I am thrilled to announce DAEMONICON, my new horror-themed project that’s been in the works for the last few months! It is also a spiritual successor to my previous project, Out Of Hell. So what exactly does this mean? There are a lot of details I’d like to discuss, so let’s just get right into it!
First of all, what is Daemonicon?
Daemonicon is a fairly open-ended adventure which will focus more on the survival aspects of horror games such as avoidance of hostiles, securing and protecting shelter, conservation of ammunition, exploration and seeking out food and other supplies. Foraging/hunting wild game in order to stay fed, periodic rest and managing your health are a few interesting aspects that will be incorporated into the game. One of my goals is to really emphasize the ‘Survival’ part of ‘Survival Horror’.
Daemonicon will include many gameplay ideas that I was not able to incorporate into Out Of Hell for one reason or another. A few examples would be a more open-ended playing environment, custom character creation, an RPG-like system complete with classes, inventory, abilities and stats. There are a lot of interesting gameplay features planned but they will be detailed in time as the project progresses.
Many may be wondering, is this a remake of Out Of Hell?
No, this an entirely new piece of Intellectual Property, however, it will borrow some elements and themes from Out Of Hell, which is why I like to label it as a spiritual successor.
After some deliberation and experimentation with different engines, I will be utilizing the UDK (Unreal Development Kit) as it offers both the power and versatility for me to achieve what I need to do rather quickly.
Now, let’s talk about the art.
The very first thing I did for the project was hammer out a design document and flesh it out as much as I could but the second was some concept art. Being an artist, I just couldn’t wait to get into that so I created all the monster models that were needed and then had fellow artist Julia Pishtar (http://juliapishtar.com) sculpt in some truly frightening details on the models.
As you can see by her work, she has a fantastic eye for detail and an exquisite art style. When she was done, I painted the beasts and the results can be seen below:
I am only showing 4 of these models (each monster model has 1-4 different texture variations) since this is only the initial unveiling. I pumped out all of the monster, player, NPC and weapon models during the concept phase to make way for mapping but I’ll have to keep them under wraps for now and reveal them over time because I am a big fat tease.
Please keep in mind, that from now until the final polishing phase, some things may change so please regard these as works-in-progress.
Now, the engine…
I spent the last while further familiarizing myself with the UDK and experimented with a lot of it’s capabilities, trying to see what was feasible, what I could get away with in terms of effects and complexity and what the limits were.
At this moment, I have fully implemented a Day/Night cycle with weather effects, dynamic lighting and shadow (this was a crucial element to the gameplay and was the first thing I set out to do in the engine) Here is an example of one of the initial tests:
Once I was able to implement a day/night cycle, I went on to see what I could do about having a lot of vegetation. One thing that I really wanted to include in Out Of Hell but wasn’t able to (fully, anyway) was trees and vegetation that convincingly moved/swayed in the wind. Another issue that I worried about was being able to have some fairly dense forest while maintaining an acceptable framerate.
I’m happy to announce that I was able to achieve this due to some clever techniques and optimizations.
In the image above, I’ve come up with a method of having large amounts of grass (there’s more around that is not in view) which flows back and forth really beautifully in the wind. Typically for grass like this a texture with an alpha is applied to a plane but in this case, each blade of grass is modeled geometry which I find looks better.
Those who know about Out Of Hell know that a lot of effort and care went into establishing some really atmospheric environments and visuals. It’s my promise that Daemonicon will receive even more effort and attention to detail and you can look forward to exploring more creepy and ambient locales!
Now, about the story and setting…
I will not be revealing much of it at this point other than it taking place in Northwestern America, the presence of many, many Demonic creatures, an artifact called the “Daemonicon” and a military compound known as “The Shelter”. Oh, and for the Out Of Hell fans, one word: Manipulators.
As for how long this will take, it is hard for me to gauge at the moment, however, I do aim to take this game commercial and will be exploring funding options very soon. It is my hope that I can dedicate myself to the game full-time so that we can see this thing in action sooner rather than later!
Have a happy Halloween!
And I hope you like what you see so far! Thank you so much for joining me on this unveiling and please head on over to the forums if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!