Visual Viscosity

Things are looking up, friends. Actually, they’re looking a lot more directions than up, but we have to stick with proper sayings until we’re famous enough to make up our own. Right?

Anyway. This week was fall break, but we didn’t really take the time to rest. Instead, the team has been really pulling everything together and making 404Sight look and feel better than ever. We can talk about feedback and design until we’re blue in the face, but sometimes the best thing is to show rather than tell. This is where our art team has really blown things out of the water – and I mean they’ve been absolutely knocking our socks off. When we hit alpha we knew we had our mechanic down and we knew there are design tweaks yet to come, but the artists have been working nonstop since the semester began to really make our game shine. This week, they started putting things in and tinkering with shaders. They’ve been animating our main character so we could make introduction cinematics. They’ve been…oh, gosh, they’ve really just been all over the place in the best way possible.

But as I said, I think it’s better to show you.

First, we have some spectacular first pass posters and wallpapers that Cory has put together. The whole team has these wallpapers up on our computers because they’re just so dang nice – you’re more than welcome to do the same. We’ll be sure to share others as they come along. They’re largely teaser images at this point, but you have to admit they’re delicious eye candy.

404sight_bosswallpaper 404sight_characterwallpaper 404sight_final_poster 404sight_final_poster_vertical

That’s not all Cory does, though. He’s been putting together kits for us to dress up our levels, and…well, it’s really breathtaking once it’s been put together.

Then there’s Kyle, who’s been tweaking and perfecting the animations on our main character. “Wait a minute!” you might cry, hands thrown skyward with alarm. “Why do you need full character animations if you’re a first person game!?” Panic not, dear audience. Our game may not show you all of the character while you’re playing, but you can bet your britches that we’ll take every opportunity we can to show off the modeling that Kyle’s doing. For example, here’s a test that Brenton did with UE4 to make some simple level introductions.

It’s just like an action movie, isn’t it? That’s just a tiny taste of things yet to come. In addition to character animation, Kyle has also helped animate some of our particle effects. These effects really add some color to our levels and make things pop in the best way possible. Here’s a short vine of the team laughing at how crazy it can look:

In the meantime, Joe has been a post-process shader wizard – with the assistance of Sidd and Abhishek, of course. Seriously, he must be doing some sort of crazy tech art magic to do what he does, because it’s a smooth and enchanting addition that goes a long way to help the player understand the foresight ability and its limits. Basically, a regular shader is on everything 3D in the game and determines how things should be drawn. A post-process shader is like a pixel shader that can apply different effects to our game across the entire screen (like the pixel fuzzing below) or can be coded to add an effect only to specific objects (as in the case of the blue highlight effect below). In its current iteration, it shows up when the player’s foresight ability is activated and hits the walls of a level, and makes it obvious that the ability has been activated. Not only that, but if the player uses the ability too often, things start to get a bit…fuzzy. Check out these screenshots to see what I mean.


Pixel art is so hot right now

Pixel art is so hot right now.


It looks way, way better in action, but the sad truth is that it was too awesome to capture on video this week as we test it out on our current levels. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely be seeing more of this visual sorcery soon.

Last and certainly not least, we have Rachel. As our lead artist, Rachel not only provides a huge torrent of assets and assistance, but gives the team a good kick in the pants when we need it. She also doubles as our creative lead, making sure that the vision of the game remains steady and conveyed properly across every little bit that we add in. For lack of a better way of putting it, she seems to have her hands wrist deep in every pie – from concepting out particles:


Corruption particle concept


Foresight ability ripple concept


Color tests on our main character:

Safety orange actually keeps you safe, right?

Safety orange actually keeps you safe, right?


And storyboards for…reasons:




She’s involved in so many other things: UI elements, tile effects, post-process environment effects, level backgrounds, etc etc etc. I don’t think she sleeps much.

So if you’ve been wondering what our four artists have been up to, there you go- a veritable goody bag of visual delights for you to feast your eyes on! We’re so incredibly proud of everything that they add to our game, and we can’t wait to continue showing off their amazing talents as we rocket towards some major deadlines. Our IGF submission is due in two weeks, and we’ll bearing down with everything we’ve got. Next post, we’ll talk about some of the behind-the-scenes miracles that our engineers have performed. It’s going to be amazing.

You’ll see.

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