“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”… Which, contrary to Lovecraft’s misconception, actually means, “Cthulhu has confused the Spellchecker something chronic”.
Now, as many of you know, I have for some time been working on a series of Modules based on H.P. Lovecraft’s works, tying as many of his actual stories together as possible and recreating them as faithfully as turning them into demented video game Modules with a set of recurring characters allows. This means hundreds, thousands, millions of tonnes of Custom Content, not just Creatures, but all the things necessary for a 1920s-30s setting, not to mention the R’lyeh Tileset, etc…
should be bigger than that, I know, but these things can apparently shift size in some rubbery protoplasmic way, so I made a couple of size versions, this “small” one for closer interaction and an outrageously huge one for, well, being huge.
Some of Lovecraft’s Creatures, such as the Yuggoth Fungoids
, above, he describes in detail. That’s why they’re so pink. He said pink, damn the man. I’d have made them greyish myself, but… Other Creatures are described very, very fleetingly or more or less not at all. This makes “accurate” depictions of them a matter of personal interpretation in many cases. And blind guessing. And just imagining them for myself. But this has not prevented me from attempting to create EVERY
Creature in Lovecraft’s writings. So far I’ve done a good three quarters of them, with 65 models (I think) now finished or near to being finished, depending on some texture changes or animation stuff that needs hitting with Big Bricks… These range from the obvious ones like Cthulhu
, to the more obscure such as the Shantaks
, Night Gaunts
Ia! Shub-Niggurath! The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!
Or, in the above picture, two
young, actually. Referred to as a “Goddess” in at least one story and repeatedly made Goat references at, but never really described, I inevitably ended up with a PHoD-esque seventeen foot tall, multi-horned, twisted, killer Goat Goddess. (Those “Young” lurking in the bushes are both Human size - mother’s bigger than you think)… and, yes, most of the “important” Creatures have statues of themselves amongst the many Placeables done so far, so’s debased worshippers can worship them debasedly.
The Hounds of Tindalos
, dimension stalking predators bearing more or less zero resemblance to any dog whatsoever. Not even PHoD’s dog, who’s half HellHound. So, if they’re not actually
dogs, I just let my imagination off the leash - bad idea…
However, when it came to doing the Module based around “The Dunwich Horror
”, also incorporating “The Shuttered Room
”, I had the challenge of a colossal monster which was… invisible
for 90% of the story…
So, does PHoD leave the rubbery honker invisible throughout and thus not have to bother with the challenge of creating a writhing, gelatinous globule freak of immense proportions? No
. PHoD does not
. Being mad and shabby, he has to fabricate a mostly see-through, entirely danglymesh horror that flops and pulsates and wobbles disgustingly all over JUST
so that it can be seen briefly in the climactic battle atop Sentinel Hill. Yes; PHoD is clinically disturbed. The chance for an invisible monster he doesn’t actually have to make and he misses it completely.
- nobody knows what it looks like, there are no descriptions beyond the fact that it’s apparently as much a place and an artefact as a Creature… so does PHoD just not bother? No, of course not. He has to rationalize it all and fabricate a weirdo interdimensional blob monster as the Creature third whilst also pondering a mini-Tileset for the location part and… And this is why this project’s already taken two years, on and off… Azathoth
, for instance, has been realized as an Animated Skybox - which looks AWESOME but is unfortunately still Provokingly Laggy
. Working on that. Working on a few Animated Skyboxes, actually. Interesting possibilities.
And just to make things even more
complicated when they clearly didn’t need any further, additional complicating, I’ve been all scientific about this too. The Deep Ones
, for example, are found in oceans all over the world and many strains are evidently hybridized, inbred, crossbred and/or generally messed up. So I’ve got five, so far, completely different Deep Ones
, representing different subspecies. Above, the R’lyeh variant is pretty much a pureblood species, whilst the Y’ha-nthlei type, lurking off Devil Reef, Innsmouth, is well properly debased and rubbery. And badly textured.
Now, this is a basic “good news, bad news” deal… I’ve got A LOT of Lovecraftian stuff done including piles of disgusting, freakish weirdo Spleen Creatures as well as assorted Placeables and a half-done R’lyeh Tileset with chronically abnormal, non-Euclidian geometry. Which is more difficult to achieve in Gmax than you might think. And possibly owes a lot to M. C. Esher…
Thus far, I’ve been conducting tests just to see if some of the things I wanted were even viable
in NWN but mostly just doing what I need for the specific Modules I’ve already done as I do them… such as the adorable, cuddly little Brown Jenkin
for “The Dreams in the Witch House
Well, cuddly-ish… maybe… maybe not… Anyway, naturally, the above working practice means that there’s still a lot of unfinished stuff, some of the Creatures needing custom animations which are in many cases very basic as yet because the Creature in question hasn’t been called upon to do much more than lurk in the shadows.
Am I going to miraculously get the entire PHoD Lovecraft Project
finished by the end of this month? Given that I’m probably going to be quite busy with other things, I just don’t know. I’m hoping I can rearrange a few filthily debased events in the near future and have more time this month to hit Monstrous Elder Gods with Big Bricks (do not try this at home, kiddies
), as well as sort out a few disgustingly warped whassnames for Demoness Tales
that could also be relevant for this month.
The Archaean, starfish-headed Old Ones
, them with the dodgy city beyond the Mountains of Madness, are a good example of some of the not entirely finished Creatures. Working closely with Lovecraft’s original descriptions, which even include a few exact measurements, I’ve got the gross anatomy and colouration sorted out, but the textures need better blending and a bit of detail still needs adding, and the wings are too tatty and semi-visible. But they’re getting there. Oh, and thus far the completely custom animations allow them to waddle drunkenly about and they can fall over and die and their rubbery, starfish heads come off so’s they can be slurped on and mushed by the Shoggoths
. That’s about all they’ve had to do so far, so they need a lot of work yet.
Oh, and the Shoggoths
? Best to just run away on sight of one, to avoid the whole “being crushed to a paste” scenario. And also to avoid seeing them too clearly and identifying them as being just lumpy, low-poly NWN whassnames rather than magnificently horrific, incomprehensible, protoplasmic shape-shifting abominations the mere sight of which engenders despair and insanity.
Here, we see the even more vast and horrific Proto-Shoggoth
form, emerging onto the surface of the Antarctic ice - glimpse of elements of the rubbished Old Ones’ citadel in the background
… Emerging into a bit of light shows the deficiencies of these Creatures inevitably engendered by NWN polycount limits. Rrrrrrrgghh! I wanted another fifty writhing weirdo appendages on that thing!
And my heroines are all on the brink of the polycount limits too, what with all the curves and lovingly twisted and rounded horns and such…
The Rugose Cone Creatures
inhabited by the “Great Race
”, when they’re not off thieving other people’s bodies and minds, separately, no less, are another example of a Lovecraft description which may work on paper but leaves the Shabby Hyena Item with a hell of a job to make the thing’s structure work at all and not just look ridiculous. At least for animations it just has to glide slowly around waving its tendrils about a bit… Combat? Just don’t go there.
So, just a small taste of the PHoD Lovecraft Project
, just to assure you it’s happening, it’s progressing well, it will be finished, the CC will go on the Vault one way or another and… and, well, you’ll get SOMETHING
from PHoD this month, but it might very well be hideously debased… though, if it’s supposed
to be hideously debased, then maybe…