EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast - Dread Central
Connect with us

EXCL: Dante’s Inferno Artist Blog – 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

Published

on

Rich Larm, the Lead Environment Artist on the Dante’s Inferno video game, has provided Dread Central readers with an exclusive in-depth look at the process his team utilized to build out just one of the game’s numerous environments, in this case an area of Limbo. In addition, he’s given us a few sneak peeks at the other circles of hell as well: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, and last but not least, Treachery.


As an environment artist, you can’t ask for a more inspiring project than Dante’s Inferno. Adapting the poem’s epic environments into 3D was a dream project, but with the dream also came a beast of an endeavor. Our time frame for completion was about 18 months, and we had to pull it off with a new graphics engine and much of the art team residing in China. Additionally we set tough technical goals that had to be maintained on a daily basis:

  • simultaneous development on PS3 and 360
  • eliminate all load pauses with continuous memory streams
  • maintain 60 frames per second throughout the entire game
  • Sustaining 60 fps was especially difficult because everything onscreen needed to be rendered under 16.666 milliseconds per frame. 16.666 ms divided amongst animation, environments, vfx, ai …

    Fortunately our team consisted of some really great designers, artists, and engineers. Early on we were able to set up tools and work flows that allowed us to iterate quickly and keep levels optimized as we progressed. As a result we avoided costly re-work and cleanup time. In all, the travails proved rewarding, especially the effort to maintain 60 fps with its responsive gameplay.

    A. Evolution of an Environment
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Combat and level design are the heart of Dante’s gameplay. Our mantra was “Design first and Art supports”. For environment building we used a phase process that followed on the heels of level design. Designers would build out the playable spaces in primitive forms called whiteboxes. After the essential gameplay was defined in a whitebox, it was sent to artists.

    Here’s a look at the evolution of one environment in Limbo. This is the mezzanine that overlooks the underside of Minos’ court.

    I. Designer Whitebox
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    The first step in building an environment; it contains sizing and initial camera/combat/puzzle scripting. Environment collision is created at this stage.

    II. Concept Drawing
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Based off the whitebox, concept is created to guide environment models and textures.

    III. Models, Textures, UVs
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    The whitebox is replaced with detailed models and textures. Models are created in Maya. Texture maps are created with ZBrush, CrazyBump, and Photoshop. Lighting begins at this point.

    IV. Lighting/Color Study
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    For epic scenes that require special details another concept piece is created. The in game model is screen captured and an in depth study is painted over top in Photoshop. This painting guides lighting and vfx.

    V. Baked Lighting
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Lighters create light rigs in Maya and bake lighting information into static models and textures (vertices and lightmaps)

    VI. Spherical Harmonics Lighting
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    These grids are invisible during gameplay but light characters and other dynamic objects.

    VII. Combined Lighting and Textures
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    An example of combining baked lighting and finished textures.

    VIII. VFX particles added
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Particles are added to give a sense of life to the scene. Global wind volumes are placed to affect particle direction and Dante’s ribbons.

    IX. VFX final pass
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Final vfx pass including: lut, glows, screen distortion, wind trails, vfx lights

    B. Postcards from Hell

    Here’s a look at some of the different environments.

    Surface: Cathedral
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Limbo: Nursery
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Limbo: Minos’ court
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Lust: Storm
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Lust: Cleopatra’s chamber
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Gluttony: Intestinal wall
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Gluttony: Mudvalley
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Greed: Gold Shades
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Anger: Precipice
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Anger: Lighthouse
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Heresy: Lava wall
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Heresy: Flaming Crypts
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Violence: Suicide woods
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Violence: Burning Sands
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Treachery: Ice Bridge
    EXCL: Dante's Inferno Artist Blog - 60 fps: The Number of the Beast

    Thanks for reading,

    Rich Larm
    Lead Environment Artist: Dante’s Inferno


    Gamers will get to go to hell in North America beginning February 9, 2010, and in Europe on February 12, 2010, for the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation PSP.

    For more information on Dante’s Inferno, follow the team at Visceral Games on Twitter at @danteteam, and visit the game’s official site, where the team explores a new circle of hell, with new content and updates, on the ninth day of every month. Below you can watch Fraud, which was just released. Only one more to go — Treachery comes in February!

    Uncle Creepy

    VISIT THE EVILSHOP @ AMAZON!
    Got news? Click here to submit it!
    Descend into the hell of the Dread Central forums!

    Image Type 1:

    Continue Reading
    Comments

    Reviews

    Children of the Fall Review – This Israeli Slasher Gets Political

    Published

    on

    Starring Noa Maiman, Aki Avni, Yafit Shalev, Iftach Ophir, Michael Ironside

    Directed by Eitan Gafny

    Reviewed out of Utopia 2017


    Slashers are a subgenre of horror that are often looked down upon. After all, what can a movie about a killer slaughtering multiple people have to say about, well…anything. Those of us in the community know full well that this is nonsense and that any kind of horror movie can be a jabbing (no pun intended) commentary on society, culture, politics, art, etc… And that’s precisely what Eitan Gafny aims to do with Children of the Fall, one of the few Israeli slashers ever created.

    Set on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, the film follows Rachel (Maiman), a young American woman who comes to Israel to join a kibbutz after suffering some serious personal tragedies. Her goal to make aliyah (the return of Jews to Israel) is however hampered by some rather unpleasant encounters with local IDF soldiers and members of the kibbutz. Pushing through, she makes friends with others in the commune and her Zionistic views are only strengthened, although they do not go untested. Once Yom Kippur, one of the holiest holidays in Jewish culture, begins, a killer begins picking off the kibbutz workers one by one in violent and gruesome ways.

    Let’s start with what Children of the Fall gets right, okay? As slashers go, it’s actually quite beautiful. There are wonderfully expansive shots that make use of the size and diversity of the kibbutz. The film opens with a beautiful shot of a cow stable, barn, water towers, and miscellaneous outbuildings, all set against a dark and stormy night. The lighting of this scene, and throughout the film, is also very good. I found myself darting my eyes across the screen multiple times throughout the film thinking I’d seen something lurking in the shadows.

    The kills, while unoriginal, are very satisfying. Each death is meaty, bloody, and doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, the camera has no problems lingering during each kill, allowing us to appreciate the practical FX and copious amounts of blood used. And if you believe that a slasher needs to have nudity, you won’t be disappointed.

    The acting is middle of the road. Maiman is serviceable as Rachel but the real star of the film is Yafit Shalev as “Yaron”. His range of emotion is fantastic, from warm and welcoming to Rachel when she arrives to emoting grief and pain during his Yom Kippur announcement where we learn that he was a child in a concentration camp. The rest of the cast are perfectly acceptable as fodder for the killer.

    So where does Children of the Fall stray? Let’s start with the most obvious part: the runtime. Clocking in at nearly two hours, that’s about 30 minutes too much. The film could easily have gone through some hefty editing without affecting the final product. Instead, we have a movie that feels elongated when unnecessary.

    Additionally, the societal and political commentary is very in-your-face but the film can’t seem to make up its mind as to what it’s trying to get across. Natalia, a Belarussian kibbutz worker, raises the concept of Israeli racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, her hostility unabashedly pouring out in the midst of IDF soldiers, locals, other kibbutz members, and more. Is there validity to what she’s saying? Undoubtedly. But there is also validity to Rachel’s retorts, which include calling this woman out on her own vitriolic views. This back-and-forth mentality frustratingly prevails throughout the film, as though Gafny was unwilling to just commit.

    The dialogue is also quite painful at times, although I attribute this to difficulties with translating from Hebrew to English. Even the best English speakers in Israel don’t get everything perfect and the little quirks here and there, while charming, are quite detracting. Also, why is this movie trying to tell me that Robert Smith of The Cure is a character here? While amusing, it makes absolutely no sense nor does it fit in Smith’s own timeline.

    Had this film gone through a couple rounds of editing, I feel like we’d have gotten something really great. Eitan Gafny is definitely someone that we need to be watching very closely.

    • Children of the Fall
    2.5

    Summary

    While Children of the Fall has a lot going for it, it has just as much working against it. Overly long, you’ll get a really great slasher that is bogged down by uneven social and political commentary.

    Sending
    User Rating 3 (7 votes)
    Continue Reading

    News

    Netflix to Tell The Frankenstein Chronicles in the States

    Published

    on

    There’s still a big part of me that wonders why Universal – or anyone for that matter – has not been able to reboot classics like The Mummy, Dracula, and Frankenstein. Maybe they’re trying too hard? Maybe they keep putting the wrong people at the helm?

    Look at del Toro’s The Shape of Water… It’s pretty much a new version of The Creature of the Black Lagoon with a heavier emphasis on the relationship between monster and chosen mate. Even though there are a couple of hokey parts, it really works and is excellent. So maybe we need to look elsewhere throughout the world to meet with success. Case in point: “The Frankenstein Chronicles.”

    Variety is reporting that the hit six-episode UK series starring Sean Bean will be coming Stateside and more via the ever-growing streaming service Netflix.

    This deal opens the way for Netflix to make further seasons should it resonate with its U.S. and global subscribers.

    “The Frankenstein Chronicles” is a re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. Set in 1830s London, Bean (“Game of Thrones”) plays John Marlott, a war veteran and river policeman. Season 1 of the serialized show sees him investigating the case of a corpse made up of body parts from different children and finding the matter involves senior establishment figures and demonic forces.

    Continue Reading

    News

    Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn Returning to the Horror Genre

    Published

    on

    Know what’s funny? We horror fans have known how good James Gunn was all along. It just took the rest of the world time to catch up! Now that Gunn has made his big Hollywood bones with his two Guardians of the Galaxy flicks, he’s returning to the genre to produce a new horror flick! Oh, happy day!

    Word came across our desks that Gunn has signed on to produce an untitled horror feature with The H Collective. It was written by James’ brother Brian and cousin Mark Gunn. James will produce the project in between writing the highly anticipated feature Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 and starting production. Gunn’s longtime collaborator David Yarovesky will direct.

    The H Collective will fully finance the project and produce alongside Gunn and his shingle, Troll Court Entertainment. Brian and Mark Gunn, Dan Clifton, and The H Collective’s Nic Crawley will executive produce.

    The project is expected to go into production in the spring of 2018 and brings Gunn back to his horror roots. The filmmaker, whose credits included mostly fan-favorite horror gems like Slither prior to writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy, is responsible for turning the Marvel property into one of the most memorable franchises in the Marvel universe.

    More as we get it!

    Continue Reading

    Recent Comments

    Advertisement

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    Trending