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GradiusCancer
12-06-2005, 02:31 AM
Nano Legends is a platforming educational game about cellular biology and cancer awareness using the Nebula2 engine. It was developed by Commgraphics. Our target age group was junior high school kids, so we kept everything fun, but with a dark edge to grab their attention. Nano Legends has nine chapters with over twelve different monsters through twenty-eight platforming, shooting and/or driving areas. We had a great time developing this title, and hope to see in schools soon!

A little background info: myself and Chad Gleason (animator) came up with this game idea, and built a demo in the Serious Sam engine with the programming help of Michael Bickel. This took around three months to develop, and it had a few monsters, boss fight, player model, and a pretty huge level. We submitted our demo to the National Institute of Health (NIH), and it received their highest awards giving us a grant to create the full game. Eighteen months later we wrapped up the title, and it's current in it's final stages.

To all aspiring garage developers, it can happen! It was a dream to be able to design our own game, and we couldn't be happier with the final results. Thanks to everyone that helped us along the way!

All images are thumbnails

Level design, model, texture, and lighting by Chris Holden.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/nl01t.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/nl01.jpg)

Level design, model, texture, and lighting by Chris Holden. Additional texture by Barry Collins.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/nl02t.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/nl02.jpg)

Level design, model, texture, and lighting by Chris Holden. Ship texture by Barry Collins, background model by Chad Gleason.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/nl03t.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/nl03.jpg)

Concept by Douglas Shuler, model by Jon Jones, texture by Barry Collins.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/aerint.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/aerin.jpg)

Concept by Douglas Shuler, model by Jon Jones, texture by Barry Collins.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/beastt.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/beast.jpg)

Original concept by Chad Gleason, model by Jon Jones, texture by Brian Jones.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/chompyt.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/chompy.jpg)

Original concept by Chad Gleason, model by Jon Jones, texture by Brian Jones.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/crawlert.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/crawler.jpg)

Concept by Douglas Shuler, model by Jon Jones, texture by Barry Collins.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/speedbombt.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/speedbomb.jpg)

Concept by Douglas Shuler, model by Jon Jones, texture by Barry Collins.
http://chrisholden.net/nano/supervirust.jpg (http://chrisholden.net/nano/supervirus.jpg)


Developer Credits:

Chris Holden - Designer
Chad Gleason - Animator
Michael Bickel - Programmer
Douglas Shuler - Concept Artist
Jon Jones - Character Artist
Barry Collins - Texture Artist
Brian Jones - Texture Artist
Kochun Hu - Sound
Andrew Weldon - Writer

TelekineticFrog
12-06-2005, 02:39 AM
This all looks great! I'm sure after a long wait and all the work it feels good to finally get to show it off. The texture work is really nice and those concepts are pretty cool. Did the one grant cover all costs or where you still left with some to make up on this project. Also can and where would we be able to find this game?

TheRedemption
12-06-2005, 02:54 AM
hey! congrats on your successful venture! the art has a neat style and i hope it does well!

jfalconer
12-06-2005, 03:09 AM
That looks bloody awesome! Why didn't we have games like this when I was in school? It was all "mathmagician" and crap like that. Any chance there's a vic viper floating around in those levels, Chris? ;)

kirouac
12-06-2005, 03:20 AM
I'm wondering where will be the educational content ? but if i was 14 years old... i didn't ask taht question maybe instead of this one . can we play in Multiplayer??? :buttrock:

Very nice ambiance model and texture. Can we try the demo ?

I have already heard that name somewhere chris holden but i didn't remember where someone can refresh my memory ? He is famous ?

Nice work guys and u encourage me to continu to work hard in game developement! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: 2 thumbs up for ya guys !!!

Vood
12-06-2005, 03:42 AM
WOW guys :D:D:D

Jon's told me a lot about this game but I never got to actually see the artwork :D *drool*

Awesome concept art, awesome modeling, awesome textures that seem to fit the models perfectly!! Now that's teamwork! :thumbsup:

I like how the characters' teeth were softened from the concept sketches... seems more applicable to a children's/young adult target audience..


That lava level with the floating spires looks AWESOME!! i wanna play on it!! :cry:

again, amazing work guys! :bowdown:

Swizzle
12-06-2005, 03:59 AM
Those are some really cool designs, but I think this is the first time I can say that I like the actual textured models even better than the concept designs. Freaking awesome, man. Five stars, and I never rate threads.

Andrew Weldon
12-06-2005, 04:34 AM
I'm wondering where will be the educational content?

All in the story and dialogue, at least as much as possible. Tasks you complete in a level have actual counterparts in real cellular biology, for example, even though the world has a bit of a sci-fi edge. Keeps kids in the game and, hopefully, picking up information without even realizing they're learning ;)

AdamAtomic
12-06-2005, 05:10 AM
Awesome work you guys! Big congrats and much respect for finding such a creative and innovative way to work your garage magic, this is inspiring stuff!

GradiusCancer
12-06-2005, 05:17 AM
To add on what Andrew said, all the levels are designed to represent how parts of the cell might look on such a microscopic level. For example, the endoplasmic reticulum is long winding folds where proteins are transferred and converted in ribosomes for delivery to the golgi apparatus. For that chapter, the player much convert a protein picked up in the previous level, and drive through the endoplasmic reticulum making jumps, dodging obstacles, and avoiding carcinogens to transfer it to the golgi apparatus. Gameplay and look that could be compared to Jak 3 meets Metroid Prime with a setting and storyline that's right out of a science textbook.

At first, I thought doing an educational game might be kind of silly, but as we began testing and kids were retaining educational value it really started to mean something. To me, this game far outweighs all previous work I've done since it actually meant something instead of just some random story about people shooting each other.

Psyk0
12-06-2005, 05:20 AM
Simply brillant, congrats on a job well done. I remember the crappy animated series they showed us in bio class...i wish that game was around hehe ;)

Confracto
12-06-2005, 06:45 AM
awesome work!
the only thing that bothers me is that the main character seems to have lost all the curves and shape the concept had....a bit dissapointing.

Swizzle
12-06-2005, 07:07 AM
awesome work!
the only thing that bothers me is that the main character seems to have lost all the curves and shape the concept had....a bit dissapointing.I noticed that too, but decided that it was actually a good thing. I'm tired of seeing uber-sexified game characters. Besides, it's supposed to be educational, so you don't want the players staring at her rear the whole time thinking, "Oooohhhh yeeeaaahhh..."

fahr
12-06-2005, 07:15 AM
Aerin's character design (the main character) had to be toned down due to her being a bit overly sexual for the junior high audience (that obviously knows nothing about sex). ;)
In any case, in light of the fact that many girls would be playing this as well, we all agreed that we didnt want to cause controversy in the classroom and agreed to tone down her more racy attributes.

A bit of development trivia: The game originally started out as an FPS (on the serious sam engine, as was stated earlier). Very early in development Chris, Michael and I (that would be the whole team at the time) decided that this game may be more accessible as a mario-style platformer, (not to mention that it had been a dream of both Chris and I to develop one) and thus the switch was made. :)

For any budding garage developers, I can't recommend Nebula2 highly enough!! It's a powerful, flexible open source engine that offers a VERY robust set of development tools for Maya. I think Michael (our programmer) would probably still be coding us an exporter right now if it wasnt for the fantastic crew at Radon Labs.

This game was an absolute blast to make! A small grass roots dev team working together over the internet for nearly 2 years, making a game that actually means something with people I am honored to call close friends. I can't imagine topping that, aside from getting a chance to make another one.

MrCup
12-06-2005, 02:28 PM
Maximum respect! A great achievement and a fantastic result.

AdamAtomic
12-06-2005, 04:05 PM
I can't imagine topping that, aside from getting a chance to make another one.

That reminds me of the q I forgot to ask when I posted last night - what's next for you guys?

adam-crockett
12-06-2005, 08:05 PM
I firmly believe that edugaming is the future. I've had so many ideas! Congratulations on making a fine looking game with such a small team. You guys are inspirational in so many ways.

I wanna play it!

mrkite
12-06-2005, 09:33 PM
great work! It's very inspiring to see a small team with the right ideas can still find a niche.

Jason-Lavoie
12-06-2005, 09:35 PM
Beautiful work guys, and a job well done as well, I hope your future holds many good things... also, I want to say thanks for developing this game towards health and science, rarly have i seen a game about those subjects, AWESOME!

Daemos
12-06-2005, 09:41 PM
Great work, but what is the age group for the game? (I am not familiar with the american system)

Bot13
12-07-2005, 02:35 PM
Just want to say that this is a real inspiration for me :thumbsup:
I hope to make things like that once in my life.
Dunno if you mentioned it before in this topic, but what's the engine you're going to use for the game?

AdamAtomic
12-07-2005, 04:17 PM
For any budding garage developers, I can't recommend Nebula2 highly enough!! It's a powerful, flexible open source engine that offers a VERY robust set of development tools for Maya. I think Michael (our programmer) would probably still be coding us an exporter right now if it wasnt for the fantastic crew at Radon Labs.

I've never actually heard of this one but it sounds like it was a great system!

nibbuls
12-07-2005, 11:44 PM
Great art you've got there! I love the cartoony style.

the_podman
12-09-2005, 07:04 PM
Nice work!!

Sure beats the education games I played on my old Texas Instruments TI99/4A!... crap, I just revealed my age...


-pod

ocarian
12-09-2005, 08:37 PM
good work :thumbsup:

I like map and mod
the enemies are interesting in design :)

Good job again

powerACE
12-10-2005, 09:45 AM
ITS SOO GREAT MAN!! you have a great team developing this game:thumbsup:

Slythis
12-10-2005, 12:55 PM
very awesome guys, thats so fricken cool, its like a dream come true!
fantastic work, i can't wait because i'm gonna try my hardest to acctually play it, the game looks great and has a nice feel from the screens. I hope you guys the best of luck on later titles and i really look forward to this edu-tainment revolution, i really think your on to something!

r_mc_gowan
12-10-2005, 01:47 PM
can i ask what methods of gameplay you have included into the game, that are educational??
i wouldnt regard shooting and driving as educational, so im interested to hear the full story.
i agree on the visual's side that the game surpasses any kind of educational content created before, but visuals isnt everything, far from it actually.

fsguodong
12-12-2005, 03:11 PM
:thumbsup: good designing in level an charaters.........my dreaming

theabyss
12-12-2005, 07:18 PM
Oh Man...i love that 'Man-Eating-Plant-Thingy"...looks so cool with those teeth!
Great work!
I like it how you stayed close to the concept drawing!
COngrats for your Game!

Greetz

TheAbyss

misterboogie
12-13-2005, 05:30 PM
Wow! Awesome work Chris! Haven't been to the boards for a little while and what do I find? NanoLegends!! You and Chad really pulled it off! You guys are proof that if you can dream it, anything is possible!

Stay cool!

Elvis

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