We’re back with more updates on playtests and progress.
As we move forward with the game, we are getting a lot more feedback from playtests. We now have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t and we will be slowing down the playtest frenzy for a little bit as we implement a few changes.
The biggest of these changes is a serious redesign of the ship computer.
Screenshot of the Ship Computer log for Ember Twin (formerly Cave Twin)
As the player’s “journal” in the game, the computer serves to allow easy access to information gathered within Outer Wilds. Its organization has a huge impact on how players interpret said information, so for that reason, we decided we needed to take a more visual approach and add to it a kind of “detective board”.
We will be working hard on this and the writing for a few of the locations in the game over the break and test them in January.
In an update a few months ago we shared this picture of the final art progress do give you all a visual look at how far we’ve come. But now we can happily say we’ve checked off two more areas!
We’ve checked off Dark Bramble and the Quantum Moon!
Both Dark Bramble and the Quantum Moon have been fully outfitted with final art. Brittle Hollow is next on our list and has already begun the transition to new and improved rocks. The comet is following close behind so stay tuned for more info in future updates!
Next, we’d like to share with you all a little interview we did with our main Quantum environment creator and then take a brief look into how we’re going into Brittle Hollow’s final art transition.
A Quantum Interview
The Quantum Moon is just the latest to complete the final art stage among many other Quantum areas. From Quantum Grove to Quantum objects on Ember Twin, our 3D Artist, Eilish Lambrechtsen, has worked on many of these areas and is here to share some of her experiences.
When you played the game when was the first time you encountered Quantum stuff?
“I came in on the project when we were working on Hourglass Twins and there was this Quantum chunk, which was kind of like a big flat wedge that provides transport between multiple caves. It’s kind of like a train. So that was my introduction to quantum, this weird quantum train.”
What are the challenges of working on the environments for Quantum areas?
“Every quantum area presents its own unique constraints, but broadly speaking requires OCD tendencies to keep it all in order. I basically place yellow, green, or red “tennis balls” around the scene, which act as a socket for an object to get called to when the prop “goes quantum”. Being able to take the abstract placeholder of the tennis ball and imagine that as a prop is the primary difficulty of this task. The first time I put them in it usually looks obviously tiled, but then it goes through iterations and has variation.”
A ripe field of tennis balls. Each one marks where a quantum rock could appear!
Of all the different areas you’ve worked on that have quantum objects which was the hardest?
“Probably the first one (The Quantum Grove) because it was was a debugging and organizational nightmare. I didn’t know what I was doing. I’ve since then become pivot master. So it’s fine.”
Does the quantum effect still weird you out?
“Just the concept of quantum states and the theory behind it weirds me out. It messes with my head.”
Next on our schedule is to complete the final art pass on Brittle Hollow. Even though it isn’t as big as some of the other planets, it’s the biggest rocky planet and will be one of the hardest to complete.
What makes it a bit of a difficult task, besides the sheer amount of rocks, is due to the fact that Brittle Hollow has an undercrust below its surface. And not only is there more surface to texture and populate with props, but there are also large pieces of crust that break off and fall to the center black hole! But despite the workload, we’re not worried. The art team has many planets under their belts now and we now have a methodology to get it done in a reasonable amount of time.
We’ll Be Back Soon
The Outer Wilds team will be taking a brief break for the holidays. We will be out of office for two weeks, so the next update will fall a little later than the bi-weekly schedule.
To end this update we would like to share the card that Concept Artist Intern, Sebastian Kings, made for everyone on the team for his last day at Mobius!
Updates on our games, our process, and the joys of being Mobius Digital.