Secret Lair of Mimic

Intro

The Secret Lair of Mimic is a spin-off exploration game that tells the story of Mimic, the classic chest monster video game trope. Hidden transmutation circles and strange distortion mechanics hint at the origins of the Mimic: sorcery and magic. A dungeon brimming with mystery and danger awaits the player’s arrival.

Players have no choice but to explore and meet their demise as they enter through the fog wall. “To view the treasures within will cost your life,” they whispered… but you could not resist. Their vicious, sharp teeth contrast the faint, soft glow of the crystals in the room. The metal swords and shields reflected in their light.

You freeze time for a short while… only moments before you meet your end.

Designed with Leon Zheng

My Roles

Background

This is a side-story of Mimic, the “avaricious creature that mimics treasure chests.” When he’s not out to punish greedy humans, he lives in his secret lair, surrounded by all of the weapons and items found inside the chests.

Players can explore a dark, dangerous dungeon full of rare treasures, as time is frozen still for a moment. Mimics are scattered around at different stages: pretending to be a chest, or ready to attack.

The glistening weapons scattered on the floor catch your attention. Weapons, relics, and coins that had once belonged to wizards and knights meet your gaze. They're yours for the taking, you think to yourself. You sense movement in the darkness before you. Your eyes meet with sharp teeth and wood. And then... there's nothing. You perish along with the others, leaving your treasures behind.

Inspiration

The Secret Lair of Mimic was inspired by the Dark Souls series, published by FromSoftware, and designed by Hidetaka Miyazaki. While not the main feature of the game, vicious-looking humanoid Mimics are always scattered throughout levels, ready to make players regret trying to loot chests for treasure.

I became fascinated with the Mimic, and started asking questions like, “What if they had their own backstory?” “What do they do when they’re not waiting to attack players?” “What if they had a secret home?”

A quick Google search explains Dungeons & Dragons’ take on the Mimic’s origins – that the Mimic was a creation of sorcerers and wizards, designed to protect treasures from treasure hunters, and that it was a result of dark magic; a combination of shapeshifting, runes, and ancient alchemy (Source). 

This was a story waiting to be told that could be deeply embedded into an interactive world.  But this time, the world itself would tell the story of Mimic.

Instead of matching the original style of the game, we aimed to create a dark, creepy-cute, low-poly, spin-off experience of Dark Souls.

Gwyn's Greatsword is one of the greatest hidden treasures hidden in Mimic's lair, tying the experience back to the Souls Series.
Amethyst crystals are found deep within the lair, acting as the only natural source of light in the darkest part of the dungeon.

The Secret Lair of Mimic in Action

Exploring the lair’s entrance, and activating chest animations.

Heading deeper into the lair, straight into Mimic territory.

Distortion mechanic where the player is flipped upside down when interacting with a transmutation circle, in action.

The Process

The process was one of repetition, perseverance, discipline, and speedy learning.

Heading into this project, our team, including myself, were fairly new to the 3D modelling process. The aim of this project at the time, was to develop as much experience as possible and to strengthen our understanding of the 3D modelling pipeline. As a result, we focused heavily on video game asset creation, including character and weapon creation, as well as how to design dark-themed scenes in low-poly. The scene would feature a ton of weapons, and carefully crafted Mimics and real chests.

I began with creating the weapons, starting with learning how to create a basic sword, and turning it into other versions, like a longsword, and a Greatsword. Then I moved onto the rest of the objects, from shields to torches and pillars.

3D Modelling & texturing a basic sword in Maya based on a reference.

3D Modelling Gwyn's Greatsword with official concept art reference.

Completing the modelling & texturing of Gwyn’s Greatsword.

Shield texturing – Front Silver Eagle Kite Shield (DS I Version)

The Secret Lair of Mimic Battleaxe 3D Asset

Battle Axe modelling & texturing, damaged detail.

Modelling & texturing the final weapons – the staff and spear.

Modelling & texturing the dungeon background assets – the torch, door, and pillar.

Development & Scene Composition

Development began with importing all of the 3D modelled FBX objects into Unity and creating the layout of the dungeon with untextured game objects like planes and cubes. 

Once a rough setup was created, textures were added, and the assets were rearranged into a meaningful scene. Then, light sources for the torches and crystals were added with area lights and particle systems. 

All assets imported into Unity.
Beginning to create the dungeon.
Developing the dungeon composition.
Adding textures to the models.
Adding torch fire light sources.
Adding crystal light sources.
Designing the scene composition, early stages.
Designing the scene composition in Unity at an advanced stage. The dungeon layout grows in complexity.
Designing the deepest part of the lair, imagining the player fights against the mimics in a difficult pillar-filled area similar to the original game.

Outcome

In the end, we succeeded with developing our skills in 3D modelling, texturing, and asset creation.

Due to my love for fantasy, it was fun creating medieval weapons in digital space. Putting everything together in Unity was the icing on the cake. Due to the allotted time, the project was originally going to be Tableau style – without any movement, and the player would only be able to explore a particular frozen moment. However, thanks to the support and guidance of our peers and instructor, we were able to achieve the optimal outcome – adding animations and realtime exploration.

I sincerely enjoyed creating The Secret Lair of Mimic. From top to bottom, this was a passion project that involved designing a world meant to tell an origin story, and going with the flow.

Fun fact – This project was completed in 15 days!

Responsibilities

My responsibilities:

  • Developed 3D mimic-inspired low-poly dungeon exploration game in Unity
  • Led scene composition and layout, lighting effects, and animations 
  • Modelled 3D assets in Maya, painted Textures in Photoshop – doors, torches, pillars, all weapons – short sword, long sword, great sword, staff, basic shield, long shield, Eagle shield, Gwyn’s Greatsword, battle axe, spear
Leon’s responsibilities:
  • Modelled 3D assets in Maya, painted Textures in Photoshop – Mimics, chests, crystals, coins, helmet
  • Illustrated floor, wall, and transmutation circle design textures