The overmind

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kharnov
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The overmind

Postby kharnov » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:19 am UTC

Today, I'll be going over the evolution of the overmind over the years.

ImageThe overmind, in its many incarnations over the years
For those on the alien team, there is no structure more important than the overmind. Without it, the granger is incapable of building structures, and all base defenses cease to function. Naturally, taking it out is the primary goal of a human assault on the alien base, and as a result of this, the overmind is best kept guarded in a safe place. While it can take the most damage out of everything on the alien team and is capable of regenerating itself over time, it lacks any long-distance means of defending itself, as it is limited to close-range swipes of its limbs. Thus, the human attacker would do best to keep his distance while assaulting it.

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This was the very first overmind, from the earliest days of Tremulous. Roughly, I would date this to the early 2000s, some time before the 1.1 release. Back then, the modeler seemed to have an entirely different concept in mind, considering that unlike its immediate successor, it had some form of head. Had the Tremulous developers stuck with this concept, some of the other alien structures might have been similarly anthropomorphized. Presumably, the overmind would have had some sort of voice, and it would explain why the Tremulous overmind had one in the standalone release. I wouldn't suggest thinking too much about what is going on below the torso, unless you'd like nightmares.

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Here is the Tremulous overmind, the one you might have experienced in both the 1.1 and GPP releases of the game. At the moment, it is also the placeholder that we are using. It would seem that after the pre-standalone days, the Tremulous developers decided to remove the monstrous upper body, instead replacing it with something quite different. The lower regions appear to be roughly the same as before. Overall, the texture on the model is quite simple, with the same dark blue throughout. You can date this to roughly 2006, the time of the first Tremulous standalone release.

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Our very first overmind model looked like this one, around late 2011. At the time, we weren't entirely sure what we planned on doing with the overmind, and clear influences can be seen from the previous rendition. The lower limbs are still present, and there is a tentacled region down below. Presumably, the circular extrusion above the tentacles would have turned into some sort of eye. The model never received much detail, since we had other priorities at the time. Ultimately, it was scrapped. We still have the model file somewhere, along with many other pre-alpha models that we decided not to use.

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Now we're at where we were last summer. Disregarding all previous concepts of the overmind, we made an entirely new one, and we've stuck to it ever since. Much like the rest of our alien structures, the overmind has its own face, to give the idea that all alien structures are their own separate organisms, unlike the rather undetailed buildings that Tremulous had. In this shot, you can see the lengthy tentacles, and the smaller ones at the base that were to function as the creep. We gave the overmind a mouth studded with sharp teeth, inspired by the rather terrifying mouth parts of lampreys. The eyes glow with hatred. Green pustules throb with malice.

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This was a progress shot from a few months ago, after we decided to alter some parts of our overmind based on feedback. The texturing job has been altered for a more uniform look. Rather than having a set of eyes, we decided on just two. Of course, the eyes are not actually visible in this shot, since we didn't add them just yet, but the red dots should let you know where they went. At the time, we were thinking of some creep-like covering on the overmind, and the tentacle arms were roughly the same length as they were before. The mouth has been altered to be even more terrifying than before, and the green pustules are gone.

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At last, we reach the final stage of the overmind. It's almost ready to be animated. This is, ultimately, where we've wanted to go all along. The glowing eyes are there, the mouth is the way we want it, the tentacles are shorter so that they can fit inside the bounding box and won't clip through walls as easily. Just as before, the brain portion is nice and veiny. We also have a new creep texture down below, and we've adapted it for usage on all our other models. Barring future adjustments, you will see this version of the overmind in a release in the near future. Around the same time, we'll show off the new egg, too.

See you all again next week! Also, make sure to indicate your interest in our planned development games in this thread. You can play games with the development team and other people in the community! They'll happen each Sunday at the times listed. Make sure to share your experiences in the thread.

Click here to read this article on the main site!
tuxator
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Re: The overmind

Postby tuxator » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:43 am UTC

I don't quite get why that thing has eyes...with that much of contact to the ground you'd think that it could sense the humans by vibrations on the ground caused by the stomping of human feed. Also it can't even move and the eyes are locked...either it'd need eyes all around or none at all. Aside from that, nice work!
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ViruS
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Re: The overmind

Postby ViruS » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

tuxator wrote:1.I don't quite get why that thing has eyes...with that much of contact to the ground you'd think that it could sense the humans by vibrations on the ground caused by the stomping of human feed. 2.Also it can't even move and the eyes are locked...either it'd need eyes all around or none at all. 3. Aside from that, nice work!


1. +1
2. +1
3. I'm still not so sure about the brainy stuff. I think i said this earlier, but it looks like as if the overmind won't be able to withstand the "touch" of a painsaw for more than a split second.
ImageImage[color="#000000"]You[/color][color="#FF0000"][[/color][color="#A9A9A9"]Tube[/color]Image
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seana11
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Re: The overmind

Postby seana11 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:54 pm UTC

ViruS wrote:1. +1
2. +1


Yes
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janev
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Re: The overmind

Postby janev » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:22 pm UTC

1. Irrelevant. "You don't need eyes because you can hear people coming" Wut kind of logic is this?
2. Who is to say it can't move or be moved. This sounds like a made up problem to fit with not liking the eyes.

About the not being able to be chainsawed bit... well it is supposed to be the nerve-center of the alien team. It is not a barricade. I think the brainy bits look bad ass.
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Kynes
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Re: The overmind

Postby Kynes » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:58 pm UTC

tuxator wrote:I don't quite get why that thing has eyes...with that much of contact to the ground you'd think that it could sense the humans by vibrations on the ground caused by the stomping of human feed. Also it can't even move and the eyes are locked...either it'd need eyes all around or none at all. Aside from that, nice work!


Many of the alien buildings have vestigial features like eyes and legs. This is a big part of the look that we wanted and fits in nicely with the lore that kharnov has written.
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RustyNaps
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Re: The overmind

Postby RustyNaps » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:13 am UTC

I don't like either one of these to be honest. Not because of logic but the way it looks. It just does not look threatening at all and the only models that I liked are the new Marine armor, all the marine weapons, Goon, Dretch, and Tyrant but the rest of the assets I despise. Like the acid tube, thanks to the new glowy shiney models I can't hide the damned thing anywhere anymore. Anyway back to the over mind.

The textures are well done, I like the dark and fleshy look given to it. It's just the way it is molded I do not like. It looks like an overgrown mutated Godzilla walnut with 2 puny worms sticking out of it. But hey that's just my opinion and this is your game so do whatever you guys want. Other than that everything your doing with this game is great. Keep up the work.

PS- Human taunt still sucks.
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Ishq
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Re: The overmind

Postby Ishq » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:48 am UTC

PPS: Check out the +rally command.
tuxator
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Re: The overmind

Postby tuxator » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:40 am UTC

janev wrote:1. Irrelevant. "You don't need eyes because you can hear people coming" Wut kind of logic is this?
2. Who is to say it can't move or be moved. This sounds like a made up problem to fit with not liking the eyes.

About the not being able to be chainsawed bit... well it is supposed to be the nerve-center of the alien team. It is not a barricade. I think the brainy bits look bad ass.


well, it's called evolution. Did you ever saw a tree with eyes? Or, if you want something that can cause harm to animals, have you ever seen a carnivorous plant with eyes? Yeah, me neither. Even if that thing at one point would've eyes, those eyes would give it no benefit in terms of evolution so, well maybe there are some (much like there are some people with more than 10 fingers) but the majority of overminds wouldn't have those and since we go for the average in a game, that thing should've no eyes.

2. Well it can't move in this game, it doesn't matter if it can be moved (a tree can be moved, too. Doesn't need eyes for that). And no that doesn't have anything to do with not liking the eyes. They just don't make sense, regardless of how you put it. Unvanquished wants to be a pseudo-realistic shooter, much like NS2 so it has to follow certain paths and one of those is to make those aliens more realistic. By putting eyes on something that doesn't need them it doesn't follow any of those paths.

And yes it _is_ the nerve center. Which is exactly why it doesn't need eyes. Hell, by the definition of it, it doesn't even need any senses since those need to be interpreted by the brain/nerve center. But since it has some limited selfe defense it also needs something to sense enemies. And the easiest way to sense someone is using vibrations on the ground (which many animals can sense, even humans, to a certain degree, do that. If someone stomps on the ground near you, you can sense that. There are animals which not only sense that but can also determine the exact position relative to their own of the center of the vibration). If the alien planet has flying creatures the overmind might as well have ultra-sonic detection (much like bats). I mean, that thing has a big surface.

But eyes? No, those are the least effective things to keep track of something and they need much interpretation and can be easily misled.

Also, as Virus (kind of) already said, someone should give that thing a helmet.
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KenuR
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Re: The overmind

Postby KenuR » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:05 am UTC

tuxator wrote:Did you ever saw a tree with eyes? Or, if you want something that can cause harm to animals, have you ever seen a carnivorous plant with eyes?


Yes to both.

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