September 11, 2018

Point Blank: There’s Something in the Water


Welcome to Point Blank, the game development blog of Magnus Larbrant, Hunt: Showdown's Creative Director. Today he's here to take us backstage on the development history of the Water Devil.

Before we start, just a reminder that you can get Hunt right here, or follow us on Discord, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Steam. Now to Magnus…

Every creature in Hunt is designed with the environment in mind. There is more to making a new monster than just designing a bunch of cool AI and throwing them around the level. We have to think about the spaces that they will inhabit. So when we are designing new AI we take a look at the map and the spaces we want to populate with monsters, and we think about what kind of enemies would create new challenges for the players as they traverse the map.

Take the example of the Armored. It's slow, so it's a good one to put in a small space, where you can't just outrun it. Armoreds are pretty bad in the field, so that's where we put other AI, like Hellhounds or Hives—things that are harder to just outrun. Basically, we analyze the map, and come up with ideas to match environment with the threat level of the AI. We don't just throw in AI at random; we are always trying to create a challenge, and put a lot of thought into every choice.

Because Hunt launched Early Access, we launched without every single feature we had in mind for the final game. Even then we knew we would need an enemy in the water, but we weren't ready to put it in at the time. The Water Devil had to wait for more important features to go in first, but we've been working on the concept for quite a while.

When we first starting doing concepts for what would become the Water Devil, it looked a lot different than it did today. In the beginning the Water Devil was enormous. Below is one of the first concepts done by Senior Concept Artist Ivan Tantsiura, which was based on an original concept and design done by Concept Artist Ivo Nies:

Image: Ivan Tantsiura

The initial concept was based on eels. We took an eel and scaled it up about two hundred times, and it became this big monster. The following images were done by Concept Artist Ivo Nies.





Images: Ivo Nies

Some aspects of it were modeled on octopus as well, as you'll see below in more of Nies' concept art designs.

Images: Ivo Nies

Then we started thinking about how this guy could behave, and when we started to think about how it would attack, it turned out that its size was problematic. In the end, it felt a bit too much like a boss. We wanted a dangerous area, like a mine field, rather than one big obstacle. So we starting testing out slightly smaller versions.

Image: Ivo Nies

I think it would have been a cool thing, but at that size, it still didn't feel quite right, and we still just had one obstacle rather than a dangerous area.

So at that point we started thinking about how it would work if there were a lot of smaller creatures, like a swarm of eels nipping at you, doing a little bit of damage at a time. So that got us closer.

Image: Ivo Nies

Finally, we went from one big monster to 150 small monsters swarming on the player. Now you may need to avoid the water—you never know what could be lurking in those dark waters.

Image: Character Art Director Abdenour Bachir

As always, let us know what you think about the Water Devil and anything else Hunt-related over on the Hunt feedback page.

-Magnus