Hey. Adam here!
I am the creative director and lead artist of the Junkfish team. I’ve never really blogged much, apart from at uni, so bear with me.
Maize takes place aboard a series of old, abandoned cargo ships built in the mid 70’s. They once transported expensive goods of all sorts across the Atlantic, but now they lie in disrepair, drifting around the ocean. At first glance, they may seem like ordinary seafaring vessels, however, on further investigation they may have been used for more than just transporting cargo…
An ordinary cargo ship is rather boring so we’ve focused on the 70’s theme throughout the ship. We’ve been taking a lot of visual inspiration from the less colourful side of the 70’s. Police stations, hospitals, offices; the environments we have been looking at have a heavy focus on function over form. Everything on the ship is designed around equipment from that era. We’ve even got some rather awesome looking fake film posters that I wish had been real!
One of our biggest challenges with Project Maize is to create and environment that is not just intimidating, but procedural as well. A lot of games rely on scripted sequences designed to create a tense atmosphere. We rely on the game creating that atmosphere for us, leaving the level before us unknown throughout every play-though (even to ourselves), which builds the tension! As the environment is not linear, we have little control in how the player will move through the ship. We therefore have to design the areas in small segments that fit together seamlessly and create tension on a micro scale, whilst the game puts it together to form a level for us to build tension on a macro scale. For us artists, its difficult to see how the level ends up until they are all put together in the game, but when it does it properly, it feels damn satisfying.
I’ve been working on procedural corridor sections for the past week and a bit. They now fit together nicely, hiding the bleak emptiness of the default blue unity backdrop and form the very basics of the level. I would like to get some proper physical light bulbs in the scene to replace those magical floating light sources but that is yet to come…
As with the rest of the art team (Andrew Tait & Judy Vernon), they are working on some super secret stuff that’s really exciting… I can’t actually show you… yet ;).
Look forward to that!