The Hum’s Inspirations III: Terminator 2

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Hasta la vista, baby

How to forget that line!  I was only 9 when I saw Terminator 2 for the first time. At that time, I didn’t even watched T1 yet, but I still got shocked by the movie. It had everything: cold mind robots,  absolutelly hopeless future, a fantastic OST, the end of the world and, of course, a gorgeous Sarah Connor.

 

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Guess how I will call my daughter ..

For years, I wanted to play a game that could honor Terminator 2, but it never happened. Then, some time ago, I discovered a fan made game of  Terminator made with UDK  and just fell in love with it. Sadly, as I remember, it was cancelled.

Terminator 2 is a powerful inspiration for me in the making of The Hum. All the apocalypse ambience, all the hopelessness and even some tint/color reference are so much stuck in my mind since the 90′s and I hope that, in my own way, The Hum could be a tribute to T2.

 

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Incredible scene. I still get goosebumps

Developing The Hum: part 1- Unreal Engine 4 –

Hi everybody! I’ve been very busy the last few weeks, so this update is very late. Many people are asking me about how the development of The Hum is going, and many people are interested on knowing more details about Unreal Engine 4, about development techniques I use for AI, for procedural generation of levels, materials, etc.

That’s why I wanted to start writing some articles/posts about that, and I will do it as long I have the time to do so =P.

I will start talking a little about Unreal Engine 4 and the typical things of it’s process.

Unreal Engine 4 as Engine, my experiences in these months

I will not talk in depth about UE4, but just tell you a little about my experience in developing of The Hum with it.

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Visuals?

Basically, UE4 is great for visuals. The light rendering is great, at least for indoors. For outdoors, you will need to tweak some things, and find a way to display good godlights (because you still need to use meshes for that).

There are a lot of options and features you will need to learn about before achieving something great, but by default the effects are very good. UE4 contains a lot of options for lightning, a lot of work behind materials, a lot of work with reflections, post-processing, etc. With “a lot”, I don’t want to mean that this a messy pipeline , quite the contrary, I found that UE4 has a very good workflow with art assets. What I’m trying to say, it’s that it’s not magic, you need to know how everything works.

And, of course the engine is not everything. You always will need a great team of artists working on the visuals. But the engine allows your team to achieve really, really great stuff.

There is, still, many things that I miss from Unity3D, like camera render depth or more file format support. But everything is doable with some workarounds or custom plugins / work.

Programming

UE4 uses C++ on the programming end. It can be great for some people and a torture for most of the mortals who come in with some higher level languages. The good side is that C++ is , of course, a great language, very powerful. The bad side is that it’s a very ugly one, at least for me. It’s very understandable, of course, and things like pain with pointers are not a problem if you have a good background, but still, things like declaring headers, long and very ugly sentences/syntax, long compile times and many other “details” play against what indies want: a fast workflow and fast solutions for your project.

We are using C++ for some things like plugins for rendering, editor extensions, Blueprint extensions, or complex data types / processing logic that are not very reacheable from blueprints.

Blueprints

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Blueprints are many things. You can think them as “prefabs” from Unity in some aspects, as containers of elements, as independent modules of logic and, of course, as a visual programming solution. A very good one. To be honest, I was never before faced with a visual solution that I liked, but I learned to love UE4 blueprints.

Blueprints are very simple to understand, even for non-programmers. In fact, they are very utilized by artists and level designers. But even as a programmer, they are just great! You can prototype and make high level logic for elements very, very fast. You can make editor tools too, using “Construction Script” blueprints.

In The Hum, we are using Blueprints for A LOT of things. Almost every element, item or interactive object works with a blueprint behind. Most of the player logic is made with blueprints. The ambientation elements like sky, weather, event distpatchers, visual effects handlers and many other things are blueprints working as a huge system. Many parts of AI are blueprints (the most complex is still C++), the animations are handled by animation blueprints, and so on.

We use blueprints for procedural generations and level generation too. For example, the buildings, the walls, the roads, the debrises and some props, are being made with construction scripts’s blueprints inside the editor and tuned up until they seem cool for us.

And, if the base blueprints aren’t good enough for something we want to do, then we just extend them with C++. It’s magic!

UIs

For interfaces, at the moment, we are making tests with Corehent UI, which looks pretty good, But I will make updates about this in the future.

Consoles and VR

At the moment, we still didn’t test on consoles. We are aiming to PS4 in the next weeks after Gamescom, but there is still too much work to do before trying a build there.

For VR, we were using a log of Oculus Rift Dev Kit 1, and we are very, very hyped about DK2, which is being shipped in the next months. Using Oculus in UE4 is not hard at all. You don’t have a custom package like you do in Unity3D, and that should be improved, but the device still works very well. There are some ugly and annoying bugs with it, but… I cannot complain about it, we are talking about a DevKit VR and a young engine as UE4.

 

Do you want videos?

I liked a lot of videos sharing the development process using UE4 of projects like Solus, with their Solus on UE4 videos. I was thinking on doing something similar to that every so often, so you can not only see the details of development but know more about The Hum too. What do you think?

The Hum’s Inspirations: Volumen 2 – Alien Autopsy

Following the line of the last post, where I started to talk about some of the huge list of inspirations I have for The Hum, this time I will talk about this very well known video.

When I was a child (maybe 6?), there was a video that took a lot of exposure in medias, which means only TV on that time, since there was no internet for the common people 24 years ago. The video shown a supposed real footage of a Roswell’s alien being quartered by doctors in an autopsy.

Despite if the video is or not real (a lot of people talked about it and still is a topic of discussion), it was so shocking for many people, including me. I remember friends of my school talking about the video they saw in an “investigation” TV show from my country, and how they couldn’t sleep anymore. Even today and the last years that I have been working as therapist, many people bring back that video to present as a never overcome trauma.

It is very interesting how the “autopsy to the alien” video generates such a strong feeling of fear and abandonment in people, even if the alien is shown dead and as a prisoner. Maybe, what more impact cause is the realism of the tape, what makes you wonder about the reality of the alien existence and the consecuences for us, as human beings, and the huge fear of unknown generated by that.

The feeling that this video caused to many people, including me, is a very inspirational factor for The Hum, where I try to face the player against the more instintive fears, what can results in a total paralysis or a new expansion of the mind.

Above, a version of the video from Youtube!

 

 

Influences, volume 1 : The War of The Worlds (1953)

Influences, volume 1 : The War of The Worlds (1953)

The War of The Worlds (TWOW) is originally a novel from H.G. Wells, the same novel whose adaptation to radio caused to a lot of people to commit suicide because of their belief that the story was actually a real news transmission.

thehum_inspiration01Even if both the radio transmission and the novel are inspirational elements for The Hum, I need to talk about the most important adaptation for me: of course I’m talking about the 50′s movie. Please… I don’t mean Tom Cruise’s version (I will talk about it in another post =] ).

I saw TWOW for the first (and almost only) time when I was a child, at the tender age of 2. I was laying in bed, pretending to be asleep while my parents watched the movie, an old black & white terror film about aliens. The impact from that movie was so great that I still remember every detail from it, even if  I didn’t watch the move again by almost 30 years! In order to prove myself that this was true, I watched the movie again recently and I can say that, except for some bizarre scenes, I remembered everything – as I expected – from scenes, to elements and camera panning positions too!

The most shocking thing from the movie was, and will ever be, the eyes of the UFOs. Those kind of periscopes that act as laser beams as well, incinerating whatever they encounter in just milliseconds. The sounds the UFOs made (maybe too ridiculous for this era), were for my child mind very powerful. They actthehum_inspiration02ed like omnipresent reminders that the aliens are already in control and there is no escape. Just an incredible resource, which was put to good use again in the remake with Tom Cruise, where you can hear those very creepy tripod’s horns.

If we take all this into account, it’s very possible that this movie is my very first real inspiration for The Hum and it’s my desire to bring to every player the same feelings and impressions that I had when I was a child, that long time ago at night, watching creepy eyes fly over a destroyed city.

 

 

Road to Gamescom!

Road to Gamescom!

After some days of paperwork and bureaucracy, I’m so glad to announce that we will on the Gamescom 2014, which is being happening at Cologne on august.

It’s a long trip from Argentina to Germany, but we cannot just miss the famous german beer. Oh and of course, we will be bringing there a special build of The Hum with Oculus Rift, exactly the same that we are planning to release in the next months =)

 

 

Featuring The Hum in Meet the Game (with Oculus Rift!)

Meet the Game is an event that last weekend was held in Buenos Aires, designed for various game developers to showcase their work. Call it a mini PAX in Argentina. We had the pleasure of being present with The Hum surrounded by several indies jewelry and allow people to try a little scene from our game with Oculus Rift.The answer could not be better and here I share some photos!

 

 

Another Horror Game ? Seriously?

Another Horror Game ? Seriously?

It’s full of horror games, or at least it became a trend in recent times, especially in small studies. It doesn’t surprise me, my generation is strongly influenced by classics like Resident Evil or Silent Hill (mentioning the more known).

My first horror game was, if I’m not mistaken, Alone in The Dark (The old loved PC game) . But after the Play Station 1 era, I really dedicated myself to competitive games or things like Diablo 2 (who didn’t?) adding the fact of working nonstop and reaching my 20′s , made that the Single Player’s narrative and even more terror ceased to be in my sight.

What do I like and dislike from the current horror games?

I’m not very fond of fear. Fear is not a good feeling itself. But to face fear (we have all kinds of fears), makes us grow up a lot in our lives.

The current trend in horror games seems to be the shock (jump scares) and narrative and psychological terror are quite neglected. Personally I think the biggest fear is presuggestion and past experiences acting against us.

While in the teaser we published recently there are scenes of jump scare, this can confuse the audience a bit about what The Hum holds.

What do I want and what I don’t want for The Hum?

In The Hum we will assume the role of a character hopeless situation .Many current horror games focus on walking, going forwards and doing nothing while a random scare appears on scene.

My idea for the game is quite different from that. The player will be in a constant state of abduction, that will modify his own mind as a character (and probably as a player ), which will take him to some strange situations, many doubts and constant re-thinking plus game mechanics.

One, as human being, faces its fears and hopes both consciously and non- consciously, and it is my goal that The Hum will symbolize the totality of human fear, fears not only as individuals but as a species.

I know that on the run, this sounds hard to grasp, but soon we will be uploading some more complete videos in this respect.

Sleep tight while you can!

Hello World, Alien!

I’ve finally managed to get the The Hum development blog working!

I am really happy with the project’s progress so far. For those of you who don’t know about it yet, there’s no better way to learn than visiting the site’s homepage and take a look at the Gameplay Teaser and the game’s description.

In this very blog I’ll be updating you on the game’s progress and some extra features (no spoilers!). We’ll be talking a bit about our small team and also about technical experiences, which is really cool to share with the community.

My English still needs improvement, but my good friend Ezequiel will be helping out with that matter. Anyways, if you are interested in the spanish version of the articles, take a look at my personal blog!

Thanks for joining to this development binnacle and feel the fear when The Hum sounds in the sky!