Thanks to Screen Australia, we've been able to bring on a few new team members to assist in 3D Art, Rigging, Animation and Cinematics. We've also spent a lot of time planning and scheduling the production of Macabre. The great news is we're starting to make tangible progress that we can actually share with you all.
Moving forward, we will aim to update the community on our progress via monthly Dev blog updates on our Discord. This is also where we'll post more informal but frequent content and updates as we progress through development.
So let's take a look at what the team have been working on over the past month...
A lot of development has been focused on the underlying architecture of the game, and its mechanics. So far, this includes setting up the basics of character movement, animation and multiplayer compatibility, as well as an inventory system, equipment and pickups.
We're developing Macabre with a very modular approach. This takes a lot more time to set up but means we can add and test any new functionality quite easily without refactoring whole systems, saving us a bunch of development time. A big part of this setup is also documenting this architecture visually so that anyone on the team can jump in and start experimenting with mechanics.
Looking forward, we can now begin to utilise these different frameworks together and begin iterating on gameplay to get us closer to our "first playable" build.
Game and Level Design
Until we get to our first playable, a lot of the design aspects are theorised and documented based on what we think will be fun. Obviously, this highlights the importance of our "First Playable", as this is when we'll really be able to put our theories to the test.
Nevertheless, much of this documentation is extremely important as it informs the concept and art team on how the different items and environments should look/work based on the mechanics.
A key aspect of Macabres gameplay is offering a new experience each time you enter the map. Part of this is randomising the lodges that spawn into the map. We've implemented a preliminary system that randomly places a lodge design at the start of the match. The next step will be to have the map scale depending on how many people enter. This will effectively randomise the possible lodge spawns and map access to keep you guessing where to go next.
Concept and Art
We've been busy working on lots of different concept art but the first thing we wanted to update was our portal to suit our narrative. The portal is a key element in our game, and we wanted to make sure it was as immersive and visually stunning as possible.
We first started by getting the silhouette and functionality right before finalising the concept art, complete with our own alien alphabet. From there, we modelled and textured the new design. We still need to finalise the visual effects, but we're really happy with where it's headed.
Without getting into spoilers, we've also been concepting different items which should begin production shortly.
We've been hard at work bringing our main antagonist to life, and we think you're going to love the results.
So far, we've been focusing on animating the idle, locomotion and transitional animations for our main creature. We've spent a lot of time fine-tuning the details to make sure they feel natural and disgustingly creepy.
Overall, we're really happy with the progress we've made so far. We wish we could share it, but we want this to be something players discover on release.
In order to promote our game, it's super important that we create an engaging trailer that conveys the overall experience of Macabre. We knew we didn't want to stray too far from what it will actually be like to play the game, so we're going for a very authentic trailer that emulates the actual experience. We also wanted to include some narrative elements to set up our world and give players an idea of what they're walking into.
Making a trailer is expensive and time-consuming, so we wanted to make sure we had everything locked in before building it out in the engine. To get the ball rolling, we scripted everything out and then filmed a rough version of the script at a local park. From there, we cut together multiple versions of the trailer before landing on something we think is super strong.
Using our offline edit as a guide, we're currently building each shot in Unreal Engine and starting to dress each scene. Once we have this completed, we'll be heading to the studio and recording all of our dialogue and mocap data to animate our characters.
Have a great Christmas, everybody.