Fogbound (Thesis)

Working with map icons and indicators right now, not sure if I like how much the stand out against the background…

In any case, the alternative is to have brown, or at least very washed out icons.  Lono, the God of prosperity has an updated icon – from ship’s mast to rain cloud, and finally ending up as a typhoon (from his association with waterspouts).

Also, the “boss” levels in our game is now very purple, using re-coloured water as lava and lava rock.

 

Variables (Thesis)

Now that we have most of the core mechanics in the game down, we can focus on adding more life to the island as a whole.  The island will require non-playable characters, which will take a while to design and implement.  Below is our current line-up of characters.

character_line_up

While Maui is the primary priority right now, I can still sneak in a few developments on personal projects.  M2TW modding continues, this time with caparison, a component of war horse barding that was oddly absent in the retail version of the game for Middle Eastern factions despite of their wide spread usage in those times.  Here we have some Mamluk cavalries looking spiffy in yellow.

egypt_barded_horse

On a side note, future previews will be in the .jpeg format, to save on storage as high quality is not required.

Critical Mass (Thesis)

It should surprise no one that we as a team will have to take some artistic licenses when it comes to creating a heavily cultural-themed game such as Maui.  Much like Ochre, the direct Native American-themed predecessor, we found surviving artefacts somewhat… lacking in terms of palette even though they both came from very colourful places.  In any cases, here are the current mock-ups of some of the ui elements, for use in the “Halau” (academy/codex) system.

 

 

Interesting enough, in terms of colour palettes in historical cultures, some may be more flamboyant than we may have assumed initially.  Well known examples include Greco-Roman marble sculptures as well as the Chinese Terracotta armies that were not always the monolithic objects replicated by contemporary artists, but were actually gaily painted with elaborate patterns.  While the stone and metal cores endured the ravages of time and the elements, the visible pigments did not.

Were pre-historic Hawaiian artefacts the same? We certainly know that many of them were made out of bio-degradable materials such as plant fibres and bird feathers, the latter were indeed very vibrant – the humid, tropical climate of the island chain however do not help in their preservation.

Seeing is Believing (Thesis)

Now here is a curious thing, while there were no endemic reptile species (save for primarily marine ones like sea turtles) on the Hawaiian islands, there were tales involving giant lizards.  These mythical creatures were known as “mo’o”, it is unknown whether or not they are related to the geckos brought to the island during the Polynesian’s migration of if they are of another variety, like the monitor lizards or even crocodiles.  More (third party) sources here: The Sacred Spine

Another tale spoke of Moalii, the Lizard God of Hawaii – references are however few and far in between, as cited by this website: Hawaiian Legends Index (Moalii)   This may warrant further investigation in the future.

dream_lizards_preview2

“Lizard people” based on monitor lizards.

Form or behaviour does not seem to matter at all with these shape-shifters, and if anything, the only commonality of the tales were of the entity’s association with bodies of fresh water – lakes and ponds.  Like many other deities of the world, they may or may not be friendly to the new human denizens of the islands.  Due to time constraints, they may only be used as hostile, humanoid NPCs in our game, an unfortunate fact that just have to be accepted right now.

Making Records (Thesis)

Well, apparently ancient Hawaiians do use an analog of paper, called Tapa Cloth.  It was made from smashed up plant fibres, just like modern paper.  It will be a fine medium for the user interface in our game.

We can partially imitate this effect in Photoshop by adding a noise effect to a layer above the base colour, use the smudge tool to create irregular “fibre patterns”, and then changing the overlaying layer to multiply mode.

tapa_cloth_text_boxes

In other news, we now have a monk seal in our expanding library of art assets.  Curiously enough, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is one of the only two endemic mammal species to the island chain, the other being the Hawaiian Hoary Bat.

monk_seal_preview

There were no native reptile species as far as I can tell.

Final Run (Thesis)

Latest work, a simple modeled Hawksbill Sea Turtle. As usual, it is modeled in Maya, using Quad Draw to create a flat cutout of the model, and then Face Extrude to give it volume.

 

UV based on camera position offers the best control – use the orthographic views (top, bottom, side, front, etc.) to acquire the basic profile, select desired edge seams, and split UVs to separate UV selection “shells”. It is a matter of exporting the UV out to an image format to be painted inside Photoshop to create the diffuse/colour map.

 

The resulting model after a couple hours of texture painting.

 

And a bonus, bird props:

 

Sanity Check (Thesis)

A little more than four months ago, a member of our team brought in dire news – Apple has purchased, and privatised Metaio, our AR framework of choice.  The loss of the software coupled from the lack of cooperation of the local cultural liaison meant that drastic actions were needed to ensure the survival of the project.  Maui, the 3D action-adventure shown during EAE Day was the result of a true rapid prototype process that took place during the month of August – and the process was a brutal one.

Due to the central focus on the cultural context, the first significant change was the switch from Pre-Columbian America to Ancient Hawaii, for we had little luck in acquiring permission to use cultural artefacts (oral traditions, icons, items, personal outfits, and so on) from the former, luckily, one of our team is Native Hawaiian, and as a result can provide us with resources from his homeland with little fear of the brand of cultural appropriation.

The second was the change in perspective, no longer are we locked in the flat plane of a side scroller (in truth, Ochre always has three-dimensional assets, but it was made to appear flat with the cleaver usage of forced perspectives and custom shaders), this also opens up the option to use console controllers.  A lush, tropical, and open-aired environment was envisioned and put into the place of the sterile, arid one.

The third, last, and the most groundbreaking alteration was the complete removal of the AR mechanics, which allowed free rein of the designers to create puzzles integrated with the overworld controls instead of separate, clunky ones that barely functioned.  In addition to that, it meant the complete derailment from the original pitch, to create a game that should make novel control schemes interesting.

The best thing about all these changes? Our audience seem to approve, for the modern Nintendo-esque game has a much larger crowd to pander to.  Needless to say, the team needs a rest afterward to recover both physically and psychologically.