Making of Grimrock: Monsters - Under The Skin

August 15, 2012|

Monsters are an essential part of Grimrock’s dungeons and I thought I’d share some in-depth look at some of them. Legend of Grimrock features twenty unique monsters whose shape and size range from green jelly to… well, all you who have finished the game know to what. Here I have picked three of my favorite monsters that I enjoyed making the most and still feel happy about.

The basic consensus that applies to all LoG’s monsters is that they should support the gameplay. Monsters are designed based on the needs of varying the gameplay or making the difficulty rise up. When we know what type of enemy we need, we start to brainstorm and looking for references of  what the monster could be like. After that I start designing and modeling them. Due to our rather tight schedule, one monster usually took to design, model and texture around one week. Some more complex models took maybe couple of days longer. All the monsters are relatively low spec with 5000-10000 triangles with mostly 1024×1024 px maps on diffuse, specular and normal channels. Modo 501, Zbrush and Photoshop were the primary tools to create the monsters.  All the monsters were rigged and animated by Olli in XSI, but maybe more about that later.

I’m also testing in this post a cool new service that enables you to view and rotate 3d-models in you browser. It currently supports Chrome and Firefox, but you should get it working with Internet Explorer if you add ChromeFrame. More about that in here. More info on is found in here.

Enough of all that. Let’s get down to business!



Wardens are massive golem like creatures that were created to guard The Undying One.

I started designing the Warden with the help of a cool little program called Alchemy. With alchemy you can easily create random silhouettes. I created a couple of different sketches and then did some variations by combining them in Photoshop by overlaying them over each other. This gave interesting unplanned results (also called happy accidents).

After I picked one interesting silhouette, I started painting over it to define it some more.

After couple of iterations, the forms started to take shape and I ended up doing more finalized concept picture that was ready to be taken over to 3d.

High resolution model in ZBrush. The stones were a bit tedious to do at first, but I eventually got the hang of it and picked up the speed.

Final low resolution game model rigged and posed by Olli.



Ice Lizard

Ice Lizards are large carnivore reptiles found in the Frostbites, north of Endless Tundra.

I pretty much knew what I wanted the Ice Lizards to look like. The starting point was a hybrid of a T-rex and velociraptor. Again I started out with blocking in the silhouette.

I continued to paint over the sketch and ended up with full concept.

The concept evolved a bit in 3d compared to the 2d version. I like to continue the design in 3d where you see how certain things that looked nice in 2d just don’t work in 3d. With Ice Lizard I painted the diffuse texture on the high resolution model in ZBrush that was baked to the low resolution model.

Low resolution game model.




At one point we realized that we needed another flying creature, but we were running out of development time. So we decided to do a creature that could re-use assets from an already finished creature to save some time. That creature was the Crowern and I was happy to do another version because I wasn’t completely satisfied how it had ended up looking, especially the wings.

Here’s an early sketch of the Wyvern. It had to have similar structure as Crowern because it would re-use Crowerns’ rig and animations as a starting point.

Wyverns’ head sketch.

Full body concept.

High resolution sculpt in ZBrush. I was pretty happy how the arm muscles turned out. I also did a diffuse texturing in ZB, but modified it heavily in Photoshop after it was baked into low resolution mesh.

Low resolution game model.




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