New to the Team

Hi everyone, Adam Toth here. I’m a new artist on the Hard Surface Modeling team. I’m extremely excited about furthering the progress made in the past semester and finishing the project. I was initially hesitant about being dropped into such a large project half way through development, expecting a tidal wave of work. Luckily for all us newbies, Dave Beck assigned us a series of tutorials according to our respective disciplines. These tutorials helped further our understanding of our group specialty, preparing us for the final push to finish Harvey.

Fan Reference
Fan Reference

On the Hard Surface team in the past semester, there was significant priority given to modeling, UVing, and texturing available rooms for the player to explore. This work did a great job of building the backbone of Harvey and creating its atmosphere. Work on additional rooms, such as adding new rooms like Cal Peter’s Studio and the Chemistry Labs, will continue, but focus is also being given to other elements of the environment. Some rooms are in need of finalized modeling, but we also need to target the props that populate the rooms.

Most of the other modelers were assigned new rooms to model or old rooms to finalize, but a couple of us have been allocated to modeling the props found in the rooms. At this point in-game, Harvey feels like the building, but it’s still rather empty.

Student Desk Reference
Student Desk Reference

Generic objects like fans, phones, school supplies, signs/posters, etc. will be added as well as unique room-specific objects. Players may pay little attention to many of them, but not adding these objects will rob Harvey of its defining spirit. We’re hoping that with the addition large assortment of props and new, animated characters from the other teams, we can make our rendition of Harvey feel like a living, breathing environment.

Weaving in a Story

The Library reading room of the Mabel Tainter.
The Library reading room of the Mabel Tainter.

After a long winter break and a fresh start to the new semester, the development team is back in action, with a few new gadgets on our swiss army knife. We’ve got loads of new and talented people working on Harvey this semester. This project has many facets. We have taken in a class of Digital Cinema students, many new 3D artists, and a graphic designer. We’re working on branding, short films to serve as cutscenes as well as trailers, and even a coffee table book to augment the project.

One of the more exciting announcements we have is that we’re finally hashing out the details to the storyline to drive the player through the game. We’ve created a Narrative Team that’s broken up into several small teams of students from all three classes to write the story for the opening cutscene, an in-game animatic, and the individual events that turn the narrative.

Picture this: A student is studying alone late at night in a library. Lightning flashes outside the window. It’s raining heavily. The student is digging into the history of UW–Stout for a class project. The library is near closing. She has been working hard and is very tired. Down the hall she can hear a door close, then another. It’s the custodian locking up for the night. He looks familiar to her for some reason, but she doesn’t know why. He is a bald man. She sees the man walk past her and approach the doors to the stacks containing the library’s collection of rare, old, and protected books. He locks the door. At least she thinks the custodian locked the door… There is light coming from a crack in the door. The student packs her book bag and stands up to investigate. She approaches the door cautiously. She is scared. She places a hand on the door and it swings open with a creak. She enters the room, and the door swings shut behind her. It’s locked. Inside, she finds the source of the light. It’s coming from high up on a book shelf. The student climbs an old ladder to investigate. She finds a book emitting a faint blue glow. She is stunned. Lightning cracks outside. Thunder booms. A window is blown open, the student is startled, and she falls. The book falls with her. She closes her eyes… But when she opens them she is standing face to face with Lorenzo Dow Harvey. The time is 1917.

That is the brief and general story of our opening cutscene. We are considering locations for filming, too! Right now, the backstage area in Mabel Tainter Theater—that once housed a public library collection—looks like the perfect set.

Vault Door to Mabel Tainter stacks
Vault Door to Mabel Tainter stacks
Ladder in Mabel Tainter Stacks
Ladder in Mabel Tainter Stacks