The Wrath of Whispers is a 1st person cooperative survival game set in a supernatural apocalypse. The world became an endless Purgatory, where death will have you fighting your way out of Limbo as the world around you is consumed by cursed fallout zones and paranormal entities. Survive the increasingly harsh seasons & fallout; live off the land & loot abandoned towns; make a home & become self-sufficient, as the years become impossibly unforgiving. How long will you survive?
When I launched our funding campaign I found myself annoyed not having progress to show on any supernatural elements of the game, so for the last couple weeks I’ve been designing a wendigo that’ll now be added to the third demo we have planned to release Q1 of next year. I'm spending a few more days on it to make sure it's game ready for when I can come back to it's AI and animation after the second demo launches.
There’s planned to be a major overhaul on the design within the next couple years before we reach Beta.
The teeth, gums and eyes still need new textures.
(Based on stories from the Ojibway/Saulteaux & Cree people)
The first of them appeared during a time of famine when a cold winter full of unsuccessful hunts led some to eat the snow, even against warnings from their elders. The snow numbed their lips so they hardly noticed when they began to enjoy the taste of their own flesh, some even eating their tongues. Once they began to cannibalize, a wendigo spirit would possess them giving them an uncontrollable hunger, leading them to slaughter their loved ones.
When they feast it’s as if they gain the strength and mass of the person they consumed, some are said to have grown 15ft tall. Their hair is long and wild, they have no lips, they’re gaunt and smell like rotting flesh. Their eyes are black or bloodshot with skin varying from grey to dark brown.
These spirits can possess people who either cannibalize, are greedy or cruel or who have been cursed by a bad medicine person.
There’s more info that I’ll add to the in-game journal by the 3rd demo, covering as much information as I learn!
Also multiple people have mentioned that it’s best to avoid saying wendigo and another suggested it can be referred to as “Tim”.
The first week of this campaign I began working on “Tim” - starting with a modified Character Creator model that I brought into Blender where I remodeled the mouth area before I began sculpting on the iPad! I sent the model to Nomad Sculpt, then back to Blender to begin manually retopologizing the character square by square, but then I thought it was worth trying other methods to speed up the process. I knew the built-in decimation and remesh tools wouldn’t be good enough and decided to give Quad Remesher a try, but minimal tweaking of just increasing the polygon count of the face area, still destroyed most of the facial detail. Soon after I realized I could just snap vertices to the nearest face and finally just used the pre-sculpted model, then adjusted and snapped the mesh to the shape of the high poly sculpted mesh.
Quad Remesher wasn’t quite good enough for this character. Maybe if I tried guiding lines; an experiment for another day..
Someone made the suggestion to have more frostbite and have the finger bones exposed which inspired me to restart, however I’ll save the exposed bones for my 3rd attempt sometime before the game is finished. With the new model I added more frostbite and made him taller. It also made for a good opportunity to optimize the model more, cleaning up some more topology and getting rid of the dedicated material for the nails that came out of Reallusion’s Character Creator 3 (CC3).
Quad Remesher (Left) / Snapped vertices from the original model to the high poly, then subdivided (Right). Both models are about 50,000 faces.
About to start using Simplygon for levels of detail to further optimize the model for runtime.
I painted the models in Substance Painter using a UDIM workflow which allows me to paint across tiles (head, torso, arms, legs). I first started with the body textures out of CC3 then added layer after layer of color for the most part. When the models were done being textured I took them into accuRIG to get a quick skeleton setup then spent a couple days cleaning up the weight paint that controls how much a bone deforms the mesh.
Decent rig with automatic weights for just a few minutes of work!
I had to re-rig the character after modifying it too much and lost the CC3 weights.
The last things I’ve done with the character was adjusting the teeth and eyes to the final model and reshaped some of the hair from CC3. In Unity I’m having a small issue with the hair and eye shaders but I haven’t quite gotten to that task yet.
When I do come back to that 3rd attempt I want to experiment with techniques for it to increase in size in a grotesque & horrifying fashion.
Also I should mention I have some terrifying ideas in mind for how these things will sound; guttural noises when it’s idle and feasting, very human screams for help from a distance that become slightly distorted if you get closer as the cries for help turn to silence or a subtle demonic-like laughter before it begins to hunt you.
In the next week I’ll be back to work on making destructible campground structures such as cabins, a public restroom/showers and some props. I’ve got the proportions and material optimizations for the modular pieces figured out at this point and next I just have to paint the materials, make destructible variants and add placement colliders to be compatible with the old building system.
The environment is going to be under heavy iteration up until the next demo launches as I playtest the experience trying to imagine what dealing with a wendigo and spirit may be like next year.
The next demo will have several preset characters to choose from (no actual customization just yet), and the player controller is being reworked along with character animations.
Our second demo will be testing up to 4 players building on one map and experimenting with cloud saves. It’s expected to release by the end of October.
Help fund the game through our IndieGoGo campaign for multiplayer demo access. Starting next year we plan to release at least 2 maybe 3 demos a year.
Although I’ve started integrating mod support and began work on a mod kit, it makes more sense to release the second demo before continuing progress here. Also I want to look into Bonelab’s mod tools for inspiration..
We’ve had a handful of people support our funding so far, and for that we thank you.
It definitely encourages me to to keep picking up the pace. At this rate it doesn’t seem likely for any substantial funding which was pretty expected. We’re maybe 20% though development and most games with successful campaigns often look at least half done.
I have a new little goal for myself to see if I can get a couple more interesting updates out before the end of the campaign and draw in enough attention to at least raise $3000 which would afford us up to 2 months of full time development while we continue DoorDashing part time!
If you made it this far, thank you for your time and please consider sharing our IndieGoGo campaign and supporting us!
IndieGoGo - Igg.me
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Thanks! By this time next year I'm hoping parts of the game will look nearly finished. Maybe 20% through the initial development at the moment and this project will probably take at least 2 or 3 more years till launch, then we have decades worth of ideas to add as a bunch of free and some paid content.