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Thread: SaltWar (A ThirdPerson Strategy-Shooter)

  1. #1

    SaltWar (A ThirdPerson Strategy-Shooter)

    Hi all,

    I thought I'd share some early screenshots of a personal project of mine that I recently started, and to see some other people's early reactions. I plan on working on it this year while finishing my last year for a BFA in illustration, and the ultimate goal is to eventually release it as a full game.

    The overall game design is to create a multiplayer, third-person shooter that pits two opposing anthropomorphic slug factions against once another. I'm thinking class-based systems with the inclusion of vehicles and a resource-based(such as water and oil supply) structure for gameplay. I would love to incorporate a top-down commander system as well. For now I'm concerned with nailing down the technical work and basic art assets, although some of the ideas that keep popping into my head are things like hand-placed observatory towers that can be upgraded(+fog of war visibility range +mounted weapons for players) and destroyed.

    I'm seeking a more hand-painted and vibrant aesthetic feel for the design, with visible brush strokes and exaggerated geometry. I'm primarily interested in choosing something that will be a fun project for me to create, and an environment that will allow me flexibility in my design.

    Here's an early slug render where I focused on getting his overall form down first. I plan on detailing him up with some shoulder sleeves, your misc ammo pouches and military gear, and some added texture to the skin before painting. I've been trying to keep in mind that many of these assets will be seen primarily from the back since it its a third-person shooter, and so will make sure there's some equal detail there with a backpack and accessories.

    Some scale testing within the UDK with the slug and tank. I loosely based the tank off of a mix between the classic sherman turret, and was inspired for the sides by the Mark V British tank. Some more detailing needs to be added in the back and sides, as well as maybe a few headlights at the front then I'll send her off to be painted, animated, and functioning (which will be one of the first milestones for me )

    An early example of how the landscape will be shaping up.

    And of course a grass model test, because every game is judged by it .

  2. #2
    Seems like you've got an interesting concept, looking good.

  3. #3
    Its a pretty good idea, now all you have to do is create it, using the plan, and you are finished!

  4. #4
    Thanks for the feedback! It always helps motivate me when it comes time for the less fun parts (uvw unwrapping, for instance )

    Here's a quick update. I've spent today working on finishing up the tank and one of the first weapons. I've decided to go for a more streamlined-look on the sides for now, and plan on adding some fun stencil-style logos on the tank sides when it comes time for texturing. I've also included a sample image of the basic sentry tower being destroyed within 3d studio max. For now I've been using Mass effects (in 3dstudiomax) to animate the destruction, although I'm going to take a guess and say it would be better for me to simulate the destruction ingame with the split models. I also slapped together a logo onto the screenshots for fun, though that'll probably be redone later aswell.

    I'll post more once I get a bigger chunk done. I'm hoping to get a third person camera enabled and the tank at least moving around ingame this week. Time to learn some coding..

  5. #5
    Hello all!

    Progress continues on the project, and I have a more solid grasp of how the gameplay mechanics will work together. The gameplay will be balanced for around 20 players (9 players and 1 commander on each team), which I'm hoping should scale quite nicely for lesser populated servers and greater(32). I like the idea of having the players being able to choose from different types of class type weapons and items that should support one another.

    I also would like the commander to feel like he has more direct power in the battle rather than just focusing on tech trees like improvements on troop equipment/vehicle armor. With that in mind, and the open nature I'm pursuing for the level design to allow for mechanized infantry combat, I've came up with a few solutions. In order to speed up the downtime between spawning at base and getting to the frontlines (which will resolve around resource points before the inevitable base takedown) the commander will be able to produce a Mobile Command Station which they will have direct control over, much like ordering a unit around in a typical RTS.

    I still have some things to tighten down in the tech trees but essentially its role will act as a mobile spawn with some weapons capabilities, allowing the commander to choose where to reinforce the front-line and aid other strategies such as resource raiding and sneak attacks. It also makes it a prime target for the enemy forces to seek out and destroy.

    Another example of gameplay mechanics I'm working on: While the players will be the frontline troops that can control tanks and lightly armored vehicles as well, the commander will be in charge of air support/artillery which ties into the limited salt mine resources on each map. Thus controlling a salt mine will give the commander the ability to call in airstrikes that cover the area in clouds of salt, damaging anyone in the vicinity. In order to counter-act the dangers of airstrikes (especially on something like spawn camping the enemy base/more annoying than game-changing), commanders can choose to turn the sentry towers they place into an AA gun, which will automatically shoot down incoming aircraft. The catch is to make air support more of a useful tactic than reliance in the final push (and help end stalemates), so players on the ground will be able to easily destroy undefended AA guns.

    Basically I'm looking to create a form of gameplay that creates a synergistic atmosphere between regular players and the commander, and a mixture between the guerrilla tactics of destroying enemy resource towers and the larger battles over keystone locations such as the enemy base/mobile command station/cutting off of airsupport and special abilities through controlling the saltmines.

    Besides all that, here's some screencaps of the revamped basic player model (wip sculpt) I've been working on today since we all like pictures:

  6. #6
    Here's a picture of how the environment's coming along since it seems some of my imageshack images disappeared.

    And the older slug model I was working on before just to compare:

    I think overall the new sculpt is coming along nicely, although proportionally I'll look into extending the tail portion of his body and lowering it a bit so he doesn't feel so scrunched up.

    And here's how the tank and factory models are shaping up so far. I'm still unsure about how I feel about the tanks sides being so flat, although it does leave space for a team decal.

    So far I plan on the main buildings at each base being static, as in the commander can't place a new Headquarters and factory in the middle of the map. (which is also the other advantage of building the Mobile Command Station) This should allow me to have some more control over how each map's layout will feel more different and unique in how it's placed, (or even how many there are) while still allowing for creative gameplay strategies by the commander.

    Because of that, I'd really like to push the visuals in terms of how the buildings appear as things get upgraded or built. IE things like the smokestacks being animated when a vehicle is being produced, or a satellite dish pops out of the command headquarters when orbital scan is researched.

  7. #7
    Hi again,
    I finally decided to delve into the wonderful world of unreal script yesterday to get some groundwork going, and I uploaded the result in a video (I was way too excited when I first got it to work!).

    I also started on a jet model that'll be used much later down the road:

    Reposted from youtube:
    "Here's just a little snip of me testing out some of the early groundwork for my personal game project. I'd say its more of a pre-alpha than an alpha build right now. There's a few art assets for the game shown, and I figured out how to script a new weapon that's extending off of the shock rifle class and uses new audio/got rid of the laserbeam particle effect.

    The next step programming-wise will be to script in a reloading system, change the third person camera so its slightly further away, and replace the stand-in model/muzzleflash. I'm currently working in creating all of the basic art assets as well so I can keep switching between the two. IE now that I have a basic third-person camera the priority to finish the Slug soldier player character as moved up.

    Later on I'll look into making it so right click zooms the camera back in and increases the weapon's accuracy, as well as a sprinting function."

  8. #8
    I learned speedtree last night (such a damned good program) while figuring out how to hook up my weapon models through script and socketmanager, as well as some more work on the Slug player model (I'm taking my sweet time with him, considering it's what players will see all of the time). I'm starting to feel like this project is really starting to roll now! ( let's hope that feeling stays a good while ) Today's goal: Teach myself UDK's particle system! Gotta give the waterfall the misty particles it deserves, not to mention using it later on for the resource nodes, jet trail, smokestack factory, etc...

  9. #9
    Tiny update on the character + another enviroment screenie, didn't get as much done as I wanted to this weekend due to catching an annoying cold. Please let me know what you think so far! Critiques are always welcome.

  10. #10
    Still chugging along on the project between classes. I'm planning on working on it for senior project next semester so woohoo dedicated class time for my own work.

    Started working on the Mobile Command Vehicle a couple of days ago, based off of the m997 for reference. Still got some more work to do on it, as well as slapping on a mounted gun on top. I'm thinking some sort of slow mounted artillery piece would complement it nicely for gameplay, as it will allow the commander to do some more direct target attacks from a distance, while allowing enemy infantry to sneak in and blow it up.

    It's planned to be controlled by the commander and ordered around, while also acting as a mobile respawn station to allow for faster reinforcements in key areas.

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