The Ursara Backstory
At the very beginning, there was the Halloween event. Though it has a rough start, ultimately it was a successful and fun event, but we knew that for the 100 years of Latvia event, it would need some fine-tuning and a bit of an upgrade.
For this event, we decided that instead of simply collecting an object (like pumpkins in our first Halloween) we wanted to be more interactive and have the player make use of our combat system to fight a monster, that way they are presented with more of a challenge.
Our first task was choosing a monster, which turned out to be relatively easy. As we are celebrating 100 years of Latvia we wanted to go with a Latvian theme. A popular hero In Latvian folklore is known as Lāčplēsis, a figure from the year 800, who was half bear and half human, and was well known for killing a bear with his two hands.
We then took the idea of a bear based enemy and introduced it to the Hash Rush lore. As the bear was going to be a monster for the player to face, we gave it the crystal corruption treatment and decided to name it the Ursara.
Developing the Ursara
Once we had the creative theme of the new monster sorted out, our concept artist Nic stepped in.
The instruction given to Nic was simple, design a bear-like monster with crystal horns and claws. Nic informed us that, while it may sound vague to many people, to him the instructions were very specific.
In the first designs of the Ursara, Nic explored how far we wanted to develop the monster and added features from other animals. In the image above you can see that several different ideas were tried, such as taking features from a dog, rabbit and gorilla.
Ultimately, the decision was made to stick to a bear-like face, but the idea of gorilla features, along with hooves for feet were incorporated in the final design. as you can see from the more coloured concept art.
The two images below show you how Nic went from coloured sketches, and ultimately arrived at the final version of the Ursara.
Finally, with the concept art now finished, Nic then created the most important resource for our 3D artist, the Ursara’s character sheet.
This sheet would then be used by the 3D artists at Tractor Set Go! to create the 3D model that is used in the game.
From this stage, the 3D artists work started. If you are interested in seeing more art from Nic, check out his ArtStation page, you will find an awesome collection consisting of some of his Hash Rush work, along with work from other projects.
From Concept to 3D
With the concept art on hand, the 3D artists at Tractor Set Go fired up Zbrush and got to work giving life to the Ursara.
By having a character sheet on hand, especially one as details as provided by Nic, the 3D artists were able to create a model with much more ease than if they were simply given instructions in plain text. This left them with extra time to really give the Ursara some fine detail, as you can see in the ZBrush snapshot below.
At this stage, our 3D artist then applied to textures to the model based on what Nic had visualised in his concept art. Notice how closely it matches the concept art.
Polishing the Ursara
With the model complete and added to the game, we had some time left over to give it some much-needed eye-candy. We gave the attacking animation special attention as we wanted to give the player a real understanding that the swipe from the Ursara was a powerful one.
Our solution to this was to give the Ursara’s attacking paw a trailing light, giving the player the impression of quick and powerful attack.
With the basic idea added in, we further refined it to match the game’s aesthetics a lot more. Note the difference in colour, as we changed from red lights to a more Hash Rush blue, and that the trailing lights would only activate when the attack starts.
With that, we have the Ursara! We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the steps that we took to give life to our newest monster.