Lacuna Passage - Devlog #54 - Random Hab Modules

With our sandbox survival mode for Lacuna Passage in the works, we knew we needed to make some changes to the habitat modules.  There will be a few established habitats randomly placed for players to discover and utilize to survive as long as possible.  These habitats will all be unique and full of specialized modules that serve different purposes.  Bunks for sleeping and storage for food and supplies will be available in each hab, but things like research stations, 3D printers, and crafting areas will be randomized features in only some of the habitats you find.

In order to make the habitat capable of this level of randomization, we had to revise the way the hab is set up.  Now each component in the hab takes up an exact gridspace that can be randomly assigned in almost any part of the inner structure.  Here are a couple examples of how things may look with randomly swapped modules:

This is also the first time we have really shown off how the new Unity 5 standard shader makes our internal areas look.  We are very happy with how simple and consistent this shader performs with all of our materials even though we have not finalized the lighting yet.  Here are some more interior screenshots with placeholder lighting:

You may notice a new workstation in those last couple screenshots that we are currently working on.  This will have a few different functions, but in this example it serves as a station for testing soil and rock samples.

We also managed to give some of the panels that fill the extra space in the hab a rework.  They previously seemed a little too extruded and they interfered with the flow and interactive elements of the hab.  Now they seem a little more streamlined and less intrusive.

Progress is definitely coming along, and we hope to show you more next month regarding some of the new areas in the habitat where you will be crafting supplies to help you survive.

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.