… is the reason why the team had to work without internet for over an hour. This Friday it was my turn to provide a working location (indie to the max), so we were all at my place. However, as a bigger brother, I sometimes sacrifice my dignity for the goodwill of my little sister, meaning I was about to stand in the digital queue for tickets for Beyoncé (singer / actress / model / idol for my sister). As my router sometimes refuses work when too many machines are connected, I had to politely ask the team to disconnect, because disconnection for me would mean re-entering the queue. What I expected to last for 10 minutes, took more than an hour. And I didn’t even get the right tickets! One for sitting in the back, and for standing in the front (sorry sis).
After all this nuisance, we could finally do some business, and on the menu for today was: the new Trailer! Our first trailer was very simple: a few seconds of gameplay, from different levels. We didn’t put much effort in editing slickly or adding juicyness. Why would we need that, the game speaks for itself doesn’t it. Wrong! The youtube statistics showed that many people already clicked away whilst showing the logo’s. They hadn’t even seen anything from our game and they gave up on Caromble!. So our GameTrailer 101 was: start with the action. Show immediately what your game is about, because the attention span of your viewers is… well, probably less than you’d hope or expect.
We think our next trailer is much juicier than the previous one. Also we show some more of the content from Caromble! We hope you like it. Expect it to be online somewhere in this week.
About time to post some concept art, that’s still waiting to see the light of the internet. Some time ago we decided on the chapters we will have in the final version. These have to look consistent with each other, but also distinguished as different themes. Add to that that the gameplay itself uses colors too (the common red explosives for example), and you have quite a complex setup to plan.
Since the gameplay also evolved organically, it dawned on me pretty late that each part should have a clear color code. Here is the setup I sketched out:
The bumpers are blue, and the borders, that the player can’t destroy are yellow for example… this might not need to be explained to the player – but tell him subconsciously what he can do in the game.
Here you can see how it works in the game so far:
The strong colors of these elements make it hard to get all the rest work well with the subtle colors I wanted. But gameplay goes first. I’m actually thinking to try black for the “indestructible” border – might be more consistent with the black outlines in the artworks, and allow yellow to be used for other parts, like highlighting important structures.
After that then I approachd an overview of the level art – with more muted colors. And specific shapes for the different chapters. For now we’re going only for the factory and the commercial area. … and now comes the hard part to get all this nearly like it into the game.
Santa came early this year and look what he brought: a brand new paddle! This paddle matches our background story much better. And it looks better too. On top of that the shape has been updated too, it is a bit more flat at the top, so players will have greater control over the ball.
We also would like to share some concept art previously posted on our Greenlight page. It shows you the direction we’re headed with Caromble!, as we are nearing the final stages of development.
After we picked the red style from the last post, it was time to come up the paddle design. Here are some possible versions.
We currently have a dummy of version K in the game. Some research also went into how paddles look and behave in other breakout games. I was really surprised to learn that most paddles nowadays don’t use proper reflection. But that makes them way more controllable. The worst problem is really when the player hits the ball and it still goes out – that feels unfair.
So in our push to get a new demo together we’re also adjusting some gameplay. For one we want to give the player a clear goal what to aim for in a level.
Our idea is to add an alien artifact, that crashed in each level. The player is basically the alien rescue team. Here are some ideas for how the design could look.
It has a clear contrast to the world, to be easily spottable. It also gives us an excuse to make the goodies easily spottable. Red looks nice – so we’ll run witht hat, but we might have to use more colors for different goodies.
This new object is a bit simpler than the old batch, because the rushed assets usually turned out nicer in the game than the detailed ones. It’s one of the toughest parts in game art to keep the bigger picture in mind. When an artist works on something, then it is easy to optimize detail/contrast/colors for this specific item. But all those properties work completely different in a scene it has to share with many other objects.
So here it is: thicker lines on the texture. Less and softer details. And less color.
One of the assets rushed in for Indigo. Will get some brush-up and normal maps later.
That was by the way some of the interesting feedback I got: the most rushed assets got repeatedly positive reactions. My perfectionism makes me cringe a bit – but of course I should be happy because I can work much faster than I did with some of the older assets. They turned out too detailed – it does not only not show up but also makes their impact lower.
One of the first bigger assets in it’s final form: the farmhouse. Which is right next to the start on or prototype level. I made a little turnaround movie – one with the diffuse map, and one with just the normal map (Normal maps are basically just showing the shape of a form, instead of the color).
I think I’ll keep this style throughout the project – after all the testing I’ve written about earlier, I’ve got it working: It’s quick, and unique enough. With some after effects we’re planning for this should work well in the final game (again, those asset shots are not done in the real engine yet, but close to it).
On request to add desktop sizes of the last images, I’ve made the caromble wallpaper page. Hope this works for everyone.
And the following images are some more asset-shots to test the final 3D look.
As pointed out in the last post, this is not in-game, but close to it. If we get features like the black outline to work, it will help us also with the gameplay. We could change the color to highlight important objects.
While working on the cow screenshot, there was a little accident. I put the wrong texture on all objects. But I think it actually has something to it – it looks more gritty, evil and in despair. Wile the overall technique for the other assets is ok, I will try to incorporate some of the effects from this mistake. Maybe the cow will get a gasmask one day.