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Development Diary #3

Concept Art, M14 Rifle, Fire Lookout Tower and more

Contents
Introduction
Bandits Concept
Cannibals Concept
Cannibal Camps
M14 Rifle
Weather Effects
Road Decals & Sidewalks
Fire Lookout Tower & More

The third Development Diary, posted on November 2nd, 2017, on the official Dead Matter Forums.

Author Note: This post was made early in the Dead Matter development and some of the information provided may be outdated at the time of reading.

Bandits Concept

Concept art is an important step in any games' pre-production phase, many different ideas (concepts) are visualized, and then boiled down to what looks and feels best. Often the different concepts are mixed, to get the best of each and lay the path to take for further development. These concepts are then used during the actual designing stage as a guideline on how to make things look. Depicted here are some bandit concepts wearing winter gear, made by Dead matter contributor vitka.
Personally, the most important thing to me as an artist is communicating a very clear shape in a design. Threat identification from a distance is a crucial aspect of an enemy AI's design, because of how the identification can alter the player's response. Does the player engage the enemy, or run away? Giving the player forewarning about a particular enemy or even causing an emotional response, such as fear, are the hallmarks of a good enemy design.
For these bandits, three candidates for further development have been chosen. I wanted to maintain an overall bulky sort of look to their figures, as they would be scavengers roaming from area to area hauling things. In further development of these designs, the plan is to add a lot of asymmetrical details to emphasize their scavenging nature.
jooni / Dead Matter Forums

Cannibals Concept

Within the realm of Zombie games, movies and TV shows, cannibals have become an ever increasing presence. Feral psychopaths as a product of the resource scarcity and the violent nature of the post apocalyptic world.
Jooni explains:
As for the cannibals, this is a small snapshot of their current design direction. This enemy type has been particularly difficult for me to work with, despite the clear direction they've taken: adding too much bulk to their frame weighs them down too much in an unattractive fashion, but adding too little bulk makes them look unfit for their role.
When working on rough concepts for the cannibals I like to do quick blockouts to establish a silhouette and play around with different designs but keeping a common functionality between all of them. Such as gloves to keep the blood off the NPC’s hands and bulky tool belts to carry around tools for on the fly dismantling. The idea is to nail down a decent design that carries a good silhouette before moving on to more polished rendering for modeling later down the line.
jooni / Dead Matter Forums

Cannibal Camps

The encampments of the different factions should feel the part. Every faction will have their own set of props to make their bases different from each other. When stumbling across a cannibal hideout it will creep you out...
Let me quote Jooni again:
With designing the props the main idea is to have a few identifiable assets that would be associated with a specific factions so that you knew which faction’s hideout you were in. As such you probably wouldn’t find bloodied coolers in a Bandit’s hideout or storage units in a Cannibal’s hideout.
For the actual environment I wanted it to be a very small hideout for the cannibals, almost claustrophobic with run down shacks anda general dirty living space.
Doing concept art helps establish stepping stones for promotional art later down the line which will eventually be turned into in game assets.
jooni / Dead Matter Forums

M14 Rifle

Not much to add here, just take a look for yourself, it's a beautifully designed M14 in different configurations and paintjobs.

The image to the right shows some of the attachments that go along with it.

Weather Effects

In the first two development diaries, Yad talked about weather effects, especially how they interact with surfaces, and he made some progress with this task.
Yad reports:
A lot more work was done to refine the weather effects on materials. Translucent materials such as glass now change values based on the snowiness or wetness factor. Now, the water droplets are static, and likely will remain that way. However, an animated version is in the works for vehicle windshields.
Yad / Dead Matter Forums

Road Decals & Sidewalks

Yad has also been working on road wear decals (first image), these decals are randomly spread along roads to give them a more weathered/used look. On top of that he overhauled the materials for sidewalks, curbs, and roadways.

Fire Lookout Tower & More

3D Artist Nomad has created a fire lookout tower, bedframe and cupboard. Not much to add, if you ask me they look mighty fine and I'm glad that nomad joined the team.

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