Dev Blog Ep. 03: The Cat Bus
By Tore Blystad, Creative Director
Question: What to do when your mech is at the shop?
Answer: You take the bus!
Are we adding drivable vehicles to Nyan Heroes? No! However, we are building a cyberpunk city which needs infrastructure and believable layouts, and of course vehicles are a part of that ecosystem. Also, what would the mechs hide behind in the exposed streets? 😊
We started working with an external concept artist specializing in weapon and vehicle design. We were pitching the vehicles as a similar technology paradigm as we have today — gas powered cars are the main transport method, but we also have electric vehicles on the high end of the spectrum, and diesel-powered trains and crude oil powered ships on the low end of technology.
Similarly, we want Nyan vehicles to straddle a spectrum of technology and usage. We want them to be flying, because who doesn’t want flying cars in a future world?
The first explorations were just a collection of loose ideas to gauge what would stick. Inspired by the glass domes of the mech designs, many of the vehicles got that glass dome as well which made them look like deep sea vessels.
We gravitated towards a retro-futuristic bus design and decided to move forward with that and we immediately labeled it the “Cat Bus” as reference to one of our all-time favorite movies. IYKYK :)
The first rendering of the Cat Bus looked like something out of Robocop — for the roughest neighborhoods in a future dystopia. But this is all part of how concept art works — you go in a direction and redirect as needed. Honestly it is hard to predict all the considerations needed ahead of time, but hindsight is 20/20 — we want a world that is futuristic, inhabited by cats, is believable, fun to play and explore in, and somewhere players would enjoy being in.
The second rendering hit the nail on the head — it’s quirky, funny, retro-futuristic and even has a subtle Cat-like “Face”. I love the low-tech undercarriage of the bus. It is in line with the old fashioned school buses here in the US, combined with a more refined Japanese vehicle design of the upper part of the bus, and some fun hover-tech.
We even added an exhaust pipe that looks like a tail and proposed that in honor of the classic Nyan Cat video, we should make rainbow colored exhaust fumes. That remains to be decided… what do you think? 😊
The art team then took it over and started to break down the asset. The game is made for Unreal 5 and we want to utilize Nanite, a new super high resolution modelling technology that is still in its early stages. It has been showcased in multiple Epic videos, but so far, no game has shipped with that resolution. It’s a different way to build the assets, so there is a lot of research in the industry about how to use this new tech in the best possible way. For Nanite, the artists start with a Low Resolution 3D mesh and afterwards work out a high resolution version.
The final result
As a former 3D artist and a lover of CG art, it is amazing to see the result of the Nanite development! Look at the shapes and smoothness of the geometry! This would have been impossible to create in the previous generations of game engines.
The Cat Bus is a proof of concept of the new Nanite workflow we’ll be using on Nyan Heroes. Time estimates and documentation will be used to create further game assets in the future, which we will share soon. If you are interested in knowing more about the nuts and bolts, feel free to reach out!
Until next time,