System Shock

Created by Nightdive Studios

System Shock is a complete remake of the genre defining classic from 1994 built by a team of industry veterans. Remember Citadel.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

November Update
7 months ago – Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 01:46:13 AM

Welcome back to another monthly System Shock update!

We have quite a variety of things to show you this month, hackers. Let's start with some in-engine views of the levels.

Characters Update

Here is an update on the Virus Mutant enemy, one of the most abjectly disgusting creatures on Citadel Station.

Getting started, we have some samples of his sprites from the original game.

He even managed to make an appearance in the title screen!

Then we have Robb's update for the remake. The final design underwent a lot of tweaks to visually tie him more to the non-viral Humanoids, but this concept was the primary guide to his overall look.

We showed the hi-poly model of the Virus Mutant in a previous update, but here's the final low-poly topology along with some untextured renderings from within 3d Studio Max.

And some images of the Virus Mutant in Substance Painter, along with his UV layout.  To keep with our chunky, retro-themed texture style, the Viral Mutant, like most of our human-sized characters, fits within a single 512x512 texture.

Also, here are some untextured shots of the final topology for the Cyborg Assassin, whose UVs are currently being finalized.  Due to his sheer amount of gear and implants, the model's surface area is large enough to justify getting a 1024x1024 texture.

Concept Corner

During these updates, we like to show you the amazing concept work from Robb Water's before we get into the nitty-gritty of it coming together in-engine.

Shown above is a sneak peek into what you will be seeing in the upcoming updates for the Systems Engineering level! One thing that is great to appreciate is the mood and coloring of moving between the levels of Citadel Station.

Now that you have seen the final Virus Mutant model, why not start to picture this lovely mutant, the Cyborg Mutant.

One of the great things about bringing Citadel Station to life into a modern engine is that we can create the larger props and bots that were not possible in the 90's. The lift bot only makes sense for immersive world-building!

That concludes this months update, what would you want to see next time?

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October Update
8 months ago – Tue, Oct 08, 2019 at 02:18:02 AM

On Citadel, no one can hear you scream...

As you work your way through Citadel and through SHODAN's creations, don't forget that you are in Saturn's orbit. Outside you will be able to view Saturn with real-time lighting within an unlit shader, so you will be able to see the Sun's rotation and the lighting changes. 

Character Art

On the character art front, we have some more examples of low-poly models textured in the chunky, low-res style we demonstrated last month. Here’s a few shots of each in Substance Painter along with their UV layouts.

The upgraded male Humanoid Mutant in his natural state. Most Humanoids will be encountered wearing ruined crew uniforms, but there will be rare instances of naked specimens for added visual variety.

Here is the female Humanoid Mutant, who is apparently a bit more modest than her male counterpart.

The Invisomutant! Much of this creature’s look will be dependent on in-engine shaders and effects, but here is a glimpse of its raw textured state with some simple emissive and opacity maps applied.

Robb Waters’s concept work for the Invisomutant, who now combines elements of the original Invisomutant and the Zero-G mutant into one enemy type.

The Autobomb, now redesigned as a sleek and glossy delivery system of death.

Next, revised and tweaked version of the Cyborg Drone we showed a few months ago, with an improved UV layout that better supports our visual style.

Lastly, the Cyborg Surgeon, here to assist Citadel crewmembers on their SHODAN-mandated Transhumanist journey!

Concept Art

Ready for some sick jumps to impress SHODAN? Well here is a first look at the Turbo Boots and Jump Jets!

Maybe the X Games will make a BIG come back in the future.

Above we have Robb's concept on the Data Reader, while below we have it in action.

Studios News

CEO Stephen Kick guested on the Nintendo Duel Screen podcast this week, give it a listen:

 Click to listen! 

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September Update
9 months ago – Sat, Sep 07, 2019 at 03:04:02 AM

Welcome to this September Update...

We will be going through some of the environments, art direction and how characters come together. Everyone has been working so hard, so please enjoy!


This month we have a variety of storage based environment pieces to show, starting with an in engine view of the cold storage.

Robb's concepts of containers and storage that are soon to come. Wait... what's that gorilla tiger doing up there?

Shipping containers
Storage lockers

System Shock’s Texture Aesthetic

Here’s a look into the approach we’re taking with textures of the game. With System Shock we want to create a quasi retro look that combines modern physically based rendering tech with a low-res, pixelated texture aesthetic that evokes the low resolution of the original game. To this end, the texel density of every object and character in the game is strictly limited to only 256 pixels per meter, to keep the level of pixelization consistent across all surfaces. Like some modern 2d games that combine old school aesthetics with modern framerates and effects, we hope to use some of the limitations of old graphical styles to give a unique feeling, evocative of how you might remember older games rather than how they actually looked. 

Small objects
Large objects

A consequence of this low-res aesthetic is that UV need to be very meticulously laid out to keep details as clean and readable as possible while also minimizing ugly distortions that would be less noticeable at higher resolutions.  UV edges need to be “squared off” when possible and lined up exactly along texel edges to try to ensure a clean, readable texture pattern. 

Literally every pixel counts, and from a character artist’s perspective this is possibly the most challenging aspect of production.

As an example, here’s the low-poly model of our new version of the male Humanoid Mutant on the right, next to his older prototype on the left Though very similar, we bulked him up slightly and humanized his face to make him appear a more mutant and less zombie.

Mutant lowpoly comparison

A major change however is in their UVs - the original layout was made before we adopted this texturing style, and while this layout works fine at modern texture resolutions, it introduces warping and unnecessary seams at our low texel density. The new version’s UVs attempt to minimize seams and conform as much as possible to the texture grid.

Mutant UV comparison
Texture grid comparison

Here’s some different angles of the Mutant low-poly model along with a couple wireframes:

Mutant lowpoly and wireframe

And here’s some shots of him taken from Substance Painter. 

Humanoid mutant textured

Next month we’ll be able to showcase several more fully textured characters, but in the meantime here are some more low-poly models with their wireframes.

Protoborg male
Protoborg female
Humanoid mutant female
Cyborg surgeon

The Shockbot

On to hi-poly model progress, here’s Robb Waters’s extensive concepts and Chris Mansell’s detailed model for the Shockbot, arguably the most critical character model in the game.  

Shockbot concepts
Shockbot concepts
Shockbot concepts
Shockbot concepts
Shockbot renders
Shockbot weapon renders

Why is he so important?  Since SHODAN is forced to repurpose existing technology aboard Citadel Station, the Shockbot is the foundation for a number of her minions.  The Cyborg Elite and Cyborg Enforcer are composed largely of repurposed Shockbot parts, and the Flier-Bot is in fact the Shock-bot’s detachable, transforming torso unit!  The Cyborg Warrior has been reconceptualized as an enhanced Shockbot with a human brain grotesquely grafted in place.   Here’s a look at the Shockbot and Laborbot’s grim family tree.

Shockbot family tree

Speaking of the Warrior, here’s Robb’s ortho design for the head and the enhanced laser weapon it will wield.

Warrior head
Laser weapon

And here are some very early WIP renders of the hi-poly Warrior skull 

and cable support system mounted onto a Shockbot body.

Warrior head renders


While on Citadel, you may run in to a few obstacles beyond an enemy attack. For example, a wire puzzle:

We will leave you on a final concept for the month, Edward Diego.

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August Update
10 months ago – Tue, Aug 06, 2019 at 02:03:45 AM

Are you ready for this months update?

I am thinking that we should start off this update with a bathroom break.

Level Design

Last month we showed a concept from the maintenance level, and now here it is coming together. 

 Here is another concept from Robb Waters of the maintenance level. 

Moving along to some things in progress...

Character Design

Here are some concept and work in progress models for the Protoborgs, yet-unprocessed Citadel crew members awaiting full cyberconversion. Whether a thrall of Shodan or a minion of Trioptimum, all cybernetic humans are marked by bio-mechanical circuitry running within the connective fascia tissue beneath their skin. Male and female protoborgs can be found in coma-like stasis around the Medical level, and their bodies are also the organic base for cyborg enemies such as the Drone, Enforcer, Elite and Assassin.

An update to the hood for the Cyborg Assassin. Robb decided that tucking the visor under the hood made its presence too subtle, so we’ve opted to install it over the hood to better evoke the iconic look of the original.

Then Robb's sleek redesign of the Autobomb. 

Environment Props 

 Last month you may have noticed the proxy table in the operating theater, here it is complete! 

Can you imagine the meetings that must have happened at this TriOp executive table?


VMU is not liable for any accidents which may occur due to distraction from playing GamePigTM games in a heads-up display. Oink!

 Robb Waters has really outdone himself in this awesome Space Minotaur poster.

Our programmer Matt K. has been hard at work to bring back the GamePig to Citadel Station, we hope you don't get too distracted!

KEX Team News

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil returns and is now coming to Nintendo Switch! The sequel to the hit game Turok is available August 9th, featuring a host of enemies, weapons, missions, and locations. Remastered for today’s consoles using a new engine with improved graphics, Turok 2 will transport players into sprawling environments with vicious enemies lurking behind every corner.

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July Update
11 months ago – Tue, Jul 09, 2019 at 02:01:08 AM

Happy July backers, ready for this beefy update!?

Last month we showed you a bit of a peek in to the Research level of Citadel, so let's dive deeper and see some old vs new comparison shots.

Stairs? On Citadel? Can you believe it?!

I would say the station is looking good enough to bloody up soon... So moving on to some enemies being modeled, starting with the Cyborg Assassin. 

Robb Waters' modernized version of Trioptimum's elite cybernetic soldiers, a favorite enemy of the Nightdive team and the only enemy type from System Shock 1 that also appeared in System Shock 2. The prominent head-mounted scanner of the original has been reinterpreted as a surgically implanted visor that plugs directly into the optic nerve.

Conceived for the System Shock Remake, the Cyborg Surgeons are ambient, non-aggressive characters who process and maintain Shodan's minions, as well as perform menial data tasks around the station.

Male and Female variants of the Humanoid Mutant, crewmembers of Citadel Station warped by Shodan's biological experiments and implanted with cybernetic eyes. To add visual variation, Mutants will wear stretched, tattered, and bloody versions of the crew outfits they wore during their grotesque transformation, like the Standard Operations and Doctor outfits shown here.

The Virus Mutant, the horrific result of a human's exposure to Shodan's V-5 Mutagen Virus.  Some wormy visual cues in its skin point to the fact that it is a crude, early predecessor to the Hybrids of System Shock 2.

Lastly, before showing some concepts, we have a new element added to the environment. 

A bit eerie, isn't it?

For concept corner, here is a weapon we have yet to show!

As you may have noticed above, we have an exam table, but Robb has taken the concept to the next step.

Can you imagine this bot working on you while strapped down?

 Then to wrap things up, Maintenance level concept, look forward to an ingame viewing of this soon!

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