Making Neyyah: on the trail of Myst and Riven

Es gibt 18 Antworten in diesem Thema. Der letzte Beitrag () ist von AguraNata.

  • Als Fan von den Games Riven und Myst habe ich schon länger über ein Interview mit meinem Freund und wunderbaren Künstler

     Aaron Gwynaire nachgedacht. Als sich jetzt am Anfang des Jahres ein Zeitfenster ergab, setzten wir beide dieses Vorhaben um

    und wir freuen uns über das schöne Ergebnis.


     An  in-depht interview with Aaron Gwynaire from Defy Reality Entertainment


    With everyone there is the point from when you are fascinated by something and it does not let go of you. How was it with you when you started creating games, was there a plan or did it come later?



    For me, my interests in game design began when I was around thirteen. It was very soon after I found out how the game Riven had been created - using still pre-rendered graphics. I think it was the weekend ... I decided to play Riven again, having played it years before with my dad and brother when I was very young, just around the time it was released. It blew me away. I realised I could combine my love for art with my love for writing stories and composing music. It encompassed so much, and this really excited me, and the fact I would be learning something new and fresh too. It was the realism in Riven which particularly attracted me to developing photo-realistic artwork as well. I wanted to design worlds which looked as real as I could make them, and pre-rendered graphics enabled this - at the time, much better than real-time could offer ... and arguably, still to this day, real-time can't match ray or path-traced graphics, so I am very happy with the design choice of using pre-rendered graphics for Neyyah.


    I started out with a software called Anim8or and developed a few games throughout my teenage years which never saw the light of day unfortunately; one being a game called Sphere, designed for a young audience to help with education - maths, science, etc ... I worked alongside a programmer based in Oregon at the time too, so was cool collaborating with someone in another country. This would have been around 2002/2003, so technology that we have today wasn't so readily available. I had dial-up internet and could only use it for brief amounts of time. But this project really did boost my confidence and I was addicted to the feeling of seeing things come to life, from imagination to reality. I was already an avid artist. I've always loved working with pencil, watercolours ... I also loved making things out of clay - characters from movies and TV shows I'd been watching, then coming up with stories of my own for them, so when I entered the world of modelling 3D graphics in a virtual space, it seemed to come quite natural to me anyway.

  • Have influenced landscapes or objects from your surroundings or from other places during the development of your games?


    Yes, definitely. I am originally from Felixstowe, England, then I moved to Australia when I was just about to turn twenty one. Artistically, Neyyah is a combination of taking inspiration from various environments I have experienced in both countries, but it's definitely heavily influenced by areas of Felixstowe such as Landguard Fort, with the first fortifications being constructed in 1540 - you can find out more about the fort at this address: www.landguard.com/. It's the weathered, old look of architecture which really appeals to me, and this was also an aesthetic style used hugely in Riven too. Computer graphics can look very plasticy and unrealistic - without the scratches, the wear and tear ... So I focus hugely on the richness and details of all my models. I really enjoy implementing the weathered look into my artwork, and this is achieved mainly through the use of the right texture maps and a few node tricks within Blender, which is the 3D modelling program I use. I don't use Substance Painter, however have seen some brilliant results from its usage. Personally, Blender can generate some really interesting results texture and shader wise, if you tweak a few things here and there ... What's interesting about Neyyah is finding a realistic blend between two different types of architecture, designed by two cultures. This has been challenging, but rewarding too, seeing everything working together, and once a certain pattern of art style is set, it's not very hard keeping to that same look throughout. And that's where my own reality comes into play, having been born and raised in an older country, then moving to a much fresher, up and coming country. Before I started Neyyah properly, in the early days of having just learned Blender back in mid 2018, I knew that Riven would be a big influence in the game's look, but I could also draw from my own experiences of having lived around a lot of historic buildings, which works well in keeping the game world quite unique too, especially with blending the sci-fi futuristic elements too, such as the portals ... (all the portals have different names in the game too, by the way. The main portals that have been in focus so far within render tests showcased on social media are Pelorian Portals). Regards certain models - such as the most recently finished accumulation of the last month's endless fine tuning and piecing together of various assets, the Felitsu Dome - they are, the majority of the time, sketched out first and come to me from perhaps all corners of my subconscious ... Quite interestingly, some models take on different forms as the game progresses too ...

    Originally built at the behest of Henry the Eighth, this fort in Felixstowe is the only fort in England to have repelled a full scale invasion attempt. Located in Ipswich, Suffolk.
    "http://www.landguard.com"

  • You work a lot with Blender, can you name the time you need to familiarize yourself and tell us some tricks that you should pay attention to when designing?


    Definitely - very grateful for Blender, and very happy that I decided to take the leap and learn how to use it. As mentioned previously, I used to use a software called Anim8or (http://www.anim8or.com) which was a really nice and easy introduction to 3D modelling. However, the rendering results weren't nearly as photorealistic as what higher-end engines could produce - and I would always marvel over the quality of the renders created for Riven. I did try using Blender during my early teens, but found it so complicated at the time, and I was very familiar with Anim8or so stuck with this. It was in 2018, around May / June time, that I decided to install Blender 2.79b. I never looked back. Very quickly, I saw the power of the inbuilt Cycles rendering engine, and was very impressed, especially with the use of HDR map lighting and the benefits of filmic colour management, which was a great tool to make sure the brilliance of bright light, for example, didn't wash out a scene too much. It was softened, and this really helped with lighting my scenes from the get-go. Because I already knew how to model relatively intricate scenes in 3D, it didn't take me very long to design some models which would inspire the entire concept of Neyyah - have attached this image also. I love the way Blender works and feel I have still only scratched the surface - I would love to start working with more particle effects, especially with incorporating these into the Neyyah world, such as smoke, etc. I work mainly with architecture and environment modelling currently, so will be nice to start 'branching out' into more flora / nature based artwork too, which will be needed for certain areas of the Neyyah world.
    Regards tricks, I have a few. In the sets I create, I do reuse a lot of models, tweaking them here and there to fit the new environment I am importing them into. This has to be done in a clever way, as to not have too much repetition, but when done correctly, it marks the story of the game within the visuals - you know that belongs to that culture of the game world because of its colour, its tone and shape, etc ... It retains a coherent aesthetic throughout, which is important for creating realism. Again, as mentioned before, realism can be captured very well in the texture maps and shaders used within the game. Blender has some powerful shader tools which work so well with cycles rendering engine. I mostly use the awesome 'principled' shader - Blender Guru (Andrew Price) has a great video on this tool: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H5W6C…. This particular shader makes it very easy to create realistic wood, plastic, stone ... (dielectric materials) and metal materials.
    I have attached a screenshot a basic metal texture node set up for one of the materials in Neyyah. The screenshot also indicates the use of hue saturation, brightness and gamma effects, which is where the real fun begins .. Adjusting and adding these effects really give life to the textures in Neyyah, and especially that worn, weathered look. In fact, saturation and value (brightness/contrast) are very important aspects to work with when generating photo realistic art. You can see in the previously mentioned Felitsu Dome art, the original model having a very stylised appeal to it - the blue glass, the lightning branches racing down the dome ... They seemed very separate from the rest of the scene, which consisted of more realistic looking wood, metal and stone materials, etc. I am a lot more satisfied with the more mechanical look of the dome, although the previous 'blue glass' dome still looked pretty cool! I always find the modelling process more fun when ideas start to change during the process, stirring off in different directions, opposing the sketch plans that might already be in place for that particular model.

  • Your scenes are often very detailed, you make sketches before you start designing them and they are sketches in pencil or with a PC?


    I have a total of two finished notebooks for sketch-work, notes, etc, journaling the progress of Neyyah so far, with the third half way filled. Concept art is required a lot of the time in order to really understand how something should look and what its purpose should be within the game, but occasionally, some models come out of nowhere, and no sketch work was done at all prior to the 3D model being created, so it's really hit and miss. I use pen most of the time, however I have used pencil in the past. I don't create any sketches on the computer. Too old fashioned I suppose

  • What do you look like from my workplace, do you have some tricks to get inspiration when thinking?



    Very interesting question. This deserves a very interesting, yet very true and useful answer. When I was working on the game in Mandurah, Western Australia, I would have a big window to my right, overlooking the street outside. Sun would pour in beautifully, or the rain would cascade down the window panes in snakes of silver ... Either setting would create a mood, a feeling of relaxation, care-free attitude in the sun, while the rain would make me feel very cosy and would push my creativity further. Either were good. Here in the UK, my current base, I work below a shelf that houses two budgies in a cage. They sing, they watch me work away on the game ... Very different environments to work in. Australia I would have a beautiful cat leap on my lap, or my beautiful wife coming in to see if I wanted a coffee. I have been fortunate to have lovely work stations to develop Neyyah in. However, the game is developed from a very inward place, deep in my mind. I see things very clearly in my head ... how that wood should look, that door should be this shape, that bolt should be here, etc ... And what I find very useful to help extract this 'inner world' magic is listening to game designers talking about the making of their games, such as Cyan (Rand and Robyn Miller) interviews, or sometimes playthroughs of games I find inspiring too. This helps boost my creativity, sets me in the zone. Occasionally, I also listen to game and film soundtracks as well - particularly Tangerine Dream and the Myst soundtracks.

  • The sounds I heard are very Myst and Riven oriented, sound familiar and fit very well, did you record them yourself?


    Sound design is something I have only done once for Neyyah so far ... It was about a year ago, actually. Feb-March 2019, I was creating a test build for Neyyah, 'The Spore Docks' which is available to watch as a playthrough on: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX779N… - with a full uncut version available only for patrons at www.patreon.com/defyrealityentertainment.



    Neyyah - 'Spore Docks Island' Test-build CUT VERSION
    Hey guys! After a couple of months in production, I am really excited to finally bring you a play-through showcase of my 2019 'Spore Docks Island' Test build :) This is the cut version of the playthrough - the full-length version is available to patrons on my Neyyah Patreon page at http://www.patreon.com/defyrealityentertainment. It has been a ...
    http://www.youtube.com




    Creating the sounds for this test build was so fun, and I recorded them all myself, using Sonar Cakewalk Platinum multi-track recording software, and a basic condenser microphone - with a very, very long XLR lead. I would place the microphone all around my house in Mandurah, WA, recording everything from the microwave, the kettle, even into the back garden and pulling the handbrake of my car on and off. I recorded the aircon system, the garage door opening and closing ... There were so many different elements I could record, running with a list of sounds I had written out for the individual elements of the game which needed sounds ... Levers, shallow water, not-so shallow water, distant ocean, generator rumbles, etc ... Some elements had five or so various different sounds mixed together in the software too. I would just drag and cut the tracks to fit accordingly, using EQ and various other effects (reverb, etc) to add presence to various aspects - this helped with mimicking the sound of metal grinding in a small alcove area in the cliff face, compared to the same kind of metal grinding outside in the open beach area. I am really looking forward to experimenting more with the sound design in this game. 

  • How is your family or friends involved in the project, do you discuss this with each other?


    Oh, yes. For sure. My wife Nanci has helped me in the game development considerably. There was a point in the relatively early stages of development where the story appeared a little too thin, and various aspects didn't make much sense. Nanci is a writer (you can find out more about Nanci's work and my step daughter Xanthe's publishing company at www.turnerbooks.com.au/) Nanci can pull apart storyline very well in search of these dumbfounded plot holes. Luckily, she saved me from falling down too many of them along the way. With her help, I shaped the storyline nicely and this pushed the game further, enabling more puzzles to be created (and erasing some of the bad ones), richer storyline and consequently, a richer game world. Nanci is also scheduled to be part of the game world itself, appearing as one of the characters of the game! (Won't be saying any more about that) and I hope to involve more of my family in the process as well. I also had some help in the graphical department from a very talented fellow Blender user by the name of Zachary Macintyre. He has developed some great videos, you can find them here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMXcmk…



    Zach helped with a certain aspects of Blender, such as working with me on the ocean shader (which I think stands out as one of the iconic main elements of the game) as well as HDR mapping, vertex painting (enabling shoreline water to appear more transparent, while looking deeper as the ocean expanded out, and alterations in the colour of beaches to simulate where seawater had been and how dry the sand was) and a few other tricks which were just beyond me. My mum has also been very supportive throughout the project, since having moved back temporarily to the UK. My sister also really loved the look of the blue glass version of the Felitsu Dome and encouraged this style ... Sadly, it wasn't meant to be.

  • What are your favorite games and films, and did they have any influence on your projects?

    Hugely. Riven, of course. For its look, its atmosphere, basically its everything. This game inspired me to get into game development in the first place, and I have decided to keep to the retro-style of first person slideshow style point and click gameplay as a salute to this fine game. As mentioned before, the result of path traced, beautiful pre-rendered graphics is the way forward in enabling players to really experience this world to the best of their ability. I have been influenced by other games, of course, such as Cryo's Dragon Lore II: Heart of the Dragon Man. I played this game around the same time as Riven - and funnily enough, probably a lot more. It used pre-rendered graphics too, but the player moved through the environment to each new position, which is something I want to incorporate more into Neyyah, which is already evident in the 2019 Test Build playthrough 'The Spore Docks Island'. I think I am inspired by all sorts of games too. Games very unrelated to Neyyah. Tomb Raider, Heretic II, Might and Magic, Broken Sword ... all sorts. I really like the look and feel of Waterworld with Kevin Costner, as it looks a bit like Neyyah too ? I love all sorts of movies though, from Lord of the Rings and series such as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, through to old school horror such as Halloween, Hellraiser and Friday the 13th. I would very much one day like to develop a more scary ghostly horror-based game. I think Neyyah will have a blend of shifting a player from a very peaceful environment to a slightly more eerie, unsettling one. Good to mix it up.

  • You have a Patreon account, there are things you should pay attention to if you want to create one yourself and how satisfied you are with it?


    Patreon is a wonderful tool in being able to get fans on board who wish to pledge an amount once to a month to support the game and also have access to more exclusive content. For example, I am about to close a series of blog posts on the making of the Velitron Machine Area (now called The Velitron Machine Island). It goes into very indepth discussions about the design of the set from start to finish, what worked, why things didn't work, and what worked really well, and what were the inspirations behind various things. I keep my facebook posts very brief and its a good place for instant gratification, the quick Neyyah fix, but the Patreon delivers a more broad spectrum of goodies for fans to sink their minds into. It's been fun creating the posts - although personally, facebook tends to receive a lot more reactions. I make a nice amount at the end of the month which goes towards game related costs such as my computer in Australia, and for any other further hardware required down the track. It goes back into the game. If I put more time and energy into my Patreon, I think it could do even better, but I find I am currently much more drawn to the development of the game itself, rather than spending too many hours on social media aspects. Outside of work, I only have a certain amount of time, and this game is a big BIG project as it is, being developed by just myself. I take my time, too. I don't rush anything.

  • What does the future look like for your project?


    Neyyah is going to be a great epic intense complex game when it's finished. The exploration will be massive, covering nine separate island locations, let alone all the interior areas the player can explore; so the player will need to have a pen and paper handy, or perhaps take a few photos on their phone to remember certain things as they play. They will learn about a rich in-game world history and find things in the game which will immerse them even more.


    I started developing the game in July 2018, and it's now February 2020. I still have a lot of 3D modelling to get through, let alone sound design, constructing everything together in the Visionaire Studio 5 ( www.visionaire-studio.net/?lan…) engine template I have created (with the help of Simon Mesnard from the Icehouse Collective - find out more about his amazing work and games at: www.facebook.com/theicehouseco…) and the musical score too, which, being a musician / producer myself, I am very excited to stuck into ? There is no deadline for this game. The process is a huge part of why I love designing this game. The end result will come when it comes.



    Thank you for the interesting and fascinating interview, we wish you much success and creativity with your project!

  • Ouh, das ist aber sehr nett von diesem Herrn so viele Fragen zu beantworten und auch von Dir, das mit uns zu teilen. Sehr interessanter Einblick :thumbsup: und ein dickes Danke fürs dran Teilhaben zu können und auch für Deine Bemühungen, es hier hoch zu laden :top .

  • Ouh, das ist aber sehr nett von diesem Herrn so viele Fragen zu beantworten und auch von Dir, das mit uns zu teilen. Sehr interessanter Einblick :thumbsup: und ein dickes Danke fürs dran Teilhaben zu können und auch für Deine Bemühungen, es hier hoch zu laden :top .

    Freut mich :)


    Hat auch Spaß gemacht sich mit dem Thema zu befassen und mit dem Wetter versäumt man nichts draußen ;)

  • Vorab möchte ich mich bei dir ganz herzlich Bedanken für diesen Thread!


    "This has been challenging, but rewarding too, seeing everything working together, and once a certain pattern of art style is set, it's not very hard keeping to that same look throughout"

    Ich habe genau die gleiche Erfahrung schon mehrfach gemacht.

    "I always find the modelling process more fun when ideas start to change during the process, stirring off in different directions, opposing the sketch plans that might already be in place for that particular model."

    Er bringt das sehr schön zur Sprache, auch diese Erfahrung kenne ich nur zu gut.

    "Airboat II: Cyber Boogaloo" Respekt! Real mit 3D zu mischen hat es in sich. Schade, dass das Vid noch so wenig views hat.

    "Outside of work, I only have a certain amount of time, and this game is a big BIG project as it is, being developed by just myself. I take my time, too. I don't rush anything."

    Nur so schaffe ich auch meine Projekte, für einen meiner Kurzfilme habe ich (wegen Unterbrechungen, Softwarewechsel, fertige Szenen in die Tonne gehauen ....) knapp 7 Jahre gebraucht.

    "Visionaire Studio 5" SUPER TIP!!! Danke dafür, habe vor 15 Jahren mit "3D GameStudio" experimentiert. Ich glaube aber Visionaire Studio 5 ist um einiges besser.


    Das Interview ist richtig gut, und hat mir sehr viel Spaß gemacht es in Ruhe zu lesen, auch die Beschreibung seiner Arbeitsräume, oder wie er den O Ton aufgenommen hat, erinnert mich sehr an mich selbst.

    Ich möchte noch deinen Thread "Abstrakt und Fraktale Werke in Terragen 4" in Ruhe durchlesen, und dann mich noch mal in deinem Thread "Projekt Agantus" melden.

    So langsam, (glaube ich) fange ich an, zu verstehen, welches umfangreiche Werk du anstrebst...

    Hab ein bisschen Geduld mit mir, ich bin so einem kreativen Schaffensort wie diesem noch nie zuvor begegnet. Und das wirft meinen Arbeitsrhythmus schon erheblich um, was mich leicht nervös macht. Bis ganz bald bei "Abstrakt und Fraktale Werke in Terragen 4".

  • "Momentan arbeite ich an Mods für Skyrim, wird wohl dauern bis ich was in Terragen mache" Ich hab mir schon das Vid angesehen "Abstrake mods in Skyrim 5"

    Ich habe selber eine Zeit lang mit dem Editor von "Descent ist ein Computerspiel aus dem Jahr 1995" (Weltraum Egoshooter) gespielt und einige witzige Levels erstellt.

    ABER selber machen mit "Visionaire Studio 5" ist viel cooler! "wird wohl dauern bis ich was in Terragen mache" - das ist schade!

    Ich sehe mir die nächsten Tage dein Thread "Abstrakt und Fraktale Werke in Terragen 4" an. Bin schon gespannt!

  • "Momentan arbeite ich an Mods für Skyrim, wird wohl dauern bis ich was in Terragen mache" Ich hab mir schon das Vid angesehen "Abstrake mods in Skyrim 5"

    Ich habe selber eine Zeit lang mit dem Editor von "Descent ist ein Computerspiel aus dem Jahr 1995" (Weltraum Egoshooter) gespielt und einige witzige Levels erstellt.

    ABER selber machen mit "Visionaire Studio 5" ist viel cooler! "wird wohl dauern bis ich was in Terragen mache" - das ist schade!

    Ich sehe mir die nächsten Tage dein Thread "Abstrakt und Fraktale Werke in Terragen 4" an. Bin schon gespannt!

    Dann wünsche ich Dir viel Freude beim Betrachten! :popkorn


    Ich verwende eigentlich ungerne andere Objekte, aber bei Skyrim ist alles so uferlos viel in der Komplexität, das man sich erst einige Wochen einarbeiten muss.

    Außerdem war es schon immer mein Traum dort was selber zu Bauen, auch wenn es die vorhandenen Objekte sind.

    Wer weiß, vielleicht erscheint ja mal ein Mod von mir öffentlich ;)


    Ich habe mal Visionaire Studio 5 gegoogelt eine tolle Sache!


    Wenn es mir zu anstrengend wird werde ich sicherlich was verrücktes in TG bauen ;) :flame2:flame1