The Art of Everend

temple2

In Everend, there are two major characters that drive the experience of the game: the lost owl and the cave in which said owl must escape from. These two opposing forces are then glued together by the secondary characters such as the cave dwellers, the cave artifacts and its somber history.  There’s a lot of moving parts that demand good art, but most importantly consistent art through all phases of the game. Sprint 01 just wrapped up last week and the intensity has revved up to a new gear as we head into Sprint 02! In between the sprints, myself and Emily, the two main concept artists, went to work on the little raptor and the cave.

My rendition of the owl leaned towards a naturalistic appearance. Its form is rounded and acute to preserve the idea of its innocence and vulnerability as an underdog in a monstrosity of an environment.

Kya

Hue's early concept and color treatment of the owl.
Hue’s early concept and color treatment of the owl.

Emily’s rendition of the owl offered an anthropomorphic visage that reflected the character as older and taller, one that is embraced in confidence with a demeanor to practice heroism.

OwlThoughts

Emily's rendition of the owl.
Emily’s early rendition and color treatment of the owl.

As it turns out, my owl concept appeared too much like an infant and Emily’s too mature. The solution: Goldilocks. Meet the two halfway until it’s just right. The majority of the team preferred the humanistic qualities as master over the naturalistic ones captured by Emily’s design. Taking that concept, we enlarged the head and shrunk its body until we were satisfied with its new size. The texture and color of the little creature is still pending. Hopefully by the end of Sprint 02, that will be finalized.

Kaia1
Kaia the Owl
Owl02
Kaia the Owl face 2

With the owl making its way down the creation pipeline, the environments were shaping up as well. Much like with the bird, Emily and I did varying designs on the look and feel of the cave as well as the organic and inorganic presences that might call this place home. In the end, we went for a style similar to Ori and the Blind ForestSummoner’s Rift and DotA.

My initial environment design called for cooler, muted colors with a strong emphasis on lighting to provoke a mood for the player. We talked about having a light source within the cave and proposed illuminating fungi as such.

CaveConcept2
Concept of the cave to establish the look and feel of Everend.

The textures that Emily created has a planar presence that are flat and simple, which will ease our modeling work.  We decided to go with the look of Emily’s concept while establishing the lighting of mine.

Emily's rendering of textures on the rocks, stalagmites and stalactites.
Emily’s rendering of textures on the rocks, stalagmites and stalactites.
Some mushroom concepts by Emily.
Some mushroom concepts by Emily.
Some rock concepts.
Some rock concepts.

Besides rocks and shrooms, other things exist within the cave. Creatures such as bats, moles, eels and fish dwell within the darkness of the caverns.

CaveCreatures1
Cave creatures designed by Emily and Zack.
Statues and Braziers of Everend.
Statues and Braziers found inside the cave. Braziers designed by Emily.
Concept of underwater level using the braziers, creature and mushroom assets.
Concept of water level using the braziers, creature and mushroom assets.
Temple concept of the ancient cave owls.
Temple concept of the ancient cave owls.
Process of creating the temple statue.
Process of creating the temple statue.

For the temple asset, I created the geometry in Autodesk Maya to ensure a correct perspective. With that, I went and painted over the model in Photoshop using the shape to capture the form of the statue. Once the form was realized, I went and painted rocks around the monument and added a design on the open wings to contrast from the overall planar build.

To finish it off, I added glowing minerals into the wings to conjure attention from the wanderers who pass by. I also painted a front view of the wing detail to aid in the 3-D modeling process. A complete set of orthographic views will be painted for the wing soon.

Environment process.
From nothing to something. Environment process.

Most of the concept art to establish the visual identity of Everend has been made but as we move on to the next sprints and onto creating the 3-D assets, our journey, much like our brave, young owl, has just begun! There’s still much to conceptualize, more all-nighters and so much for you all to see!

The journey has just begun! Kaia drawn by Emily.
“Fly for me, my stare, my parliament.” Kaia drawn by Emily for Inktober.

We have a new post every Wednesday, so please check it out for updates. The Strix team and I are working very hard on this fantastic project and we can’t wait to show you more of our progress in the coming weeks!

-Hue, Strix Game Studio

Status Update #1 Making Progress

The whole team is hard at work on Everend as we enter into our fourth week of development. Coming out of the first sprint, which ended earlier this week, we have made a lot of progress on Everend as a whole. We created a prototype showcasing some of the mechanics that we have already implemented into the game, including character movement, water physics, lighting, sound, simple AI, and the way the in-game camera moves. .

Shown is a prototype light-box showing how light will be handled in game. Also shown is an example of a waterfall.
Shown is a prototype light-box showing how light will be handled in game. Also shown is an example of a waterfall.

Although the prototype was a big part of the sprint, there was still plenty other work that was done during this time. This included:

  • Expanding on the narrative
  • Refining the game-play
  • Figuring out how the animations will look
  • Design of the first level
  • Art concepts for other NPC characters
  • Deciding on an art style that everyone is comfortable with
Concepts for how the final game environment will look like
Concepts for how the final game environment will look like

Aside from just making the game itself, we also would like to spread the word of Everend for everyone to follow and watch our progress as we create this adventure. That is why during these last couple weeks, a multitude of social media sites have been created to help expand the amount of people exposed to Everend.

Screenshots of the different social media sites we have created
Screenshots of the different social media sites we have created

We want people to look forward to playing our game as it is very rewarding to see how everyone reacts to it. We hope you keep following us as we make this journey and we hope that you will enjoy Everend as much as we already do.

-Tyler, Strix Game Studio

Meet the Team

Strix Game Studio Members
From left to right: William, Mitch, Logan, Megan, Emily, Zach, Tyler, Phoenix, Hue, Gabe, Alex, Daniel.

Now that you know a bit about what Everend is, it’s time you meet the people of Strix Game Studios. This team consists of 12 senior Game Design students from the University of Wisconsin Stout, with an even split between 3D artists and programmers. There may be other people contributing to other aspects of Everend, such as sound/music, but they will be credited and mentioned as they appear. So without further ado, here are the members of Strix Game Studios (in alphabetical order by last name).

William Brereton is programming lead and will be working on enemy mechanics, any physics related tasks, and managing the programming team.
Mitch Clayton is the design lead, on the art team and design, and will be working on gameplay design, environment art and managing the design team.
Daniel Craig
is a programmer that will be working on lighting, and any physics related tasks.
Megan Daniels is an artist and on the design team. She will be working on narrative and PR for the game.
Gabe Deyo is a programmer and will be working on the camera controls of the game and also be in charge of quality assurance.
Emily Dillhunt is the art lead of the team will be working with textures, sculpting and shaders as needed for the game and she will also be managing the art team.
Phoenix Hendricks is a programmer and on the design team. He will be working on sound to put in the game and putting sound in the game.
Alex Knutson is an artist and on the design team. He will be working on level design and animation.
Logan Larson is a programmer and on the design team. He will be working with shaders, the main character mechanics, and gameplay design.
Zack Pasterski is an artist and on the design team. He will be working on level design and environment art.
Hue Vang is an artist and on the design team. He will be working on animation, sculpting, and narrative.
Tyler Walvort is a programmer and on the design team. He will be working with any environment physics and the main character mechanics.

Who We Are as a Team

Each of the team member descriptions cannot hope to include everything that each team member will contribute to Everend, but at least now you have some idea of what each member has strengths in or has interest in. As a team we have attempted to let each member do something they are interested in or have more experience with. With that we are attempting to keep our team more content and also able to get experience with what they would prefer to work with. Together all 12 members of this team make a good combination of skillsets and by collaborating well, we can accomplish a lot. All 12 of us make up Strix Game Studios, and together we can make Everend to be the game that we want it to be through our hard work and dedication.

-William, from Strix Game Studio

What is Everend?

Hello, and welcome to Everend’s spiffy new game development blog! Our team will update the blog with at least one new post by Wednesday each week, so check back often to see if there is anything new to check out. I look forward to keeping you in the loop with everything we are up to, whether it is gameplay, characters, art development, music, I hope we can share with you all the hard work that will go into making Everend a great game. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

We will start off the page by answering the what is both the most important question, and the most general;

What is Everend?

In short:
Everend is an Adventure/Puzzle game. You play an owl, making it’s way to the surface from deep inside a complex cave system. The gameplay is a mix of third person and side scroller, where you have to solve puzzles involving getting through environmental hazards, avoiding hostile creatures and perhaps using them to your advantage to get further along in your journey. It’s a type of game that focuses more on exploring the space, enjoying the atmosphere, and following the storyline.

The Story:
In Everend, you are in adolescent owl, who is part of a flock that lives in giant, towering trees. Your kind is said to have descended from a highly advanced ancestral line, who built great legendary temples, which are now lost to the ages. Your flock has continually been trying to return to their lost homeland, but to no avail.

TreeCave

You always were a little different that the rest of your flock*, but it was where you belonged, your flock was both family and home, and all you’ve ever known. During one horrible monsoon, you were wrenched away from both family and home by a lightning strike hitting your flock’s home tree, singeing your wings and casting you down from the rest of your flock. You wake up alone, washed deep down into what appears to be a gigantic cave. Unable to do little more than glide because of your damaged wings, you must traverse through these complex caves back using what few items you could find in the caverns, and ascend towards the surface through all the obstacles standing in your way back to home.

ruins
But sometimes a cave is more than simply a cave, and as you continue on your journey, perhaps you will find the there is more behind this place than what first you see at the surface. (Surface? In a subterranean cave? haha, get it? Ah, cave puns and owl puns, get used to them.) You will given be various hints and objects along the way that help you being to piece together your kin’s past, and find that perhaps home isn’t always the place where you belong, and the bravest adventures are the ones you don’t expect.

Cave01

This game is being created by a team of 12 UW Stout Game Design students, as their final senior project. We will introduce ourselves in our next major post, but until then I hope you enjoyed reading the barebones idea of what to expect out of our game and our project. I look forward to sharing more with you in the near future!

-Megan, of Strix Game Studio

*Fun fact, a group of owls is actually called a parliament, or a stare.