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Hi everyone,

We are excited to see Fated come to life in a whole new way with mocap, facial animations and voice-over now coming together and breathing life into our characters. At this point, we are also trying to bring the most advanced levels to a nice playable polish – it’s the moment of truth for many of our favorite scenes!
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 We are putting the final touches to our exteriors as well as completing decor and lighting work on some new interior scenes. The visual plan has now been adapted to the final metrics for some of these rooms, and we’ve been busy squeezing the most “oomph” out of our assets, adding more props and effects to emphasize the uniqueness and moods of this mysterious zone…

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The whole team is testing the experience as we go along and giving feedback in order to make Fated the exciting and moving journey we all want it to be.

Stay tuned!

Marianne / Art Director
www.fatedgame.com

Marianne

Hello everyone,

I thought I’d give you an update on what the art team of FATED is working on at the moment.

On my end, I’m looking into the visuals we are missing to convey the storyline clearly in the intro scenes. The story delves into abstract concepts like death and the area between worlds. To get a better sense of timing and emotional involvement, we need to hook up a lot of things that aren’t final, and for everything that’s missing, we are using placeholders.

At this point all research is based on what is missing or could be better in-game: a lot of the ground work is covered and we can focus on fixing weaknesses. One good example is a board I’m making which lists a number of ways to turn destroyed areas into more convincing war-stricken zones. Things like burned soil patches, dead trees, charred buildings and heaps of debris.

Most of these assets are derived from things we already have – we are trying to make the most of our limited resources. They will decorate the world and emphasize drama in some parts of the story. The characters of FATED are facing hardship and destruction, so the game world needs to reflect that. Spoiler alert: you might see some dead people.

I’m also working on some textures for new asset kits that will help us dress up the environment when we get to that point. This can only happen when level design is final and meanwhile, I find myself doing many different things; patching up holes here and there so that we have a more complete sample of the experience.

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As far as the rest of the team is concerned, there is a lot of animation work going on right now. Our animators Yanick Bélanger and Isabelle Fortin are modifying motion capture files and testing out facial expressions for one of the main characters. Our 3D artist Ève Mainguy is finishing up many props and producing many of the items I’m adding when reviewing the scenes. Right now, the work is planned but more flexible than usual, as we realized we needed to re-assess progress almost daily.

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I also wanted to share this piece with you. We don’t know what we’ll do with it yet but it will probably serves as a design for a T-shirt or other marketing material.

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I was hoping to illustrate in a whimsical way the wonder one might feel when faced with the full blown power of Ragnarök, world-changing events on which the characters have little or no control. I felt that this strong little girl in the image was the perfect character to convey this awe, courage and vulnerability. The decorative designs around the piece are meant to bring in some Viking decorative designs and the runes are derived from actual runic texts. The image inserted in the post is actually the right size if you want to use it as a desktop wallpaper.

That’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed!

Marianne Martin / Art Director
www.fatedgame.com

 

 

Marianne

Hello, my name is Marianne Martin, Art Director on FATED.

I was thrilled when I learned we were going to work on a VR project – and Norse-themed at that! Like many, I wondered if virtual reality was a fad until I tried a few different demos and realized the fantastic potential for immersion. Here was an opportunity to build the most tangible game world ever! With VR able to fool our brains into the truest feeling of presence yet (to the point of vertigo!), visual development is entering a new age.

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During the initial concept phases, we were all excited about the epic narrative. This was VR: our Midgard and our characters had to be so… real! Character bios in hand, I started sketching detailed, documented designs. When concept artist Marie-Hélène Morin-Fafard joined the project, she drew some spectacular, moody environments that we hoped would be the perfect grounds on which to stage the FATED adventure. We did what pre-production is intended for: we went big.

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When we started getting more specs and technical info, we realized our strategy wasn’t quite right. With the unexpected technical limitations and a small team, we needed to change our academic, too-realistic approach. I took a step back and toyed with the idea of exploiting the limitations as if they were fully intended, rather than produce something that couldn’t be simulated believably on our platform.

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The games and animated movies that made a lasting impression on me are not impaired by stylization – they are probably better for being stylized. I thought: if we stylize FATED, focus on expression, create a meaningful color script, and give it distinctive visuals to enhance the experience that makes VR so special, we’ll have something extremely solid. We can make the player believe they are an emotionally and physically-involved part of that universe, and this became our focus.

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So, back to basics we went, designing simpler characters and environments with more striking and memorable silhouettes. We got our 3D pipeline into gear to achieve the vision, and our technical artist, Étienne Carrier, developed clever systems to fully exploit our visuals and create environment variety in Unreal. Before long, we had a successful test scene, a new sense of wonder, and a few of the building blocks for the world of FATED.

We’re not out of the woods yet, so stay tuned…

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