Instinction Insight 01 - Realism
Our first development diary focuses on the importance and perception of realism, and we'll cover dinosaurs, development and environments.
As development continues and our team and internal expertise grows we intend to iterate and implement improvements to better correspond with scientific data surrounding the visual and behavioral accuracies of our extinct species in the game. For Instinction it's a delicate balance of realistic dinosaurs and behaviours vs. a compelling narrative gaming experience and we take that into consideration whenever we prepare dinosaur 3D model briefs and game related ideas.
We are fortunate enough to be talking with some passionate experts in various fields including prehistoric ecology, evolutionary biology, and paleontology to more accurately depict biomes, dinosaur behaviors, locomotion and appearance. More details about our process in creating new dinosaurs, and some examples further in the blog.
Theory of evidence and speculation is great and can only get you so far, although with talented artists, technicians and animators, a cohesive team with a shared vision and foundation can take that theory and create some meaningful gaming experiences, that's our objective. Not conjecture, but results.
If you like booty, our dinosaurs will all have cloacal vents.
With that being said, ahem, in our early development we made use of placeholder dinosaur models, broken wrists on raptors were a thing :(, we hadn't tackled feathers or pyncnofibers yet, to be fair we didn't even realise how much the paleo community cared and so they should, we just wanted to create the best dinosaur game in modern history. Mind you, some of the great artists that contributed to our October trailer we still work with, but we always knew once we were able to share and validate a community interest in Instinction that we needed to tackle and focus on creating unique and accurate models and animations.
When Hillfarrance supported our growth as a game development studio, the floodgates were opened. We were no longer just developing while operating a commercial 3D business, doing research and development, self-funding and building our team internally, we suddenly were able to grow the team externally by bringing on accomplished and experienced talent. We work with some truly spectacular experts in their own right and as a whole, the entire production, development and quality took on a new level of growth. Whats more incredible is we have relationships with some true veterans in game development and in some cases will be joining Hashbane.
What brought it all together was the online community that interact and support us, it brings tears to our eyes, a realisation of a vision, the validation that the game means something to them and we have the opportunity to make that a reality, a truly humbling experience. Thank YOU for the support!
We've spoken about Daryl before, our composer in a previous post. How could realism in a game, movie or any other medium be fully realised or experienced without impeccable sound? All great directors will reiterate the importance of sound design to facilitate an exceptional story-telling experience. For those fortunate enough to hear, we don't fully acknowledge the importance of the role audio plays in story telling, it is fundamental to invoke emotion and aids in visual storytelling, and the best story telling takes into account every last little sound you hear.
We had a lot of positive comments about our October trailer, to put it lightly Daryl did everything you hear except for the voice over(he's shit at female voices). Go back and listen to every audio cue (headsets recommended).
We'll cover the location, lore, architecture and some concept design in a seperate blog post.
APPROACH TO NEW MODELS
When approaching a new dinosaur 3D model it is important to have a revision done on the scientific evidence by a paleo expert, collating evidence and expressing opinion on their take on how the animal should look and behave, and then also take into account the narrative set out for the game with the opinion of the creative art director who prepares a brief alongside the scientific review. There are many iterations during this process to make sure that the model retains integrity and artistic direction. The model needs to be created, revised, retopologised, rigged and then ultimately animated. In our case some of the animation, primary(main movements) and secondary(subtle movements) is handled inside Unreal Engine. Here's an example of one of our Paleo reviews that we use in part of our modelling briefs:
Everything starts off with a brief and paleo scientific data, art direction including skin colours and scales, then the 3D modelers get to work, massing out the model in their desired 3D sculpting software. We're focusing on the bull first, uninjured, then iteratively we will focus on other variations after this model is complete, here's our Diabloceratops process:
Decent stance, weak silhouette, we want to find a good looking Diablo
Revisions are discussed, compared to the holotype:
These iterations can be complex or simple depending on the experience and relationship between modelers and art direction. There are usually multiple revisions.
Another update(many iterations later):
Sexy legs, looks more menacing, we need to remember the feet aren't like an elephant, when rigged we need control of individual toes.
We discuss theoretical muscle definition and position, talk scales based off of evidential skin impressions, even related families, next.
More comments from art director, scale refinement, retopology, texturing, rigging for animation. Great artists make this all easy.
Then through some decent collaboration we end up with this:
These are low resolution viewport images in Blender, not rendered and not even close to what you will see in Unreal Engine.
We'll be showcasing the animated and realtime models next month, along with other dinosaurs. Here's a peak of the rig:
For animators: there is a FK/IK switch, the eyes dilate and slit, the nostrils inflate, wiggle dynamics and more blendshapes.
We're working to include all these animation controls and implementations operating within Unreal Engine 5.
We haven't even touched on plants, general textures and foliage, but we wont bore you this time, we'll cover this in Instinction Insight 01.1 - Realism continued...
We're always looking for ways to improve, send us your thoughts, opinions or evidence worthy to make changes to our approach, procedures , we want to improve. The only prerequisite is to be polite or we won't give you the time of day. Feel welcome to message us on firstname.lastname@example.org or message us directly through the website.