Hey there. I've been floating between various projects for some time now, but rarely have I really shared them with the community. I've decided to start working on my personal portfolio, as the most recent entrees are nearly a year old at this point. I want to share the step-by-step work-log with the Epic Games community (and maybe others...). I've decided to go with a theme, in order to help streamline the work and to add a bit of style to the overall project. The goal? to have an assortment of models and environments suitable for portfolio centerpieces. The theme is based off of a now cancelled/shelved project centered around demons, hell, and the brutal society thereof.
"A strange, archaic assembly of the most unfair, rotten creatures awaited me, clubs and stones in their hands.
Their blood red eyes shining brightly through the yellow sulfur mist that stung my throat.
Pain, bondage and despair dancing through my mind as I feared the fate to come.
As they drew closer, guttural barking belched from skull-like faces, anticipating the fresh stranger that was I.
They put their wretched, calloused claws on my shoulders, yet they did not harm me.
Rather they welcomed me, welcomed me home."
The 'Demons' Project is all about making a palpable society from the archetypal "hell" that has enriched the christian mythology for centuries. Race, class, war and economy are all part of this hellish universe. The biggest part of this project is realizing the various races/classes of the demonic society. These creatures act on the economy of birthright: much like a caste system. There are many races of demon, however three majority races dominate the commons.
"These strange, stout beings seemed almost afraid of me.
I stood several hands taller than most of them, I myself a miniature compared to the larger beasts.
I can only imagine how such small, timid creatures could survive within the brutal society.
Yet, they thrive"
These small demons are the lowest of the castes. Their name, 'juniq' literally mans 'underfoot' in their common language.
Juniq perform unskilled, often disgraceful tasks. These demons are roughly the size of an older child, with their horns rising to the shoulder of an average man.
Their skull structure is more human-like, with between two-four short skull horns.
These creatures would much rather run than fight, and are often subject to abuse from the higher races.
"I could try to describe these man-sized demons, but any description would only narrow their potential.
Of all the beings I saw, these were the most varied, the most drastically adapted to the various environments.
Some of members of this caste even earn what could be called respect among the noble races.
I, for one, feared them over any other."
The most versatile of the demonic races, Stai are tasked with any role that is above the disgraceful Juniq, but below the proud and mighty Najno leadership.
Unlike Juniq, the Stai are allowed to take on combat roles, which help raise their overall rapport with the higher races.
Often times Najno commanders in the battlefield will surround themselves with strong, skilled Stai bodyguards.
The proud leaders call them 'jesters' or 'entertainment', as admitting the need for protection is considered to be lowly.
"Tall and mighty, he stared at me; contemplating my form.
From his massive head protruded five twisted horns long enough to skewer a man.
If I could stand on my own shoulders, I would still be unable to look him in the eye.
A statue of raw power and discipline."
The massive, brutal high-class of the demonic void. These rhinoceros sized beasts fill in leadership roles in society and the battlefield.
Though there are a select few races above them, the Najno are the face and brutal fist of demon government.
They have no limit to what property the can own, they have no rules governing their speech.
If a Najno asks you something, answer quickly and don't ask questions in return.
"I had witnessed the brutality of their ways to some extent before I was shown them.
The proud creature opened the door to a stone dungeon, as if to display something impressive.
Within this prison were his many women: chained, shackled and bruised, one of them hanging in the air by her wrists and ankles.
I feigned jealous approval, but truly I was disturbed."
The Cows: Demon Cows do not belong to a 'caste' as such, but rather they are property to be sold, traded and used. A demon's gender is part of their race.
There are no female 'versions' of the caste races, rather females are universal, and give birth to either a child genetically similar (though not identical) to the father, or one similar to the mother. Cows are roughly the size of a woman, and resemble humans more so than any other demon (there is a reason for this, please read the FAQ I'll post below).
They live their entire life in bondage, often neglected and abused. A Cow is blindfolded from birth and placed in chains and sold as soon as she is of breeding age.
"Their society resembled that of medieval times, so unjust and worthless.
Yet I could not imagine these creatures living in a society as pure as our own.
We human-folk are rid of these issues of gender, race and oppression
These Demons are so different to us.
They are so different."
I hope you enjoyed this brief look into my project. I will continue to post work logs on my progress with the portfolio as well as insights, and answers to some of your questions.
FAQ (or simply WTF?) 1.1!
#1. Why are your demons nude?: Alright lets deal with the elephant in the living room: My demons are naked. They wear no armor, clothing or even ornaments. There are several reasons for this within the fiction, but I have a better answer for you: Hell is an intimidating place, it is meant to inspire the deepest fears and despair. Human beings in all cultures, tribes, cults or hunter-gatherer-familial units wear some kind of clothing. Why? because something inside our mind tells us this piece of cloth, leather, bone or mud makes us different to the animals, makes us unique against other people and makes us somehow protected against our primal selves. Everyone has an innate fear of being naked in front of 'the public' (some of us can learn to ignore it, or subdue it, but it is still there). When we see these human-like creatures completely nude, without so much as a loincloth, it fires up that instinctive fear we have. Fear was one of the primary goals of the original project, thus it has carried over to this one.
#2 What are you planning to ACTUALLY do?: I plan to make professional-level assets including one member of every demonic race, as well as an environment or two to show them off within. I will also screen-capture the entire creation of each asset and upload the resulting videos publicly for all to enjoy. This means that the entire digital sculpting process, shader networking, rigging, rendering (and the occasional frustrating PC crash) will be recorded and uploaded. The raw assets, however, will not be made public.
#3 Why do the demon's females (Cows) look like human females: This is not explained in the fiction and for good reason. The Cows are meant to inspire sorrow, loneliness and compassion; unfortunately being the type of people we are, we find it difficult to feel compassion for something ugly. It is possible and happens all the time, but let us not forget that at the animal sanctuaries: the ugly dogs get rescued last. The second reason is that the original project was meant to confuse the player, and often times sexual confusion is a great way to pull a fast-one in a story. Movies like 'Species' and 'Alien' use sex as a invoker of fear and confusion, and it really works. Sex is a confusing thing, physiologically; just read some of the works by Sigmund Freud.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to give me a shout and if the question is good, I'll try to include it in the FAQ.