Art Time! #4

Greetings!

Vincent here to give you another Art Time! focused on the environment. Much has happened since last time, even another overhaul of the style. Just as the first iteration had some issues, the one we showed two weeks ago, we noticed, went in a different direction than we had planned, a case of the idea led to the very extreme of the idea.

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What we had to do was to look back at what we first had since it worked better together with Tamarrion’s character design, and try to destroy and rebuild rather than start from scratch.

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We will base this iteration closer to reality and then we will put it through a treatment in Zbrush and continue with our hand-painted texture work.

Right now there is not much more we can show you, as this process just started a little over a week ago. We will continue to iterate and try to summon our best, creating a beautiful concise art style between characters and environment. So stay tuned for more Art time! Thank you.

Have a good one!

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Development Diary #3: Interactive spells

devdiary3Howdy-hoo, my name is Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, and today we’re back with a new installment of the Development Diary!

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about something I’d like to refer to as interactive spells, which is a part of our new spell-system that was briefly discussed last week in the development diary.

What is it?

So, what is an interactive spell?

An interactive spell is a spell that interacts with another spell or an environment. Basically, it means that different spells can interact with other spells in interesting ways, and are designed to create a layer of strategic depth.

Designed with the new skillshot system in mind, the interactive spells are being created as a tool, rather than a whole new mechanic; i.e. all spells has an alternative use. This means that a player can choose 5x abilities at a time (yes, we’re adding another ability-slot), that may or may not interact with each other, and it is up to the player to create their own combinations of spells and interactivity between the spells; we’re merely creating them as tools.

This goes hand in hand with our design philosophy here at Tamarrion to offer the player tools rather than solutions.

How does it work?

Let’s do a case study of two examples. (Note that the spells being mentioned below are not actual finished designed spells)

The first case study is between the two made-up abilities Circle of Light and Dragon’s Breath.

Circle of Light already has a built in passive interactive mechanic: Stand in the circle and you’re healed, walk out of the circle and the circle becomes a death field for undead creatures, damaging them over time.

If the player casts Dragon’s Breath above the field, the field starts burning even when the player is standing within the field (and obviously not being damaged by it), with an even greater intensity. This is just one way two spells are able to interact with one and another.

Mock-up of a new way of showing spell-information in the UI. Note the interaction section and the new %Weapon Damage modifier which we will talk about in a future devdiary.

Mock-up of a new way of showing spell-information in the UI. Note the interaction section and the new %Weapon Damage modifier which we will talk about in a future devdiary.

Another example would be casting two frost spells within a time frame (any frost spells) which would encase the enemy inside a frozen tomb for X seconds.

The list goes on, and the possibilities are endless for me as a designer.

Hopefully, this should give the players the tools to look at boss battles as a puzzle with a multitude of solutions, rather than having a predetermined solution.

We want players to look at the systems being given to them as a Swiss army knife – not as a key to a specific lock.

Next week, we’re going to discuss boss battle design in general as well as take a look at the new boss being designed right now.

Art Time #3 – Tamarrion Character Concept

When the Lead Designer and I started working on the concept of the game Tamarrion, the entire essence of what the game was supposed to be was born out of an image in our heads. That image was of a woman in full black armour with long, bright orange hair.

So we knew that we wanted a female character, that she should have a long orange/red braid flowing behind her and that she needed to have black armour that would create an awesome contrast to her hair. We also knew that we wanted her to have a full suit of armour which should make her look badass.

Paladin Concept Art #1

Paladin Concept Art #1

Before actually going into production a couple of explorations were made in her appearance. The very first one was a closeup of her face. With this I wanted mostly to explore the artstyle that we were to be going for with a fantasy theme and big armour pieces. Even though the armour would not work in 3D this image has laid the groundwork for the character in her face and the colours that have been used on the finished character.

The second one was instead an exploration in how her armour would look and showcased one of her most prominent character traits, her spell casting. The idea was to picture her in her armour, riding into battle, raising her hand over her head and light would flow from it across the entire battlefield. We wanted to have medieval style armour, this concept turned out far too realistic for the artstyle though.

Paladin Concept Art #2

Paladin Concept Art #2

When actually starting up the proper concept phase and starting to explore the character further, I created a very muscular base on which we experimented with different armour types. The problem was that it was still too realistic and we realised that instead of trying to create a full medieval suit of armour it would be a better idea to give her fewer pieces of armour that were really big and giving the impression of her being fully armoured.

First Concept Test

First Concept Test

At this point I also did some explorations of the hairstyle, the team voted which one they liked better and that one actually stayed through the development.

Hairstyle Examples

Hairstyle Examples

Realising that we had to throw everything that we had done so far away was a relieving experience since we did not like it at all, but it also left us with not knowing exactly where to go. What we needed to do was to create a more stylised look with fewer and big armour pieces. We wanted to play with contrast in size, working a lot with small and big next to each other to make the armour look even bigger and the character more interesting. A lot of research was made before one little paper sketch showed some promise, it was from this sketch that the final character was created.

The Sketch

The Sketch

The design of the initial sketch was iterated upon several times, testing different variations of armour before deciding upon one to clean up and continuing working on.

Armour Explorations

Armour Explorations

By picking and choosing what we liked best, elements of several of these iterations were combined into one design and a complete turnaround of the character was created.

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Character Turnaround for 3D Modeling

After completing the turnaround we started thinking about colours, this turned out to be quite a challenge. The main issue we faced were that she needed to have few colours that were typical for her that we would not use on any of the bosses. The problem with this was that we wanted her to have black and orange as her colours, colours that would normally be used on the antagonist. This forced us to play with colour combinations that the audience are used to seeing as we used “good” colours on the boss (blue and gold) and “bad” colours on the main character.  The first iteration looked very plain and boring so I played around a bit with the colours and found a combination that we really liked, with reddish pants and a blue tint on her armour.

Colour Explorations

Colour Explorations

Going with the blue tint we felt was the best decision as we were worried that she might else look like a bad guy and it looks a lot better in 3D than just plain black would do. It was far too light though, as we still wanted the impression of black armour, so I darkened it down quite a bit. I also reused materials and colours, for instance pants and gloves are the same, so that she would look cohesive and not like a christmas tree, with the bonus of having many colours left to use for all the boss characters that we are going to make!

Final Colour Design

Final Colour Design

There was a lot of thoughts going into the process of designing the character and we threw everything away and started from the beginning several times, which I feel was one of the best decisions we have made regarding the art so far. I could go on and on forever about this character concept, but I think this is enough for one day. 🙂

Love
Cobrabird

Lore Day #1 – Tamarrion

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Tamarrion was the firstborn of the King and everyone had great hopes for the young princess to become a great queen one day.

As most young nobles she was sent to other families to serve as a page and then squire, to get the arrogance knocked out of them and train to become knights. It was an event while serving as a squire in the house of Eiron that turned her on the path of a warrior.

Before she was ever crowned queen she received a calling from the gods to be their champion against the evil that is spreading across the lands. As their paladin she now travels around the known world to fight evils that ordinary soldiers cannot stand against.

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Love
Cobrabird

Art Time! #2

Greetings!

My name is Vincent Måns and I’m the Environment Artist for Tamarrion. Welcome to the second edition of Art Time! Today I’m going to go through some design decisions made to the new version of the level and the overall design of the environment.

To start off, we must first look at the old level and see what did not work out that well. The pillar base created some problems from the start, they had sharp metallic pieces keeping the player away when they were supposed to function as a defense against a specific mechanic, that was the first change that had to be made. Other was the overall emptiness of the room and the alcoves especially. But what it came down to in the end was the overall aesthetic and look of the design, it simply did not fit the vision we had in mind.

OldRoom
OldPillarOldAlcove

And by the start of summer I began to sketch up some redesigns to fix these issues and take it to the next level.

The new assets would be more stylized, go more towards the no straight lines-rule. Exaggerated shapes and bends, even playing with the perspective of the player. I also wanted to incorporate a more classic vault design in the ceiling; giving it more character. During the process we also decided to give each level a more themed treatment, making them more distinguishable and unique. This undead level will be taking a more atmospheric and spooky theme.

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I went from a simple stone vault look and added details of wood to mix up the colors and materials. I gave the pillars a square and more sturdy look, shields will also be added to them to give the player a better sense of why they are there, so that they actually understand they can hide behind them.
The alcoves are a bit smaller and will be filled with sacrificial items and also more clearly display that they cannot be entered during the hiding phase.
Walls are slightly curved towards the center, creating some sort of distorted perspective for the player, making it seem as if the building is looming above them.That very same principle is something I’m applying to the outside assets as well, giving them a crooked look as if they are reaching for the player.

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Thank you for your time, see you in the next Art Time!
Have a good one!

Development diary #2: Skillshots

Hello and welcome back to the development diary!

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about the new skillshot system that will be introduced in the next version of the game.

Why?

As we’re working on creating a new keyboard specific control for the game, we’re also changing the way spells are being cast. The former version of the game basically worked as following: is there a boss? If yes then is the boss within range? If yes, then cast the targeted spell.

With the new controls, we’re aiming to create more powerful and interactive spells, so hence, we’re making the new spells skill based; meaning that the direction of the spell, the placement and the chance of success is based on the players skill rather than button mashing.

We did not want the player to randomly press spells as they went off cooldown, but rather use the spells in combination with other spells, as well as use the spell as they are designed, for context specific situations where a failed spell might be the end of you, or the savior of the situation. It’s all about the aesthetics of Tamarrion; an emotional roller-coaster, where the players’ skill is everything, and the outcome is purely based on your own actions.

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Mock-up of the new skillshot system.

How does it work?

If you’re familiar with playing games such as Smite or League of Legends, you’ll find this system to be easy to control. This also allows for a higher skill-ceiling, which players who enjoys the difficulty that Tamarrion offers hopefully finds rewarding.

The skill-shots, or spells in general (all spells will be converted to some kind of skill shot, or basically being put in as a Area of Effect), comes in various forms. They can be magic spells being shot from the player to the boss, or areas where the player might heal themselves.

This coincides with the new spell system in general. Example being a spell that the player may cast on targeted location, a circle that heals the player when the player is standing within the circle, but turns into a lethal Area of Effect damage circle when the player steps out, damaging any creature that enters.

We’ll talk more about the new spell system in an upcoming Development diary.

So that’s about it for today’s development diary. More information about skillshots will be revealed soon, as we’re still working on the new control system.

Art Time!

We have now gotten started with the project again and are working hard on brand new art assets for Tamarrion.

We are iterating upon the old level and recreating it from scratch, creating the entire boss wing together to make sure that the style is cohesive throughout. After finishing the first prototype we felt that we wanted to push the art style further, towards a more comical and stylized look.

Enviroment Concepts

Enviroment Concepts

To achieve this we are working a lot with shapes, one of our most crucial aspect regarding the enviromental art is that there are supposed to be no straight lines. This means that even lines that are supposed to be straight will be twisted and curved.

We are not only working on a new version of the level though, we also have another boss character in the making. The concept phase was completed last week and over the weekend we started modeling her in 3D.

Concept Sketch of the new Boss!

Concept Sketch of the new Boss!

Turnaround of our new character!

Turnaround of our new character

She was once a follower of Lord Valac and is still loyal to him in death. In contrast to Lord Valac she will not be using melee combat but rather be focused on casting spells.

Love
Cobrabird