Thank you all for your patience last week, the entire block around our office had no internet last Friday, due to the intense heat wave in California. Anyway, onward to the update!
At the edge of the solar system, what was once a water planet is now a cluster of vines reaching through jagged chunks of ice. Dark Bramble is a planet-sized tangle of thorny vines, which spreads a mysterious fog that obscures the space at its center. We won’t talk about what lies beyond the fog so that players can explore it’s mysteries on their own, but we’re going to talk a little bit about how we created the massive vines that surround Dark Bramble’s surface.
The thorny thicket, Dark Bramble.
Because Dark Bramble is obscured in fog, the silhouettes of the vines are all-important. The vines are deceptively large, so it was a big challenge to balance the level of detail we needed with having interesting large-scale silhouettes. Thankfully, by the time we did our new art pass on Dark Bramble, we already had a solution in mind based on our pipeline developed for the Hourglass Twins.
Left to right: the base mesh, the decimated vine mesh after detail projection, and final decimated mesh with spikes.
As we talked about in a previous update, Ember Twin is full of unique cave systems which are giant, interlocking tubes of geometry. Dark Bramble’s vines are also giant interlocking tubes, so we were able to apply most of the same technique to quickly detail out our shapes. This allowed us to focus on the silhouettes of the vines first, and then apply a uniform level of detail based on our 3D vine surface sculpt. The vines also had their own unique challenges, such as being viewed from multiple angles (since you are outside of them rather than inside) and being much larger in scale.
Decimated mesh, used to make the tiling vine material.
Due to the mysterious nature of the enormous thicket that is Dark Bramble, we only scratched the surface of what is unique to this planet. Artists retooled the techniques used to create the caves of Ember Twin to support the challenges unique to Dark Bramble. We look forward to hearing from players about what mysteries and experiences they have as they descend into the fog.
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