Almost two years ago now, I was approached by Dreamscape Immersive to work on a new opening VR experience titled, Alien Zoo. I've covered a couple other creatures from the project here on my blog. One of the many creatures I had the pleasure of working on was the Megaraffe. This creature was one of those “east ones” that sort of came together almost immediately. Part of the reason for this was the Dreamscape team had already blocked out an enormous giraffe like creature that featured a giant eyeball. Upon going through the experience the second time, I was able to see the low poly block out of a rectangle with legs, a long neck and a sphere for a head. Walter Parkes then explained he wanted something that was large and had an immense eye.
I wanted to solve this problem in a way that wouldn’t produce just a huge eyeball. I had a feeling that might look kind of silly. So I played with interpreting what an eye could really be! I eventually came to the idea of placing a sensory sac or organ at the front of the creature’s head.
The Megaraffe would use this large organ for displaying to other members of it’s species like a cuttlefish would. We might see it as an eye on first glance but looking closer would let you know that the “eye” changes color and shape! Walter loved the direction and the design ended up serving some important interaction beats in the story. You can see the different ideas in my paint-over with Framestore’s model above.
The Megaraffe started out looking a little more odd. I pulled a lot from pterosaurs and sauropods in the beginning. I’m a big fan of their proportions and needed something that felt extremely sturdy fo a creature as giant as this. Walter and the team wanted it to feel elegant. In the end, A tail was added and we lengthened the foot. You can see the change on the baby version of the creature below.
The Megaraffe ended up being a favorite and one of the more fantastical seeming creatures of Alien Zoo. From it’s life-cycle to its strange eye, it’s an interesting creature to behold in the experience.
You can see the Megaraffe featured in the trailer. I love the walk cycle we worked on with Framestore. The Megaraffe was modeled by Jimmy Lane and Julia Kodl. you can learn more about Alien Zoo on Dreamscape’s website. The experience is returning to LA very soon. I’ll be updating my blog and newsletter with announcements about what that will happen.