Thursday, May 12, 2011

We're looking for artists

Distant Souls is in the need of artistic talents to join our team so we can speed up development. Note these aren't paid positions for the moment (based on royalties).

Talent needed:

We're looking for at least one modeller, one texture artist, and one animator. Doesn't have to be 3 different people. If you can do all that stuff, that's great.
Be sure to read our Art Guidelines to know what kind of work is needed.

3D Modeler:

  • Excellent character modeling skills
  • Proficient creating low poly medieval, ancient, or arabian buildings
  • Creative, independent, motivated, disciplined. Able to follow art direction guidelines, as well as technical requirements.
  • Environmental art skills are a big plus (debris, ruble, pottery, boxes, leaves, straw, modeling of small items in general)

  • Able to make complex character animations. Candidate will deal with at least 28 different animations (main characters).
  • Able to make looped animations
  • Animations include idle, walk, run, jump, jump forward, attack, etc.
  • Animate both centered to the engine as well as animating (see Guidelines)
  • Facial animation skills is a plus ("pose"/"shape"/"vertex" key animations)
  • Experience with game engines is a plus
  • Candidate may be required to constantly interact between the animating tool and the game engine for tweaking.

Texture artist:
  • Able to follow technical specs (Resolution, formats)
  • Work will consist in creating Diffuse maps, normal maps, and occasionally specular maps.
  • Proficient creating normal maps. Knowledge of different creation techniques (non-exclusive)
  • Able to tile textures when required (non-exclusive)

The following are desired in candidates, but not exclusive:
  • Blender experience is a plus
  • Lua script knowledge is a plus

Currently all existing models (which aren't many) already have their animations. Therefore animator skills won't be used until the modeller finishes some of his/her models.
Nevertheless you can contact us if you're interested; we have a base model (natively modeled in Blender) with all working and tested animations, which can be used as a template or reference. You may want to try & experiment with it before getting into the real thing, and get to know how the animations can be customized inside the engine, etc.
We have a few building models which aren't textured yet, so that can start immediately.

All members may eventually need to use an SVN client (We recommend TortoiseSVN for Windows users).

Those interested send us an email at the address contact, containing a portfolio or previous works (i.e. a link to a website, CgSociety portfolio, deviantart account is fine) and expected profit percentage share.


Percentage based on profits. Profit sharing will be determined upfront, determined by this contract (draft). The intention/purpose of the contract is to avoid any misunderstanding, presented we're actually serious in getting the project finished, maintaining certain level of professionalism within the team. This is an indie game based on revenue sharing, therefore there is no point in keeping a draft of the contract terms secret.

Target system: PC, Windows only

Currently used technologies include:

  • C++, Visual Studio Express 2008
  • Ogre 1.8
  • Havok 7.10
  • Lua
  • OpenAL
  • Cg, Ogg Vorbis, libnoise, OIS, tolua++
  • Blender, GIMP
  • SVN, Tortoise SVN
  • Asio (networking)


Skype: dark_sylinc

e-mail: dark_sylinc [at] yahoo dot com dot ar

Regular contact will be done through Skype. Once a week a Skype season will be made to keep everyone on track. It's not demanded since the position isn't paid (not until we see revenue), but it will be a regular practice.


Why should I join Distant Souls team? You would get to work with some really dedicated people and have fun developing this game. It would look good on a resume. You would also gain a lot of experience about game development along the way.

Why making Distant Souls? We encourage breakage into the gaming industry. Hopefully Distant Souls will be a successfull indie game; making it a way for it's team members to get recognition and money.
Shall it fail, you gain a lot of experience by working in real, serious project, and you still retain ownership from all the work you did for us, which you can reuse. If you ever leave the team, you won't have the feeling of having wasted your time.
There's one more reason: We do this because it's FUN! We're passionate all at what we do.

If I were to want to join Distant Souls how would I go about doing so? Do I need a portfolio or something? Yes, we're looking for talented people for making this game. You don't have to be an experienced AAA developer, but we're not looking for newbies either. We would mostly want a link to your portfolio and previous works. Best way to contact us is by sending us an email.

The skill requirements and the contract look very strict, that's scaring me off! The required skills is a list of the ideal candidate. Like in regular job applications, you don't have to meet all the criteria. If you think you're up to it or you're confident about skills, you should contact us. The contract looks strict so that it can carefully cover most common issues when dealing with joint efforts once we start with profit sharing, legal stuff always looks like that. It's also a way of showing we've been thinking of it and we are serious about finishing the game, selling it, and making a revenue from it. If you see a team without an agreement of how the revenue will be split, they've started with the wrong foot.

But the contract says words like “Obligation”, and we need to stay in touch at least once once per week? Am I becoming your slave?? No, not at all! This is a volunteer work, therefore you're not forced to anything. We all have lives and some of us may only be dedicating to this in our spare time. The contract says “obligation” because it's the clause where it states you're committing to apply your talent, and in exchange, you will be rewarded with profit share. If you don't apply your talent (you don't fulfill your “obligation”), you will get less (or none if you didn't contribute at all) profit share; that's all.

What happens with my works in this team, why does it say “you grant me your rights to... blah blah”? Looks like you're ripping me off. Unlike many other projects, you retain whole ownership of what you create for Distant Souls. You can for example reuse or resell your work for whatever you want, even for another completely different game. The contract makes you grant us lots of rights over your work so that we can commercially exploit it and give your profit share without having to ask for your permission every time. Besides, we cannot use those assets if it's not for exploiting something related with Distant Souls (i.e. a sequel or spin-offs).

So, I can use my work freely? Yes. But beware of joint works. If you've made a 3D model, and someone else textured it, you only own the 3D model. If you've painted half of a texture, and someone else painted the other half (i.e. painted over it); it's joint ownership in which case you would need the other texture artist's permission to use the texture (and viceversa). This is falling out of the scope from Distant Souls.

I see you make a lot of use from Blender/GIMP, can I use my own programs (like Maya or Photoshop) instead? Absolutely, whatever makes you more productive and you feel more comfortable with. Some assets have been created with Blender, which makes it easier to use them as reference when in doubt when creating new ones; but even then, there are plenty of ways to import/export models between these applications.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Every story has a beginning...


Finally, after three months of intense work, I'm finally able to release something eye candy about the game.

But first let's make an introduction:

Distant Souls is a third-person, action-adventure game with gameplay mechanics and style which could be best described as in the middle between Assassin's Creed and Kingdom Hearts; playing in up to 3-member teams.
The story will put you in the body of 4 characters with tragic backgrounds in the pursuit of a dark being trying to take over the world. While the world is in a grim and sad state, the story will surround how people manages to overcome tragedies and find happiness, generosity and glimpses of humour.
The project started around beginning 2010 in my spare time spending no more than 3 hours a week, until it became full time in January this year through March. We are looking for some 3D modelers, because it's that time. Most of the code is finished at this stage.
I've been doing all by myself (art, coding, story) but study (I'm studying economics) has slowed me down and now I need talented individuals who can help me speeding up with the artistic side.
Hopefully, the game will reach beta by the end of the year.

Over the course of the development, I've been taking screenshots at different progression stages, which are now the ones posted below.

You may notice the game has always the same character. That's because I'm always testing with the same model, the only one so far. This should change now that all C++ code features have been locked. It's counterproductive to have many art assets while you're constantly changing the code.

These four are among my favourite screenshots. Lots of stuff is going on (HDR, Godrays, SSAO, Tree wind). Note all of them are in alpha stage, and may not represent the final quality of the finished game.

The test level where I try everything new. Loads in no time. In these photos water reflections were being tried out:

One of the first HDR tests, the overbloom is on purpose. Looks chilly:

These screenshots were taken to test the wind system that brings life to Distant Souls:

Clouds are generated procedurally using libnoise and custom shaders.

Clouds can also cast shadows.

First time basic particle FXs were tested

This is one of the latest levels. This is actually a mockup from the city of Jul Kaseem, which is the first city to be visited in the game. Still needs a lot of work.

One of the very, very, very early screenshot of the game. I still like to keep it because it looks cool, and gives that feeling the final game should preserve. Was very impressive by the stage the engine actually was. I didn't even have my own model, so I used the green ninja that comes with Ogre.

The engine uses or supports:
  • Ogre 1.8 for rendering
  • Havok 7.10 for Physics
  • Supports multiplayer, using Asio as library
  • Uses Lua 5.1 for scripting.
  • OpenAL for sound
  • Takes full advantage of multi-cores (dual core is highly recommended)
  • Seamless day/night transitions.
  • Cloud generation, real time cloud shadows
  • HDR, SSAO, Water Reflections & Refractions, Heat Blur, and more post processing effects.
  • Filmic tonemapping
  • Linear Gamma pipeline
  • Blender, GIMP, Arbaro
  • Ogg Vorbis, libnoise, OIS, tolua++

- dark_sylinc