RedSorceress Skyboxes Archive

Hi!

Back when I first started out with 3D Games, I had most skyboxes for my projects from an awesome website called redsorceres dot com. The owner shared a lot of models and textures and it was an all around cool site.

However, it was part of that hobby era of 3d content from between the late 90s and mid 2000’s..and like the vast majority of these sites, its now gone. However, I found a few cool people who archived the skyboxes at least. I took the liberty of providing a mirror myself too.

Serygalacaffeine mirror

Link to their site.

Now these skyboxes are on the lower end of the resolution spectrum in the way they look and the way they are styled. 512 x 512. This is still a treasure for people who work on lower resolution games, prototypes, crossplattform and mobile games as well as shaders.

Here is an impression of what is in the archive:

Shoutout to all fellow 3D artists. If you know of old resources and tools, archive them on a HDD somewhere, they will not be online forever and I deeply dislike this trend of streamlining every workflow to cater to the same handful of modeling and art packages. I think we will lose a lot of different looks and styles this way.

Anyway, I hope this will be helpful to some and keep creating!

Advertisements
Posted in 3D Art, Tutorials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skrye: The Heart of Shadows – 2018 – Game Guru

Developer: Wolf

Foreword: Game Guru, huh? Oh what a dysfunctional relationship we have but I just can’t quit you. Been here from the start, even earlier when you where still FPSCreator Reloaded. I had high hopes for you, that you’d stop drinking, lose some weight and maybe we can have a really good game of our own some day… but now I suppose I can only ask for so much. By now a flock other guys are messing around in your insides, maybe they can fix you if your daddy couldn’t.
Alright, this tired analogy aside, I have indeed been following game guru since its inception, had 2 large projects and 2 small ones. The small ones are released and the big ones have transitioned so much and have grown a lot during development however, both are a tad too large for myself and game guru. There is of course, Shavra, which was supposed to be my magnum opus I intended to release some day and then quit making video games. It had many different iterations, starting out as “Relict” all the way back in 2010. However, its just too large for me and the core gameplay in GG would be so flawed (dialogues, combat, inventory) that it’d just not be what I wanted to do. Then there is Acythian, a game that is by its core a pure shooter and Game Guru just doesn’t have the necessary horse power in what I want to do visually, physics and especially AI wise.
There is also the fact that I wanted to return to my roots of making games and deliver story, characters and atmosphere rather than corridor shooters. I’m done making games out of necessity rather than the ones I really want to make and I lost that through the years. A wonderful german game I look up to is “Unterwegs in Düsterburg” which delivers a captivating fantasy story and lovely characters all running on a non-coder engine. Thats the route I wanna go down too.
So, I took a good look at Game Guru’s current state, took an optimistic guess of what will be to come for the engine and write a GG that will both be doable and yet combine better parts of Shavra and Acythian and make a slightly reduced game. There will be shooting in the game rather than GG’s extraordinary melee game but still very much rooted in fantasy.

Storyline A mutated agent, part of a secretive order, investigates an obscure crime related to the cataclysm that spiraled humanity to the brink of existance is drawn into a conspiracy that might end the remaining humans, who thought shelter in well guarded enclaves.

Plotline is still in flux but this is going to have a strong dark fairy tale vibe.

Background: In an alternate world and timeline, a world war had humanity in turmoil. New technological advantages caused a war humanity was unable to imagine prior. Nobody knows where they came from, the demons, the blight that took the world by storm and united mankind as one on the very brink of extinction. Most assume gods hands to punish humanity for its sins, others assume a new weapon by their respective former enemies to be the cause. Few enclaves have prevailed, cities, towns, farms and fortresses guarded and surviving for decades. Outside of these last remnants of humanity, vast zones stretch over the land populated by them.

Genre: Skrye is an action adventure set in an anachronistic mixture of diesel- and steampunk.

Development: I have been working on this game for this year and have not yet made all too large strides. I originally wanted to hold off publishing this until there is more polish and better stuff to show but I figure that this will still take quite some time…so here is some rather early work. I will upgrade the first post with newer stuff in the future and kind off try to make it a bit more eloquent in the future

(early) screenshots

The game will have a lot of modified and handmade models and media. I will also upgrade and remake a lot of classic media from my collection. I’m sure that a lot of you will recognize old media in this despite looking rather different.

[center]

Bolt action carbine rifle. A rig of the classic MAS36 from FPSCreator (2005)

Drunken Lobster Pub. Retexture from the classics collection (example)

Pocketwatch. Handmade.[/center]

The first level of the game is the harbour of the enclave city “Grevem”. It includes a lot of models that will be retextured later on and will be continously improved until the game is done.

Early Screenshot 1

Early Screenshot 2

Early Screenshot 3

Last but not least some artists without whom I couldn’t have made what I have done so far: (in no particular order)

Rolfy
Lafette
Wizard of Id
Errant AI
BSP
Rosstradamus
Cosmic Prophet

There are of course a lot more, but this work is highly shaped by the work of these fine people.

Please let me know what you think and feel free to ask me anything.

Posted in 3D Art, Development, The Archive | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Archive – Okkult: Children of Dagon – 2013

2013

FPSC

” Posted on 12. February 2013 by serygala This is it! This is the big one. My last game.”

This is how I opened the announcment of this project. Well…that didn’t happen, and neither did this game. Back at a time where I was a lot more optimistic and maybe even naive about game development as a hobby I aimed for this project to be my first commercial one. I am glad that this didn’t happen because even if I did my very best, which I fully intended to do at the time,it would not have held up. FPSC games tend to crash and the amount of visual effects and custom scripts I wanted to pour into this would have made it nearly impossible to realize under the memory cap. Plus I was a lot less aware of how to properly set up and optimize my models at the time.

I am still proud of what I have achieved despite being very well aware of how hokey a lot of it must look compared to modern indie standards.

The plot of the game was nothing amazing but I intended to make it compelling in how it was delivered and in how gripping the world around the player was. This was supposed to be a First Person Adventure game with puzzles and plot first and some shooting second. I was never a fan of the “spooky walking simulator” titles.

Sadly, the project didn’t get far.

Some quotes from back in the day…I also used the term “lovecraftian”…oh! The cringe!

he story is nothing too fancy as I have to make this game in FPSCreator and I try to tell the story WITH Fpscreator as well as I can. Allow me not to get too specific on certain plot elements! The storyline so far sounds as basic as it gets but I do have some cool (I dislike this adjective as much as most intelligent people but its fitting) lovecraftian content I dont want to spoil for you.

Evidence B-12: Classified.
textfile copied from soundrecording for archivation:My name is Logan Carpenter, I’m broadcasting this from the multinational climate research base Alessa II. This base is official registered as a restricted area since 2010 and I know why… I mean… I don’t know where to start. Ahm… okay! … I don’t have a lot of time… I used to have this base on my patrol routine years ago and my fiancee Claire O’Shea was…no….IS stationed here. The base has been cut off by a massive blizzard for about half a year. Temperatures kept falling to -95C° every few hours here…ahm… This base is the epicenter of this blizzard! Its origin is not natural. Its not a phenomenon caused by global warming or anything…its them! They somehow cause it. I…I think its their presence disrupting the balance of … I’m rambling sorry…
You see! I used to spend every weekend with Claire but since the base got closed down for public I was lucky to see her every 2 months and she…changed. At first I thought it was me and she was just stressed out but it was something in her eyes…something in the way she spoke and the way she moved…nobody else noticed it. They actually had the guts to tell me I was just paranoid…and she was always a bit creepy anyway… but they haven’t seen what I have seen here. Ahm…okay…ahm… I record this broadcast while transmitting.
So, I asked her what was wrong and she told me that the work stressed her since the new „investors“ took over. The base would grow at an enormously fast rate and she would not be able to get a break. Ahm! She was a microbiologist and apparently they found something while drilling for icecoresamples. I left it at that, little did I know that what they found where not some kind of prehistoric bacteria… they found this thing and it… changed them! There is no way this has been built by humans. Its… [*Sound Recording Distorted*]Ahm! 3 months ago we received a scrambled radiotransmission from this base. It was Claires voice… As the storm cleared up a little I …stole… a helicopter and … I crashlanded close to the base. It was cold… I felt my bodytemperature drop knowing I had mere seconds to find shelter…

Features:

*Vivid snow and ice effects! Particle and shader effects create a truely freezing athmosphere.
*Tough adventure gameplay and survival elements
*Strong athmosphere and visual style featuring shaders not yet seen in FPSC.
*Innovative health system
*Ambience enhancing horror scenes
*Coherent synergy of graphical design and memorycap. Even dynamic objects fit in and don’t stick out as much as In my former titles.
*Selfmade and modified characters and creatures.

End quote!

Allow me to end this with screenshots of work I have done back then.

Thank you for reading!

Posted in The Archive | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spotlight – Case#9 by Dream

SPOTLIGHT

Case#9 by Peace released in 2017

FPSC

Available on Steam

Case#9 was an odd, yet interesting experience for me. It does everything right, that is if you look at all of its elements separately. If you bring them all together, there are a few fundamental things lacking. However, this is still an extremely good quality FPSC game. Here are my thoughts:

Plot

You are a prisoner, doing forced labor for the “Argon Company”. What it is that you do, you will never get to see. The Argon Company is described as a mining facility but we don’t get to see anything hinting at that. But one night something went wrong and you get a chance to escape from your cell. However, something in the complex has escape with you and it is out for blood.

Gameplay

Case#9 is a first person puzzle game with puzzle elements. In genre fashion you will have to solve a series of puzzles, mostly involving unlocking doors in some way while occasionally something spooky happens. The game is fairly competent at this even if it felt to me like a lot of puzzles did not necessarily make sense. For example: at one point I progressed a level because I activated a laser. Now, the laser effect was well done, the production value of the game is pretty good in general, but there was no real reason what that laser did and why I was able to proceed because I activated it.

Escaping a prison cell is always a tough puzzle to make believable. I have struggled designing that type of puzzle before and find that the author has done a pretty good job with how its handled. This puzzle stood out to me as pretty decent.

It is slightly frustrating that the characters motion speed is reduced. I feel like I’d have enjoyed the game a lot more if I was able to move a little bit faster.

With any kind of combat removed, the creature that is stalking you not posing a real threat, the gameplay really just consists on walking around, reading info dumps and using the right objects until you can unlock the next door. All in all, the game felt more like a beta version of something with gameplay elements missing rather than a fully fledged game.

I’m a sucker for subdued horror that creeps up on you, but this games horror elements are so subdued and inconsequential that you get pretty much right away that all they are are scripted tiny sequences. The creature you get to see in the end is kind of a let down as well.

The Visuals

There is no way around this but this game is blue. With the exception of some red and yellow highlights you will spend the entire time playing in blue-ish corridors and areas reminiscent of the french scifi flick “eden log”. The production quality is very high for this type of game. Levels have a certain level of visual polish. There are no objects that are stuck out of place as in many FPSC games due to a wrong shader being used and the HUD elements are well crafted. PDA and in-game interfaces are particularly well made.

However, the game has a fundamental design flaw and that is visual story telling:

The game tells you that the Argan Company is a mining facility…but we never get to see any hint or trace that this is the case. In fact, most areas we walk through are more akin to laboratories. It is supposed to be a prison, but apart from the cells in the starting area, there is never much of a feel that prisoners are handled in these spaces. No visual security installments and nothing that would even hint at a correctional facility. There are three types of areas we get to see: Maintenance areas, labs and office facilities.

It feels like the surroundings have been lovingly crafted to fit one setting but the story ultimately went with another one.

Apart from a few corpses here and there, the whole area is also extremely clean. There is no realy hint of a monster being around or any kind of struggle/evacuation having happened. If this has been done deliberately to make the surroundings have an eeriee ghostly atmosphere, it all feels more empty.

CONCLUSION

I might have criticised the game a lot but I still feel that a lot of work and effort went into this game and some really neat attention to detail. A lot has been done with FPSC’s capabilities and the game ran quite well for me. I will certainly keep an eye on the developer and recommend this game to all other FPSC users or people who have used it in the past. I can not recommend this to a more general audience as the 30 minutes of rather dull gameplay to not warrant a price of 2,99 €.

What I’d like to see improved (personally) in the next game

  1. Have the levels be coherent with the plot. If its a mining facility, let us see traces of this. If there is a monster running amok, let us see some tables that have been flipped over and hints of this.
  2. If you are not a native english speaker (like me) have someone who is read over the texts of your game.
  3. If you remove combat you will make up for the lack of one game mechanic with another. More engaging puzzles and especially an interesting plot line help a lot.
  4. If the concept of a monster stalking around the same facility as the defenseless player, that monster needs to pose some kind of threat or at least provide the illusion of a threat.
Posted in Reviews, Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shavra – Renaissance – Compilation of most recent upgrades 2018

 

* * *

Hey gang!

Yeah, I know there was a big post up ahead where I announced that I quit the project. Well, I deleted it…because I can do that.
I took a while off to take care of other thing and doing so I also reevaluated my game projects. In the past I had a lot of failed projects and those that where successful where usually so because they where a game I could make rather than one I necessarily wanted to make. My fantasy projects where always more focused on quality than their futuristic counterparts and I decided to decrease some of the quality standards I’ve set for myself.
I’m a lot more lax about many aspects of game design now, simply because I’m only one guy after all.

I also took a browse through all my favorite games and there is a quality to them that unites them all, despite them being in different genres and settings.
Immersion and atmosphere. I always had a strong focus on atmosphere in the past but not so much on immersion and I’ll try to get more up to speed on that as well. I was mostly checking out older titles in this regard, mainly Gothic 1 and 2, Thief 1 to 3 and Arx Fatalis. There are a lot of things in these games that make them great that a dedicated lone artist can do with current technology. I’m of course not claiming that I can reach the level of craftsmanship these games displayed, just that I took new inspiration from them as they are, mechanically, a lot more evolved than tons of “diet-cokeish, people pleasing” newer releases. Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah have way more bone and meat to them than the sugary Dishonored 2….if you get my hamfisted adjectives here.

I want to craft little worlds that make sense in themselves rather than have the interaction be too “gamy”. If a brittle, wooden door is locked and I’m armed with a giant warhammer, I should just be able to smash it rather than look for the key. If a lit torch is lying on the floor, I should be able to pick it up. Little things like this. Real people don’t talk in exposition, my NPC’s shouldnt do so either. I’m ranting but I’m sure you got the gist of it after the first example.

* * *

Just like Redacted: Hired Gun was a test to see if I can get a somewhat decent shooter set up in GG, all I’m really aspiring to with this for this year is a demo to see if I can get a decent Fantasy Adventure up and running.
I’ve added a few more mystery and horror elements because my projects are usually slanted in this direction and because it keeps players more on their toes, even when they are solving a puzzle. There is just something way more exciting in a game like Penumbra about its environmental puzzles knowing that something might turn up to chase you than there is in a Myst game. At least for me.

In conclusion: I’m working on a little demo …again! Set in the Shavra Universe…again! With lowered standards and ambitions than I aim for in the full game…again

But enough of this palaver: Here are some screenshots from said conceptual demo.

 

 

Thanks for your visit, please let me know what you think

PART II

Hey there!

I didn’t quite get around to working on this as often as I wanted but I still managed to get quite some headway done.
The second level has all the core gameplay elements in place. However, there is nothing else there yet so I can’t show you any of it just yet.
My reasons being that it would spoil where you’ll have to go and take the exploration element away from the experience and its just plain ugly the way it currently is.

I’m also working on a companion that will be there a short portion of the game. However this proves a bit difficult. I’m quite capable to get an animated model working well in GG but far less capable to make it move around the map in any consistent way. However, there will be some time spent on more fundamental things before I can get to that.

The title this demo will go with will most likely be “Skrye : a shavran tale”. This is a working title though.

I have also gotten around to tweak the visuals a little to edit out some of the glossy game guruness that was present before. The shader maps pop a little more and the colours convey a bit more atmosphere now. The visual errors such as mildly displaced normals, stretching and all other kinds of terrible are still in but as I said before, the bar is a lot lower for me here for the sake of getting something playable out. That does not mean that I actively neglect things, it just means that I try to ..err…be more tolerant with myself? Bah! nevermind! What matters is that another place is developed enough to be shown here…the workshop. Please keep in mind that a lot is subject to change and many static items will later be replaced with interactive ones.

I know that all these environmental shots are not that exciting as they convey little about the game, however I will also reserve some surprises about tone and plot of the game for when I release it.

 

Upgraded areas which where shown before.

Workshop room and smithy

****

I’m at the point in my life where I have to craft rough battleplans of what I am to do within the next couple of months.
A lot of my hobbies and interests have been swapped to the wayside in the wake of things that I just have to do. (Wether I’m particulary inclined to or not). I’m just gonna say if you have a regular joe, western job where you do your nine to five. Look at it in a positive light because I guarantee you, that once you can manage your own hours, you are in 9 out of 10 times going to work longer than you did before.

A reality that doesn’t keep me from browsing the boards every 2 hours though! A man gotta lay out his priorities.

I’ve also been working on the game. Very little though so I don’t have any new shots from the levels but I have crafted a new version of the companion character Cassia.

You might remember when I announced that I was going to invest in better character models, because I couldn’t live with the significant divide between level and character quality. I’ve also been presenting my progress to folks outside of GG and got way better responds than I expected, even after I told them that its made in GG but the wooden lowpolygon look of the chars has always been mentioned.

Now, altough I bought these chars they still have to be modified, unified and of course scripted to work in GG which is a little nightmare in itself. Especially having them move around the place. However, this is a headache for another time now.

****

Cassia – Old Version

Cassia – New Version

Additional Pose 1

Additional Pose 2

She does still have more rough edges and a lower texture resolution than I could give her but I am downsizing my workload and the quality of my art a bit to get more progress done in less time.

If you stopped by, please let me know what you think

I just noticed I have uploaded the title image for this project in 2014. Sheesh! Creepy. Its almost 4 years later and I haven’t really gotten anywhere with this project. It IS my personal “flagship” project but I should get around to at least release an in-universe spin off soon. I mean…woah!

I post to let everyone following this project know that I am still working on it, although the memory problems withing GG that have recently come to light have lowered my enthusiasm considerably. This title relies on very detailed and lit environments and I don’t want to reduce any of it. In fact I was hoping to be able to increase it with GG progressing as an engine. We’ll see how that goes.

While the spectrum of game developers and their ambitions is quite huge I believe you can break down most of them into 2 big categories. One group are those that view games akin to board, card or other social games. They develop certain rules, and gameplay mechanics and then dress them up to have a certain theme or style to them. These people often make multiplayer games and there is a lot of originality to be found among them. You notice a larger use of minimalistic or tooned graphics being used among these and games are often cross-plattform releases. The other group is more narrative oriented. While a compelling story is rarely the focus, this group wants to provide the player an experience where he is put in an outlandish or dangerous situation and gets a bunch of skills and tools to deal with it. These games usually bank on immersion, atmosphere, fluid interaction with the environment…so forth. I think the “immersive sim” type of games like Deus Ex, Thief or Arx Fatalis are very good examples for this school of though. Now they do overlap of course but I feel strongly about counting myself into the second categorie.

Shavra too should put the player into situations he has to adapt to. If a door is locked I dont want him to do the whole routine where they key is sitting somewhere on the other side of the map where it has no logical sense in being. I want options here. Can the door be broken if you have a large bulky weapon? Can it be lock-picked? Is there a place around me where it would make sense for a key to be? Can I avoid the door and sneak through an opening somewhere? What I always wanted to create with this title was a believable and very interactive world and so far I have not succeeded even remotely with this.

However, not all is bad… I tested Bugsy’s latest lightmapping innovation on this marble corridor and I think it looks quite neat

As always! Thanks for visiting! Especially those of you who have been supporting me for all these years where I was working on this project!

Posted in 3D Art, Development, Shavra, The Archive | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shavra – Improving Visuals in Game Guru

I haven’t updated this for a while because I was finishing my test game and have been trying things here and there. I feel like I have progressed enough to give this another whirl (as I try to achieve a higher quality than in my SF games)

In my shooter games I can rely on the rather simple shooty shoot mechanic to carry my games. I know that centering the screen on something you want to hit and then clicking is not necessarily cerebral doping but can be fun and challenging. I hold a lot of fondness for the FPS genre but this game is decidedly not one. Despite there being weapons I still plan on having this to be by and large an adventure game…facing all the challenges that come with this. As a fan of stealth games like the legendary Thief series I also try, knowing that I’ll likely get sub par results, to get stealth mechanics up an running. Its very possible that I’ll cancel the idea if it proves to be unfeasible.

So yes, I’ve written out the plot points of a smaller game in this universe and will deliver that as soon as I can. I have less time this year than I had 2016 but I’ll still try to keep up with this. Am I repeating myself here?? Anyway!! On to new stuff:

Despite dabbling in some gameplay mechanics I also tuned the visuals and had fun working on my maps!

Note that I have not yet replaced the HUD I had in Redacted : hired gun. Just pretend its not there, I’ll get behind crafting a placeholder swap out for that later.

 

Samweyrian Village – Herbalists Hut 

 

Still a huge fan of Errant AI’s work in puncto weapons! 

 

There is a certain serenity to this village to me. I’ll ad some insects buzzing around when its polishing time! 

I try to make places have an organic feel to it with lowpoly clutter objects like this! 

Me fooling around. There are no enemies in this level, just NPC’s. But hey! I like that tattoo I added so there ya go

If you look at that char, you won’t notice how much the AO is not working in the background (:

 

Abbey Island again. A tiny bit optimized and modernized 

Its possible that it will be a while until I can post newer material since I’ll probably have a lot of tweaking to do to get a servicable stealth…illusion…going. For one level at least.

I think I mentioned everything I wanted to point out so I’ll hold back on blabbering on endlessly. Let me know if you have any questions as alway:

Feedback and ideas are extremely welcome.

-Wolf

Posted in 3D Art, Shavra, The Archive | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello!

I haven’t updated in a while and figured I should before I’m away for a few days.
Not much has happened here. I have imported the weapons that have also been present in previous iterations of my fantasy games. Namely EAI’s splendid fantasy set (I also …finally…bought the whole set).
They still look pretty fine! I decided to go with leather gloves rather than the blue version I had in this when it was still called “Spyra”.


Halberd with outdated handrig

Here is one of them ingame. Nevermind the shading errors in this levels, I take care of that later, its an easy fix

 

His set is the best one out there if you ask me, especially since he also has a set of spellcasting gestures made and his stuff is easy to rig to.

I also chose to invest a couple of bucks in better characters. I’m pretty happy with the new ones as I felt the other ones did, despite my best efforts, drag the game down both in terms of visual quality and immersion. The new ones are spiffing though!! Very happy with them and how they are animated

Here is one:

 

Let me hear your thoughts if you feel like it.

I have imported over 100 different rock models into reloaded…from pebbles to cliffs. It would make sense that the settlements are around rocky areas where there is shelter from Sandstorms… these I can create now. I have also learned from Skyrim that blending entities with the terrain makes for the best landscape look. I’m getting good results now but I can’t say how it will perform once baked lightmapping is in. I have to thank rolfy here, as I use one of his textures for some and the color-palette of this texture for all of the rocks in Shavra.

Altough I generally optimise my game very well, I go with high resolutions for the terrain as it just elevates the overall feel of the game! Its one of the reasons why texture mods for older games focus a lot on the terrain. A blurry, dull terrain just kills the mood.

The amount of rocks I have allows me to create very diverse dungeons aswell. Altough classic dungeoncrawling will be more rare in Shavra.

Desert-themed fantasy often has architecture that is built in large sandstone formations. This would be a difficult task to pull off but I will try it anyway later in development!

Thank you for reading!

 

Posted in 3D Art, Shavra | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment