Creature Resort Devlog #4: Crafting a Creepy Critter!

Hi everyone! It’s been a hot minute since our last devlog on the basic building types you’ll encounter in our upcoming game. This month we are even closer to having a test-ready build of the game, and we’re going a bit more in-depth exploring the most important aspect of Creature Resort… (you guessed it)… the creatures! This is a full break-down of the process we follow to bring you such lovely little critters as sunhog, loggo, and baneleon…

Because it is also the spookiest month of the year, our focus will be on the loveable, roll-able, goodest boy, Loggo!

How we select a creature to develop

We usually design a few creatures at once, so the first step is outlining some keywords that we want to tie this little collection together. We think of some animals, plants, and objects that embody the sort of visual language and feeling we want to create with this set. As you can probably guess, with the set Loggo is from, we were thinking of words like spooky, forest, fungi, spiders, wolves, and so on.

On one of our workshop days, the art team bands together to draw hundreds of rough sketches of creatures, before riffing on each other’s work and creating more refined concepts. It’s from there that a core set of creatures begins to emerge. Hence this charming little sketch of our fave log spirit by Creative Director James Wilson.

Dontcha just want to cuddle it? …I mean, as long as those mushrooms aren’t poisonous…

Dontcha just want to cuddle it? …I mean, as long as those mushrooms aren’t poisonous…

Iteration was a key process throughout our pipeline, as explained by Senior Artist, Elliott Kozlik:

“When the team started designing creatures, the most important thing for me was to eliminate any sense of ownership of a particular design. Whilst it is very important for everyone to be proud of their work, I knew that creatures would have to be iterated upon so frequently that having anyone be too precious about them could easily cause friction. To avoid this, I set up workshops for the team in which everyone had a short period of time (10-15 minutes) to get some initial ideas down; these were then passed to the person sat next to them to iterate on. This was done several times, and meant that from almost its initial conception, no idea was left untouched from collaboration and everything existed on a level playing field. The result is a plethora of colourful characters that everyone in the studio can take equal joy in knowing they contributed to, in one way or another. Some, like Loggo, underwent fewer changes due to an immediate response from everyone. Others (that we cant wait to show you!) went through dramatic transformations, whilst keeping their core design features in place.”

loggo bloggo 2.png

How we create final 2D designs of each creature…

The whole team votes to decide on the final set we take forward into the next stage. Artists Fion Fitzergald and Holly Dyer create colour palettes (if one hasn’t emerged already) and begin producing neater, coloured artwork. All the 2D work at this stage is done in Adobe Photoshop. After a couple of renditions, detailed turnarounds are created ready for the modelling and animating team to take over…

A word from Holly on the colour process for Loggo:

“I pushed the colours of Loggo outside the usual ‘brown log, lime green moss’ to create spookier, luminescent colours that still communicate the materiality through their colour relativity. They’re both colder colours: purple bark and blue-green moss, as that emphasises a more unsettling and spooky feeling. The moss is very saturated and bright against the dark purple, to really bring that luminescence through. The mushrooms demonstrate this same idea, with their acid green hue!”

Modelling the creatures in 3D

Elliott and Ellise Collins are our 3D team, responsible for modelling, rigging, and animating both characters and buildings.

When the model is prepared, the UVs are passed back to the 2D artists to perfect texture-wise. Any little details and highlights appear here.

Rig in Maya by Ellise (@Abyss_Hidden on Twitter), texture by Holly (@lostfrogs)

Rig in Maya by Ellise (@Abyss_Hidden on Twitter), texture by Holly (@lostfrogs)

Rigging and animating: bringing creatures to life!

The animation stage is the most key for directing the character’s personality. It brings together everything we’ve decided about what this creature does, where they come from, and why they might be in need of a stay at a Creature Resort. Each creature gets everything from a simple idle to an elaborate attention animation so they can communicate their needs to an attentive resort manager!

Finally, the creature is checked in Unity and any bugs get ironed out, all ready to go live in the game!
Et voila: from simple sketch to this lovable stump spirit…

Ellise rigged and animated Loggo, bringing its bounding and boisterous personality to life!

Ellise rigged and animated Loggo, bringing its bounding and boisterous personality to life!

You may be wondering where the other creatures from Loggo’s set have got to…but never fear, there is one waiting in the wings to be revealed this Halloween! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss the big reveal.

We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes post. There is plenty more where that came from - look out for posts exploring the lore of Creature Resort and plenty more in the coming weeks.

For now though, have a wonderful spooktober and Halloween 🎃