Dark sci-fi in Unreal Engine with Mate Puškarić, aka Kharos, from Project Morningstar

November 30, 2023
10 min read

When Sam, Rokoko's Creative Director, pointed out that he was in awe of the quality of the production in one of Rokoko's community members' new content pieces, we knew that we had to reach out to get his story.

Getting close to a million views on YouTube in a matter of days, "The Hunt - Part One" is a dark sci-fi gem made in Unreal Engine that tells the story from a distant, bleak future where the known universe is gripped by the greed of interstellar corporate empires.

We sat down with Kharos to learn more about his journey as an Animator, Cinematographer, and Technical/UE5 Artist, happy reading!

Hello Kharos! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Mate Puškarić, though I’m known as Kharos to my fellow creators and friends. I’ve been an animator for the last five years, though I’ve held a “generalist” position for most of that time, being responsible for rigging, animation, cinematography, technical art, and many other parts of the cinematic pipeline, primarily within Unreal Engine and Blender.

I also recently started dipping my toes into game development through modding, so you could say I do a little bit of everything… except for modeling and texturing, I’d rather leave that to my colleagues.

How did you get started in 3D and how did you first start animating?

My journey began in 2017, when I first started creating fan content using Source Filmmaker, featuring the works of Graham McNeill, Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, and other brilliant authors. This was my first introduction to the animation pipeline, albeit through an outdated medium even by the standards of 2017, so it wasn’t long until I switched to Blender and Unreal Engine as I started animating professionally.

Around this time is when I met my current colleagues and close friends, most notably Joazzz and Boman Modine. To make a long story short, after a few years of working together, ups and downs, we decided to create our own IP, now called Morningstar. This came out of a desire to create something that is our own, instead of “building somebody else’s pyramid”, bringing us to where we are today.

If you had to choose, what is the single most defining characteristic that makes your content unique and entirely yours? In other words, what would you say is your artist trademark?

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to design a universe that is unique. In today’s day and age, it is difficult to create something that hasn’t already been created in some way, shape, or form.

Nevertheless, drawing inspiration is what artists do all the time, so in our efforts to create something original, we have decided to mold elements from our favourite sci-fi stories to create something that people may find familiar, though original enough to maintain its own style.

Summarising the universe of Morningstar: Macro-Corporations manipulate the government of the Hegemon as it competes with independent nations and an encroaching alien migration fleeing a galactic disaster.

How does the dynamic between you and your team play out during development?

Boman, Joazzz, and myself share creative ownership of Morningstar, and are currently the only ones working on it almost full time, while some of our friends and colleagues help out here and there when they are available.

All three of us work tightly to create content for Morningstar; Boman writes up a story - Joazzz creates the necessary 3d and 2d assets - I put together and animate those assets in Blender before bringing them to life in Unreal Engine - repeating that cycle until the project is done.

Do you have a favourite artwork or project you're especially proud of?

I feel like I’d be echoing the thoughts of most artists if I said that I think my previous work looks bad compared to anything that’s the most recent or beloved to me. It’s a hard question to answer.

Rather anticlimactically I would say Morningstar: The Hunt - Part One; though there are still parts I would want to improve even there, so an artist is never happy I guess.

There are pieces in all of my works that I’m happy about, and there are pieces I am very unhappy about, I’ll leave it at that.

What has been the most significant change to your life, since you started creating 3D content?

Two things. Meeting my current colleagues and friends, and finding my true calling in cinematic and game development. I honestly dread how my life would’ve been were I not in the right place at the right time, with the right mindset and enthusiasm to grow and take the opportunities presented to me. I know I’m not the only one in our team to feel that way, and we are all thankful for each other’s support through the difficult times we had gone through.

Name three pieces of equipment (software or hardware) that you can’t live without.

That's easy to answer: Blender, Unreal Engine, and the Rokoko suit.

Talking about gear, what do you love about Rokoko mocap tools / why should anyone buy them?

Having experienced the results of multiple different suits, and having worked with mocap cleanup for a while now, there is a threshold for capture quality that results in diminishing returns. The truth is that with every suit, you will always end up having to clean up after the capture, no matter how good you think the results are.

The Rokoko suit in particular offers a very generous price-to-quality ratio, while including software tools that are are relatively on par with other options I’ve seen. Yes, it has issues, especially given the inertial nature of the sensors, but even a less experienced animator can work around them quite easily if they know what they’re doing.

If you’re an indie developer or a small studio, you don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a top of the line motion capture setup if you have the opportunity to spend only a few thousand with Rokoko, and have a capable animator who can make it work.


Do you currently have any artists that inspire you in your work?

The creator of Astartes, Syama Pedersen, is my greatest artistic inspiration, not only as an animator, but also as an expert artist and cinematographer.

Alongside him is Boman Modine who, even though we sometimes disagree on certain things of artistic nature, inspired and taught me a lot about storytelling and directing, while also tossing a bone of life advice every now and then.

What advice do you have for aspiring 3D creators? What would you say are the key ingredients when learning 3D you wish you had known from the start?

Listen to your gut. In most cases, the opportunity far outweighs the risk. If you are hellbent on accomplishing something, you need to get out of your comfort zone.

If you or your team needs something, go and learn how to do that thing, don’t wait for others to help you; you’ll find that it isn’t as hard and daunting as you may think.

I myself have initially stuck to animation exclusively, and haven’t bothered to expand my skill set until I was forced to do so out of necessity, largely because our team didn’t have enough strength in one department or the other. It was terrifying, but it was also the best thing that happened to me. Having the ability to assist any department in some capacity, and in turn being capable of pursuing your personal projects without fearing the unknown, is something that will earn you more experience and respect than just laying low and accepting perpetual stagnation of your abilities.

Can you reveal some of your next projects that we can look forward to?

We will continue developing various stories in the Morningstar universe, but first we need to finish The Hunt. We like to reserve previews and upcoming content for our Patrons, but there is and will be some public content, largely lore, available to the public on our Discord and public Patreon posts.


We wish you all the best with these future projects Kharos! We have no doubt that they will be inspiring.

You can follow and support Kharos on his channels:

Book a personal demonstration

Schedule a free personal Zoom demo with our team, we'll show you how our mocap tools work and answer all your questions.

Product Specialists Francesco and Paulina host Zoom demos from the Copenhagen office