Hello everyone! This post is intended to give you a glimpse into the thought process of designing Ghost of a Tale’s models. But first a word of warning:
Recently I worked on one of the game’s enemies; namely the “Blood Spiders”. I went straight ahead to get the first idea out of my system and this is a quick (admittedly very rough) first pass at the model (with garbage texture). However at this stage I realized I was not quite happy with the direction I had taken.
The first question I always ask myself is this one: does this design belong specifically to Ghost of a Tale? Meaning does it have enough personality with the right mix of cute and dark? This question is closely followed by another: did I see this design plastered all over contemporary games? Does it have a modicum of originality?
Now it’s not always possible to make something which stands out from all the other clones you saw in countless games and movies. And sometimes it does seem like the mainstream video game industry puts a fine point in making sure creature designs reference each-other and never stray too far from an accepted norm.
Usually when spiders are concerned in movies and games the designers go for the tarantula (“mygalomorph”) look. A very meaty, brown, beefy kind of spider. So that look was done to death.
My first spider design was okay but it didn’t feel enough like a “real” spider to me. More like some alien monster. And as it stands it lacks appeal. Maybe I’ll end up reworking that approach at some point in the future but I wanted to try something different. So I went back to the roots of any design work: gathering documentation.
After a little more research I honed in on the very arresting Evarcha Culicivora (the “vampire spider” from Kenya). It’s a small spider that preys on mosquitoes.
The colors on its head looked a little like war paint and it was almost cute (for a spider that is). So once I settled on that new direction the rest of the way was fairly smooth sailing. I ended up with a design that satisfied me and was a lot more fun and appealing while retaining its inherent creepiness.
And finally a quick in-engine shot of the spiders in a test level. The whole (re)design process I described took less than two days. I will probably still tweak the model later on but it is important to let time pass in order to gain a fresh perspective on things.
The lighter patterns on the legs’ joints will also provide some nice and unsettling “visual noise” as the spiders hone in on Tilo.
Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Have a happy (and spider-free) Halloween…!
EDIT: Previously this post erroneously stated that Evarcha Culicivora originates from New-Zealand when it is in fact from Kenya. Thank you to Alianin for pointing out that mistake!