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[WiP] UDK project Ether

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  • #16
    Ether Update

    Hi all,

    Pretty productive day working on the Ether Island. Still lots of props to add from our artists but just trying to get a good atmosphere on the Island as we know the player path now. More images than text today as its getting closer to Christmas and my mind is slowly winding down



    • #17
      This sounds incredibly interesting... And it's nice to see more devs from England! Personally I think this will turn out pretty damn good!


      • #18
        Hey SHdude,

        Thanks for the kind words! Where about's in the UK are you based? Are you a dev? Student? etc..?


        • #19
          Something surreal and unique? Beautiful man, this world needs more creative games like that for sure.. Cant' wait to see where you take this innovative idea


          • #20
            Thanks Ironbelly Just checked our your website. Some pretty interesting stuff on there. Couldn't see anything on the projects page but will look out for your work in the forums Lots of high skilled work going on in your team, I like the direction you guys are taking,looking forward to seeing your teams stuff too!


            • #21
              Originally posted by White Paper Games View Post
              Hey SHdude,

              Thanks for the kind words! Where about's in the UK are you based? Are you a dev? Student? etc..?
              I'm from the South-west of England in a county called Wiltshire. I'm just a student who hates the way conventional games are headed and wants to facilitate change.


              • #22
                Great stuff SHdude! I know Wiltshire, good to see people from the UK on these boards! Be interesting to see some of your student work if your ever uploading your work here! Thanks for the support man


                • #23
                  Narrative Update!

                  As we are approaching our first large milestone after Christmas we think it is time to update you all on Ether from a narrative point of view. Over the past few weeks you have seen a lot of our level design work for our prototype which may seem a little confusing when placed next to our original entry which discussed what Ether was going to be!

                  As we have developed our ideas the story inevitably changed along the way, it became sharper, cleverer and deeper and now it really fits into what our original vision of Ether was going to be. With this in mind I am going to give you an updated concept of what Ether is (in terms of game play and story) as well as a first person written account from within the Ether story that should hopefully get you excited for what we have to show after Christmas!


                  Ether is an episodic 1st person adventure game that charts an unknown protagonist as he delves in to a world of forbidden technology, mystery, hope, love and death. Trapped on an isolated island you discover a strange network of devices named Ether that allow you to jack into the stored memories of a mysteriously deceased woman named Jean. With no other options of escape and no memory of how you have come to be here you must delve into Jeans memories and dreams searching for answers, solving puzzles and unearthing memories. Through this you may just find out what happened on this island, why Jean is dead, why you are here and the dark secrets of Ether.

                  Story Extract

                  Everything is dark, black and obsolete. You hear a sound far in the distance, a “huuuussshhhh” kind of sound, soft, gentle, pleasant.

                  You open your eyes and cough; it feels like buckets of seawater are pouring out of your lungs onto the pebble beach that is digging into your side. The sound becomes more vivid and you realise it is the tide brushing up against the little stones that make the coastline.

                  You try and focus, look around you to gain your bearings but there seem to be no one around. You try to think, but there is nothing there, your mind like a large dark empty vacuum, no life, no memories, no feeling.

                  In the distance on a rocky outcrop covered in fern you see some sort of structure. As you start to stumble towards it you hear the faint sound of music playing from within. There must be someone there!

                  You reach the building, placing your hand on the wall to steady yourself and you call to see if anyone is inside.

                  “Help me.” you croak in pain…no one answers.

                  Pushing the only door open you see a solitary chair in the centre of the room that resembles a study recliner, you are tired and your legs hurt, you need to sit down and figure out what happened, how you ended up here on this empty island, in this state.

                  You move over to the recliner and ease yourself down, taking a large breath of air as you feel the plush leather comfort your back. It is then that you notice the strange contraption above you, moving closer. It clicks and whirrs like nothing you have ever seen and before you have time to move two cables drop down and insert themselves into your nose. A piercing pain like no other seeps into your mind and everything goes white, the pain stops and time seems to pause.

                  It is then that you see her face, sad and solemn. She is looking at you not with menace, but with pity. She needs you so very badly; she needs you to put an end to this once and for all.

                  It is then that she speaks and it these words that will echo in your mind forever… in her gentle voice she beckons you, consoles you and traps you…

                  “Welcome to Ether.”

                  Here are some WiP models from our Artist Broady Blackwell to give your eyes a rest


                  • #24
                    New Year Ether Update!

                    Hey guys!

                    Apologies about the lack of updates on here. It's been a busy Christmas and New Year. Glad to see there's so many other developers still updating stuff. Its really inspiring to see!

                    As you can see from the image below, the island looks less like an island and more of a square. Although this may seem obvious, when staring it at for hours a day, you don’t notice yourself. So after the break we decided to study the structures of islands to create something much more organic which also allows us to still house all of our design ideas.

                    So the image below is what we came out with. I’m happy with the results. Although the area of the island has reduced dramatically, it feels much more open and fresh. Early play testing also feels much more promising with areas becoming much more accessible. The island hasn’t been refined yet so textures are still all over the place and some hard edges which need smoothing down but the overall shape works.


                    So far we’ve got 3 puzzles done for the ‘vertical slice’ demo we are going to release to test. We’ve got some pretty interesting mechanics going on, which although pretty simple is Kismet, play really well. An example of the cave puzzle is below. I didn’t want to add screenshots of the cave puzzle because I didn’t want to give too much away, I’d rather you play the game

                    Another mechanic I spent the afternoon with was how to stop the player from leaving the island. We didnt want to have invisible boundaries which the player couldnt pass. Hopefully we’ve created a mechanic which will lend itself to the gameplay. The idea behind it is if the player gets too far out there are multiple trigger volumes situated around the level which will pick up the player depending on what section they are in and then an event will happen and wash the player up on the beach. Again, I won’t give too much away but I’ve put the Kismet example and a few matinee shots up for curious people!

                    I think thats all for now. Ben has been ironing out the script over Christmas and we have pretty much sealed the story in terms of events. We’re still on track to having a trailer out and we’ve got our artists working hard on the assets and texturing so everything is coming together.

                    Thanks for checking our stuff out and hope to hear some feedback!

                    Note: For larger images please check them out directly on our main site


                    • #25

                      Our first development diary showing off the HUD in game using Flash instead of UScript. Do people think this is a good development choice? It won't be localised to the entire game as it could be with UScript but it shouldnt be too hard to implement throughout the game I dont think.

                      Let us know what you think anyway


                      • #26
                        I really like how you guys mapped out the island. Once the island is mapped out then it's all about figuring out where objects are going to be, objectives etc.
                        That to me is the fun part. The un-fun part is just making things visually appealing when you have a huge environment. Which means you have a lot to Work with.
                        You guys are moving along well, so it be great to see things brought to life in island.
                        I like the title graphic as well. Oh I just read what the game is about and it sounds really cool. Kind of reminded me of the Tom Cruise movie a bit
                        "Minority Report." Just the memory Part. Overall this game definitely sounds worth making and playing.

                        Good Luck.


                        • #27
                          Hey Winwar,

                          Thanks for the interest. I totally agree, from a development pipeline its definitely all about the gameplay in this open environment. On one hand we do have a lot to work with, but it also opens to a lot of possibility. I think the puzzles we have designed will definitely keep with the pace of the game. Making things visually appealing is what the artist do best, for us designers opening up Kismet and creating all the interactions is what I find the most exciting part!

                          Haha, a Tom Cruise movie isn't a bad comparison Hopefully we'll be able to take the memory part to a new level! It is fun making it, hopefully you'll have as much fun playing Thanks for the feedback!


                          • #28
                            Ether Episode 01

                            Hey guys,

                            Its been a while since we’ve posted anything directly design related on here. We even managed to let ourselves slip down to the fourth page! There are some pretty sweet looking projecting coming out of here though so we dont mind too much Anyway, back to the top we go. I just wanted to give you an update to where we’re at right now in terms of development. I’ve been working away trying to get the first episode of the game blocked out with all the game play added. Ben has also started work on the second episode and has all that pretty much blocked out too with game play being added as we speak. The UDK has really given us the option of quickly prototyping our levels so that we can focus a lot of our time on the actual game play and the balancing of the levels.

                            We’ve also got some added support on the art side of thing’s so hopefully more visual updates to come! I’ve included a breakdown of the first episode level design below so you can see how we have developed our levels.

                            The first episode is the first time the player will experience gameplay inside of Ether. I won’t give too much away at this point about how the gameplay changes, but it will be different to play on the Island. The main aim of the level is to introduce the player to the environment and past memories of Jean. Here she will experience lots of different emotions not only through the narrative, but also from a ludology point of view. The player will then make their way through a Cornish coastal town and up into the lighthouse.

                            Here are a few images showing in the basic block map with around 60% of the game play added. Still more puzzles to go in but that may give too much away

                            This is the main overview of the level. There is still a lot more fleshing in to do and adding bits of landscape but this is the bare bones of the gameplay.

                            This is the first puzzle part and in the last room (indicated on the right of the image) you will find a lamp which shows what type of gameplay this level may have. Theres also a small jumping section getting up on to the top of the cliff..but we may alter some of that to be a little less repetitive after play testing it.

                            Heres one of the first puzzles. Mght be able to figure it out from the screenshots if you look closely

                            Walking down the steps to the coast..the lighthouse as a focal point ever present in the level.

                            As you emerge from the town, ive positioned this walkway to focus back on the lighthouse as this is always the players main objective.

                            Main part of the mining town, lots of puzzles with moving parts here.

                            Apologies about the image heavy posts, hopefully you have a good idea about how the first level is going to play out now. I’ll be back with some more design breakdowns very soon but now to start fleshing out the level and adding some more Kismet.

                            I’ll leave you with a concept for this level by our resident wanderer Josh Taylor

                            And remember to check for all other information about us


                            • #29
                              This is a great work in progress thread. Keep it going from start to finish, and don't give up !


                              • #30
                                Thanks ambershee Always awesome and motivating hearing feedback from the pros! Appreciate it