Lacuna Passage - Devlog #42 - IRA, Hab externals, and the EVA Suit

We have spent some time this month working on the updated version of TIMEframe, but we are still making progress with Lacuna Passage too. In December we gave everyone a look at the early designs of IRA, our Intelligent Remote Assistant computer system.  We now have the design and layout complete for IRA’s entire section of the Habitat.

Click to enlarge

Besides IRA’s multi-purpose robotic camera arm the unit is equipped with a docking station for the datapad, a 3D scanning platform, and multiple server and maintenance racks.

IRA is just a small portion of Foundation Hab, and we are really excited to show the finished product.  Just to give you an idea of the scale, here’s a work-in-progress shot of the exterior of Foundation Hab:

Click to enlarge

As you can tell, the Hab has been a large and complicated part of our art progress with multiple artists contributing to its design.  Once the Hab is complete we will begin work on the Lab and placing all the elements of Foundation Base.

And of course you won’t be able to leave Foundation Base and explore the planet’s surface without your trusty EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) suit!  We are working with our concept artist Luke Kremer right now to nail down a design we are happy with, and we are really pleased with some of the design iterations so far.

Some early concept sketches. Click to enlarge

These designs are closer to the final suit that will be featured in the game. Click to enlarge

We really want this suit to provide mobility and dexterity for anything Mars has to offer.  The player will need to repair equipment, traverse dangerous terrain, and even escape the occasional dust storm while on the planet’s surface, but we think this suit will be up to the task.

Lacuna Passage - Devlog #18 - More Concept Art, a New Shader, and Terrain

While we toil away on development of Lacuna Passage we thought we might give you a peek at some more concept art. We have really hit our stride with our art style, due in large part to our concept artist, Brandon Kern. Check out some of his work below.

As we worked on bringing these concepts to life in 3D we realized that our equipment shader just wasn't up to the task. The normal maps were not as pronounced as we would have liked, and it was difficult to define strongly contrasting materials. Our models looked somewhat desaturated and ubiquitous across what should have been different surfaces. We set about creating a shader that would give us greater control over contrast and material definition (things like fresnel lighting, reflectivity, edge highlighting, and specularity). Below you can see the result of our efforts. It is now much easier to see the difference between surfaces like shiny plastic, dull metal, and rough rubber. This improved shader is still in testing since it was created using an alpha version of the upcoming Unity add-on "Shader Forge", but we are excited with the results and hope to utilize the eventual commercial release of Shader Forge.

We've also been hard at work detailing the full-scale terrain that will be featured in the final game. Proper textures will be applied much later, but the massive heightmap is coming together quite nicely and should present the player with a wide variety of real Mars geographic features to explore. Check out a little preview below.

Time-lapse of the (still unfinished) terrain

Time-lapse of the (still unfinished) terrain

Untextured 3D preview of terrain in its current state

Find out more about how we are creating our terrain in our previous devlog.