We've had posts about many aspects of the game, but not for the arenas, even though the arenas are one of the most important parts of the game. Here are also a few posts related to this one: “Art Style #6: What about the world?” and “Art Style #5: Let's sketch more characters”.
Just to refresh your memory, the plan is to make 3D arenas with 2D characters. This post will introduce you to some ideas for the arenas and show you some of the earliest tests.
The arenas of Infamis
The world is a big place, with different kinds of environments. Therefore, there are many arenas and a lot of variations between them. Different obstacles will be generated on the arenas and they are tied to the style of the arena. There might also be interactable devices or traps that the player can use for their advantage.
The plan is that the basic layout of a specific arena will always stay the same, but by switching some things around (like the obstacles) there will always be some refreshing variation for each match. Will the obstacles be 2D or 3D isn’t really decided yet. It is important to try all kinds of variations while prototyping to see what looks the best!
Here are a few screenshots from the first, and I do mean the very first tries we made to test out if mixing 2D and 3D art really works.
The arena was made purely to test ideas and it was done without any previous planning on what the arena should look like. We kind of went with it and came up with some basic ideas for how we should make the arenas.
The 2D elements seem to work quite well with the 3D elements.
This time we started from the edges, so that the arena was made to be square and would completely surround the playable area. Not much of “outside” is shown. The player will be able to move and “zoom” into the action in some cases. And in those cases if they are in a certain area of the map, the camera might show too much above the arena walls. This is easily tackled by using a skybox and creating some background art for each arena. Just in case the camera is able to see beyond the arena walls.
A darker lava themed arena. It would have two higher areas for both sides but a lot of even ground to keep it simple. There would of course be different kinds of obstacles generated to make it more interesting. The main idea is that the arenas will be mirrored so that neither of the teams can get an advantage from the starting position.
An arena that would be located indoors with a higher ground element in the middle, equally far from each side. The area would be decorated with a crypt-like theme.
While making this, we came up with an idea. It would be cool to have high and low grounds on the arena, so that it won’t be just flat. This could also bring new tactical elements to the game, where the high ground gets bonuses against those on lower ground.
Side note: In the arenas there will be things that move like flags, flames, etc. Those will be created in 2D and animated in Spine. Every 2D object must also be rotated toward the camera so that they won't look paper-thin. As you can see in the crypt image there are jars which are not facing the camera.
The idea for this arena came from one of my earlier drawings where we had these floating pieces of ground. It was also included in one of our earlier posts, which you can read here “Art Style #6: What about the world?”.
We thought why not try an arena that is made of several floating ground pieces, these floating isles. They could vary in size and be at different heights to keep that low vs high ground variation in the arena. The isles would be connected to each other in some way, like by bridges that you can cross or portals that you can use. The characters might also have some skills that you could use to travel short distances, like “leap” or “teleport”, which could allow the character to move between the isles without using the provided routes.
Since the arena is floating in the air, a skybox or skydome is needed to surround the whole arena. We decided to try out a skybox where we would draw in the ground and sky. The hard part was to find out how to do it, so that we would get it to look just right.
Side note: This was the first time I have ever done a skybox myself. It wasn’t easy, since I wanted it to have some perspective and have the horizon be roundish, so that the edges of the cube wouldn’t be visible. It was interesting to figure it out. I'll write a separate blog post, where I'll show and talk about more how the skybox was created.
We usually want to test out ideas fast, and that’s what most of these are. They are fast iterations of arenas that might be or might not be included in the final game. Hopefully they will still give you a better idea of what we are trying to achieve.