At the moment im just working on polishing everything and updating all existing areas with my final choice of tree species. I have gone back through and layed down a final layer of vegetation detail, with saplings, bushes and more tropical species scattered throughout the existing forest / jungle areas.
The density of the vegetation has really stepped up and its looking really good. It looked nice before, but now it has that real look of a truly overgrown landscape, that was once cleared for the construction and for the roads that pass through it. The jungle has since returned and in some places it has taken over the left-over structures and materials.
I would love to take it a step further and make some custom road materials with two faint tracks and a row of vegetation up the middle, but early tests were not as visually appealing as having an actual road. Even though after all these years, the grass may have grown back and hidden the roads, it just didn’t look as nice. The same goes for certain objects that you will find, such as crates and other items. It may be unrealistic for them to be not covered with vines and liana’s etc, but for gameplay purposes, sometimes you need to focus on making it fun rather than making it real. The textures will do a good enough job of making things looks weathered though, with water stains and moss covering most things.
As you can see from the shots i’v posted, the roads are pretty clear of objects, which is a deliberate design choice, because later in the game, you will have the opportunity to travel across the island in a vehicle, and having lots of fallen trees and other objects covering the roads would make it very difficult. I do like the idea of having to remove a fallen tree from the road though, so I will look into having a few trees blocking the road in certain places that can be cut up and removed, but at the moment the species of trees that can be cut and broken are just the palms and the thinner jungle varieties, so this will be done later in development.
I’m going to be placing a number of hidden items throughout the island that players can search for if the like. They will most likely be a variety of pieces of Amber with different objects trapped inside them. Insects, spiders, leaves, seeds, etc. There will be a lot of these Amber pieces and they will be placed in every little hidden area imaginable. This should give players something to look forward to when they are exploring everywhere, trying to get to out of reach areas and searching every nook and cranny. The Amber collection will be documented in a diary that Anne has, so you can not only inspect the pieces you have found and read notes that Anne has written, describing their shape and content, but also see how may pieces are still left to be found.
Anne’s diary will come in handy throughout the game, she will use it to document certain aspects of the game and it will also allow players to take notes and mark locations on the island map. I wont go into too much detail about it, as much of it is still just conceptual and will be developed further as the game comes together.
I added a skybox to the island the other day, as i was sick of seeing a plain blue sky with no clouds. Its made a huge improvement, so i’ll post some shots of it soon.
I have a few emails that im in the process of replying to, these were captured by the spam / junk filter and i didn’t see them. So to all the people that sent me emails and never got a reply, don’t worry, im in the process of replying to them!
I’ve also had a few comments and emails regarding donating to the project. This is something I’ve had a good think about and i will post more about it later in the week.
Thanks for all the comments and views, ill be back again soon with some more news and shots!