Zenko: A Fox's Tale
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Zenko: A Fox's Tale

Zenko: A Fox's Tale was developed by Wolf Packtics, which is a team of 17 students at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Follow us on Social Media! Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZenkoTale Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/zenko_tale/

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Zenko: A Fox’s Tale is a 3D adventure platformer that was created by a team of 17 developers at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The game was developed for the PC and its Steam beta release is scheduled for July 23, 2021. 

The Concept - Zenko: A Fox's Tale

Zenko: A Fox’s Tale is a whimsical platformer that inspires player exploration and discovery. In it, the player must assist Zenko, the guardian of the Hoshi no Tama, in capturing wandering spirits and restoring balance between the Earthly and Spirit Realms. As the spirits are returned to the Hoshi no Tama, Zenko gains abilities that assist him in restoring the world around him; he is granted the ability to swap between realms, allowing him to reach areas that had previously been abandoned. 

The Characters - Zenko

There are two versions of Zenko’s character model, one which appears in the Earthly Realm and another that appears within the Spirit Realm. As the player swaps between the two, his colors change to reflect his connection to the world and his ethereality. 

The images above show the concept art that contributed to the in-game version of Zenko. Below, his 3D character model and final textures can be viewed, along with some snapshots of the process.

Below is Zenko's completed spirit form, which appears when the player transitions from the Earthly into the Spirit Realm. 

The Characters - Spirits

This is the final concept art that was created for our Spirits, which appear to guide Zenko through the environment. They are whimsical and clever, which is conveyed through their color and behaviors. 

The following video shows the initial 3D version of the Spirit, followed by his final iteration and an exuberant animation.  The Spirits are intended to be lively and whimsical, so the player is drawn towards them during their playthrough. 

Finally, we brought the Spirit into the engine and set him up using a series of splines and events, which trigger his movement and animations. 

The Environment- The Village

The Village was an iterative process for the team; starting with the whitebox, which our level designers used to block out the environment and establish asset lists for our art team. 

We then got to work on specific assets that would be used to bring our environment to life. This included modular assets for walls, doors, trims, and roofs, which were used to create the buildings within the environment. 

Additionally, we introduced our Spirit Bells, Altars, and Floating Platforms; these are assets that Zenko is able to interact with and each has a distinct impact on the world around him. 

Finally, it was time to put the pieces together in engine; using the mechanics and art assets, the level designers were able to replace the Village's whiteboxing and complete additional set dressing to bring the world to life. 

Gameplay- The Village

Below is a complete playthrough of The Village, which showcases the mechanics, art assets, and environments that our team constructed over the course of the project. 

We're extremely proud of the progress we've made in developing Zenko: A Fox's Tale. Thank you for taking the time to review our entry; we hope some will join us when we release our game to Steam! 


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