Artwork, testing and new character animation

Since our trailer video was released, we’ve done a -huge- amount of work updating the textures, scene dressing and improving materials throughout the different areas of the game. We have also done a completely new pass on the texture maps for the main character, Sam, bringing his quality up dramatically.

We’ve created hundreds of “smalls” models to help fill out the environments and give them a more realistic and lived-in feel. Alongside this we’ve done new passes on a lot of the larger prop pieces, bringing up the quality across the board, concentrating on trying to stabilise our overall texture density across the game. This has helped making the props fit together in the scenes, without noticing a difference in quality between props due to texture size/detail and the technical ability of the different modellers we’ve had working on the project so far.

In game prop paintings

Another addition to the game are our oil painting props that include over forty unique, contemporary and classically-themed paintings created by Jackie Pearce (yep, we are related :D). Visit Jackie’s page on the prestigious Saatchi Online gallery, where you can see some of her amazing work. An example, in game, can be seen above.

Testing

We are currently testing the puzzles and general interaction-based flow of Thanatophobia, and the bug list has dwindled. I’ve actually now managed to play the game from beginning to end (minus a small number of features we are waiting for implementation), and even knowing exactly what to do, the solutions to all of the puzzles, not reading any of the clues/notes and with no enemies, it takes a sizeable amount of time. This is giving us hope that when all the different elements of the game are finished, the players should have a lengthy and varied experience ahead of them.

Character models and motion capture

Last autumn, we decided to completely overhaul Sam’s animation set and improve the quality and diversity of actions/mechanics. This led us to realise we need motion capture gear, so we’ve invested in a set of cameras and other bits and bobs, so we can grab all the motion capture data we need. The gear was tested with a few trial runs, and we are now working on a complete new set of anims for Sam.

As far as the character modelling for the project is concerned, we have now completely finished all the enemy models/animations, and also an array of other character models that are… not enemies (let’s not spoil anything!).

I keep getting asked if we are a big studio…

No. No, we are not at all. The core group developing the game are all working for free in our spare time. The hope of a bad-ass portfolio piece, a huge amount of practical experience, and hopefully a published indie game is keeping us going strong. Oh, and don’t forget our love of hard work creating something that really means something to us! Currently there are four of us working on the game (some more sporadically than others, damn you real life for getting in the way), but every member, past and present, has literally put hundreds of hours (some thousands) into the development of Thanatophobia. So to everyone that’s helped us make the dream become a reality in one way or another: A BIG THANK YOU!

John

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