Monday, 31 December 2012

This is a basic form of one of the buildings in STALKER. In that game, it was an unnerving looking structure to enter, especially at night, so I thought it best to include it in some similar guise for the island I'm making.

As all my objects will be modular where applicable, this building will make a few appearances but always in different layouts for variations sake. Some will be just a block like this one, others will be T shaped or even rounded and so on...
I've added little details like some of the ceiling panels are either hanging off or are on the floor from years of relentless weathering in The Zone. At this point, there's minimal set decoration, as before I start on that I want to make sure each larger structure is working fine by itself and then I'll start to fill in in the little plain areas but always within the confines of the ARMA engine, as it's performance first..!
Anyway, I hope you like, and it's crits/suggestions welcome as always.

(Also, sorry this one took some time to get out, but I've been on holiday around Hong Kong, and also had a quick spell in hospital with food poisoning which knocked the stuffing out of me... could've been the toxic Box fish I ate..? Or the raw fish buoyancy bladder..? Or the raw tuna belly etc etc..?) 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

This is a standard house, simple in design, but it also serves as a template of sorts for more to come as it has some tiling textures and structural elements that can be easily used in other buildings.

I'm building and texturing as many items as possible in a modular fashion, so as to speed up the creation process and to add a bit of consistency to the world.
Because I now have a standard tiling brick texture, floor texture and wallpaper texture, aswell as modular geometry for wall/floor parts etc it will increase the speed that I can create new structures based on this particular theme, while also easily implementing new texture sets in the meantime.
So for instance I can have a similar looking structure to this one, but with say two floors. Or one that is very long and the walls are mostly crumbled down or one with a flight of stairs going up to an enclosed top floor.
Basically endless variations to fit the game play.
Also worth pointing out is that I intend to have lots of little placeable entities like lights and aerials etc, to break up the silhouette and add some clutter.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Another one of the more mundane objects in The Zone, but this is also an object that appears quite frequently in the Stalker games themselves, so there you go..! 
The little cracks and gaps from old age make for interesting places to rest your sniper rifle from without being seen... ;)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

This is a simple little Sentry House from times gone by in The Zone. 
This standard of decay and ruin is as nice as it'll get. All other structures/assets will be either as rusted as this or a lot, lot worse...
I have it on very good advice that it's best to make all doors and entryways slightly larger than normal, as this will facilitate the easy access and intrusion of AI for you single player mission makers out there...
Also, I've knocked a few of the floor tiles out, so you can see whatever ground is directly below you, and the weeds and foliage of The Zone will also be growing through these gaps, reclaiming everything.
Detailing like the missing tiles will come more into play when the structure has more then one floor (Think: walking inside a three storey building at night with no lights, then through the cracks in the floorboard you hear and see four Bandits slowly walking directly beneath you with their torch lights glaring...), because you can shoot through gaps in the flooring and also in some cases you'll be able to crawl under standing structures aswell...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

This is my take on the Stalker waste containers that are to be found in Call Of Pripyat. 
I want to really push the post-apocalyptic survival feel with all these rusty iron sheets barely holing in all this refuse from years and years of Stalkers coming and going and leaving behind all sorts of useless destroyed junk and waste.
I've added the flies to give a suggestion of what this will be like in game...
These things should make good sniping spots, as you can climb up into them, lie down and sneak a shot through some of the gaps in-between the panelling, and you'd also be pretty well protected by that sheet metal.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

This is a type of railway overhead wire suspension system with a damaged version too. I love these kinds of objects, as they make for some great freaky silhouettes against the grim skies of The Zone, all fading into the distance at crazy angles... 
There will be a few different types of railway wire systems, but these ones I really wanted to get in and I've seen very similar ones in Stalker SOC as well so it's a nod to them...

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Another variation on the fireplace areas throughout the Stalker games. I thought it best to do quite a few of these (That's why you're seeing so many!) as they're such a good focal point of the game as it stands.
They're a classic beacon in The Zone.
There's also the potential for these spots to become meeting/discussion points in MP games for player to sit down with player and talk about the days exploration or to trade etc...
So bearing these things in mind, I've gone into quite a bit of detail with them and have done some more, but you'll have to wait to find out what they are..! ;)

Friday, 9 November 2012

A couple of variations on a Half Drum Fire, for the Stalkers to warm themselves, BBQ some Bloodsucker and generally pose around at night. One is just on the ground, the other mounted like a cooking drum on four metal girders.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

This is a standard camp fire for the Stalkers to gather round at dusk, tell stories, play some songs and just chillax... ;)
There will be a few variations of camp fires like bigger bonfires, and a few different cooking area ones to, like with a spit over the top or a half cut oil drum for cooking.
All the different kinds should help add to the immersion and variety.

Just an approximation of the metal framed beds and bunk beds to be found in the Stalker games. Also, I've done a couple of dirty mattresses for going on the beds, rolled up or thrown on the floor for the Stalkers to chillax after a hard days roaming and death dodging... ;)

Monday, 5 November 2012



Welcome to the start of my project to create a huge complete STALKER themed island for the ARMA series.
Right now, I'm more or less at the very beginning of this massive task and it's going to be a huge learning curve, with many things I'll be finding out as I go along.

I've been a huge fan of ARMA for years now, and also a massive fan of the Stalker series by GSC Game World, and I was sad to see Stalker 2 cut earlier this year... that could've been such a great game. :(

I've played all three Stalker games many times over, and it's the immersion and atmosphere that gets me every time- they absolutely nailed it. The scenery, the structures, the sound, the weather, the ambience and of course all the artefacts and emissions etc...
The only thing that I thought it could do with was more to explore and seek out. THAT would be my ideal Stalker game.

So, with that in mind, I've finally gotten around to starting to create my own Stalker inspired landmass and have chosen to do it on the Real Virtuality engine, as it already encompasses everything needed to convey the atmosphere of a Stalker game, and of course, it can handle huge scaled maps too.

I should point out that this isn't going to be a duplicate of any current Stalker map- it's going to be a lot larger, and will use certain areas of previous Stalker maps as ref points to those games, but will basically be my own take on the series so it will have a lot of new areas of varying size and structure.
I'm aware this could spiral into a wacky arcadey version of an exaggerated Zone if I loose the original intention, but will do everything I can to keep it real, keep it authentic and keep it true to Stalker.
If I make something and later decide it's not in keeping with the Zone- it goes...
There will be no bug eyed, two headed demonic worm beasts from Hell with lasers for hands.
I'll include some of the classic areas (Or approximations of them) like Yanov and Garbage etc, but will expand and modify them as I see fit to allow for more scope.
I'll mainly be creating new areas of interest with a mind to adapting the landscape to become a more grueling and formidable fight for survival in the irradiated wilderness of the Zone...

As far as inspiration goes for the general tone and ambience- obviously the Stalker games themselves, the fantastic book Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Cormac McCarthy's The Road (Also a great film now) and many nights of pouring over photos and files about the Chernobyl disaster and the resulting fallout.
This isn't going to be a representation of the area around Chernobyl, but it will reference it in various ways.

All in all, it's going to be a huge map for you Stalkers to explore, trade and fight in... ;)

Ok, just as a teaser here's a few bare bones no polish or shine print screens of some small objects I've created already to populate the land with. I've chosen generic objects that could easily be found in the Stalker games (Please bear in mind these are literally JUST diffuse texture; there's no lighting, normal maps or even specular and they're also WIP):

A selection of warning and hazard signs, some real world and some not. The classic radiation sign is in there and also a few new ones. I'm trying to create some that also have interesting silhouettes, so at night when you see these against the sky you'll end up with some interesting shapes.

Again, an object more of less found in the Stalker games, these will be scattered across the landscape at all angles, disappearing over the next contaminated sodden hill and vanishing into the mist...

I had to add in the obligatory Radioactive Materials drum, (Where would we be without it..!?) and also a cut one for camp fires on those cold grim nights.
There are also tyres that have been filled with cement for stands that Stalkers can add their own crafted signs to, to warn other Stalkers of danger areas or known Anomalies etc... 

I've got loads of ideas for new features for this map, but to give you an idea of what I'm going for here's a few:
  • Tiny reinforced Stalker constructed shacks from old panelling and scrapped armour sheets dotted sparsely across open areas of wilderness for shelter incase you get caught out in an Emission with your pants down and nowhere else to go...
  • A huge Cordon wall hastily constructed in parts but solid in some areas to try to contain the ever growing Zone... think of it like a really long prison wall for the most part.
  • Strange land structures where the Zone has completely corrupted and infected the plants and trees.
  • ...and LOTS more...
Finally, just a word about the dev process I'll be sticking with for this project.
It seems when doing an island for ARMA, you've got the actual terrain itself, and then the new objects and assets to populate that terrain with. That's basically the two main things.
What I will do is create more or less every building, object and asset first, then start the terrain only once that's more or less complete. (So the terrain is a loooooooong way away!)
Two reasons for this; one is that I'm used to creating 3D models as I'm an environment artist anyway so can hit the ground running so to speak (But sticking them fully working into the VR engine will take a little more time even though I've a few successful ones in already), and two, by the time ARMA 3 comes out, I'll have some good solid info about what it can do terrain wise, as I take it there's going to be some improvements over ARMA 2's terrain in general. 
So the plan is to make this future proof for ARMA 3, so there'll hopefully be a few more bevelled edges where it's worth it, and some nice hi-res textures kicking around if all goes to plan!
I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for underground complexes... ;)

Take it easy and thanks for reading the dev blog.