Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #227
Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
The Making of Oracle Colossus
SPOILERS: The Devs have begun work on the Finale part of the plot, aka The Path of the Oracle. One of the crucial scenes of that path is the Oracle Colossus. This is of course the famous depiction of the Oracle from the concept painting by Stephen Daniele inspired by passages from The Sword of Midras prequel novel by Tracy Hickman. This scene was built as a placeholder and is now being polished into a final state.
Here are some early shots of progress on the Oracle Colossus area.
Moondial Madness (continued)
The updated Darkstarr Moondial is live in Release 41. Stay tuned for updates on when the other versions will become available.
OK!!! After having the chance to consider and discuss the feedback, I was able to talk with Starr and Richard, and the decision was made to scale the constellation placards down by 15% further! After testing this by going into the game, hitting “V” a few times to go into first-person mode, and trying to read the runes at the new scale, it seems it’s still possible to make out the words, which is really all we were trying to maintain… This is the “normal” way they’ll be seen with the character near them for size comparison…
…And here are two images of them up close and in first person… Thanks so much for the input, everyone… You should see those changes in the next build Monday morning! I think that the shrinking of the constellation size has helped make these symbols less “overbearing” than they were before…. More of a delicate statement, if you will… ^_^
As I move forward with the new Moondial versions, allow me to show you the current state of the Craftable version (top) and the Ornate version (bottom)… The Craftable version is essentially complete, as far as the model goes, but I’m in the middle of changing out all of its materials so that it will eventually look like it’s made of all sorts of variants, instead of just gold and silver… For instance, the constellation placards will look like they’re wooden cutouts covered in copper trim to strengthen the edge and provide more punch to the inner symbol visual…(as compared to the darker wood “background”)… But now you can finally see the beginning of my ideas for the visual style of the Ornate Moondial, with its magical aetheric projections, and its glowing mechanical bits forming a new base…
I’m hoping to get Justin to help me apply the cool shimmery effect he was ably to create for the constellation overlay in the sky-dome itself (when you use either the astrolabe or any moondial), since that will help create an understanding that it’s the same magic/aetheric tech that’s allowing you to see it… It is this Ornate Moondial design that will be used for the various sizes I discussed earlier, from the small table-top version to place on a desk in your player-house, to the gigantic ones that fill a Village Lot or Keep Lot size, which will look something like this (though perhaps with a few more “glowy-bits” as part of the rest of the materials too… I kind of like the idea of some dimly-illuminant designs on the upper and under-sides of the solar ring, and possibly on some of moons themselves)!
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t had the chance to scale them perfectly yet, but this gives you a good idea of how impressive they might feel when placed on your property or in the village square of a player-owned town! As opposed to the chaotic look of the Darkstarr Moondial, the orderly and upright graceful arcs that pass through the center of each moon help one’s eye determine their alignment between the glowing sector borders. It will be possible to walk beneath them to view the coolness from inside the aetheric, projected constellation image, and see up-close the location of the moons as they follow their glowing orbital paths through the sectors of the sky, clearly delineated by the longitudinal lines of the heavenly sphere…
I took a stroll up onto the balcony ledge of a nearby building to take a gander at what it might look like from a small distance, resting at some town center… I really think this will make for an impressive sight when viewed by those living within viewing distance, seen from some high castle balcony, or glanced at when visiting adjacent, multi-story pubs and shops…especially at night when the glowing projections will shine the brightest!
As these get closer to being done,…I’ll share some final images a bit later on!
Hopefully you’re enjoying the progress!
So here we are again, with me having finished everything on my side for all four differently-sized versions of the Ornate Moondial. Beyond this point I hand them all off to both a Programmer as well as a VFX Artist who will be bringing these beauties to completion in the next steps! We’ll see these eventually be able to not only track the proper locations for all the celestial bodies, but additionally be place-able as decorations on tables, inside large chambers, on home lots, and in various locations around player-owned towns! On top of that, we’ll get to see the addition of particle effects such as various aetheric energy static expulsions (such as those on the power generators seen elsewhere in the game), starry sparkles here and there, and a wavering effect for the constellations themselves! In the image below you can see them laid out on my underground test map I’ve created, and displayed in little vignettes from smallest to largest, left to right!
I needed to work on a number of details to finish these up, only a few of which are evident in these images (since most of my changes and fixes are “under the hood” for the sake of poly-count, efficiency, functionality, prefab and materials set-up, and resource juggling in Unity). The things you might be able to notice that I touched by looking at these images are the quality level of the base device itself (which received added polys to make sure the “energy bands” are nice and crisp looking), the addition of glowing engravings on the upper and under-side of the wider “sun ring”, and the placement of a red light-source that animates with the Sundered Moon to artfully represent the molten core within its shattered surface as it orbits our world.
Moving on to my outdoor test map, I’ve placed both a Village Lot (to the right) and a Keep Lot (to the left) to give you an idea of how massive the two largest of the Ornate Moondials actually are! The enormous dragon statue can be seen for size comparison, and far down below on the lower right you can just barely glimpse both the “room-sized” version, as well as the wee-little “tabletop-sized” version. ^_^ Each of these four versions increases dramatically in size from the smallest to the largest, as you can easily see here!
Switching now to a night sky, you can get an even greater sense of their grand effect when seen from a first-person, ground-level perspective. Imagine these nestled in between fortress walls and player houses, or even being the center-piece of an exciting celebration in a town square, or a night market hosted within someone’s walled keep!
And, of course, getting up close and personal with the base of the mechanism itself, you can see the impressive scale of the largest version, and just how easily a celestial-themed dinner party could be held within the embrace of the constellational sphere itself! I just love how all of these different sizes look in comparison to one another, and hopefully you can imagine the effect even the smallest ones will have when seen displayed in some cozy den or study surrounded by other hand-picked furnishings and decorative curiosities… I, myself, have never found the time to lay claim to a house somewhere for the sake of “nesting”, but seeing these finally get finished is making me want to start experimenting with interior décor on my own!
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my part of this process. At some future point, once the rest of the effects and functionality have fallen into place, Berek and I will capture a bit of video showing the final results in action! As always, thanks so much for your generous support and kind encouragement!
R41 Postmortem Recap
While the devs did not have time to answer all the questions, Starr “Darkstarr” Long got on the forums afterward and answered the remaining questions here.
The livestream recording for those who missed the postmortem: