The Art Of Creating Subnautica’s Flora Under The Sea. Art subnautica
Subnautica: The art of flora
If you’ve spoken to me for more than five minutes, chances are I’ve mentioned Subnautica [official site]. It’s an open world survival game set largely underwater on an alien planet. You explore biomes, collect resources and, as updates to the early access project add more content, start to piece together the story of the planet. I played huge amounts of the game before more significant story elements were added and my big project was my volcano lair’s garden. I collected all the weird and wonderful plants I could and cultivated them in little plant beds outside my underwater home. That’s why, when I had a chance to speak with art director Cory Strader, I immediately wanted to talk about the game’s flora.
Read on to find out how The Abyss, microscopy and a real fish with a transparent head and a visible brain all played their part! P.S. You can click on images to see larger version of the concept artwork or, if they’re game screenshots, to just see them in isolation.
Pip: Hi Cory, can you tell me about how you started designing or conceptualising the look of Subnautica?
Cory Strader: From the beginning we wanted to make a non violent game, emphasizing the mystery of exploring a lush, alien underwater environment, that would appeal to gamers of all ages and types. I wanted a visual look that matched – a style that was approachable, colorful and fun, but with a darker edge, for the deeper and creepier biomes. The look is stylized to some degree, emphasising simple and slightly exaggerated silhouettes, without going too cartoony.
The references used for the look and feel of Subnautica are so varied and numerous it is hard to narrow down. Certainly the movie The Abyss was a big inspiration behind the game. Subnautica is like some mashup of The Abyss, Avatar, and Finding Nemo, in the way we tried to create a beautiful, vibrant and exotic world, in an underwater setting. It was important to have unique creatures and environments that are clearly alien, yet relatable and believable, therefore many real world references were closely studied to achieve the desired naturalistic look. I have folders filled with reference material of deep sea life and landscapes. Pictures of microscopy have also been great sources for alien textures and forms. Referencing the real world, as opposed to only looking at other games and movies that have come before, is key in developing designs that stand on their own.
Pip: The game separates its world out into different biomes, each with their own distinctive look. How did you keep them aesthetically distinct without feeling like they were from entirely different games or worlds?
Cory: This was certainly a challenge to pull off, and a credit to our level designers for achieving a level of cohesion throughout the entire world. And even now, in the polish phase they are going back into areas to smooth out some of the more abrupt transitions between biomes.
While we were conscious of maintaining consistency in the world, a fair amount just came about through necessity. As a smaller team with limited resources, there were only so many unique world textures, environment props, and creatures that we have been able to create. We often relied on only a handful of theme assets to give a biome it’s defining look. So, naturally to fill them out more, we had to incorporate generic plants and sand and rock textures used in many other areas, which automatically lent a consistency to the world as the player travels around.
Transitional zones and fog also play a large role in smoothing out the change from one world area to the next. We bordered the biomes with transitional “palette cleanser” sparse zones of mostly sand and rock, and also relied on extreme vertical dropoffs between areas. That, along with the pulled in viewing distance of the underwater fog, meant that the transition from one wildly different biome to the next happens more gradually, since you can rarely see the next biome from the one you currently occupy.
Pip: The first part of the world a player experiences, beyond the survival pod, is the shallows. My overall perception of the area is that it’s bright and clear and has a lot of pink and purple as colour accents. How much of the effect of a bright and vibrant place comes from the colours of the objects themselves and how much is actually a result of how you use lighting and other techniques?
Cory: Bit of both, really. The terrain textures primarily use a combination of sand and light sedimentary rock, interspersed with patches of coral. We use a lot of grass, plant, and coral props which add pastel colors to the palette.
Then on the effects side, we use warm lighting and bright blue fog. It’s interesting because the fog distance is actually pushed out much further in some of the other biomes, but the perception of the Safe Shallows starting zone is that it is very clear water. The most predominant reason for this is the density of the detailing, and the very close horizon caused by the shallow seabed. Light rays and caustics visible on the ocean floor also contribute to the look of a bright and clear biome.
Pip: Looking at the plants in particular I’d be interested in how you approached them – how much were you basing them on real-world plants and how much was imagined?
Cory: Some of the more basic flora has a closer relationship to actual earth vegetation, such as the grass, seaweed, and coral branch filler assets. These help to quickly create layers of ground level detail and provide the impression of a lush underwater environment, or a tropical island for the above water biomes. The Kelp Forest biome in particular is very much based on kelp forests in the real world [browsing images of kelp forests is really relaxing – Pip], but tweaked to fit in the alien setting of Subnautica. The larger size of the kelp in the game, with their long undulating leaves, and large clusters of glowing orange seed pods give it the stylized and alien look.
But many of the plants in the game, especially the ones that define a biome’s look, are imagined. Real world references generally still play a part in the design, however, as the best fictional concepts always have some basis in reality in order to give them a degree of plausibility. But in some cases those references might be something seemingly unrelated. A good example of that would be the large, round, purple colored plants that fill one of the biomes – they were actually based off of rubber toy Koosh balls.
Pip: What is the process like when you’re creating plants which also have a function as resources compared with the ones which are either ornamental or which the player can’t even interact with as they’re more like textures on objects? Do you have a different level or freedom, or is there more input from outside the art team for resource plants?
Cory: It was always important to Subnautica’s game designer, Charlie Cleveland, that the visual look of the biomes and their plantlife not be constrained by gameplay mechanics. So, for the most part we’ve had the freedom to design the plant life and many of the creatures as we see fit, and the gameplay is layered on top afterwards. The Creepvine kelp plants are probably one of the few exceptions, as those had been defined as a resource since the very first prototypes.
Pip: Given underwater flora and fauna can seem utterly alien, were there any real creatures or plants you found during your research which seemed particularly strange?
Cory: There are so many bizarre deep sea creatures that exist in Earth’s oceans, and new ones being discovered as we speak. I mean, there are fish with a transparent head, with eyes inside that can rotate all around!
It’s the reason why so many game and movie creature designs borrow heavily from existing ocean life. The challenge is trying to come up with creature designs that are unique and look more alien than, say, the Goblin sharks, Blobfish, and Anglerfish that exist on Earth.
Pip: There are some specific plants I loved seeing as I played so I was wondering if you could tell me more about what inspired you or how they developed:
1. Floating stones – I’d also love to know how these work as plants if you’ve given it much thought – are the orbs separate organisms from the roots/tendrils or is it all one and the same?
Cory: The name on these is a bit of a misnomer, as it refers to an earlier version of the concept design that had them looking more like stones then the gas filled pods they ended up as. We will likely change that before release.
The idea is that the gaseous orbs are part of the same organism as the roots, where the tendrils keep the buoyant pods anchored to the ground, as they grow from seed to spore. When they reach full maturity they burst, scattering the plant seeds out into the surrounding area, and perhaps even fertilizing the ground with dead fish caught in the explosion.
We originally intended that the pods would explode on contact with the player, serving as a natural minefield, that the player would need to carefully navigate through in their subs. However, this feature has not yet made it into the game, and likely never will.
2. The Membrain Tree
Cory: This design references the myriad of deep sea organisms which have a translucent outer membrane, in this case serving as a protective layer to the plants which grow inside the incubative structure. References of common coral and pine cones were also used in the design phase.
3. The Sea Crown
Cory: There wasn’t really a specific inspiration for this plant. In many cases the design approach relies on having already pored over a large amount of references materials, to the point where the visual language of what is going to convey an aquatic organism becomes almost second nature. Then it’s just a matter of doing a lot of quick thumbnail sketches to play with shapes and find interesting silhouettes. When a design seems to be working at that stage, it’s then taken further to find appropriate materials and colors, and refine the details. Since most of the plants did not come with specific gameplay requirements, there is a lot of creative freedom at the concept phase.
4. Tiger Plant – I like how meaty and angry this one looks, and how that sets it apart from most of the other plants. I’d be particularly interested in whether it was tricky to get the right effect and look for this one?
Cory: This is a rare example where we did go into the concept phase with a specific idea about a plant’s gameplay purpose, and it is one of the few dangerous plants in Subnautica. It is also a bit of a nod to our previous game, Natural Selection 2, which also had a ranged, spike shooting plant. Therefore, the shapes and colors used were very much form following function.
After a round of black and white thumbnail sketches trying out a variety of approaches I chose the one which had a good character to it, and potential for dynamic movement for it’s idle and attack animation. Several color and pattern schemes were tried.
The red and black striped version matched well with the warning colors that dangerous plants and creatures often employ as a defense mechanism in nature. The intention was that all of this combined – the chunky shapes with sharp spikes extending beyond the silhouette, the more active animations, and the bright red coloring – would make the plant more eye catching from a distance, and inform the player of potential danger. That, and all the spikes flying in their direction.
Pip: The Sea Crown data entry [you can find it on the Subnautica wiki] suggests you as a team have given thought to the genetics and commonalities of the plants so did you ever draw out a taxonomy?
Cory: We never drew out a taxonomy, and did not get too caught up in the science behind all of the plants, for several reasons. First, with a small team and limited resources, we really needed to put our focus and attention into the elements which had the most gameplay impact, and the plants are mainly just decoration.
Secondly, as mentioned earlier, we knew we would need to reuse a lot of the same plants throughout multiple biomes. There was little point to spending time figuring out which plants would realistically thrive in which environments, as the level designers just needed to have a pool of plant props to choose from when decorating their world areas. It was much simpler to just crank out a lot of really strange and unique plants, and place them based on what felt right and looked the best.
Pip: The bleached weirdness of the blood kelp caves was particularly striking when I visited for the first time and really creepy with the blood oil and the toes on the Ghost Weed and the fingers on Gabe’s Feather. Was the horror/body part element always planned or did it come in gradually?
Cory: We knew we wanted to have some creepy biomes in the deeper parts of the world, but the horror/body element to Blood Kelp was pieced together gradually. It started with an image I had in my head of a sparse, ghostly version of the Kelp Forest biome, glowing eerily in the depths.
I did a quick painting of the plant that would define the look of the biome – pale, tall and spindly, with waving tentacles instead of leaves.
For added creepiness I made it carnivorous, with a small mouth-like opening at the very top that would feed on small fish, trapped by the surrounding tendrils. The deep red pustules that form near the base of the plants and on the giant roots that run underground in the caves add spots of color in the bleached environment, while also contributing to the horror feel.
We had already made The Ghost Weed and Gabe’s Feather plants before the Blood Kelp biome was designed, but they seemed to fit perfectly with the aesthetic. I then took a few creatures that we had in other biomes and did some paintovers to create variants in the horror style. As they were just texture re-skins and some slight model changes, it allowed us to quickly add new fauna to the zone, without having to re-rig, animate, and code completely new creatures.
Pip: I think there are a couple of plants still to be implemented in the game so could you tell me anything about those?
Cory: At the moment we don’t have any plans to add more plants than are currently in the game for release. However, there are some ideas we’d love to implement for content after 1.0 ships. I have a biome concept I made some time ago of some floating rock islands being suspended by giant lily pads that would be fun to have in the game. However at this time we can’t make any promises in regards to new content and features after release.
Pip: Are there any gaps in the flora that you’d like to plug, either in terms of their function as resources in the game or just as decoration you feel would benefit any of the biomes?
Cory: Sure, if we had more time, and if we weren’t as constrained by engine limitations, I’d love to have a wider variety of unique plants so that we wouldn’t have to re-use as many from the current set. But, what I’d really love, is to be able to give more gameplay use and function to the existing decorative plants that are already in the game.
Pip: Which is your favourite biome and why?
Cory: Hmm… this is like trying to name my favorite child. They all have their own personalities and aspects which make them special in some way. Safe Shallows is always going to have a special place in my heart, as it’s the first area we really developed out and I think it’s what people picture the most when thinking about Subnautica. It’s bright, peaceful, with a nice distribution of detail, and the interplay between the water surface and underwater areas is really nice.
My other favorite biome is definitely Lost River. It’s wonderfully creepy, with the poisonous brine pools, which are an actual real world phenomena, creating a bizarre water under the water look, out of which protrude the skeletons of ancient, massive creatures.. It is one of the biggest biomes and probably has the most unique assets of any, so it really has a lot of detail and variation throughout.
Pip: Thank you for your time!
Subnautica is out now in Early Access for £14.99 – as per any Early Access game all the usual caveats apply and you should only invest if you’d be happy if the game never went any further etc etc etc etc etc
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The Art Of Creating Subnautica’s Flora Under The Sea
The Art of Creating The Flora
Subnautica online is an open world survival game which is set underwater on an alien planet. In which, you can explore new biomes, pick up resources and craft devices. Everything you do is to survive as long as possible. There are many significant story elements were added to this game. You can build up your own kingdom here. Aside from that, you are able to collect all of the strange and wonderful plants in the flora of Subnautica download. Not only that, you are allowed to cultivate them in a little plant bed located outside your home. So, it is the reason for the conversation with the famous art director named Cory Strader. The art of creating the flora is the main subject that we will present.
Keep reading and you will find out the way that The Abyss, microscopy and a real fish with a transparent head and a visible brain all played their part. If you’d like to see a larger version of the concept artwork, you should clock on the selected image.
How did he start designing or conceptualizing the look of Subnautica?
From the beginning, he just wanted to create a non-violent Subnautica pc game which emphasizing the mystery of discovering an abundant alien underwater environment that would suit to any gamer of all ages and types. Indeed, you can see that the visual look matches an approachable style with the darker edge or deeper and scarier biomes. This can become exaggerated. But, it is not too cartoony.
Besides, there were numerous and various references which were used to make the look and feel for players. It was very difficult to narrow them. The movie The Abyss was a big inspiration for this amazing game. And Subnautica free looked like some mashup of The Abyss, Avatar, and Finding Nemo. It gave players a stunning world in an underwater setting. Nevertheless, everything would soon be boring if there was not the appearance of unique creatures and bizarre environments. Cory Strader and his fellow workers also had many folders full of reference materials related to the deep sea life and landscapes. Pictures containing microscopy were the important sources to build alien textures and forms. Providing a real world was the key in developing designs.
How to keep the game aesthetically distinct?
Subnautica free game separates the world into different biomes. Each of them has their own distinctive look. It’s fairly confusing to make them unmistakable without feeling like that they come from completely unlike games or worlds. This was a challenge and a credit to many level designers to get a level of cohesion throughout the whole world. They are also going back into areas of Subnautica download game to make some unexpected transitions between biomes better. While the art director and others were trying to maintain the consistency in this world, a fair amount of credit was essential. Because they were a small team with limited resources, there were able only to construct some unique world textures, environment props, and creatures. They often depended on a handful of theme assets in order to supply a biome the defining look. Therefore, they had to integrate generic plants with sand and rock textures in many areas.
The transitional zones and fog played a necessary role to smooth out the change between areas. Biomes were enclosed with transitional palette cleanser besprent zones. Besides, they relied on very great vertical drop-offs. It meant that the transition from different biomes would appear gradually because you couldn’t see the next biome from the spot you occupied frequently.
How much can a bright and vibrant place from the object’s color affect?
The terrain textures use the combination of sand and light sedimentary rock, scattered with corals. Lots of grass, plants, and coral props are utilized. Additionally, pastel colors are added to the palette.
The warm lighting and bright blue fog are used for the effects side. You can be aware of the Safe Shallows starting zone clearer because the fog distance is pushed out further in a few biomes. The density of the detailing is the major reason for this. Meanwhile, light rays and caustics which are able to be seen on the ocean floor build up the look for a brighter biome.
How much did the director construct on the real-world particular plants? How much did he imagine?
Some basic flora has a closer relationship to the earth vegetation, for example, the grass, seaweed, or coral branch filler assets. They will create layers of ground-level detail. They will offer the impression of a diverse underwater environment. Also, they can give a tropical island for above water biome. Especially, the Kelp Forest Biome is based on the kelp forest in the actual world. But, they are adjusted to fit Subnautica online. Their large size, long ripple leaves with big clusters make everything impressive.
Many plants are imagined. References to the real world are changed and given a reasonable degree although they are a part of the design. For example, the large, round, purple colored plants in one biome are based off of rubber toy Koosh balls.
What is the process as when he is creating plants having a function as resources? Does he have another level of freedom? Is there any input out of the art team for resource plants?
It’s very significant to the designer Charlie Cleveland due to the visual image of biomes and their plants are not restricted by the gameplay mechanics. Thus, the art director had the freedom to design the plant life along with creatures while the gameplay is arranged on top afterward. The Creepvine kelp plants may be one of the exceptions because they had been defined as a resource since the first prototypes.
Is there any real creature or plant during the research?
There are so many weird deep sea creatures existing on Earth’s ocean. And there are new ones which are being detected. So, there are lots of fishes with a transparent head and eyes inside which can rotate all around.
It’s why so many designs for games and movie borrowing the current ocean life. They attempt to look for unique ones looking more alien than the Goblin sharks, Blobfish, and Anglerfish on Earth.
What is the inspiration of specific plants? How did they develop?
Firstly, we will mention to the gaseous orbs in Subnautica online. They are the part of the same organism similar to roots, where tendrils will help the buoyant pods float because they germinate from the seed to spore. When they are mature, they will explode and scatter their seeds surround. Even, they can make the seabed fertile with slain fishes which are killed by their explosion. Originally, the pods are expected to become a natural minefield. When the player approach that place carelessly, they can be damaged. Unfortunately, this feature has not yet finished. It likely never will be implemented.
The Membrain Tree
It is inspired by the design references from the deep sea organisms including translucent outer membrane. It is regarded as a protective layer to plants which growing inside its cherished structure. Besides, the references of common coral of pine cones are also used.
The Sea Crown
There is not any special or specific inspiration for this one. Just play with shapes and interesting silhouettes.
It is rare example. It’s dangerous for players. In a previous game, Natural Selection 2, the Tiger plant could shoot spikes in a certain range. It is chosen from a round of black and white thumbnail sketches.
The red and black striped version can match well with the warning colors.
Did he draw out the taxonomy for the genetics and commonalities of the plants?
He and others never drew anything like that. They didn’t get caught up in the science behind plants. They needed to focus on elements having the most gameplay impact. And plants were the major decoration. Next, they needed to reuse a lot of the same plants in multiple biomes. It was much simpler.
Was the horror/ body part elements always planned or did it gradually?
The horror/ body part element to Blood Kelp of Subnautica free was linked together gradually although the art director knew they wanted to add some creepy biomes in deeper parts. They started with an image of a sparse, ghostly version of the Kelp Forest biome. Then, he quickly painted the plant (pale, tall and slender, with waving tentacles).
For added creepiness, he created carnivorous with a small mouth-like opening at the very top. The deep red pustules, inhabiting near the base of the plants and on the huge roots running underground in caves, will add spots of color in the bleached environment. The Ghost Weed and Gabe’s Feather plants are made before the Blood Kelp biome is designed. But, they are fairly appropriate with the aesthetic. Some creatures are taken in other biomes. He also did paintovers in order to build variants in the horror style. It’s pretty fast to generate new fauna to the zone without re-rig, animate, and code new creatures because they are texture re-skins with slight model changes.
How about plants still to be implemented in the game?
At this time, he doesn’t have any plan to put more plants together. Nonetheless, there are ideas that he’d love to do for the content after 1.0 ships. He had a biome concept made ago involving floating rock islands suspended by giant lily pads.
Is there any gap in the flora being expected to be resources or just a decoration?
Sure, he’d love to have a wider variety of unique plants if he had more time. He will give more gameplay use and function to the existing decorative plants.
Which is his favorite biome and why?
“Hmm… this is like trying to name my favorite child. They all have their own personalities and aspects which make them special in some way. Safe Shallows is always going to have a special place in my heart, as it’s the first area we really developed out and I think it’s what people picture the most when thinking about Subnautica. It’s bright, peaceful, with a nice distribution of detail, and the interplay between the water surface and underwater areas is really nice.”
“My other favorite biome is definitely Lost River. It’s wonderfully creepy, with the poisonous brine pools, which are an actual real world phenomena, creating a bizarre water under the water look, out of which protrude the skeletons of ancient, massive creatures. It is one of the biggest biomes and probably has the most unique assets of any, so it really has a lot of detail and variation throughout.”
Hope you enjoyed!
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Subnautica Concept Art: Lava Zone 2
Welcome back to the Subnautica blog – It is time for a special piece of Cory’s concept art, Lava Zone 2. Here it is accompanied by Simon’s latest addition to the Subnautica Soundtrack, Precipice:
When ideas for Subnautica began percolating in Charlie’s head, a few principles came to the fore. One was that Subnautica would not be a game centered around combat, killing or violence. Instead, the game was to encourage exploration, care in interactions with the environment, and the passing of obstacles through other methods than the application of overwhelming force.
Detail of one of the creatures in Lava Zone 2
The scene in Lava Zone 2 is therefore not one of combat. Though the creatures appear threatening, and the player in the bipedal suit appears well equipped to defend themselves, this is a scene of nuanced play. Perhaps these creatures will defend this area, unless distracted by an environmental interaction elsewhere. Perhaps killing them destabilises the food chain of the surrounding biome, causing smaller lifeforms essential to player survival to die out.
Detail of the player suit in Lava Zone 2
The suit itself is quite a different vehicle to those we have presented in concept so far. In early prototypes, we have experimented with this suit as an alternative way of traversing the ocean floor. Perhaps it will be the vehicle of choice for navigating very tight, perilous environments like this lava chasm, where unpredictable currents and forceful lava eruptions could send a submersible crashing into the rock walls.
Download as wallpaper: Small | Medium | Large
The environment in Lava Zone 2 also presents us with interesting questions: Are we able to proceduraly generate these kinds of complex geological formations? What proportion will need to be hand made, and how will those portions transition to procedural pieces? To what degree will lava flows add to the environment dynamically? Questions, questions…
Each week in December and January, we will release a new piece of concept art, and discuss that piece’s implication for Subnautica gameplay. You can chat to Charlie about gameplay, Steve about tech, and Cory about art on Twitter any time! See more concept art here.
Subnautica Concept Art: Kelp Forest
Here on Earth, the underwater realm is rich in life and mystery. Only a small proportion of the planet’s oceans have ever been explored, and it is thought that hundreds of thousands of species are yet to be discovered. If such biodiversity is present on our own world, then just image then wealth of life that could exist on unknown ones: Worlds like that which you will explore in Subnautica.
The image above is Kelp Forest. Painted by Cory, Kelp Forest represents an environment vaguely reminiscent of what a diver might see on Earth, but with unmistakably alien features. Thin anchor stalks lead to rich foliage-like structures just below the surface, creating an underwater forest through which a player will weave.
Cory (left), Charlie, and Steve (right) discuss possible Subnautica environments
Diverse environments are one of Charlie’s key design elements. Two weeks ago we revealed Lava Zone, a concept resplendent in reds , yellows, and oranges. Kelp Forest represents an utterly different gameplay experience, and we hope that players will be able to explore many more environments. Creating believable and immersive transitions between environments has been a key technical challenge that Steve has been considering recently.
Animation bones overlaid upon an early Kelp forest model
The presence of two divers implies a desire for multiplayer. While it is our dream that Subnautica will one day feature multiplayer capabilities, we are determined to release a great game in a reasonable amount of time. This determination means sacrificing features that while undoubtedly cool, are perhaps not totally critical to the core gameplay experience. Some day, you might swim through the Kelp Forest with a friend at your side!
Download as wallpaper: Large | Medium | Small
Right now, Unknown Worlds is on Christmas / New Year break. Just before we all scattered for a few days rest, we created our eighth prototype ‘build.’ It featured our first attempt at creating the Lava Zone environment in-game. While it is far from being ready for a public showing, it was exciting for us to be dodging steam vents, watching pillow lava grow, and navigating around volcanic structures. One day soon, we hope that Kelp Forest will make it into a prototype build. From red, to green, to what next?
Each week in December and January, we will release a new piece of concept art, and discuss that piece’s implication for Subnautica gameplay. You can chat to Charlie about gameplay, Steve about tech, and Cory about art on Twitter any time! See more concept art here.
The Crew of Subnautica - Subnautica
A ship is only as strong as her crew. She may have the most accurate navigation equipment, the most powerful engines, the strongest hull: None of it is of any use if her crew does not do right by her. Subnautica is being developed by a small team. What it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in experience, determination, and energy. During development, this team will grow slightly, and we will update this post as it does.
Steve, Charlie, Brian & Cory review a test render of ‘Control Room’ concept art
Charlie (Flayra) is our leader, taking on the role of game director and lead gameplay programmer. He brought the idea of Subnautica to Unknown Worlds, and has inspired us to work on it. He is responsible for designing the gameplay and mechanics that we hope will have you all hooked. At his side is Steve (SteveRock), who is the technical lead for the project. Steve is in charge of creating the structure in which the gameplay and art of Subnautica can flourish: From efficient and beautiful rendering, to procedural world generation, water physics and everything in between.
Steve tweaking rendering of early in-game assets
The look and style of Subnautica is being created by Cory (Squeal Like a Pig), as art director. Cory’s keen eye and steady drawing hand form the basis for the look and feel of the vehicles, environments, creatures, characters, and equipment of this underwater world. You can see Cory’s concept art gracing the Subnautica blog and social media posts. To turn Cory’s visions into a living, breathing gameplay world, a team of artists has formed:
Charlie and Steve brainstorming gameplay mechanics
Brian (Chops) is the technical artist, the funnel through which all art passes to get into the game. Colin is lead animator, creating rigs, skinning bones, and making cycles. He is supported by animators Brandt, Scott (Obraxis), and Alex. Scott is also leads the volunteer Subnautica playtest group. Pat is helping to create the large volumes of concept art needed to flesh out the Subnautica world. Sergey leads the modelling and texturing of game assets, with support from Fox3D artists, including Yuri. The effects that bring the Subnautica environment to life are being created by Sylvain. Amanda is creating logos, icons, and web assets (including the design of this page!).
Cory draws on reference images to help him compete a volcanic environment concept
Hugh (Strayan) is Subnautica’s producer, allocating resources and cajoling everyone towards milestones, feature sets, and build schedules. Simon (Sy1k1) is using his brilliant audio engineering skills to create gameplay sounds and music. Lukas (AceDude) is in charge of all web development, including feedback systems, player accounts, and the very website you are reading this post on.
Cory, Brian and Steve discuss possible vehicle mechanics
Together, this crew spans the globe: From the United States, to Australia, France, Thailand, Poland, Estonia, the United Kingdom and more. At every moment, of every hour, of every day – Someone, somewhere is working on Subnautica. Please chat with us on Twitter, the forums, and anywhere else you can find us. As this game takes shape, we hope that you will all become part of the team, creating an unforgettable underwater gaming experience.
Read more Subnautica posts: Blog Welcome | Descend into the Depths