All Parking Lots Are Creepy!

When I was a kid my parents used to make me take out the garbage when we lived in these old apartment complexes. They ALL had creepy, damp underground lots and of course, the garbage room was always as far away from the entrance in the dankest, darkest corners as possible! Being a bad kid, I would always find other places to throw the garbage!

When I started work on the apartment map I naturally started with the underground lot first. I visited the old mod version to refresh myself and was surprised at how much garbage there was everywhere! Like, literal garbage! Piles of bags and so many dumpsters in non-sensical places the city garbage crew would have a really tough time collecting it every few days! It was all subconscious stuff I guess! It was totally unintentional.

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I’m actually amazed that I can even get anything done in regards to level building. Though my workflow is much better than it used to be, I still don’t do a good job of laying it out on paper first. Take a look, this is 100% real…unfortunately:

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I usually work just from imagination or referencing memories of places that I’ve seen or been to, like the creepy old apartment parking lots! Sometimes it’s hard to believe that this…

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…eventually turns into this.

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I’ve found that once I establish a basic layout and nail the atmosphere down, it just sort of…takes on a life of its own? I don’t know how else to explain it other than the flow and logic of the visuals just guides me to fill in whatever it needs next.

Does that make sense? Hmm…I might just be crazy.

Yardwork!

I’m back with a small update on the next map: The Trainyard! It’s always interesting looking over the old maps from OoH 2009 for reference and trying to re-imagine them in more realistic, interesting ways:

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I’ve tried to take a more grounded approach this time. No more nonsensical structures just to make the scenery look busy! There’s actually room to breathe now.

There really isn’t all too much to report other than I’m moving at a pretty good pace with these maps. Now that the base layout is done and the atmosphere established, I’ll be jumping onto the next map and flesh out the visuals during the detailing phase later!

Bloody Hell…

Hey! Just a small, quick update! I’ve been working away at one of the Hell levels and I just wanted to post a few pictures of it. Please keep in mind there are not many props at the moment (Tortured corpses, floating bodies, heads on pikes etc.) I will come back to it later and add more visual details since I’m just concentrating on the layout and trying to establish the look right now.

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This is one of the many levels of Hell that you’ll be exploring. Some are pretty claustrophobic, some cavernous, some desolate and open. The deeper you go, the more f***** up it will be.

A thing I’d really like to explore is the contrast between the ‘normal world’ and ‘Hell’. Not just the obvious visuals but the atmosphere of it. I’d like the player to dread being in such a place, feel oppressed and constantly in a “WTF IS THAT?!?!” mentality and then emphasize a huge sense of relief when returning to the normal world.

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As it turns out, making a river of blood look like…well, a river of blood was harder than I thought! If it was too translucent, it just looked like red dyed water. Too slow and thick and it looked like gelatin. Took me a while to nail it down but I think it turned out alright.

I hope my vision of this place so far grosses you out! Now I’m onto the next map!

Autumn Scenery!

My absolute favorite season is here! I love everything about the Autumn; the colors of the leaves, the sounds, the grey sky on overcast days or the deep blue on clear afternoons. The smell of that chilly air first thing in the morning and the way the fog just clings to everything! Black coffee, pumpkin pie, cinnamon, nutmeg…man, I just love this time of year! With Halloween around the corner, that Occult-vibe really keeps me inspired during these months too. It’s no coincedence the setting of Out Of Hell takes place during the Autumn!

So I’ve finished up the Outskirts map and am hopping onto some Hell levels next. I initially had some areas fleshed out but looking at them now they just seem boring to me. It all looked like the classical vision of Hell with caverns, red sky, fire etc. The direction I’m taking it now will be much more…macabre. The archetecture/environment will probably appear nonsensical because I don’t want to be limited by…I guess rules of the physical world if that makes any sense. When we have nightmares we never stop and think about why things are the way they are inside the nightmare. The only thing that matters is the fear and I’m going to try to instill that in people.

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If you check out the screen just above, there is a lot going on. With a little trickery I was able to get just a ton of grass and vegetation in there. Lighting and shadowing is all dynamic, everything reacts to the wind and despite the amount that’s onscreen, I think the framerate is not too bad! (Hey, still runs better than the OoH 2009 Mod ;p ) I also have a middle-of-the-road to lower end PC now so I’m sure more modern systems will run this with no problems. Eventually I’ll revisit this and all the other maps to do some tweaking and a couple more visual passes but for now, it’s done and I’m moving on!

Poll Results!

Thanks to everyone that voted! I think it’s a pretty safe bet to go with the No HUD route. I came up with some neat alternative ways to display your health and ammo. The method for checking your health is quite unique; I haven’t seen it done in any game before.

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I’ve finished up the functionality (ADS, reloading, spread, etc.) for all the weaponry. I have Fully Automatic weapons, Semi-Automatics, Pistols, Shotguns, Bow and Arrow, melee weapons and I finished up the monster AI as well. Surprisingly, that all took me only a fraction of the time to do compared to the interaction/inventory! The inventory believe it or not was just a huge pain but all the legwork is done now and it’s a pretty robust system (outlines on interactable objects, picking up items, items counts that stack, item descriptions, dropping items from the inventory into the world)

Thanks again for voting! See you soon!

Need An Opinion!

Hey guys! It would be great if you just took a second to vote on which sort of HUD you would prefer to see in Out Of Hell! No matter which one you choose, I have some pretty creative ideas for them all so let me know!

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Framework Almost There…

I’ve been spending all of my time with Blueprints work and I have some pretty great things incorporated. Thank goodness there’s just a sea of tutorials out there! Back when I was trying (keyword here is trying) to code for the original Out Of Hell there weren’t as many thorough tutorials with Uscript (that I could find anyway) From what little I was able to grasp, I ended up just butchering the available code; cutting out what I didn’t need, adding pieces here and there until it was just a giant mishmash of hacky Frankenstein code! At one point, the error log was something ridiculous like 12 or 20 megabytes or something! That’s a HUGE text file!

Anyway, with the amount of tutorials out there I’m able to put together much cleaner code without warnings or errors and learn a little more along the way! My grasp of Blueprints is still novice-level at best but hey, it’s better than not knowing anything at all! And I actually forgot how much fun working on the coding side of things was and it’s sooooo gratifying when you get something to work the way you wanted it to. And as I said in a previous post, I now know what all goes into the code because I’m doing it, I’ve made notes in the Blueprints along the way and so if some bug appears later I may have an easier time tracking it down.

I gotta say though that with the amount of new, quality Frameworks appearing in the Marketplace I’ve had to fight the temptation to just fork over 20-40 bucks or so and just buy something pre-made. Who knows, maybe I will give in to that temptation if something just isn’t working out for me in the future but at the moment, what I have serves as a good base.

I just finished up the Inventory System earlier today and will soon be working on Monster AI and Weaponry. I’ve found that as an Artist I have to constantly resist the urge to make things “Pretty” first. If this were me a few years ago I’d have the Title Screen, Options Screen, HUD Graphics etc. all looking as slick as possible BEFORE even delving into how to make them work! This time, there are only ugly placeholder graphics everywhere but the game is functional at least! I’ll go back later and beautify it, which is the way it should be imho.

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll leave you with a screen of the first level you’ll be playing through in the final version of Out Of Hell! Doesn’t that make you just salivate?! ;p

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PREPARE TO PAY 79.99 FOR THIS!!!!!!!

EDIT: So I decided to revisit some of the old features and spice them up a bit. Interaction was originally a lot like it was in OoH 2009 where as you approach an item, door or note that you could interact with, there would be a small indicator hovering over it that said “TAKE, READ, PUSH” etc. I’ve now changed it so that if you looked at something and it could be interacted with, an outline would appear and a crosshair icon would also appear (eventually this would be an icon of a hand or something) I realize it’s redundant to have both a crosshair icon AND an outline so which of the two would you prefer? I basically added both because it was mostly practice to see if I could.

You’ll also notice that there’s a blue and red bar representing stamina and health. These graphics are just placeholders for me to test if certain things are working. In the end, there will be no stamina bar or health indicator. I’m trying to do things a little differently and so when the player is low on stamina, they’ll obviously move slower and have to rely on audio cues (heavy panting ==> light breathing¬† ==> no sound)

I came up with a unique (I can’t remember any other games doing this) method for health and damage but I’ll keep that close to the chest for the time being. I promise it will be enough to always keep you on your toes when facing a single monster or a mob of monsters! Anyway, back to cleaning some of this shit up (look at that tangled mess of spaghetti in the third picture!)

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