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DT: Clan Amberstone

Hey everyone, welcome to another Stonehearth Desktop Tuesday! Given all our recently added new features, every engineer on our team is going hard on fixing all the bugs you’ve found, plus working in general on performance and lag. Artist Allie and Artist Malley, however, are looking ahead a bit at some upcoming content we know you’ve all been waiting for: The Rabbit Clan.

Clan Amberstone

Recap from the video:

In my last Desktop Tuesday about the Rabbit Clan, which was on October 27th, 2015, I mentioned that we’d just moved to a new office and were super tired. As a result, Studio Lead Tom rewarded himself with a day working on the rabbits because they are a feature that we save, like dessert, for special occasions. Well, now that it’s 2.5 years later and we’re engine complete, it’s time to start eating dessert! Here’s an early look at where we’re at.

We first mentioned The Rabbit Faction in our Kickstarter 5 years ago now, as “An ancient race of honorable, subterranean lagomorphs. Your potential allies.” Tom made some sketches of a rabbit scholar and a rabbit warrior, which now appear as loading screens. A little while ago, when Designer Luke started to wonder about how to work the rabbits into the game in the form of a campaign, Allie picked these sketches back up with an eye to exploring more about rabbit culture–what their civilization was once like a long time ago, when they roamed freely throughout all of Hearth, and what it’s like now that they live primarily underground.

For example, what kind of tech do Rabbits use? Well, Rabbits still need light to see, for example, so this explorer has a giant shiny crystal on their walking stick. What do rabbits eat? This one has a giant carrot in their pack, but carrots don’t grow great without sun, so this rabbit is harvesting mushrooms. Inspired by the samurai flavor of Tom’s original art, she also put together a pin board of inspirations and did some associated sketches for what their furniture and decor might be like. Though we’re not going to pursue all of these options, I am personally a huge fan of this sketch of the giant carrots going into a hotpot so big you need a ladder to throw stuff in.

Then it was on to the rabbits themselves! Between the time when Tom first animated the rabbits and now, Malley had made a number of changes and improvements to the hearthling rig. In order to benefit from these, and to animate their ears, we realized the rabbits would need a new rig as well, which meant it was a good opportunity to re-evaluate their models and figure out what they should look like: Squat and beefy? Tall and elfen? Soft and fluffy? Should they all be brown like the little rabbits or have body patterns? In the end, we decided on short and fluffy, with a palette that drew from pastel japanese prints. The pink one was an experiment, similar to the weaver’s pink plushie rabbit, but we liked it so much we decided to keep it.

While Malley started animating, Allie realized that the buns, even Tom’s buns, weren’t wearing clothing. At first, we tried to stuff them into hearthling outfits, but their fluffier proportions made that super difficult–their tummies kept pooching out of the outfits. Allie then made concepts for potential rabbit outfits, understanding that they’d probably have a subset of the classes that hearthlings have.

You can see the near-final versions here, in Malley’s rabbit animation test. The buns in the hoods are archers, and the rest are workers. They have a new rig, to account for ear movement, but they also have modified versions of all the hearthlng animations, so they can someday participate in town activities.

The last thing they needed was a name. Morgan suggested Clan Amberstone, to reflect their long isolation underground, and the fact that the many challenges they’ve endured there have made them strong, as well as beautiful and rare. Once we get them into a campaign as a friendly faction, we look forward to seeing the stories that come out of your interactions with them!

Other Announcements

On account of me traveling for work, there will not be a Desktop Tuesday next week. As the majority of the team is working on performance, and will be for a while, there isn’t too much to show in a video anyway. Desktop Tuesday will return on Tuesday, 5/29. In the meantime, streams should continue as usual at 6:00pm PST on Thursdays. See you there!