We focused on Hunter gear this milestone.
Here is the concept for the binoculars in the game. Hank uses one to call down the Orbital Barrage and Cabot uses one to call in the Radioactive Dusting. I think we decided on the top left concept.
Originally, Character Perks were going to be visual. Here we see the four characters with ceramic armor added. Eventually we would have so many character perks, and some that didn't make any sense to have visuals, that we abandoned the idea. When we broke out to twelve Hunters instead of four, that buried the idea for good.
Before Lazarus, we had a simple defibrillator. Lazarus is much cooler.
Nowadays, the dropship brings reinforcements on its own, but back in the day Hunters had to plant a beacon and defend it until the dropship arrived. The beacon would shine a bright laser into the sky so the pilot (Sunny) could find them. The monster could also see the beacon, and if it was destroyed before the dropship arrived, the monster could stop the reinforcements.
We would struggle to balance this mechanic for probably about a year. While it had some fun moments, the big problem was that dead players were dependent on their teammates to get them back into the game. If live players were on the run, the beacon could be planted and destroyed over and over for ten, twenty minutes and nobody else would get back into the game. We wanted to guarantee that players could get back in, or the game would end, within two minutes of dying. Ultimately this lead to the current automatic dropship deployment timer.
The first idea for the Shield Projector just put the shield out in front of the player ten feet or so. The idea was that you'd stand next to your buddy and project the shield in front of you both, protecting you from incoming attacks. But the realities of the game are that everyone is moving around like crazy. Having to get next to someone to shield them was too difficult and the beam version that Hank now wields, was born.
I read this article about scientists driving mice around using their equilibrium. If you can make the mice feel like they are falling to the left, they will compensate by moving to the right. This is now, real world stuff. So we thought that would be a viable way to "mind control" wildlife. The idea was for Hunters to tag a bird with this, and then fly the bird around to look for the monster. Or tag an Armadon, and go attack the monster. Sounded fun, but the reality is that it's a lot easier for Bucket just to pull his head off and fly it around as a UAV. And guns damage the monsters easier than an Armadon does. It's one of those ideas that sounds cool, but really doesn't have long term viability.
Here is Maggie's Harpoon Trap Gun concept. Stood the test of time really well.
Before we had classes, health was a simple affair. Everyone could carry one of these health syringes and you could use it on yourself or your buddy. And OMG was it impossible to get your teammate to stop so you could heal them. Val's Medgun is soooooo much better!
Here's another idea that sounds really good on paper, but doesn't really pan out so well. The netgun was suppose to tangle the monster in a net, slowing its movement. Executing on the visuals would have been a huuuuge technical challenge. We would have spent many man months trying to get this to look good and the reality was that a simple tranquilizer dart would do the same job and only take us a day to implement. So Val's tranq dart was born out of the net gun.
The jetpack used to be an option. Can you imagine playing Evolve and NOT having a jetpack? It was so fun, and so effective to jetpack around as a Hunter that we had to make crazy OP gear to try to compete with it. Everyone took the jetpack and we felt like the Evolve experience was better with it, so eventually we made it standard equipment.
A couple concepts for Griffin's Sound Spike. We chose the one on the left and it hasn't really changed. It proved immediately successful in the battlefield.
Originally we thought a concussion weapon that would knock the monster down would be cool. Turns out, being able to bulldoze the monster makes him not feel like a monster. Getting knocked down was a low point of the monster experience so we did away with the idea. Sometimes you have to take a step back and remember what you're making. In a monster game, the monster should be the one doing the knocking around.
Flame Thrower concepts. As cool as these were, I sure like it being part of Hyde's glove.
We concepted lots of different types of hand grenades. Yes, Bait grenades were supposed to make wildlife go agro on the monster but you know what? He didn't care! "Come to me food!"
Heavy machine guns. This is the birth place of Hyde's Minigun and Hank's Laser Cutter.
We built these directional land mines. They were the predecessor to Markov's Arc Mines. You could deploy up to five, and trigger them to detonate with the clicker. When detonated, they would send a blast a specific direction. Turns out, that's really over complicated (simplicity, I have learned, is key to good design) and hard to use. You'd set up some mines and the monster would come from the other direction, so the first thing to go was the directional blast. Triggering them was also frustrating. Sometimes you only wanted to blow up one. Sometimes you wanted to trigger them all. There was no way to choose. Making them trigger automatically made sure they were always effective when they went off. Now all the player need to do was focus on good placement.
If you remember, we were looking to have visual changes apply to the monster when they chose different abilities. This was cool, but ultimately it presented a ton of problems. Aside from the massive amount of extra work it created, we had to find a location for each monster ability. Scorpid's claws were heavily used, but he only has two. So now we had to put restrictions on players and limit them to only two claw based abilities at any given time. And we needed both left and right versions of each of these claws because we never knew what combination of claws the player might like. We built the system, but it was complicated, costly and confusing for players to use. And as a Hunter, you simply didn't notice the model changes.
For Charge Attack, we gave Scorpid a new head piece.
For Spore Cloud, we attached a new tail piece.
And here are some of the claw based models. Poison claw on the top. Grabber claw in the middle. And concussion blast on the bottom.
And since people seem to really love the wildlife concepts, here are some desert wildlife concepts.