It’s been a minute since the last Inflexion’s Reflections. In that time we’ve shared some fairly notable updates (*cough* The Game Awards trailer *cough*), but we also enjoy sharing some of the smaller additions and improvements that the team has been working on - the fun stuff that we don’t get time to talk about in our Dev Updates.
Hopefully you’ve caught up with our latest Dev Update video, which we released a few weeks ago. Within that, Steph mentioned that one area the studio has been spending time enhancing is the fantastical elements present across the Realms. You saw a little bit in that video, so we thought this was a good opportunity to showcase some more of that work in action…
And leaning into the fantastical this month has been Zach, who has been creating a range of different Fae structures you might stumble upon in the forest. “It’s all about giving the player a break from the moment-to-moment gameplay, and finding a way to wow them,” says Zach Rudin, Environment Artist. “We want to inspire awe, and leave them with questions, like ‘How did this get here?’, ‘How old is this?’, ‘Who has been here before me?’. The art assets in these photos have been worked on by many artists across the team, and it has been my job to create meaningful compositions with them. My hope is that the players will have as much fun exploring these points of interest as I did creating them!”
Sticking with all things otherworldly, Noel has had his eyes on the stars, creating celestial night skies that you may find illuminate your twilight travels across various Realms. “With the celestial bodies, we wanted them to be a reflection of the Realm you currently find yourself in,” adds Noel Lukasewich, Environment Director. “We have all these magical Fae Realms with different characteristics, and the skies are influenced by that same magic. The higher the level of magic, the more captivating and swirling the skyline at night.”
Caves of Wonder
Speaking of darkness, Alston has been expanding upon our vault cavern designs, bringing more atmosphere and labyrinthian depth to these subterranean locations. This particular vaults are located beneath caves. It may look a bit empty now, but in-game you’ll find enemies hiding within the gloom, as well as specific challenges and activities. There will be a variety of different looks to vaults depending on the Realm they’re located in.
An Ore Spot
Mason, Vincenzo and Natalie have recently been caught between a rock and a…well more rocks, as they’ve been developing the look of our different rock-based resources in the game.
First off we have various types of ore differentiated by color variations. You can see in our staging area we have Amethyst, Emerald, Gneiss, Iron, and some others. The size and location of ore will vary depending on a number of factors (some resources may be native to caves, while others near water sources).
Vincenzo Crosswhite, Associate Environment Artist adds: “The trick with creating these ore rocks is finding the balance between something that's grounded in our world, but that also supports moment to moment gameplay when gathering resources. Distinct and recognizable, but not repetitive. Do players know where to look to find certain resources? Do players understand the difference between a breakable rock and a non-breakable one? Can players start to recognize resources just based off of their visual treatment, or do they need to be more distinct? We’ll continue to use playtest feedback to make less biased and better informed decisions on how we represent ore resources in Nightingale.”
Below you can see how rocks break and shatter when you take a pickaxe to them, revealing precious materials inside the mound.
Natalie Iwaniuk, Game Programmer: “I’ve been bending the Chaos physics system to our will in order to fit it to exactly what we desired, while being as performant in our game as we could. Most of the actual visual presentation has been through the work of lots of people on the team to make it look as good as possible. I’ve mostly been working on the actual mechanics of 'hit rock, parts break, hit it more, it fully breaks and spits out resources as you go' haha.”
Bug of the Month:
An unusual turn of events during the character selection screen: a sudden color change before an untimely (and dramatic) end befalls Barbara the Realmwalker. And all before the adventure even begins…
This bug was related to the starvation survival mechanic in the game mistakenly impacting characters in the home menu. No longer will primed Realmwalkers go hungry.
Thunderstorms! Mocap! Flying trees! And other things Inflexion has been working on this month.
The latest batch of answers from our more recent Discord Q&A...
We take a look back at what we've been up to over the last year
Gameplay reveals new ways to explore above and below the Realms
Taking a look at the community content creators making awesome Nightingale videos