Dev Blog

Dev Blog #6: Sabrina & Martin

It's been a long week here in Montreal. The snow is piling up, to the point where, apparently, we've run out of places to put the snow (did you know they just... scoop it up and move it? Seems pretty inefficient). But there's light at the end of the winter tunnel. The days are getting longer, slowly, and it might be cold, but that means it's the perfect temperature to eat poutine. 

It's like that when you're working on a game - it can seem like you're endlessly fixing bugs, tweaking animations and deleting line after line of dialogue, especially when you start rapidly approaching the release date - but then, the game is released, and you get to see the happiness of everyone playing. It's like the first flower poking through the snow, and the spring melt that brings life back to the world.

This week's featured Epsilon devs have been in the industry a long time. They know all about what it's like to have that seasonal swing from darkness to light, from coldness to heat - also because they live in Montreal, a city that swings from winter to summer harder than any other.

Sabrina writes the story and the dialogues for Primus Vita, as well as being the director. This week, she's working on cinematics, which means drawing up storyboards for how she pictures the scenarios, which will later be created by the artists, animators and programmers. She's also working on the final script, because the voice actors will be recording next week - and after that, it's a lot harder to make changes!

"Before Epsilon," Sabrina says, "I worked in games for 10+ years and before that, I directed documentaries, corporate videos and TV shows." She's a Quebec native, which means her first language is French - but all the dialogue and writing for Primus Vita is done in English. "Writing in English is the hardest thing about the process," she admits, but it's hard to tell!

"Starting Epsilon Games is the highlight of my career," Sabrina says. She speaks about the characters of Primus Vita as if they're old friends, saying that "getting to know them" is the key to writing each of the episodes. "I want each of them to have a unique voice," she says. "I'm most like Hayao - I like poetry a lot, and most of the time, he doesn't say things straight away, he uses metaphors and analyses a lot."

Martin Paradis, the Technical Director and Lead Programmer at Epsilon, agrees at first. "Hayao is a cerebral guy," he says, comparing himself to the botanist, "and I tend to see myself as cerebral... but maybe I'm more like Austin." Before coming to Epsilon, which he says was the "best moment of his career," Martin was working at Unity and Ubisoft, working on tools that helped the creatives on the team picture what scenarios would look like.

"My next big task is working on graphics - I'm rewriting and finishing a shader for the reveal, so there's more of an effect." Martin works closely with the artists like Nancy, helping them with their ideas. "Sometimes Nancy comes up with an idea and she shows me references, and asks, 'can we do that?'" It's Martin's job to say yes!

"When art falls into the technical world, I'm usually summoned," he admits. "In my career I was tagged as a generalist programmer - I worked on many sides of the game. Sounds, graphics, a little bit of gameplay. Every experience that I've had in my career, all the things I've learned, helps me here."

Martin's one piece of advice - other than being a great generalist - is to leave your comfort zone. "If you want to stay on programming," he says, "learn more than one language!"

"We walk into a unknown land, Martin says of Primus Vita. "It is very exciting, and rewarding." Sabrina agrees. "It’s exhilarating, full of unknowns, and one of the best opportunities to learn I’ve ever had."




Dev Blog #2: What's Going On?

We're working suuuuper hard this week, polishing up the Primus Vita demo, setting up for events, setting up for our Kickstarter, presenting our demo to the Montreal game developer community at La Guilde and getting things ready for our demo to go up on Steam this weekend!

What are we doing, then? We're doing a second pass on UI, because we felt like it was flat - a 2D layer of text and images over a beautiful 3D environment, set in the future? No way! It just doesn't fit with the game as a whole, so we want to design something more immersive. 

We're also working on our 3D character art. So far we only have Artemis and Coby in 3D, but we're working on getting Austin, the star of our first episode, modelled in 3D as well. Here are some screenshots - don't worry, her head will definitely be on her body in the game!


And on the lighter side of things, we're also doing a space-themed tournament on Twitter - what's the best sci-fi TV show about space and/or aliens? Will it be Star Trek? Firefly? Battlestar Galactica? Vote now!

So keep looking out for more updates on our demo and our Kickstarter in the coming weeks. Have a good weekend!

Dev Blog #1: Lights, camera, demo


Welcome to the world of Primus Vita. We've been working on the game for a few months now, and we're working towards something exciting that we'll be able to tell you about really soon!

In the meantime, please check out our Twitter and Facebook pages to stay on top of all our announcements, our news, and our screenshot Saturdays!

This week we're working on something TOP SECRET, but it involves coming into the office at 7am tomorrow...

...and we're also working on a new version of the demo, which we'll be playtesting this Thursday at Montreal's GamePlaySpace! Here's the Facebook event page if you want to know more details - we'd love to see you there, and you'll get to be one of the first to play Primus Vita's new demo!

Here's a screenshot from the demo, with all-new lighting that we hope makes this scene POP!

The Puzzle Room from Primus Vita demo 1.5

The Puzzle Room from Primus Vita demo 1.5