Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note, there will not be a friday wrapup or much progress posted this week due to Turkey day. As most people (US dwellers at least) will be busy, I decided to hoard up the new content for release next week. Working on a short game discussion article and mostly finished on the main character design, look forward to it!

Thanks all, and regardless of your affinity to this particular holiday, take some time to be thankful of the people around you!  - CJ

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Quick update

Fortunately the backup I did have worked like a charm and with a few minor touchups of things I had done previously, is once again working. From a cursory overview it looks like most of the lost progress was purely visual upgrades to the base and such which shouldn't be too bad to redo. It mainly consists of redoing the proxy modeling work. So it looks like this week I will be poking at that a bit and trying to finish off the player's concept painting.

Thanks for the patience! - CJ

Hard drive woes

Hey all,

Just a quick status update. Unfortunately the hard drive repair was a bust, apparently though it presented as a low level recovery, what they found was a pretty severe mechanical failure. So no go on getting that stuff back.

Fortunately my backup should have a pretty good copy of the game with only a little backslide, I'll start getting that up and running soon now that I know the recovery isn't an option. Concept work on the main character is going well, so hopefully everything will be back online and moving forward again soon. As usual I will keep posting updates on progress.

Thanks! - CJ

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Missed Update

Hey all,

Sorry for the missed Friday Wrapup last week, have a lot of miscellaneous things happening like an impending move and other activities around the holidays. I still plan on keeping up with the updates as much as possible and if I happen to miss any, will post like this when I can. Still waiting on the harddrive which is frustrating but am at least enjoying other avenues of development. I'm currently working on the conceptual design of the main character which I will try to share soon even if it isn't entirely finished.

Thanks all! - CJ

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Wrapup! Locker edition

Happy Friday everyone!

Things were pretty slow this week as I am still waiting for news on whether my harddrive can be rebuilt or not. So unfortunately that means that there is no new build today. However I have tried to keep things moving forward in other areas, working in parallel to avoid overlap should I be able to integrate some of the lost progress from my old drive.

So this week was mainly comprised of:

  • Writing and Design - Wrote up a blog post with a synopsis of the game's story and overall design intent. Check it out here if you haven't already!
  • Learning - For a couple different reasons I have migrated to using Modo as an upgrade for my horribly outdated version of 3ds max. It is slow going but am getting a bit more used to it as I work.
  • Learning - I'm always on the lookout for pipeline and workflow improvements and decided to give a method of normal map baking by Nick Quackenbush for Substance designer a try. I tweaked it a bit by creating two unique bakers in Substance so I didn't have to save the files out. Pretty cool so far, definitely useful for the hard surface stuff I'm starting to work on!
  • Production - In an effort to work through the aforementioned "education" I decided to work on a couple very simple designs for the base, namely lockers. I wanted to learn using something relatively simple so I could work out the kinks while still moving forward. I will probably end up exposing a couple controls in Substance and saving out a few variations for the different areas but I'm pretty happy with how they look so far, even in an unpolished state.
Have an excellent weekend all! - CJ

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lore Synopsis and Game Premise


Once mankind progressed to the stars, the inevitable next step was the colonization of other planets. Corporations started funding expeditions to claim resources, set up factories, in an ever expanding search for monetary gain. In the furthest reaches of space, the possibilities were limitless, all ripe for the taking.

In one such remote corner of space, a small planet hangs alone amongst its fellow stars. It is Phengodia, named for the humble glow worm. Land and air unscarred by industrial development, it is reminiscent of a time long past. Striped with dark volcanic rock, carpeted with vibrant neon plantlife. At night the rocks gather sand like gigantic fingers poking through the soil, softly illuminated by the tree’s bioluminescent glow.

This is where Meridian, a pharmaceutical empire, enacted their black market “seed” program. The seed was that of human life, planted with one purpose in mind, to grow, mature, and one day be harvested. Life was their commodity and deep in space, beyond the reach of government and moral law it could be reaped without recourse.

Meridian established outposts to monitor the dweller settlements, artificially limiting their civilization by suppressing technological growth. The dwellers live in relative isolation from each other, small nomadic pockets, easily contained and controlled.

It is here in one such medical outpost that our story begins. You awaken as Evelyn, a synthetic virtual intelligence implanted in the outpost. Integrated into its very core, you feel every breath, every action taken within its walls. But you are alone, the facility is cold and empty. You are unable to go beyond its walls without a body, a shell. Pulsing fingers of electricity reach out as you extend your digital form, possessing a basic corporate shell, as easily as slipping on a new piece of clothes. Accessing the hatch you emerge into the sunlight, taking the first of many steps out into the wilderness.


Simulacra is at its core, an exploration action game. You play as a virtual intelligence, capable of puppeteering various bodies or shells with which you explore the world around you. Unlike most games of this type, you will be outnumbered and outgunned at most every turn. Nimble movement and quick thinking are your greatest tools, as you smoothly navigate the battlefield looking for opportunity. Once found, you temporarily shed your shell, moving at the speed of thought as your pure energy body. While in this “phantom” state you are able to turn enemies to your side, manipulate environmental resources, and force particular attributes of yourself on your foes. However the longer you stay in this form and actions you take, the more energy is drained, leaving you in a weakened state once you re-enter your shell. Balancing your situation and resources on the fly is key to survival.

This action heavy exploration portion of the game is the “meat and potatoes” of the title, but it will hopefully be balanced by light management gameplay and intriguing narrative once you return to the base. Out in the field you will encounter and rescue natives who will work alongside you and fight for your cause. As you play a virtual intelligence directly integrated into the base, each improvement you make to the base itself and the well being of the persons living there will directly impact and strengthen your abilities in the field. This will be the main method of “leveling up” your character, whether it be fortifying your shell with better protection or upgrading the computers for increased “phantom” abilities. Talking with the your key team members you are able to learn more about them and the world around you.

Hopefully you enjoyed that synopsis and game premise. I fully admit that the writing isn’t the best and needs proper editing. I’m quite rusty in that regard but with any luck it still managed to communicate the spirit of what I’m trying to accomplish. Of course the lore and premise of the game will continue to evolve as it develops, especially with your input!

Thanks all! - CJ