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.
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.
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.
After the 3D tests I showed earlier I had a pretty clear path to go. Inked lineart did a neat job: it is clearly visible, gives a unique look and is well workable. The next step was coloring to create some final assets so I know it works for all the remaining pieces. From the concepts I had a good idea of how the coloring should look like – and I wanted to take the loose approach very directly into 3D.
Here are some 3D tests that are further along. Note though, that while these are real-time shots, they are not from the actual game. Certain features, like the black outline are still missing. But I think we’re close – the depth of field (blurring in the distance) is working already albeit not as perfect yet.
Here the texture of an oil barrel. Each object will have also a damaged version – thats what the cracks are for. For who is not into 3D usually: The light blue part is a normal map, which helps the game with the lighting. It adds little details like the rims, without having to change the mesh.
It was a guideline from the team to create these, because the Ardor3D engine is able to handle modern shaders quite nicely and we want to show that off (and it looked nicer anyways). While in the game the lights is not set up well yet, these normal maps will look better than in those test shots.
I want to write a bit about how I started with the art. I was invited to help out with this project, when it was already a bit on the way. The idea is really cool in my opinion – and already fun to see, even in the early still buggy versions. I was happy to join, and my first task was to come up with some style ideas for the art.
I took some time and made the following sketches. One picture that came fist to mind: A more techy look, nice colors and effects. Maybe a spacey background.
Then again – you know, what first comes to mind is often the boring thing that everyone comes up with. So time for the next one. This is a variation of more symbolic objects. A pencilled cargo set – you could use all these boxes as stacks with the physics. Surely the TNT would be fun.
I liked the pencil style, so I made another one. This time the setting is a city. Instead of the TNT crate a nuclear plant could blow up.
To offer one more very different option, I went for a sci-fi style. Different boxes with sleek futuristic designs.
We met up together and I presented the ideas. At the end we went with the city design. And at that point I also thought about actually using the graphite-pencil style for the actual game graphics. More about that later.