Wolfire Games develops innovative, independent games for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. It was started by David Rosen in 2003 to organize his open source video game contest entries. After graduating college in 2008, he was joined by his twin brother and three friends and Wolfire Games officially dove into the independent game industry!
While everyone else is working on the new game plan for Overgrowth, and preparing the next alpha for release within a couple weeks, Steve is continuing to iterate on the character design for the different species.
After designing the preliminary base models I was tasked with developing Rabbit character concepts for the Lugaru and Arena campaigns. While this was a welcome change from doing purely anatomical drawings, my initial approach was too unfocused. Consequently, the designs were inconsistent and I struggled to develop a distinct Rabbit look.
I decided to start defining the aesthetics of the other Overgrowth species, as my ideas were starting to feel very stale and I hadn’t set clear design parameters to work within. As I progressed, materials, clothing/armor fit, clothing/armor components, and shape language were the key elements of distinction I used to set boundaries.
Improving Base Sketches
Before jumping into designing the cultural clothing and armor of the different Overgrowth species, I wanted to have solid three-quarter pose drawings to work on top of. I used this opportunity to fix anatomical issues from my orthographic drawings and to improve the look of the species overall.
For Dog clothing and armor, I started with the characteristics that were already established: rectangular shape language, heavy use of metal and leather, simple/pragmatic design, and loose fit. I quickly sketched a batch of concepts and picked 5 to refine.
I later returned to further explore Dog armor. Prominent, thick belts and battle harnesses were a couple ideas I had for Dog-only gear. Though Dogs are not an ostentatious society and prefer plain, functional design, I added visual interest through metal and leather color variation, repetition of shapes (studs, rivets, and laminar (banded) plating), and simple embellishments that may distinguish one Dog clan from another.
Given that Cats are largely aristocratic, conveying their wealth and opulent nature through luxurious fabrics, precious metals, vibrant colors, and intricate detailing was important in their outfits and armors.
To contrast from the rectangular shape language of the Dogs I settled on triangular shape language for the Cats. As well, I decided to feature chainmail in Cat armor design. While I initially felt that chainmail was too advanced for the Overgrowth world, after learning that humans have been using chainmail from as early as the 4th century BCE, I concluded that Cats have the material, intellectual, and labor resources to produce it. Furthermore, I can imagine the Cats would be quite pleased with armor that provides decent protection, relative comfort, and a slim look!
After exploring Dog and Cat styles, I returned to have another go at the Rabbits. I kept some of the ideas I liked from the earlier concepts (thickly woven fiber, knot ornamentation, braided rope) and introduced rounded shape language and asymmetric clothing arrangements. As well, utilizing only plant-based materials (natural plant fiber, wicker/rattan) was a key restriction as I felt it reflected the predominantly peaceful nature and agrarian culture of Rabbits.
Afterwards, I remixed some of my favorite elements into 3 concept sets for Turner in the Lugaru campaign. Each set shows how Turner’s outfit will change as he progresses through the story and different environments.
I know a lot of people—including myself—were eager for more Rat concepts, so I was very excited to work on these. I spent time collecting photos and compiling a mood board before starting my sketches to refresh my visual library for the Rats. I repeated this process for the refined Dog and Cat warrior concepts as well. You’ll notice that I made sure to stay away from film and video game sources (except for a screenshot from The Revenant) and to draw from a variety of different inspirational subjects.
The Rats, being the scavenger species of Overgrowth, are visually distinguished by a ragged and ragtag appearance: tattered and discolored, uneven patchwork, and disparate materials. Additionally, I paired long shirts with poncho or vest-like tops and tried out variations in length to complement their long torsos. Similarly, high-waisted pants or shorts seemed to suit Rat proportions. However, since the scavenger look is pretty unoriginal, the Rats needed a unique twist. Fortunately for me, Rats wearing parts of their ancestors is a really neat idea that Aubrey came up with!
In a society like the Rats where resources are scarce, making use of the remains of kin is not only practical, but could be a form of ancestor worship. Instead of simply wearing the fur and bones of their dead, I came up with more elaborate ways that Rats could prepare and utilize them: ritually dreading the fur of their deceased kin into their own or fashioning ceremonial garb, and carving inscribed bone beads to be worn as talismans or even as armor. Besides these customs, Rat skins can be converted to leather, tendons and intestines converted to sinew, and the muscles and organs used as compost for underground fungi farms (if not consumed during times of famine). I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of this concept and haven’t visually executed it to it’s full potential, so stay tuned for further updates.
And finally, the Wolves. Since Wolves don’t wear clothing or armor, well-designed anatomy is crucial. I wasn’t satisfied with the upright posture of my earlier Wolf sketches, so I redrew them from scratch with the goal of making them look more feral. I gave them a pronounced hunch on their upper back, thrusting their head forward. This not only makes them look more animalistic and fierce, but it also makes sense physiologically because a Wolf’s mouth is one of its primary weapons. This was also a great opportunity to give their fur some much-needed attention. When designing their fur I concentrated on areas of volume, major planes, direction of flow, and placement of tufts.
Scarification was a neat idea from Aubrey for how Wolves might embellish their bodies. I thought body “paint” might be interesting as well. Wolves may not create paint in the traditional sense, but they would certainly have a nice supply of blood after each kill. The stiff quality of dried blood would also allow Wolves to style their fur. Additionally, white pigment could be created by chewing sun-dried bones into a chalky paste. While adding visual interest is important, It would be great to add context to these body decoration practices through pack identities or some sort of Wolf religion - something to think about!
Still lots of work to be done, but I hope you found this post interesting and my progress appealing. Please let us know what you think!
Around seven months ago we increased the team size, and started releasing alphas every other week. During this time we've made good progress, but the game hasn't been coming together as quickly as we hoped. So, we're trying a new plan.
The issues that we want to solve are the following:
- Since we are adding new features while fixing bugs at the same time, bugs are added to the game at the same rate as we are fixing them, resulting in an unstable game.
- The updates and changelogs are not always as interesting as they should be. Game development takes time, and even with this larger team, two weeks is not enough time to reliably make an exciting release.
- The user experience for new players is pretty poor right now, not only due to bugs, but because it's difficult for them to learn about and get to all the features that are currently in the game.
To address these issues, we are going to stop releasing an alpha every other week. Instead we'll work towards specific milestones with internal deadlines, and once a milestone is reached we release an alpha after a bug testing phase. This will help make alphas more stable and interesting.
The first milestone on our list is to fix the user experience. This includes fixing many bugs, making a tutorial and adding menu items for all the modes that currently exist in the game. We are aiming to release this alpha during next month.
Arena mode changes
We realized the scope of the arena mode was too ambitious, so we've decided to reduce it. It was like a combination of a story campaign and an arena mode, with even more features on top of that. We've decided to make it into a series of arena challenges instead and remove the meta game. This will let us finish it in a more reasonable time frame while letting the story campaign take care of the storytelling.
The plan is to let each arena challenge take you though several fights to test your skills in a specific area such as sword fighting, free for all fights or slaying wolves. Beating one challenge will unlock access to the next one which will be harder than the previous. The arena challenge mode will be the next milestone after we're done with fixing the user experience.
Despite the lack of an alpha today we hope that you are as excited as we are to see this new plan come to fruition. Thank you for sticking with us, and we hope that you'll continue to support us as we find the best path to finally complete this project!
Here is the new Overgrowth alpha video!
Don't forget that you can help support us, try out our alphas (such as the one in the video), and chat with other preorderers in the Secret Preorder Forum by preordering Overgrowth. If you'd like to see real-time news about Overgrowth, you can follow us on Twitter at @wolfire.
Be sure to watch it in HD!
The features highlighted in the above video are as follows (as well as some that didn't make it into the video):
- Nodes on world map now pulse if clickable
- It now automatically starts the campaign after creating a new character
- Current profile and session are now reset when entering arena menu
- Fixed formatting on campaign introduction page
- Cave Arena texture upgrades
- Fixed image scaling for GUI images with lower texture settings
- Reset the font in GUI to resize text when resizing window
If you liked this video, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Also, feel free to support us by preordering Overgrowth!
Here is the new Overgrowth Weekly!
The community content highlighted this time is..
- Melee challenge for Receiver
- Update on the Therium 2 mod
- Two updated shaders: parallax & fisheye
- Remake of Path of Blood
- List of hidden features
- Whale man sculpt
For links and timestamps to each item in the video, see the video description.
Josh here with another blog post, this time i’m going to talk about the Lugaru campaign we’re porting to Overgrowth. Lugaru is the spiritual predecessor to Overgrowth, we’re porting its campaign to get a better idea of where we’re at in terms of features so we can bring Overgrowth up to feature parity with it.
Some of the currently missing features are..
- Animal running
- Fighting system improvements like staff attacks, air takedowns, wall kicks and running leg cannon (as opposed to the jumping leg cannon currently in the game)
Beyond that there is a lot of art to create for the characters and environments, and of course a bunch of testing and refining.
Since the arena is top priority right now it will be a while before the Lugaru campaign port is ready to be released. But once it’s out we’ll have many of the pieces in place that will allow us to create the Overgrowth campaign.
There is some work in progress video footage from the Lugaru campaign in the Overgrowth a218 video changelog. What are you looking forward to the most with the Lugaru campaign port?