I might be close to the starting point for a script. Something that might come to fruition in early September. For now I had been thinking of the content, as the concept of the scientist is at a fairly solid state at the moment. The logs and the world will contain scientific notes, so there is a benefit to nailing the creature's form early for the benefit of the script.
I had some inspiration after some food I discarded a while ago attracted flies. Days after disposing of it, the food bin sustained a colony of maggots but that is when the inspiration hit me: It seems quite common in the bug world for insects to begin life as an ugly grub, a mass of flesh that exists only to eat and fatten up, before engaging in a metamorphosis into a new kind of creature. I don't like flies, and this inspiration could help me avoid that cliche that an ugly grub turns into a beautiful butterfly - the creature could emerge as an adolescent, but instead of being graceful, it's the monstrous fish-creature I was experimenting with the other day. A possible maturation cycle could be as so:
- The initial sample will be in an egg or maybe a fluid state. Maybe this creature starts life as a kind of moss. It'll be dull, but that'll spur the resentment the scientist has for the project.
- As the moss matures, it develops a pupa underneath itself. This pupa will then emerge once it is large enough.
- The pupa develops, before creating some crystalline substance that it covers itself in in order to metamorphose into the adolescent form.
- The adolescent phase will be a juvenile form of the adult creature, it could develop features that would help it find a mate in the wild.
As for a timescale, perhaps something somewhat brief like 5-12 years. Short enough that a mature scientist can watch it develop at a speedy pace, but long enough that his bosses will question the cost-time effectiveness of studying a creature from birth to adulthood.
I will have to consider that the more life-phases I have, the more models I will need to build. The adolescent and adult will be fairly similar, and the moss form could be a surface that uses hair to give the impression of foliage. So in a sense the older this thing gets, the more complex the model. Two or three feels like a magic number. Or perhaps the adolescent grows into the adult.phase by way of extra bones or blendshapes.