Project Highlight: The Adventures of Lara Croft
In this article we introduce you to one of the most exciting and ambitious fan projects so far: Tomb Raider The Adventures of Lara Croft, a remake of Tomb Raider III and Tomb Raider III Gold in Unity 3D by Heckler.
WHAT IS TOMB RAIDER THE ADVENTURES OF LARA CROFT?
Written by Heckler:
"Within a year of developing that I started to work on the first level of Tomb Raider 3. This is where my obsession with this project started. I became silent about the project for a while and still continued with it in my free time.
I'm a sound engineer by trade so I had loads of resources to work with on the music and sound department of the game. In December last year I started talking about my project Tomb Raider Unity. A custom Unity Action Adventure framework created by my brother and I. This is also scheduled to be released this year for free as well as my Tomb Raider 3 fan game which is not open source like Tomb Raider Unity, and contains different controllers and animations.
More about the remake, this is a full revisioned remake of Tomb Raider 3 and The Lost Artifact. Gameplay is heavily inspired by games like Assassin's Creed, The Jak and Daxter series, Inside, Prince of Persia, Enslaved and The Last of Us. Lara is extremely agile and skilled in both hand to hand and ranged combat this time. Lara can climb buildings, cliffs and trees. She can zipline while shooting and run along walls with style. More moves include "slope steering", tightrope, 3 different dives, classic style swimming, stealth, pole-swinging and rolls to name a few. Vehicles include a quad-bike, a sport-bike, a UPV, a Kayak, a snowboard, jetski and a deadly mine-cart. Making a debut in the Tomb Raider vehicle department also is a horse in the South Pacific who needs a name. Enemies and NPC's are smart. The feel fear, they run out of ammo, they can hide, they fight and like Lara, they can also stumble into deadly traps.
Extra features included for unlockables are Expedition Mode which is set on 2 very large maps and Race to the Relic Mode which randomly places a relic in the chosen level and you have to race an NPC to it (like Race to the Iris). This has been a blast to make so far and I hope you guys will enjoy playing it as much as I did making it."
Will you recognize these Tomb Raider III and Tomb Raider III Gold locations?
INTERVIEW OF HECKLER:
Hi Heckler, thank you very much for accepting this interview and taking the time to reply to these questions.
How did you become a fan of the Tomb Raider franchise?
Thank you for having me! Tomb Raider 1 was my first game. My dad bought it for me in Christmas '96 when I was 7 and I've been afraid of Greek Gorillas ever since. I became a die-hard fan when Tomb Raider 3 came out though. It's my favorite in the franchise.
How and when did you have the idea to create your own fan game?
To be honest it all started when I first got hold of the Level Editor. It inspired me to learn about 3D and animation at a very young age and ultimately lead me to study game development alongside sound engineering after school. It has always been an unspoken agreement I've had with myself to do a Tomb Raider fan game once I've mastered programming.
What made you choose Unity 3D over Unreal Engine 4? Is it hard to learn how to use it?
Although I use both Unity and UE4, I chose Unity mainly to have more flexibility over the overall vibe I wanted to create. Unreal starts off with visual effects and proper lighting already integrated whereas Unity lets you create your own system or use a product for that. Both engines have their strengths, but to me personally Unity allows me to be more creative by giving me a completely blank canvas to work with in terms of Aesthetics and Programming.
How is the process to create a level? Do you replay the original level to be the most faithful to it or do you try to create something based on your fond memories of the games?
Before the actual levels are made I set up a themed test terrain to make sure all my systems containing Lara, her obstacles, vehicles, weapons, allies and enemies work as expected.
Re-creating a level is great fun. First I start off by recording a detailed play-through of it. Then I draw up a map with notes and some concept designs to put my own flavor into it. After that, I use a helpful tool called R-View to render the level fullscreen and study it so I can start laying out basic box shaped rooms in Unity to get the idea of the scale. Then I start doing some research and get some photo reference of the locations in real life so I can start with the modeling process. After the map has been modelled out I start working on the progression of the level. Everything from items, water, vehicles, scripted events, ledges, doors to enemies and their AI get added in this phase. When the basic level is done and plays the way I want it to I start working on the visuals. Everything from foliage, buildings to weather get added here as well as some extra gameplay elements. When all of that is in place I start off with the music, lighting and post-processing, which is the final stage before it gets beta-tested by Alex. From there it's refining and modifications where needed.
You are developing a Tomb Raider III and Tomb Raider III Gold remake. Do you have a favorite level?
Oh yes. Three actually. Madubu Gorge, Highland Fling and Temple Ruins. I stayed very faithful to the originals with them.
As of today (28th of June 2017) how far are you in the development of your remake?
The basic game is finished. All that is left to do is the optimization, extra cutscenes, the extra modes and the flashback section which you'll be playing as Stephen Barr.
To put a number on it I'd say I'm 70-75% finished and still stand by my Christmas release date.
I tend to get things done faster though as I've taken the year off to work on this project full-time.
Any easter egg planned? Or surprises and exciting stuff you haven't announced yet?
Oh yes. Apart from the Expedition modes which are open world maps set in Tanzania and India and Race to the Relic mode. There are a lot of nods to the other games up to Rise. Also there is a very hidden area on the Croft Manor grounds and Doctor Jones will also be making an unfortunate return in Nevada. The rest are all up to the fans to find.
PLAY WITH THE LARA OF YOUR CHOICE:
5 Lara models are available: TR3 ingame Lara, FMV Lara (completely redone), AOD Lara, LAU Lara (combination of Anniversary and ToO Lara) and Rise/Reboot Lara (complete with optional current-gen hair). There's an option to select one at the start of the game. Each one of them has tailor made TR3 outfits (with TR3 Lara already having it) to suit their levels of realism. There are also unlockables and colour customization is also implemented like in The Sims 3.
AOD Lara with some of her available outfits:
SNEAK PEEK & SOUNDTRACK TEASER:
KEEP AN EYE ON THIS PROJECT:
You can follow the progress of Heckler's game on our dedicated page in Community. Be sure we won't forget to keep you updated about it (and on the upcoming Unity Action Adventure framework as well when it will be available).
You can also keep an eye on these useful links:
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