ART + AUDIO DESIGN
Visual concepts for the game revolve around the idea of being inside a brain; the general shape of a neuron was used as a launching point for environment and item design. The overall level design (in a top down view) mimics the path of an axon leading to the body of the neuron, tree-like branches jut out of the ground in a dendritic fashion, and collectible WITS are small neuron-like shapes.
Early on in the process, it was decided to keep the environment grayscale, based on the importance of shadows in the world. The greatest challenge here was in keeping the environment interesting despite a lack of color. A large pattern was applied to the main ground, making it interesting and easy for the player to recognize movemnent, but taking care to not distract or dizzy the player. Scalable platforms and dendritic structures had a grainy, sandlike procedural texture that was reflective and used a normal map to give variance to surfaces. With those in place, pops of color were then used as visual cues to increase importance of various ares and objects, draw a connection between abilities and items, and to decrease monotony. Finally, a pattern was developed for any moveable platform so the player could easily identified what could and could not be moved.
Fiends were the first enemies designed, based on the concept of casts shadows picking themselves off the ground and creeping around. Proportions were meant to be disorted and disturbing, with glowing eyes as the only real distinguisable feature. Each fiend had four animations: idle, walk, weak attack, and heavy attack. They were modeled, UV mapped, rigged, and UV mapped in 3DS Max and exported as FBXs with embedded animation.
Imps were created late in the process to fulfill the position initially planned for fiends, with idea being that they were still trying to steal a body, while fiends had already succeeded in doing so. The head of the fiend was used as a starting point, and three differnt imps were created. Base imps have no appendages, but eventually grows arms after attacking the player. They then grow horns after damaging the player further, and finally kill the player, overtaking their body and turning into a fiend. Each imp had two animations: idle and attack. They were modeled, UV mapped, rigged, and animated in Maya and exported as FBXs with embedded animation.
In a first-person game, hands are obviously important and were the first asset created. The hands were modeled, rigged, and UV mapped in Maya, then imported into Mudbox for texturing and material creation. The hands were exported separately (right and left) as FBXs for each animation: idle, pull, push, and absorb. Normal maps were used to smooth out the low-poly models.
Every audio asset is an original recording, leaving us with 89 individual clips. It was important in this game to create everything from scratch in order to preserve the unfamiliar, surreal feeling that we desired. Sounds and music were recorded with Pro Tools. In Unity, effects were added to increase volume based on distance from objects and also call to arrays of sounds to certain circumstances, like player damage, or enemy noises.