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Art Style #1: Search for the Style

We have always thrown around ideas about what kind of game would be cool to make. Then we got the idea of Infamis.  We had a lot of questions, such as how does it play? What makes it different? And of course what will it look like? You can find more about idea of the game from the earlier post “Infamis: Legends of the Arena” but this one will be about the graphical look and what ideas we currently have for the art style of the game.

First things first

As always, we first discussed what we would like it to look like and what’s the best way to show others what you mean?

Well, with examples of course!

We went through a lot of games that we like graphically and which we thought might have good ideas for our own game. When looking at game mechanics, interface elements and things like that, we often ended up looking at games that are similar to the type that Infamis will be. On the other hand, when looking at the graphical style the genre or type of the game is not important. You could even look to comics and other mediums for inspiration, as did we.

The examples!

So, I have listed here a few examples to give you some insight of what kinds of elements we liked and picked from them. I chose to show off the ones that come up almost every time we describe the look of the game.

Example of the arenas

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (PC game)

(http://www.gog.com/game/heroes_of_might_and_magic_3_complete_edition)

Heroes 3 is a game most of us have played and it’s a game most of us think did things really well in it’s time. I think Heroes is one of the bigger influencers on our game, since it also works as a base for the gameplay and gave us ideas how to make the arenas.

On the graphical side what we currently are taking in from this is that all the troops are easy to see so the player can always be on top of the situation. Things to take a note of are the non-blocking user interface and a clear view of the battlefield.

Example of capturing the feeling.

Darkest Dungeon (PC game)

(http://store.steampowered.com/app/262060/)

The second example is more about the graphical style of the game. We liked the style of Darkest Dungeon, it fits the theme and achieves that dark dungeon feel. I also like the animations and the game's intro video is amazing.

Also, as a side note, the fact that they bring out the two characters currently making actions, make it clearer, which is nice.

Still we felt that it was a bit too dark. We want to have a more cartoony and humorous feel to the game. I like the fact that the characters do express themselves via text bubbles, this could work for us too.

Example of colors and shadows

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PC game)

(http://store.steampowered.com/app/260230/)

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is another 2D game with a really nice art style. The colors are brighter, well at least in some scenes like the one the above picture is from and the characters are somewhat more comical than in Darkest Dungeon. That’s something we are trying to do with our game, not to make it too comical, but light and funny, even if the subject matter is serious at times, like in Valiant Hearts.

The backgrounds are quite simple with few colours and simple shadows and the characters follow this style while having also some dirt here and there to add a little more detail. I would say what makes this game look good are the lines, they really make it look like a comic, which is something I like a lot about this game.

Example of simplicity of style and of humour

Asterix the Gladiator (comic)

(Asterix the Gladiator, Goscinny and Uderzo, Knight Books 1976)

Asterix is not a game, but an older comic (and cartoon movies), some of you might be familiar with it. The style of Asterix is lighter, with very bright colours and almost non-existing shadows, probably due to the fact that it is meant for printing. I like the simplicity, yet I might want to use more shadows, like in Valiant Hearts.

Also, we liked the idea of not trying to be too realistic with the characters so that they would be somewhat well-proportioned, but we could play around with the characteristics to give to them. I myself also like the humour in the comics which could be a nice addition to game.

Example of 2D art in a 3D world

Don’t Starve (PC game)

(http://store.steampowered.com/app/219740/)

Don’t Starve was selected as an example of a game which uses 2D characters and objects in a 3D world. Using a 3D world would give us options when it comes to light effects and how the camera will work in the game. This game is a perfect example of how well we would like the 2D and 3D aspects to work together.

Conclusion

We would like to keep the game light and funny, so the art style should support that. I also think we can get more out of the characters with 2D art and more easily bring out that “cartoony”, somewhat comical, feel to the game than by using 3D characters. Plus we have more experience with 2D art and animations.

The arenas should be big enough for tactics and have clear view of the units. 3D environments would give us the chance to try out different things with the 3D lighting and moving the camera more freely. A problem that is likely to come up is how we will keep the same style in the 3D and 2D parts of the art. The 2D art shouldn't pop out too much and should fit in within the 3D world.

At this point the idea is to have cartoony 2D characters that are animated with the Spine. The characters will have several parts and perhaps changeable parts. They will be used in 3D scenes where the items and obstacles will also likely be 2D and the texturing will follow the character style. I will go into more detail about the animation in a future post.

In the next post "Art Style #2: Sketching out Infamis" we take the first steps in finding the drawing style.

 

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