juho

 

It’s time to shed some light behind the dusty curtains that cover the massive art department of Almost Human and take a look at some behind the scenes action. A lot of new shady creatures have been creeping around the studio walls and this time we’ll try to catch one of them. Be very, very quiet, we’re hunting Zarchtons. Zarchtons are one of the first monsters you’ll come across in the beaches of the Island. At first you’ll hear their croaking calls and before you know what hit, you realize you’ve been ambushed.

Zarchtons are amphibious creatures that are as home on dry land as in water, but they never leave too far from water, because they are dependent of water and need to dampen their skin from time to time. That’s why Zarchtons are usually seen around water, but that doesn’t limit to natural water sources. Overflown dungeons are also perfect environment for them too…

The origin of Zarchtons is highly debated topic in the Natural Science Department of the Nothampton’s University. Some say Zarchtons have evolved from fishes and some say they we’re originally land creatures that have moved to live partially in water. Sometimes Zarchtons are seen far in the open sea and they are often mistaken for mermaids. Being amphibious creatures, Zarchtons have both lungs and gills, so they can breath air and in water. Zarchtons have primitive culture system and they make use of resources from the sea to create clothing and accessories from shellfishes and other small creatures they hunt. Swimming in water and walking on land have developed Zarchtons’ leg muscles to enable them to take long leaps to help them hunt their prey and attack anyone coming to their territory…

What goes to actual development of the Zarchtons, the process was pretty standard stuff. We thought of some features and characteristics we needed in a monster and based on that data I started roughing it out. And this is what I ended up:

 
Then it was off to Zbrush to create the high resolution model using Zspheres as a base and just dynameshing the living crap out of it.

 
After the high resolution model was done, it was decimated a bit and exported to 3dCoat, we’re I retopoed and unwrapped it ending to around 6200 polygons. High resolution data was baked into normal map and rest of the textures were painted in Photoshop.

 
And finally, here’s a final posed model for Zarchton. I bet you’ll end up peeking under his skirt.

 

Couple of months ago we posted to our blog that we were looking for an artist that could help us create brand new portraits for the LoG2. We received tons of applications, 234 to be precise, and I went through all of them. One artist stood out pretty early on. He had just the right style we were looking for and his communication was great and with reasonable rates, it wasn’t that difficult to select him to do the work. So, without further ado, let me introduce Emile Denis to everybody. -Juho

Several months ago, I heard about The Legend of Grimrock via some websites and several reports on tv. I was immediately intrigued by this game with an old-school and Modern side. After testing it with a friend, I really enjoyed it!

Then, last April, a friend who works in the the video game industry sent me a link saying “hey look!, I saw this and thought you would be interested in it!”: It was an advertisement from Almost Human who was Looking for a freelance portrait artist for the Legend of Grimrock 2!

I didn’t think twice and immediately sent an email with my portfolio, then, after a few days, Juho Salila give me the definitive answer: I am selected! It’s such a pleasure since I love everything related to portraits and characters! I was even happier when Juho gave me as a reference the Baldur’s Gate’s portraits (one of my favorites games)!

So after receiving the brief, I started to work:
At first, I started with the “Human” race, keeping in mind the realistic style and the fantastic atmosphere of the game. By default, when I start an illustration or a concept, I gather a lot of documentation. In this case, since they are characters, I always start to think about the character in question: “What is his class?, is it old or young?, male or female?“, from there I like to imagine an actor or a famous person who could “impersonate” the character, just to get a clearer idea of the portrait. I always try to have at least two references (like two actors, for example) for each character to ensure that the resemblance will not be too flagrant in the end, and sometimes I use some photographic references in black and white or with a special light to give more life and volume to the portrait. From there, I started the first sketches always in black and white, then I set aside my references, I refine the drawing, and once it’s completed, I color them.

When I started working on the “Insectoids” race, the approach was a little more complex: As usual, I gather a lot of references, and then I tried to build portraits with great variety of different insects. Then, I finalized the illustrations by adding some textures and playing with the blending modes of Photoshop to find the scaly and rough effect of certain insects.
I still have a lot of work, and I know this will be truly rewarding and fun!

I would like to thank the whole team for choosing me and I look forward to seeing the final result ;)

-Emile DENIS

Check out more of Emile’s work in his blog Here.





 

Edit 28-5-2013 Thank you for all the portfolio submissions. We have now picked an awesome artist to do new set of portraits. –

Ahoy ye freelancers! Almost Human is looking for talented freelance artist to create new awesome character portraits for the upcoming Legend of Grimrock 2. If you think you got what it takes, send us a link to your portfolio or webpage to:

 

New game needs new monsters. We already have a bunch of new deadly monsters roaming in the dungeons, but in this post we’re going to take a quick look to our old friend: The Ogre! Ogre went through a radical makeover and it was modeled and textured almost from scratch. To reflect the new tricks ogre has learned, he was given a bit more clever look than the familiar cave ogre that only had a loin cloth and some random armor parts slapped on him. But hey, let’s look at some pictures instead of me typing nonsense.

First I did a quick concept sketch of the new look and then it was off to Zbrush to sculpt the high resolution version. At the bottom is the textured game model and a “clay render” with wireframes. The Ogre is built from 9058 polygons and is using three 1024×1024 maps (diffuse, specular and normal).


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Ok, we know we’ve been awfully quiet with our blog lately, but that’s only because we’ve been working very hard. Working hard on what, you say? More about that a bit later. Let’s first look back all the way to year 2012.

Last year was an incredible success for Almost Human. We released our first game, Legend of Grimrock, which was the best seller for two weeks in Steam and has continued to surpass our expectations. LoG reached 82 points in Metascore declaring it officially to be a great game (but we already knew that, right). We also released the Dungeon Editor that has spawned lots of brilliant mods and Steam’s Legend of Grimrock Workshop has over 450 entries already! Our great community is always surprising us with their skills, creativity and activity in the forums with 50.000 posts and counting. And those post are really high quality stuff too, unlike most forums dedicated to games ;) . That means you don’t run out of dungeons to explore in the future. Towards the end of the year we also released the highly anticipated Mac and Linux versions of LoG with great new features and optimizations. And to sum up the year, we’re now proud to announce that Legend of Grimrock has sold over 600.000 copies! We would’ve been happy with just one tenth of the sales numbers, so needless to say we’re very happy and the future of our company is secured for a long time.

But great success doesn’t mean we haven’t lost our passion for making great games. So, what’s next, you might ask. We thought we could share with you a glimpse of some new exiting things we’ve been working on. But beware, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Enjoy!

 

Folks here at Almost Human are going to take a small well deserved break and hibernate through the holiday season under the vast snow drifts that cover Finland. But don’t worry, we’ll be back (in Arnold’s voice) next year with new adventures! Big up’s to all our fans and awesome community. Thank you for all your support, we hope you stick with us also the next year! Have merry Holidays and happy New Year. Cheers!!!

 

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.

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Editor’s Note: For the next couple of weeks we are going to feature a set of articles that should shed some light on how Legend of Grimrock was made. The articles range from graphics and animation to sound design and programming. For gamers or hobbyists we hope to give you some idea what game development is about. If you’re a fellow game developer hopefully these articles will give you some ideas for your projects. Without further due, let’s give the floor to Juho! -Petri

Legend of Grimrock has a storyline running under its hood and to help it get it moving we needed an intro sequence in the beginning of the game. Naturally some fancy big money cinematic was out of the question, so we had to come up with some more down to earth type of solution. Pretty quickly we narrowed our options to still images with overlaid text. That was relatively easy and fast to do, but allowed more freedom for the player to watch the images and read the texts in his/her own pace. Intro sequences’ main purpose was to set the mood and setting for the game with the help of iconic tune by Stakula (which we talked earlier in here).

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It’s been another busy week at the AH office. Last week’s compatibility test kept us occupied couple of days, but we managed to squash some nice juicy bugs. The game now works better with older graphics cards like NVIDIA 6000 and 7000 series. Overall the test went really fine and we’re happy with the results. Thanks again to everybody who participated.

As the post’s title says, this week has mostly been about tweaking stuff. As we’re getting every day closer to finishing the game, major feature implementations get scarcer. We are focusing on testing, tweaking and fine tuning things here and there. Creatures have learned some nasty new moves to make the escape from the dungeons yet a bit harder. We also now have a big TO DO list on our whiteboard that we need to clear before the launch. Luckily the list gets shorter as the days pass. GUI got some tender loving as we merged the attack buttons and character portraits to the bottom right side of the screen. Now the marching order is much clearer and it is also easier to change the order by dragging the panels and everything looks a lot better and cleaner this way. The tutorial has been cleaned up and it is now easier to digest. On the business side, things nudged a bit forward, which is nice, but we can’t say anything more about that in here this time. Sorry ;)

And hey, remember to subscribe to the newsletter. Do it. Do it now. :)

If you haven’t checked out what our dear friends at Theory Interactive, who have their office in the neighborhood, have been doing check this out.

 

We’ve been iterating the GUI graphics and functionality quite bit lately and as promised in the last weeks post, let’s talk more about the changes.

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