in April.

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