How Arkane Created Prey’s Enemies?

How Arkane Created Prey’s Enemies?

Prey’s Emmanuel Petit explained Rock, Paper, Shotgun how foliage shader made alien enemies invisible.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun talked with visual designer Emmanuel Petit and lead visual effects artist Jason Timmons, who worked at Arkane at their recent hit Prey. They talked a bit about different aspects of the game’s production and discussed how it was created. One of the coolest stories, though, was connected with the way the team developed the visual look for the game’s aliens.

The development of those creatures has been really atypical and challenging as those designs were in constant evolution. As far as visuals there was very little that we could act on; given that those are black and blurry, all of the visual complexity has to be indicated in the silhouette. A good reference as far as I’m concerned is time-lapse photography of people, especially dancers in motion, and in particular the Metamorphosis series by Frederic Fontenoy [NSFW].

Emmanuel Petit, Arkane Studios

There were a ton of interesting techniques used in this instance. First of all, the VFX team worked with Cryengine to add a slight motion blur to the creatures at all times. Even when they were still and resting. The other cool addition (and a very bright one) was the use of a vertex deformation shader, which was originally designed to animate foliage. It looks absolutely amazing in action.  

The first time we used it for something else than the vegetation foliage was for the Coral, then we carried that feature over to the rest of the Typhon line up. It was a simple way to add something interesting to those creatures.

Emmanuel Petit, Arkane Studios

You can check out the full interview over at RPG. Thanks Gamasutra for the link.

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