Today we’re taking a closer look at Brittle Hollow, specifically the planet’s visual effects, in this week’s developer update, but first a reminder.
We wanted to give you all a heads up that Outer Wilds will be at PAX West! We will be showing the game for the entirety of PAX at the Annapurna booth.
As a little bonus, we will be part of ID@Xbox Pre-PAX Open House event, details for how to register, for the free event, can be found here.
PAX West is August 31st through till September 3rd 2018 in Seattle, WA.
Be sure to pick up your tickets here!
Next Blog Update Will Be Late
Due to the members of our team that put the developer updates together being at PAX West, the blog update that would be delivered on the 31st of August will be delayed to September 7th.
Brittle Hollow: Visual Effects (VFX)
In our last update we talked about the unusual geological structure of Brittle Hollow: a planet-sized geode bombarded by meteors from its volcanic moon. Because the crumbling nature of the planet is important for how the players interact with the environment, it was important to create feedback for all of these processes in the form of VFX.
The chaotic environment of Brittle Hollow is the result of the relationship between its volcanic moon and it’s fragmented crust.
First, meteors launched from Hollow’s Lantern cool in space and heat up on entering the atmosphere, so if a nearby meteor is molten and has a smoke trail, you know it’s on a collision course. When the meteors hit, they briefly explode into physics objects so watch out for debris!
Our meteor shader supports cooling over time and heating up on entry into Brittle Hollow’s atmosphere, so watch out for molten fragments when a nearby meteor explodes!
While players may be safe from the deadly meteors created by Hollow’s Lantern while under the crystalline crust, they may still be in danger from the fragment detaching from the crust. To ensure players realize what is happening around them, we created particle systems that outline each fragment that send debris flying each time a fragment is hit. These particles become even more intense when the fragment detaches, like demolition charges exploding on the perimeter of the fragment. Keep an eye out for falling chunks of rock and keep your finger on your jetpack trigger and you might be able to avoid plummeting into the black hole at the planet’s core.
Brittle Hollow’s naturally fragmented structure makes it clear when pieces break away from the crust.
Regardless of whether you are on a fragment or not, when it falls it will be consumed by the black hole at the planet’s core. While it isn’t a perfectly accurate representation of a real black hole, we wanted it to be as close as possible visually. The shader of the black hole simulates the way light bends around it, so as you approach the event horizon your field of vision gets increasingly distorted. When the black hole consumes a fragment, it emits a jet of particles so you can tell where the fragment fell through.
Keep an eye out for black hole emissions and you might be able to avoid jumping into the void that used to be a fragment of crust.
What happens to the player if they fall through the black hole and what significance does it have to the story? You’ll have to explore Brittle Hollow yourself to find out!
That’s the End of This Update
Join us on September 7th for another development update. Have a great weekend everyone!
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