Tag Archive: Conceptart


Sphere Concept Evolution

After showing how the art of the alien art evolved, here is an update on the sphere, that now is closing towards final.

The first concepts already had it as a blue glowing object with some pattern on it.


And it stayed that way for quite a while, whereas I tried around with making the pattern more readable.

That wasn’t quite readable still, mostly because of the light effects in the game. So here are some concepts that add a 3D shape, with more contrast, so that the sphere would work in dark as well as bright areas.

After choosing colors from there, I worked on the shape. I really liked the idea of having a glowing core inside.

Next time I’ll show how it looked in the game.

Alien Evolution

As the gameplay of Caromble! is zeroing in on the final outcome, it’s time to do the same for the look of important assets of the game. This is a view of how the Alien design evolved.

The style matures over the course of a development, so it’s always a good bet to do these items at the last, to have them at their best. Background story and gameplay are still somewhat in flux, but little enough to give this a shot.

Above are three old iterations – with the first being from the very earliest posting about the alien concept. It became already more creature-like in the step some months later. And in the next version, when the game-story was defined, it became even more of a vicious actor.

We decided based on the latest story iteration, that the alien would hold items. So this is a very recent redesign – making it more into a shell.

The team chose the variation they liked. And since we’ve noticed when we showed the game that players sometimes didn’t know what to make of this thing (is it good or bad), the request was to add even more personality. So now the features look more like eyes, and I’ve added something like a mouth.
So here is the final version, that will make it’s step into 3D soon.

Dear Lisa

Dear Lisa,

It’s been 2 weeks since I last wrote you and many things have happened. I told you about my troubles with my physics tests at school, but these worries have no meaning anymore. Not since last Wednesday. The school is closed and the city abandoned.

It seemed like a bad promotion stunt, when we saw the first giant balls rolling through the streets on YouTube. Unfortunately it was more than a well crafted special effects video. This was real.

Most of the city has now been evacuated, but daddy doesn’t want to leave. “Some black eyed red Martians don’t scare me!” he says. But they do scare me. The screeching sound they make scare me. The explosions they cause scare me.

I have seen one of them. It was near. It had a metallic reddish kind of skin, or more like a shell. It’s eyes were of the deepest black you could imagine. I think it saw me and it screeched. It produced a deafening high pitched tone, as if it was about to attack me or crying for help. Why are they here? What do they want?

We have no television down here, but we have a working radio and enough food and water to stay here for months. Months… I don’t believe I can stand another week of daddy’s End of Day stories: “It was only a matter of time that something like this would happen. I told you so, didn’t I… I told you boy. We have deserved this. We screwed up and now we’re punished. But I knew, didn’t I? I was prepared!”. He doesn’t understand that none of this has any meaning whatsoever. It just happened. That’s it.

Yesterday, the men on the radio said that the giant balls wrecking the city are not created by the Red Monsters. They even seem afraid of it. Some people claim to have seen a white machinelike creature, infused with light, that seems to battle these monsters. It appears that it uses these balls as some kind of weapon. I’d like to belief that there is something out there, helping us.

Although I’m scared, the stories of the light-machine-creature thrill me. It’s exciting to think that some alien races are fighting an intergalactic war and that our planet is their stage. Just like in that show Transformers I used to watch as a child. I’d like to think that something is out there to watch over us…

 

I intend to post these letters whenever it’s possible and until them I’ll keep them save for you.

 

I hope you are well.

 

With love,

Nick

 

PS. I made you this drawing. I hope you like it.

nicksArt

Color Coding

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.

New Paddle

paddle

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.

We are eager to hear any thoughts and feedback!


 

Paddle Version 2.0

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.

Concept: The Alien!

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.

Pushing the Style

Even if one has a clear image in his head – it is really tough to fully realize what it is about, and get it on paper. As I pointed out in the last posting about conceptart, the design was not quite there.

When creating the webpage I decided to make a background image – and that was a good chance to freely explore the style a bit more. Here is the line-art done on a A2 paper.

Helped a lot to get my head around this – it also made me collect a lot of shapes and ideas, that I can pretty directly take into the game later. Basically 50 little concepts in one. Here is the final colored version for the website-background. It tiles in all directions.
I might make a full standalone artwork with the original layout later if I find the time.

Zeroing in on Level and Style

On a team meeting we decided that we should set a proper goal. One level that we aim to finish as a prototype. Taking gameplay and style into account, I’ve made a sketch of a bigger level. It should show the size-progression well, and also use for example some custom physics shapes – in this case it is a twisted ramp (the road in the picture).

We decided to go for this. Also Pascal found this photo you see below, and suggested to use it for the style. This really nailed it – somehow totally what I imagined too. So from now on I took this as my main reference.
Later just by chance I came across the picture again – it’s the Chicago industrial area, from the flickr-account of the library of congress.

Also somehow in my head the style had a much more desperate and kafkaesk look to it – and this image fits so nice to that. But the first version of the level concept fell short of it. So I redid the design – and made the following two color versions, so the team can decide which way to go.

I love the white look – and one day I wanna make a game with that. But for now we all agreed to go for the colored one.

The idea is that that you would start in the little corner where the farm is. And first clear out food-boxes and helpless chickens. In the next step you break out of the wall, then progress to the next wall. After you destroyed the city below, you can unblock the ramp, and finally attack the skyscrapers on the very top.

…which at the very end leads to some nice special effect. I sketched out how flowers overgrow the whole rotten city. We will have to see if we can actually pull this off in the final version.

I’m not 100% satisfied with the look. It should get more of a Metropolis or Gotham City feel. So I will work on this in later concepts.

Gameplay Ideas

The basics of the game design were born out of the first versions. Especially the physics aspect of it, since this is what most of the programming effort went into. But to have some more special features, we collected ideas of what else to bring in. Things that you don’t see in other Breakouts.

One idea that came a bit out of the style we went for was that certain objects should be more the goal to hit. In the picture here it is the nuclear power plant (colored red).

Now the question is how to stop the player from hitting it in the first go. And thats where the idea of the growing ball comes in. A bit like in Katamari Damacy: First you start up small, an can only hit smaller objects. Once you gathered enough points, you grow bigger and can hit objects of a higher level.

This last image is an example of a level idea using the size-progression. Each roman number shows another step – where you can first only affect little objects in the hall, you can later break the walls and go out to finally hit the ship.

We also decided that we want to have lots of variation: Playing with the camera, having sub-levels, level-specific goals and features. We definitely want to bring in all the ideas we have – and play with the physics to really use the aspect. So for example switching the gravity around, turning the level. And lots of goodies – multiball has to be in there, its just too much fun.
Here are some more sketches of what we could possibly do.