Sandworm – Factory nature Tier 5 – Horn of the Abyss update #15

However tough things may be at the moment, the development of the Factory continues. Time has come to introduce to you the creatures that will occupy the 5th tier of the town’s unit roster. These are the Sandworm and its upgraded version, the Olgoi-Khorkhoi.

Sandworm model, by Dima Gravchenko

Sandworm model, by Dima Gravchenko

Olgoi-Khorkhoi model, by Dima Gravchenko

Olgoi-Khorkhoi model, by Dima Gravchenko

It is no secret that creatures inhabiting the Might & Magic universe are almost always based in common fantastic stereotypes, myths and legends. Likewise, this unit also has numerous prototypes in mass culture. The main one is, of course, the giant, mysterious Shai-Hulud from Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Of course, the Wasteland, where their relatives live in HotA, are not identical to the deserts with which huge underground worms are most often associated; however, most of you likely remember the good old Tremors movie. In that one, the action takes place in an area very similar to the Wastelands, and so the Graboids became another important influence on the Sandworms’ appearance. There is also a legend about a huge horned cattle-stealing half worm/half snake in Brazilian folklore, where the creature is called Minhocão.

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On top of that, we found it appropriate to give our unit certain features of another, if not so widely known, mythical creature: the Olgoi-Khorkhoi, a deadly worm which, according to Mongolian legends, can be encountered in the bizarre, frightening expanses of Gobi. This being is the origin of the name given to the worms possessing outstanding combat qualities, bred by the famous bioengineering guru Agar.

Mythical and fantastic prototypes of the Sandworm: Shai-Hulud from the Dune book series

Mythical and fantastic prototypes of the Sandworm: Shai-Hulud from the Dune book series

Mythical and fantastic prototypes of the Sandworm: Olgoi-Khorkhoi from the Mongolian legend

Mythical and fantastic prototypes of the Sandworm: Olgoi-Khorkhoi from the Mongolian legend

Of all the units on the Factory’s roster, the Sandworms probably caused us the fewest problems in development. Docent Picolan quickly found the right concept for their appearance, and the 3D artist Dima Gravchenko brilliantly embodied it in the model, and essentially on the first try, even though it was his very first assignment after joining the team. This is why you won’t be getting an evolution chart seen in the articles about other units. In fact, the first version of the model differed from the final one only in size, some minor posture details, and materials.

Early concept - "Myriapod", by Nosferatu

Early concept – “Myriapod”, by Nosferatu

Olgoi-Khorkhoi. Final concept, by Docent Picolan

Sandworm and Olgoi-Khorkhoi. Final concept, by Docent Picolan

Coming up with interesting and useful gameplay features for the Sandworms was somewhat of a bigger challenge. However, it was clear from the get go that the Sandworms should be moving underground. Due to this ability, the Factory has a “flier”, even if not quite a traditional one, even before the Couatls become available. Let us immediately reassure those who were puzzled about the worms moving in battles taking place on ships and in other similar conditions. For such situations, a dedicated surface movement animation exists, and, of course, in this case, the worms will not be able to ignore the obstacles in their path.

Sandworm. Animated model, 200% scale, by Dima Gravchenko

Sandworm. Animated model, 200% scale, by Dima Gravchenko

Even when tamed, Sandworms still are obligate carnivores, and their second distinctive feature that appears in the upgraded version of the unit is a vivid display of their bloodthirsty nature. If an Olgoi-Khorkhoi moves to a hex occupied by a corpse, then, when emerging from the ground, it will devour this corpse and get an extra strike when attacking in the next round; such strikes can stack, too. It is also possible to eat a corpse and attack all in one turn, if the corpse is positioned right next to the target.

Creatures that form up the Might & Magic bestiary usually possess traditional abilities inherent in their mythical and fantasy prototypes; however, the widely known descriptions of Olgoi-Khorkhoi are not so much based on popular legends, but rather stemming from the imagination of various 20-21st century fiction writers, and are therefore wildly apocryphal (if one can say so about creatures that are after all fantastic).

The properties attributed to them vary greatly from source to source: from banal poison to instantly killing electric rays. We decided that these wild ideas should remain on the conscience of their creators. According to a number of researchers, the legend of the Olgoi-Khorkhoi was born of people’s encounters with a real animal known as sand boa. Likewise, the Sandworms bred and used by the Factory, though extremely dangerous, are not supernatural in essence.

Olgoi-Khorkhoi. Animated model, 200% scale, by Dima Gravchenko

Olgoi-Khorkhoi. Animated model, 200% scale, by Dima Gravchenko

It should be noted that worms, though not seen in earlier HoMM games, are not newcomers to the wider Might & Magic universe. This collage shows the appearance of their counterparts in other M&M games. Easily noticeable are also certain chared features in their appearance, manifesting especially clearly in the worm from M&M IV.

Worms in various Might & Magic games, from the might-and-magic.ru website

Worms in various Might & Magic games, from the might-and-magic.ru website

We still cannot declare any certain timeframe for the release of the Factory, but allow us to emphasize once again that the development has not halted. We have a wealth of plans, as well as confidence that they will be implemented in due time.

P.S. We would like to point out that the new official HotA YouTube channel has been created. Its launch was a forced step, as previously the videos were posted on Docent Picolan’s personal channel, out of the team’s control now. In the future, new videos will appear there. As of now, you can enjoy Docent Picolan’s piano renditions of his own music on the new channel.

Author: Tevye

Source: http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=39830&pagenumber=460

Factory FANART by Riori Kasua

Factory FANART by Riori Kasua

 

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