Greetings! We are InfiniteGames and we would like to introduce "Cracked Hope"!
“Cracked Hope” has been born from the inspiration provided by Unity’s Neon Challenge. We are currently working on a much bigger project, with a unique appealing universe and lore, and Neon Challenge has inspired us to create this very first glimpse of it!
Our Universe is much more populated than we thought, although we have long forgotten about it. Don't you believe me? Let’s have a look at a random planet in this very moment...For example, the distant planet p1o56^49.r, in the outskirts of the White Worm Galaxy, day 234 since the New Year of our Chosen Overlord, according to the Diary of the Keepers of the Peace:
Step 1 - Scene Script:
Our first step was writing a script for the story we wanted to tell, this is the result:
"Our story begins focusing (from a blur) full screen a basket filled with local fruits (Coconyas and Testyfruits) bathed in neon light, the neon lights are flashing over the fruit. A shadow interrupts the scene and the hand of an alien child grabs a fruit. The camera zooms out quickly, focusing further away and revealing a street market, in a small square surrounded by high dark buildings. We can glimpse two types of lights: harsh and yellowish, emerging from scattered lamps that direct their light beams aggressively among the street steams to the ground and others softer and colorful, far more numerous, coming from electrical neon bulbs that heat the environment with electromagnetic shocks. The basket fruit stand, a metallic structure poorly covered by a dirty cloth with worn out patterns which is full of ramshackle accumulation of boxes, jars and barrels that contain various and exotic foods, is in the middle of the scene, embedded in a dark corner of two brick buildings, precariously repaired with metallic sheets.
The shopkeeper, an extravagant alien of considerable size (surely because of his generous feeding and not because of his species) screams aggressively some unintelligible words in the night market hullabaloo. The child turns around and runs, meanwhile the shopkeeper calls forcefully the guards' attention, whose body features remain hidden under the shabby cloaks and gas masks that they are wearing, letting discern only some reflections produced by the street lamps coming from their metallic limbs, their once flesh and bone arms and legs. They speed up immediately in the direction that the obese shopkeeper is pointing, starting a pursuit among the crowd. The camera will follow the child's back, shaking by the short hunt through a couple of crowded and narrow streets. The speed and viciousness of the guards’ race is reaching the agile movements but short steps of the alien child, and the pursuit appears to be over when in the end of the second street we face the wall that encloses the city. When the pedestrians move away, scared by the chasing, the once proud and powerful stone wall reveals its notable present damaged condition, full of graffiti, fallen pieces and in this case with a big hole through which our protagonist easily sneaks, thanks to a svelte figure and small size, although stopping the frustrated guards whom have to watch how their prey slips through their fingers. We see the scene from the street when the camera changes to the other side of the wall while the child goes across the hole.
Behind the wall a rocky bend divides the city from the abysm, at which our main character fearlessly throws himself while a whistle is heard. Camera zooms out quickly, discovering the flying city, with its massive magic combustion engines throwing huge fire blasts to the burned and barren soil. We can see the boy falling through the void, while a flying figure is approaching to pick him in the air and get away from the city. Behind the city the sun is falling, discovering a couple of moons that fulfill the sky while some starships rise from the city, fracturing the atmosphere with their white trails, sinking in the darkness of the universe.
The camera slowly zooms out while we are watching the scene discovering, in the foreground, a couple of adult aliens and a child watching (with their backs to the camera) quietly, like thinking, the city from the top of a hard rocky canyon that rises from the valley where the industrialized city stands. The flying shadow fast approaches and crosses over the camera barely being aware of its shape, like a flashing shade, throwing the fruit to one of the adults that picks it in the air and offers it to the child.
Step 2 - Storyboard:
Our second step was making a storyboard from the script, so we can imagine how the camera will work and how characters and objects will be seen, this is very important for checking what would be ok and what wouldn't, playing with distances and spaces. This is what in the film making industry is called framing.
We had a meeting for doing a brainstorm and Cristina, Moisés and Néstor worked together for drawing the storyboard. Finally, we explained the scene to the entire group, getting feedback and ideas from them, and we started the loop as many times as needed to do the best possible storyboard.
After this, we shared some of our first sketches, we tried to explain the scene in a fast way, without a lot of detail, just exploring the scenery, the atmosphere of the place and its characters, their poses and gestures and how the camera captures it all:
Step 3 – Exploring the Unity Asset Store:
We had some knowledge of the Unity Asset Store, but we wanted to take advantage of it as far as possible, so we were investigating its resources and we were amazed at the amount and quality of incredible assets we could use (not just 3D models but tools, textures, FXs, …) . We made a list of all the ideas for using them, and how we would combine them with our own-made assets. I’m sure we will re-use them in future projects!
We will publish the complete list of unity store assets used in “Cracked Hope” when the scene is completed! (At the end of the document).
Step 4 – Characters Design
The fourth step was to start detailing characters’ world, story, culture and backstory to design their appearance more deeply (we were aware of the very limited time we had, but the project was so fascinating that we just let ourselves be carried away by our enthusiasm).
We worked hard to design the characters, and this is the result:
The shopkeeper is a wealthy and greedy creature. Dealers control most of the resources in the galaxy, as well as cities, space travelling and healthcare. He is fat (representing the amount of food he can afford, while our main character needs to steal to eat) and he has judging eyes.
But of course, dealers aren’t the most powerful organization in the galaxy, these are the “Peace Keepers”, an army with incredible military capacity. Like true knights: Law, Order and Honor are their main beliefs.
Our main character is an alien Ayoi child; their land has been exploited by the nearest flying city so they are forced to find food for surviving recurring to ignoble ways.
Finally, secondary characters walking along city streets would be extracted from unity store assets.
Once the concepts were ended by the concept artists, the 3D artists started modeling them:
ShopKeeper Modeling and texturing:
This model is the result of full team work's workflow: First the designer created the idea, then the concept artist drew the model, later one 3D modeler made the high and low poly model and the other made the rigging and animations (all with Blender). Finally our lead artist painted the textures with Substance Painter.
Step 5 – World Design
Our team worked for creating a complete new world, with a detailed environment, society and even a complete new language for our neon lights and posters! Unity has powerful tools for making neon lights and we want ours to look amazing, since is the name of the challenge!
Our four concept artists began making concepts of the city: full city or street views at first (for exploring the desired appearance and atmosphere) and piece by piece later. Meanwhile the 3D artists were working on the characters. When the city concepts were finished, 3D artists began modeling them so the texture painters could start colouring the pieces. Here we have an example of the city designs:
Step 6 – Timeline & Camera Design
Unity's Cinemachine Asset is an incredibly free powerful tool for controlling your cameras, their animation and their sequence and transition. Basically you can do whatever you want, like in the film making industry, and with some time and imagination the result is incredible!
Step 7 – Sound & Music Design
When the world was designed Daniel started designing the sounds for it and when the timeline was ready we started designing the music:
Development tools used:
Cinemachine (UNITY TECHNOLOGIES)
Recorder (UNITY TECHNOLOGIES)
Standard Assets (UNITY TECHNOLOGIES)
Unity Particle Pack (UNITY TECHNOLOGIES)
Post processing stack (UNITY TECHNOLOGIES)
LazyFog (LEMONSPAWN) (remake)
Outdoor Ground Textures (A DOG'S LIFE SOFTWARE)
Fantasy plants (Adequate)
Ornamental flower set (Game Asset Studio)
3D Monster 0001: Impling (Layer Lab)
Fantasy Sword model (KumaBeer)
High Quality Bricks & Walls (Alessio Regalbuto)
This scene has been developed by the InfiniteGames team, an independent videogame development studio currently composed by: