Making of the CloneMasters

Jul 28, 2009 - 0 Comments

In our previous article, we talked about the design of the clones character. In this article we'll discuss the process of designing CloneMasters. We added these creatures to the game to create an identity for the player (as a new CloneMaster in training) and also give greater meaning to the presentation of levels on the world map. Along the way we found that the CloneMasters really help to make the game much more interesting by introducing distinctive personalities that create more depth in the Clones universe and thus provide a better immersive experience for the player.

Our first step in the CloneMaster design was to get some concept artwork for these characters. The only criterion we gave our artist was to come up with some unique, non-human characters with three basic expressions: neutral, win (happy), loss (sad/angry). After getting concept artwork for 11 character designs, we were really happy with each one and decided to include them all into the game. Below is a sample of some of the initial concept artwork for the CloneMasters:

CloneMaster Initial Concept Artwork

The next step was to give each of the CloneMasters a name, a place of origin, a brief description about them, a summary of their personality, assignment of gender, and the location on the Clones Planet that they currently reside at. We also put together a document that shows the relative scale of each of the characters with respect to each other (and the clones character). You can find the description of each of the CloneMasters on the official Clones website. This information was really useful to help sculpt the characters and put everyone on the development team on the same page.

Initially, we thought that we would include 2D drawn images of the CloneMasters (as avatar images) but it was then decided that to get the level of quality that we wanted, the characters needed to be designed in 3D. Each of the CloneMasters were modeled in 3D Studio Max and textured. The models went through numerous revisions to get the subtle details that were conveyed in the concept artwork and the description of their personalities. Below is a sample of the final CloneMaster, Wattson R. Ice, before any texturing.

Wattson R. Ice 3D Model

The CloneMaster's personality and behaviour will be revealed through what they say and do in each of their levels. In addition, we decided to include short (~15 seconds) introduction videos that play the first time the player visits a CloneMaster on the planet. The purpose of the video is to learn the CloneMaster's name and to set the tone for that particular CloneMaster. To develop the introduction videos, we created peer reviewed scripts that were then used by our animator (we didn't story board it because the scripts were really short). As for the audio for the intros, once we had the final version of the video, we put together an "audio script" that indicates the frame numbers that we wanted certain special effects to play. The audio script was peer reviewed and used to create the sound effects for the video. Below is the introduction video for DrillDude (the first CloneMaster the player will play in the game).

The game will also include a video for each CloneMaster after the player defeats them in the final multiverse match. We feel that this is important for the overall gameplay as it will reward the player and encourage them to complete the game.

From a modding perspective, it is possible create your own level sets with your own CloneMasters. This functionality is built into the level editor itself so it makes it really easy.