Sinister Plot: Dev thread(screens/vids/etc)

Hello again my fellow GE aficionados!

Some of you may have seen the debut of Cognitive’s next game project on the Game Expose, but here we plan on sharing more screenshots, more info, and a few videos…and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll get off my ass once and awhile and actually update this as we progress during development.:wink:

Firstly, I’ll share the viewables…(click to enlarge)
(Main Character)
(Level Design)
(Main Menu) | (Concept Screen Shot)

Face Animation Test(really rough, quick example)
Level Design Preview(exterior)
Main Menu Preview
(we plan on putting up some gameplay videos soon as well, which showcase the movement system, and the AI(once it’s finished))

So, what is Sinister Plot you ask?

PlantPerson asked me this very question when interviewing me for the Game Expose, and since my responce to him is already a well written description of the game, I’ll go ahead and post it here as well…

Sinister Plot is a 3rd person shooting game with elements of interactive story-telling. Visually, it is being developed to look like an interactive graphic novel(comic book). We’ve developed special modified toon shaders, overlay effects, and stylized texture-work to form the basis of the visual style. However, we’re going deeper than that, by also creating the game to actually play as if you were walking through an actual comic. The game will look like it is being played directly on a physical comic book…pages flip, our hero moves from panal to panal, etc. Gameplay-wise, we are designing the game to be very intuitive and easy to control, while at the same time giving the player gun battles which are challenging and strategic. Story-telling also plays a big role in the game…we aim to tell a story which is really compelling, and we may even allow the player to affect the outcome of the story through their actions.

Sinister Plot will also be a continuing story. This will allow us to make the first episode of the game in a relatively short amount of time(since there will only be about 2-3 hours of gameplay per episode), and it will also alow us to create new episodes very quickly, since all of the base gameplay systems and visual content would already be in-place after this first episode.

We’ve been working on this project for about 2.5 months now, and we’ve actually gotten quite a bit done since then. Right now the game is about 30% done, and it will probably be finished sometime near the end of the year, maybe in November. On a side note, we have not abandoned Organica…it’s just been moved to a back-burner for a few months while we take a break and work on a smaller project.:wink:

Also, with this project, we plan on being a bit more open when it comes to sharing some of the details of our on-going development. Case-in-point, our full task list, free for viewing. We’ll be updating this along with the development thread, so if any of you are interested, you can keep up with the specifics of how work is progressing with the project. Also, most importantly, if you see a task on the list which hasnt already been claimed, any of you are more than welcome to help us out with it!(just PM me if you want to contribute anything).

Well, I think thats enough typing for one night.:wink: We’ll keep the thread updated as we progress…In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Any critique/comments/questions about any of the work so far? And again, we could always use any help with the project, whether you would like to contribute something on the task list, or if you would like to officially join the team and have a say in the game’s direction…just PM me if you’re interested…

That about does it for now…until the next update…

[Side Note: Although you’ll see our URL in the screenshots, keep in mind that our website is still outdated…we plan on updating it soon enough…]

Looks awesome guys! You’ve pulled off the stylized effect very well!

I like the new interior scenes! I can’t wait to play this game…it looks so cool!

wow looks very cool… how have you changed the GLSL toon shaders? Can you get a texture to map to screen co-ordinates for the lithograph screen print dots? Can wait to give it try. thanks for the post.

wow! videos are great!
this is certainly a big game project, nice to see all that work done in such short period of time!

Great style! Keep it up. Looks like a mix between “13” and Frank Miller’s Sin city, this sort of “Pulp” look/style.

Sadly the link for tasks is not working, we need to copy and paste and it links to a jpeg image. :S

Fantastic looking screens, some of the best looking BGE artwork ive seen to date. The lighting is particularly impressive.

I think your site might be down (or maybe it’s just my computer…?)- nothing is loading (none of the images or videos, or the root site when I tried it)

from what I’ve seen in the game expose, it looks fantastic.

Thanks for the positive feedback everyone!!:smiley:

I, and everyone else on the team really appreciates it! Keeps us motivated.:wink:

We used this cell-shading script as a base…

# Basic Cel Shader
# Piran Tremethick 06/2007

import GameLogic
objects = GameLogic.getCurrentScene().getObjectList()

ShaderObjects = [objects["OBSuzanne"]]
MaterialIndexList = [ 0,1 ]

VertexShader = """

varying vec3 vLight;
varying vec4 vDiff;
varying vec4 vView;
varying vec3 vNormal;
varying vec4 vMat;

void main()
    vec3 vtx =(gl_ModelViewMatrix * gl_Vertex).xyz;
    vLight = (gl_LightSource[0].position).xyz - vtx;

    vView = gl_Vertex - gl_ModelViewMatrix[3];

    vNormal = gl_NormalMatrix * gl_Normal;
    vMat = gl_Color * gl_LightSource[0].diffuse;
    gl_Position = ftransform();

FragmentShader = """

varying vec3 vLight;
varying vec4 vDiff;
varying vec4 vView;
varying vec3 vNormal;
varying vec4 vMat;

uniform vec4 vWidths;

void main(){
    vec3 vNorm = normalize(vNormal);
    vec4 vColour = vMat;

    vec3 vViewN = normalize(;
    float ndotv = dot(vNorm, vViewN);
    vec3 vLightN = normalize(vLight);
    float ndotl = dot(vNorm, vLightN);
    if ( ndotl < vWidths.x )
        vColour *= 0.75;
    if ( ndotl < vWidths.y )
        vColour *= 0.5;
    if ( ndotl < vWidths.z )
        vColour *= 0.5;
    if ( ndotv < vWidths.w ) 
        vColour *= 0.0;
    gl_FragColor = vColour;

def MainLoop ():
    # for each object
    for obj in ShaderObjects:

        mesh_index = 0
        mesh = obj.getMesh(mesh_index)

        while mesh != None:

            for mat in mesh.materials:
                # regular TexFace materials do NOT have this function
                if not hasattr(mat, "getMaterialIndex"):
                mat_index = mat.getMaterialIndex()

                # find an index                
                found = 0
                for i in range(len(MaterialIndexList)):
                    if mat_index == MaterialIndexList[i]:
                if not found: continue

                shader = mat.getShader()
                if not shader.isValid():

                    shader.setSource(VertexShader, FragmentShader,1)
                    shader.setUniform4f('vWidths', obj.Cel1, obj.Cel2, obj.Cel3, obj.LineWidth)

            mesh_index += 1
            mesh = obj.getMesh(mesh_index)

# -------------------------------------
# -------------------------------------

This was created by Piraniac awhile back…it is essentially a cell shader with a simple outline feature. From this, I modified the script for our game…changed around some parameters to achieve the stark contrasted look, and I also added in some small extra features into the script.

Can you get a texture to map to screen co-ordinates for the lithograph screen print dots?

What exactly do you mean? Right now, the print-dots are just a series of simple overlays…

Yea, we’ve been heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s work. We’ve tried to achieve a similar ambiance and dramatic mood for our game with the stark contrast and low color saturation(with a few splotches of color here and there, for instance the blood is still red when you shoot baddies). But at the same time, we’ve tried to keep our concept original, we didnt want to completely rip-off Sin City…

I think your site might be down

Damn, your right…server must be down. We’ve been having some small issues with the server lately, but its nothing major…everything should be back online within a few hours, a day at the most.

Sadly the link for tasks is not working

Really? Hrm…could have been a typo on my part. I’ll fix this whenever the server gets back online.

Anyways, thanks again for all of the positive comments guys! We hope to make this game a great experience in the end!

Hey guys, the server is back online now…all the pics and everything should be displaying.

@Thorgal: I checked it again, and the link to the task list should be working now as well…

:)Woah, you’re beginning to surprise me over and over again.

I loved both the concept design for dogfights, Organica, and now this.

Everything looks great thus far. :rolleyes:Just wish I had more time to create larger games like this.

Jason Lin

Would you guys at Cognitive please finish a game so we can play it?

Nice work BTW.

thanks for answering my question. looks cool with overlays… what I meant was you can have a texture mapped over your object so the texture map is always facing the camera. would be a cool way of doing the dots. Was curious if you managed that with GLSL but overlays are jus as cool. Can’t wait to demo it

Great style!

very impressive! keep it up!

Very impressive! I like the looks of it, it is actually something different in comparison to most commercial games!

I can’t wait for a demo, some very cool level design too!

Hey, thanks alot!:yes:

Yea, they are quite complex when compared to most indie-games, but games like these are completely within the realms of possibilities for almost anyone as long as you have the motivation and a little help. Actually, Dogfights and SP are relatively small projects when compared to most commercial titles…I mean, Dogfights is really just a few plane models, some special effects, and a fairly simple game mechanic. Sinister Plot has more design than Dogfights, but still has a relatively simple game mechanic(basically just AI + character control + event handling + optimization(sector culling, etc) + polish(menus, effects)).

Heh, actually whether you realize it or not, you actually had a hand in creating these projects. Without the help from you and Andy I would have probably never learned python/coding so quickly…

Hah!! Good idea, I’ll look into it.:stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, Dogfights is essentially done at this point. All thats left is some various post-production stuff…it should be released sometime later this year. We’re on track to finish Sinister Plot fairly soon as well…probably within the next 2-3 months. It should be released this winter. Mayber Jan/Feb, Dec. if we’re lucky. Organica on the other hand is up in the air…not really sure when it might be finished.

Hey, cool idea! I’m satisfied with the overlays, but I’ll keep that in mind if I might want to change it later…

@ OTO, venar303, facemania: Hey, thanks alot for the positive feedback!:yes:

Looks like “A-level” work, keep it up guys.

Keep an eye out on that “back-burner”. Don’t let a lot of things pile up, because (given enough time) they tend to spontaneously combust -> to ashes. :wink:

Thanks for the comment Social! Much appreciated.:wink:

Keep an eye out on that “back-burner”. Don’t let a lot of things pile up, because (given enough time) they tend to spontaneously combust -> to ashes. :wink:

hehe, oh yea, indeed. Though, we tend to switch back and forth to different projects because (so far), it has been really positive creatively…for me and the whole team. I dunno, we tend to get slightly bored working on the same project for more than a few months, and after, say, 3-4 months, any project usually starts to get really stagnant. So, a little variety keeps us pretty-well motivated.

But you are right, we should keep that all in check…dont wanna end up with 12 running projects by next summer I suppose.:stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe you should reduce this development list… this challenge looks very hard dudes! :eek:

In my opinion, “Dogfights” rulez. Very solid gameplay, stile, nice menu, very simple, complete concept.

Good luck! All the best for this team.

PS: I noticed that you are using Piraniac’s toon shader. Did you noticed Mico27’s work? His setup is simpler but you have the impression of an outline. Maybe it is easier to implement inside a larger game. And this guy is from Canada. :wink:

PS II: Please check out your hotmail box (blenderman).