SYREN’s animations are a mixture of motion capture and hand keyed animations using 3DS Max. There are many steps from capturing the data to seeing it in engine, from processing the data, cleaning it up, making sure the skinning of the rig works, and then exporting to engine to be set up with animation blueprints. You can see our process in this video.
SYREN is designed exclusively for VR.
A scientist obsessed with eugenics builds an underwater research facility above an ancient lost city, in which he conducts horrific experiments in an attempt to recreate the lost species of ‘Syrens’ – the legendary inhabitants of the civilisation, that once existed in the ruins below.
You awaken into chaos. The lab in ruins; creaking under the immense pressure of the sea.
With the station reactor about to go critical, you have limited time to navigate out of the lab and evacuate the facility. With death everywhere, you soon learn that you are not alone. Some of the experiments have gotten loose.
In this stealth and survival game, you must solve puzzles to progress through a series of room scale scenes and always remain alert for the deadly Syrens who are hiding in the shadows.
EPISODE 2 SYREN: OPERATION ANOMALY
Coming Soon Free DLC – It’s time to fight back!
Set after the events of SYREN, a CIA agent is sent into Darwin Station to find out why there has been loss of contact with the secondary science team and Navy Seals, who were previously sent in to investigate. As you move through the structure, you learn the CIA is less interested in the experiments but more the mysterious ‘Anomaly’ that sits at the heart of the ruins.
In this action packed free roaming shooter, you play as CIA black ops agent, ‘Manning’. Thrust into a world of violence and chaos, you must use your skills, and immense armoury, to contend with the deadly swarm of syrens stalking you and make your way to the mystical Anomaly.
The bonus episode 2 will be available as a free DLC to those who have purchased Episode 1 of SYREN, and will be available on SteamVR for HTC Vive and Oculus, in May 2017. PlayStation will follow shortly after.
For press enquiries or further information please email Yush Kalia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create an homage to our first consumer released VR app ABE VR in the world of SYREN. So we came up with Stabby ABE. We quickly fell for this prop with many of our team wanting to make it a fully playable game!
Our lead technical artist has super-human wizardry skillz when lighting scenes in Unreal Engine 4. This video shows lighting one of the corridors early on in SYREN’s game development. As you will see he goes through various incarnations of lights to get the mood just right.
This is one failed experiments found in the lab. The images show the progression creating these types of asset, starting with sculpting, leading on to retopologizing and unwrapping, and finishing with texturing.
The mechanical armed SYREN was one of the first concepts we were keen on pursuing. It went through several incarnations before its final design and is one of the more lethal SYREN’s.
Concept art is an important part of any game development cycle. In the first few weeks of SYREN whilst making the Rec Room one of our environment artists created this image highlighting the need to break up the room into segments but still have a large open window on one side. You’ll now see a lot of similarities in the game.
Hair can be a challenge when developing in VR. In SYREN we tackled this problem in 3DSMax using it’s different physics systems. We started by optimising the hair mesh, then rigging each chunk of hair, then we simulated in 3DSMax the movement of the hair. We had to do this for each hair style for each bit of animation on all of the types of hair. It was a lengthy process but we learnt an awful lot!
When creating animation for humanoid bipedal characters like the Syren’s we follow a fairly traditional pipeline for setting up rigs. Here is a video showing our facial rig tests as well as the different morph targets we created during this project for our generic syrens.
Our character artists use substance designer to build complex shader networks. Here are some images on how our eel skin was created for one of the Syren’s. This is then all bought into unreal engine where our PBR (physically based render) textures really start to look more realistic.
We went through many different concept’s searching for the look and feel of the SYREN’s. Here is one of the early concepts used to determine how far we wanted to push the mechanical feel.
Here are some early UI tests. We initially went for a very futuristic interface, but this was then dialled back. The buttons at the bottom were originally to open the doors, but these also ended up going through multiple iterations. However you might still be able to spot some parts where these initial tests end up being used!
Once everything is placed in the scene we can start on our polish phases and getting the lighting to give a sense of ambience. Here is a look at one part of the medbay in its finished state.
Every button or puzzle in the game has to be set up by our technical team to have collisions that activate a response. Here is one of the complex set ups for our number keypads.
We always ‘whitebox’ a room or puzzle before we start to work into it further, this helps us to establish the flow of that part of the game without spending hours putting effort into something that might not make the game. For example, the placement of these boxes in the Medbay changed multiple times during development.
An early version of the fuse system, that appears multiple times in the game. Our team model and unwrap all of their assets in 3DSMax but don’t get to see their final work until it is in Unreal Engine, with all of the shaders and materials hooked up.
This image shows one of the early modular packs we created on SYREN, that was initially mainly to be used in the Medbay for the the structure. The curved look and bright colours were quickly swapped out for something more robust and mechanical.