Recently, we broke down the visual evolution of our main spaceship in the game, so now we thought we'd share the directions we went in for an enemy character-- this particular one is called the Dust Ascended. The reason for the “Ascended” moniker is that there are various classes in the hierarchy of the game's enemy culture, and the Ascended occupies the middle of the road. On top of that, the Ascended are broken up into 4 sub-classes, and players will be pitted against all of them in the game. Here, we’ll take a look at the base character and some territories we explored for his design…
The story calls for the character to be vampiric, but not of blood or life force– of other things that one who plays the game will learn over time. Early on, we took more “monster”-ish designs and combined them with some concepts that read more mysterious, ominous and “vampire” in the familiar sense.
Once we had a face we liked, we proceeded to explore how we wanted them to present themselves in the game. We coupled that with the technology background that we were developing for their race, and the final design came together.
Then it was time to interject personality. The Dust are haughty, prideful and vicious. Our animators brought the character to life with performance pieces like this one that illustrate how he stands, points, shoots, etc. I left out the “Dust-guy-does-yoga” poses for obvious reasons.
We have some CG sequences in the game that called for a slightly different treatment to make them look good, and the leap that you may have glimpsed quickly in the teaser is outlined here…
…and here, with a final close-up replete with a better look at those nasty teeth (Q: wait– why isn’t that cyber-stuff inside this one’s mouth? A: Just wait and see).
He’s come a long way in a few months– and that’s just one of the baddies players will come face-to-face with in Morning Star. The evolution I outlined here forced us to answer a lot of questions about this race, what they do (and why they do it), and how players will interact with them. As with all lengthy concept-to-ship processes, it led to a ton of cascading effects for the rest of the game that changed it in unexpected ways.