DevDiary #005: Spirits, 3D-Terrain & AR Tech 

Discover the latest developments in this status update, packed with plenty in-game screenshots. Find out what's been cooking behind the scenes and check out the new features that we've been crafting over the past few months!

Development of the room functions

Your headquarters is a small house in the countryside – your hideout, where you can prepare for spirit hunting. To allow you to build more rooms besides the lounge you have at the beginning, we implemented a building menu.

Each of the rooms also now has special crafting functions that allow you to produce objects, such as ritual scrolls and potions. Here's a sneak peek at the UI and the rooms.

Left: Building and Crafting Menu - Right: (from top) Lounge, Library, Alchemy Kitchen
Left: Building and Crafting Menu - Right: (from top) Lounge, Library, Alchemy Kitchen

3D-Terrain: Optimized graphics & performance

SHAR Terrain GIF
Your headquarters on the banks of a small river.

Around your little house there is now a 3D scenery, in which you can find a little treat every now and then. Displaying a pretty 3D landscape smoothly on cell phones is not that easy and requires many optimizations so that the game doesn't lag, especially since there are so many different smartphones.

In the graphics options menu, you can turn the graphics up or down depending on the performance of your phone. If you have a newer phone, you can also enable post-processing here.

We have pre-calculated the light in the rooms of the headquarters and saved it in textures ("lightmap baking") to be able to reduce the overall graphics calculations to a minimum.

Rooms with optimized light

Spirits, spirits! The enemy's army has grown...

The antagonists of Soul Helix AR aka Audacia, Coronos, Or'Mok and Co. and especially their heads, clothing and armor were 3D-modeled (Blender) and then assembled in our engine (Unity). For this purpose, we have a kind of construction kit with a random generator, which later puts together different versions of the ghosts, varying in clothing, skin and hair color, and so on. It will be continuously fed with more content, so that you can catch new spirit species later on.

We also created player avatars. You can later create yours as you please and for example see it wandering around on the adventure map.

On the left the spirits around Coronos ( yet without "spooky" special effects), on the right two exemplary player avatars.

Soul Helix Soundtrack and Sound FX

For the atmosphere, the sound also has a major role to play. We composed the soundtrack for Soul Helix AR by ourselves. We tried to mix and master the music both for the (unfortunately often poor) speakers of cell phones as well as for headphones.

It's a real balancing act that all instruments are still well audible with these requirements... 😰🎛️

We brought in some "professional ears" from the industry who helped us a lot. Soon you will be able to hear the outcome, either directly as an alpha tester or in an upcoming article about the soundtrack.

This is how the Soul Helix soundtrack looks in the DAW.

Status Update: More current tasks for Soul Helix AR

  • Further development of the combat system Your reaction speed is in demand: if attacks and blocks are timed correctly, you'll get a stronger effect. With your energy weapons and some skill you can stun ghosts before you catch them.
  • Upgrade to the latest AR technology The tech is constantly improving - of course we want to take advantage of this and therefore we now also support AR Occlusion. This means that AR content is no longer just superimposed on the camera image, but can also be obscured by objects or people.
  • Game Design Rules, balancing and items are constantly iterated by us and updated to accommodate developments.
  • UI and UX The user interface is continuously adapted to the game design. Every crafting menu and every game item needs a description text, icons and stats. In addition, a tutorial will introduce you to the world of SH.AR in a playful way. In the iOS-UI, some functions are different (e.g. the back button is hierarchical instead of chronological), so we have to adapt some things to achieve an equivalent UX.
  • Monster Blog Update You probably already noticed: our blog got a new look this spring! Additionally, we had to adapt some changes in the backend. We hope you' re having a good time on our site – feel free to have a look around our blog!

Registrations are still possible!

We hope that our status update could give you a decent insight into the current development of our game. Thanks to all of you who have already signed up for the alpha! 🌻 The first newsletter will go out at the time of the announcement of the alpha launch.

We still have some capacities available - so you can still sign up and forward the registration link to your friends and acquaintances! Please, remember to confirm your email address, because only then we may send you a newsletter. 📨 As soon as the date for the alpha launch is finalized, you will be informed!

Status Update: More articles about the development

DevDiary #1 Making a Paper Prototype

DevDiary #2 Monster Workshop: A character takes shape

DevDiary #3 Monster Workshop: Textures and Illusions

DevDiary #4 Video-Documentation: Creating Coronos