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  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Working on design for a minotaur character. This is also part of ongoing general art design work. I want to try and get character iteration time down by like 50% so I need to look at some ways to get away from realism. The struggle is is that realism is pretty much the only style I ever enjoyed.
    The minotaur will be a boss character. I want for him to feel strong, fast, intimidating, and smart. 

    Here are some silhouette concepts I've made and my thoughts on them: 
    A - kind of like a water buffalo style. Not really into it, feels dopey
    B - pin head look. If minotaur was meant to be a dumbass this would be a good fit
    C - simplest shapes and long horns. I think this is top two. 
    D - it's meh...
    E - not as good as C
    F - bad shapes
    G - pretty good, top two. I think down ears doesn't work as good as up ears like C
    H - thinner body, thicker head. kind of interesting style, reminds me of Aku from samurai jack for some reason. 


    I will probably work on the entire first batch of characters like this before getting back into 3d since I want to be sure that I have a consistent style. I will do front and side profiles, and once I settle on a consistent style then I will see if I can make a 3d version that just uses basic block modeling techniques + hand painted textures. 
    I dont want to look as blocky as Synty assets, as an example, but I want to ensure I have that easy workflow and also have strong, distinctive silhouettes. 

    if anybody has some thoughts about silhouettes here please do share.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Alex_J said:
    Working on design for a minotaur character. This is also part of ongoing general art design work. I want to try and get character iteration time down by like 50% so I need to look at some ways to get away from realism. The struggle is is that realism is pretty much the only style I ever enjoyed.
    The minotaur will be a boss character. I want for him to feel strong, fast, intimidating, and smart. 

    Here are some silhouette concepts I've made and my thoughts on them: 
    A - kind of like a water buffalo style. Not really into it, feels dopey
    B - pin head look. If minotaur was meant to be a dumbass this would be a good fit
    C - simplest shapes and long horns. I think this is top two. 
    D - it's meh...
    E - not as good as C
    F - bad shapes
    G - pretty good, top two. I think down ears doesn't work as good as up ears like C
    H - thinner body, thicker head. kind of interesting style, reminds me of Aku from samurai jack for some reason. 


    I will probably work on the entire first batch of characters like this before getting back into 3d since I want to be sure that I have a consistent style. I will do front and side profiles, and once I settle on a consistent style then I will see if I can make a 3d version that just uses basic block modeling techniques + hand painted textures. 
    I dont want to look as blocky as Synty assets, as an example, but I want to ensure I have that easy workflow and also have strong, distinctive silhouettes. 

    if anybody has some thoughts about silhouettes here please do share.
    Here's a few unconventional minotaurs that I liked,

    Kai from kung fu panda

    Motaro minotaur version from Mortal Kombat


    A miniature from warhammer


    Berserk Anime - eh, similar to above, though I don't know if I should say the characters name since its major spoilers.
    I recommend watching the whole anime it might influence the direction of your game.

    How much larger is the minotaur going to be compared to the player, since I think this will influence the direction of the silhouette.
    Like the pin head look is what gives the colossal titan from Attack on titan its collassalness 

    https://attackontitan.fandom.com/wiki/Colossal_Titan_(Anime)

    From your silhouettes
    A - looks like a gundam proportion wise (robo look)
    B - Might look more imposing if he was massive
    C - I like the simple shapes, looks intimidating, (robo look)
    D - I like the shorter legs, the torso looks fuller
    E - Feels a bit stocky
    F - Looks balanced
    G - very Berserk Anime (caution serious spoilers if you google the character)
    H - Does look more stylized 

    Also for your bow mechanics check this out,
    https://www.sca.org/resources/martial-activities/combat-archery/
    https://tesalliance.org/forums/index.php?/files/file/514-duke-patricks-combat-archery/&

    And the game mount and blade is your friend 


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    thanks @NikhilR

    height will be like 2.5 ish meters but I may push it more. have to get model in game and see. I just start from "real" size and then exaggerate if it doesn't feel intimidating enough in the game. I always disliked in games when enemies are so enormous but the fact is, I want players to fear him so if making him 10 stories high is necessary I will consider it.

    For the style I mostly want to stick to historical examples, just making minor modifications to the shape and colors to put my own flavor on things. Thanks for your initial impressions on these, it helps a lot to see what others think. 
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Alex_J said:
    thanks @NikhilR

    height will be like 2.5 ish meters but I may push it more. have to get model in game and see. I just start from "real" size and then exaggerate if it doesn't feel intimidating enough in the game. I always disliked in games when enemies are so enormous but the fact is, I want players to fear him so if making him 10 stories high is necessary I will consider it.

    For the style I mostly want to stick to historical examples, just making minor modifications to the shape and colors to put my own flavor on things. Thanks for your initial impressions on these, it helps a lot to see what others think. 
    I think it also comes down to how the player will defeat him, since bow is the main weapon maybe evasion while pumping with arrows followed by a finisher with a blade. 
    the little legs, chunky torso and head are good for charging attacks and solid punches, but a stocky pyramid like appearance might be good for stomping and kicking
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    yeah that is something to think about that i hadn't got to yet. His silhouette should work well during his common locomotion and attack animations, and also communicate how he will move/attack. I hadn't got that deep in the character, more just thinking about art style in general, but I should probably back up and maybe do this design exercise with a character whose moveset is already known. Since the main thing I try to do right now is simplify the models in general.
    big thanks @NikhilR
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Alex_J said:
    yeah that is something to think about that i hadn't got to yet. His silhouette should work well during his common locomotion and attack animations, and also communicate how he will move/attack. I hadn't got that deep in the character, more just thinking about art style in general, but I should probably back up and maybe do this design exercise with a character whose moveset is already known. Since the main thing I try to do right now is simplify the models in general.
    big thanks @NikhilR
    Happy to help! I also want to get more into character design and this talk really helped out in how to go about ideation,
    https://youtu.be/UthCuDB1IEQ
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Okay finished an experiment to go for more stylization with the characters. I built a new model for the main hero character. This time I only did basic low poly modeling and just flat colors for materials. Just push and pull vertices in maya, no sculpting or complicated workflow.

    The minotaur model is the original sculpt that I called "pinhead" but actually getting him in a mock level and viewing in relation to the character, I dont think he looks like a dumbass any more. He's pretty cool. But I think I will still go through the exercise of building a simple, no normal map, more stylized low poly model like I have done for the hero. Then I can compare. Overall though, I think going for this style of characters will work better because it keeps me more in the fun zone and simplifies art workflow considerably. 

    Okay, next I will work on texturing for this new stylized character style. She is going to be covered in tattoos but the major goal is to find a way to do that texturing that looks cool and allows me to just focus on overall design and not get bogged down with details. So I think probably mostly flat colors with some subtle gradients, no high detail noise or anything like that.

    NSFW (historical nudity)

    For the outfit I just base it on the famous statue. Not sure if I actually follow through on the tits out theme or not. I kind of want to because I feel like it makes her more badass. But you know, people are sensitive about body parts.


    I feel that maybe I've gone a touch too far with proportions of legs to torso?

    My design goal for this character is for her to feel agile and fast and scrappy.  If she was an animal she would be like a gazelle. Both an endurance runner but also can jump like crazy and has crazy reflexes. 

    I think it mostly works to that effect? 

    Not sure about the little accessories, but I figured some tassle / fur stuff to bounce a little while she moves might look nice

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Alex_J said:


    That looks awesome! 
    The setting and mood really adds depth to the presentation of the minotaur.
    I especially like the shot of the character between its legs.
    You could try with the other silhouettes, though this one does look great as is. He's got a good arc going, and the head seems to be sized right

    Would he have a weapon? Might be good to check with a weapon in hand since some large weapons can take away from the focus.

    I feel the character looks proportionate, very gazelle, seems very agile, you should have a moveset that reflects that. 
    Elf like, check out the battles between legolas and trolls and orcs in LOTR and hobbit

    And I do think you can use your camera to great effect, having it zoom in close as you aim and pull out as you let go adds a lot of depth to the impact of the shot. And sound is important to.
    Some references,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eApg077bIEo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6BrNNTpXwI
    https://youtu.be/0xp9ruMxfHM?t=221


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Okay, no update on this project for a minute because been working on an update for an older game and it takes a lot longer than I hoped. But its nearly complete so I have been returning to this. 

    I have been working on scheduling more than anything. After preproduction and then actually doing production task for awhile, getting a pretty clear picture that the timeframe is going to be tough to finish in two years. But I want to finish closer to one. 
    So I chopped down the scope to a smaller version, but keeping the same core gameplay I've already built. 

    One of the biggest time sinks is the art though so I am working on further simplifying that. It is very difficult for me to do stylized as I just never really got into it even when I was a kid, however for the sake of keeping a manageable schedule I think its just got to be done. But there is one cartoon I liked a lot, even though I actually discovered it as an adult. That was Samurai Jack. Not sure why it clicked for me when others didn't, but like many people I just loved its minimalist style. 

    So I am working on making something that looks like that. Using an unlit rendering style and stylized characters. So far I've remade the amazon heroine and also did a minotaur character. next I will work on a small level diorama. 
    The nice thing is that each of these characters only takes about 10-20 hours to complete - going from concept all the way to animated in the engine. And then making changes to them is very simple. So that's a nice bonus. 
    And with unlit rendering style, maintaining performance is too easy. 

    some clipping on the skirt but nevermind that for the moment, I did a quick rig for now but will simulate the skirt and hair eventually


    For the base mesh I started from the Bitgem basemesh which is like, a decade or more old and made for mobile games. But it's good! Monsters like the minotaur have to be made from scratch, but usualyl i just find anything close-ish in shape and do a quick retopo over that with very low resolution. 



    Idea is that probably most of the games characters and even enviro assets can derive from a simple texture like this: 

    For some environment stuff I use a world projected overlay, like for brick wall pattern, and I have some simple gradients as well. 
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    okay this is still WIP, but kind of liking this hanging garden of babylon test scene. This is not a functional level, just wanted to get something together quick to see what this art style might look like and what it will take to actually build it. 

    I made the scale of the building halfway realistic, and it is nice that you can frame a shot of it like this, however I wonder if the sense of scale would seem more impressive if it was so huge that it could not fit on the screen entirely, so you have to crank the camera up to see the top.


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Okay so a lot of things done. I made schedule for 70 hours per character but I have finished the last three in about 12 hours or less. This is first draft of characters and not including animations, but nonetheless it seems like this art style is certainly a lot faster. A lot less technical things to think about so more energy just to focus on the characters which is nice. As for how it looks, I guess I'm starting to dig it, though it doesn't really matter what I think. Have to get trailer made and see if people will wishlist or not. 

    Did a little more work on the levels geometry and a lot of shader stuff. Setup a very simple fake lighting system, just tint faces in a certain vector. Also some fake local lights where an actor can be placed to indicate local light source and it lerps a material parameter collection color to change tint of overlapped characters. 

    Way i am doing characters is that i have a color swatch texture and i just make cuts into the geometry for uv shells and place them over different color swatches. So no texture painting. To me it feels too simplistic, but I look at the reference art style and it really is very simplistic... but it has style. For now I avoid urge to fix anything - just knock out character as quick as I can and once they are all done and I make the trailer/gameplay, then I'll consider what to fix. 
    For now I just give everyone a quick rig and either some mixamo animations or a pose. I feel like I can't get a proper gauge on how the character actually reads until it's in some sort of pose in the game. 

    Gilgamesh and ereshikigal. I dont think they would be chilling together in historical canon but whatever, it's my game and they got a thing going on. And it's going to be a crazy boss fight. Gilgamesh looks kind of like a robot to me for some reason, and not instantly telling me he's an ancient Babylonian. I may need to add one of those funny hats. Jet black might not be the best color for him, perhaps brown skin and darker hair. But will save tweaks for future after some testing is completed. 
    Ereshkigal has plans to use some animated textures, because she will be kind of like a ghost. I want some scrolling cuniform text overlayed on her skin and if I can manage it, some sort of smokey, ghastly wings. But I'm happy enough with her design for now.


    Dunno if i already posted or not but minotaur was my first attempt at this new style. His face isn't clear so fix that later. Gorgon is the newest, ignore some weird clipping it's just a quick job with the rig and I probably give her some different accessories. But I think the abstract snake skin works well. Not sure I keep her so green like that, but its nothing to change the colors, just move some UV shells. Her color will ultimately depend on her level and I haven't fixed a color scheme for that yet.


    The amazon hero. Feels a little like a pixar character or something to me, I kind of wanted her to look tougher, but I'll probably develop this art style a little further after I get through all the characters, then I may have a better idea how to polish her. One problem having with the female characters is that all the faces kind of look the same. With flat colors its mainly the shape of the eyes and lips and shape of the hair and how it frames the face that makes the character, it seems. Kind of hard to find variations without it looking weird. But will probably get better at it as I go.

  • iam717
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    @iam717 that's an excellent reference image. idea like that could work well for an underground labyrinth level. i think my shader right now has most of the features to support it so i'll give it a go once i get to that level
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    A couple more characters. I think I figured out a few little tricks to make this style look a bit better. The furthest right character, the Nubian, was created a couple days ago. Then I did the two satyr characters, and I think they do look a bit more refined. There is a few subtle changes: 

    1. I added thin borders of color to help define shapes. For example a thin black ring around the iris, two shades of colors for the lips, a fake shadow under the chin to help define the face, and little accents of color to help define forms. I think these things help make the character look a little more crisp and readable, and even though there is no lighting I think they still manage to feel somewhat detailed. 

    2. I changed the color swatch texture to be gradients (image at bottom, thanks to pior for giving me the idea). This allows me to more quickly find a good color balance, and also I can get some subtle gradients both in luminance and saturation in, which seem to make the characters more appealing even if its barely noticeable. 

    So the older characters I'll eventually update to get everyone on the same page but going to keep crashing forward with more characters for now. It is very fun because concept, texture, and model is all done in just a single go, so it feels very fluid and artistic, not much technical crap to worry about or complicated workflows.
    My theory in mind is that without lighting, and only the most minimal details to define forms, it should engage the imagination to fill in the missing details, whereas if I did something a little more complicated, like try to use PBR shading or more complicated lighting, I think then it begs for details that are missing. In other words I think with an appropriate degree of minimalism, it can look "complete" and not want for more, whereas if I go kind of halfway towards something else, it would just feel unfinished. So that is the principle I kind of working towards, though I am not sure how to actually measure if I reach it, haha. People just have to buy the game and enjoy it though, the art is just for me to have fun.





  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    okay first pass at the Persian hero character. waffled a lot on the design for this one and still not super set on it, but at least i got something ready can iterate on. Tried some baggy "harem" type pants but couldn't find anything that worked. Perhaps just needs some more time on it though, I just dont want to get sucked down rabbit hole of making complicated designs where simpler ones would be just as good. So I tried to do some simple pants with a pattern as seen in some references. 

    don't ask me what the outrageous hat is meant to symbolize, but it shows up quite a bit during the era and i think you got to have some stupid hats in a game. 

    not sure if pattern on the pants helps or hurts. i think it reads as messy because I have made the pattern just from making UV shells from the faces, thus there is a bit of stretchiness. Perhaps only a single type of pattern like the vertical bars on the lower half would be better. To get a cleaner result I would needa separate material and do a normal UV unwrap. But I don't want to make special cases yet... want to try and stick within limitations I've set and see if I can come up with something that works better. 

    The idea is to have a feeling of a highly decorative outfits (reference below), but also should maintain that minimalist feel, so if there is a way can suggest the decorations without it actually having a lot of small details that is the goal. 
    But it may be better to not have the lower half be so visually busy since her upper body is already pretty decorative. Will wait till get trailer blocked in before making any decisions though.  it might look cool once in motion. 


    main reference

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Minoan hero character. 
    really happy with this guy. some finishing details left to do, but calling it good enough for now. May end up with a spear for gameplay purposes but if I can make the axe work I'll use that instead.




    Also been getting some help from @Fabi_G who made these characters, which I think are achieving the style I have in mind better than my own characters. 

    Spartan hero character

    Lamassu enemy character



    Nearly 3/4's of the games characters have first pass at geometry completed!
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    These are going so quick I added some extra characters. The male centaur is extra, figured i could make a variation pretty quick once I had the horse base mesh to go from. A prehistoric red deer vibe for him. 

    The females face feels a little off, but doing faces takes as much time and energy as the entire rest of the thing, so I'll save it for polishing pass later. Not sure what isn't working, it might also be the hair, she has a sporty, athletic vibe, but I want for her to feel more majestic. So have to look at some more reference to find the sort of face and hairstyle I really want.

    I probably tweak the colors a bit - the idea is that they'll blend into the forest and fighting them is a game of cat and mouse.

    antlers might look better if shape is stylized more with some hard edges, more consistent with rest of the character.  

    Typically I'm working from a base mesh somebody else made, but for the horse I needed to make my own. Well, I still use the generic maya horse in content browser as a live surface to build my own topology on top of. This way I can just focus on the topology and not think about the shape. Make a minimum amount of geometry, this way I can tweak silhouette easily. But I knew I was going to do these colors that kind of follow the shape so I have to build topology to help with that as well.
    Once I cut in the shapes for the color designs the topology gets a bit messy, so it's important to work on a duplicate so that the original topology is still there for easy access if you need it for anything.

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    starting to block in the scenes that will be used for teaser. will take a lot to bring this to completion but I think the basic idea is there. just going to get a blockout with color done like this for each scene, then do rough pass at the teaser trailer, then start refining environments and characters together. 

    not a lot of confidence with environments like this because I've done very little of it so I think going through them all in phases will be good.
    this is a inside a secret temple, with a Persian style. Will be a lot of decorative elements I can use to balance out the colors but for now just trying to get the big shapes and colors there so that when I run through the teaser I get a feel for how the whole thing works together without too much time spent detailing yet, just in case I want to make some big changes.
    i think right now the yellow on arches is too eye catching, should probably direct colors and values so that attention goes towards the far wall, as if that's the threshold and once you go through its going to be the boss fight.
    Would be a little easier to direct that sort of thing with normal lighting, (right now it's just faked shadows in the shader), however when I use standard lit model, even with a toon shader, everything gets this plastic toy look that I don't like. I like unlit shader because it has a flat, paper / comic book feel. More like what you see on the TV show Samurai Jack. I've tried taking out specular and roughness and using just a single band with the toon shader, but despite all that, always has that plasticky look. 
    Would be good to be able to use real shadows but I feel the style is just 1000% better without that plastic look. And samurai jack typically doesn't have much lighting involved so it's proven to be a viable style anyway, so I think it won't necessarily be missed... but if I can find a way to get this flat color look while still getting shadows I'll go for that. Just not smart enough on shaders and lighting in general to really guess what the issue might be. If there is a big technical problem worth solving I think this would be it, however for time being trying to just get content done.

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    bit of blockout for the minoa palace. like the main stairway on right but left side I think should maybe tone down the columns so that pathway ahead is clear focus. maybe see more of the city rising onto hills in distance on left side to give sense of vastness. I'll only show it from player perspective so I think maybe removing the big leftside building so we can see city rising up onto hill may be better.


    pretty happy with this monster from mesopotamian mythology: 
    I started blockout for the basic idea of it, but Fabian has finished it out, though it's still a WIP. Fun thing about a lot of the mesopotamian mythology is that there isn't a ton of reference for it in popular culture so it's a little more on-your-own to come up with something. Bigly looking forward to animating these guys and bringing them to life.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    More blockout on the minoa level

    want to make a few notes about how I plan to tackle this, because making a big level - it's kind of difficult to figure out where to start, and do the work in a way that gives me flexibility in the future as much as possible, but is still quick and productive
    this is my first major foray into this sort of level design so might be worthwhile to log what i planned, what I did, and then see how it worked out

    can't type everything here but will highlight the main ideas: 
    - to begin, just focus on how it looks. making sure that first look at level is impressive, we can see goal in distance, there is layers cascading into the distance for a grand sense of scale
    - just tossing down blocks for buildings and landscape
    - once that's all-in place and feel okay about composition, start cordoning off the level into arenas where gameplay can occur
    - then start walking through it and imagining how gameplay in each section can play out
    - write down each encounter into a spreadsheet and roughly how long each section should last - don't want to overplan here but try to make sure an idea for general pacing is forming 
    - once each beat for the level has a clear idea written down, now it's easy to figure out how to dress each arena, and also how to cordon them off so that players path can be directed around the level
    - in my case, trying to maximize use of space because am solo dev, so i take a path that zig zags back and forth across the level, and also make fights pretty tough so that you can battle in one arena for ten - fifteen minutes a time. Similar to how Fromsoft designed levels in older souls games, they are actually pretty short to run through, but fighting through them before you are expert can take hours. 
    - i'm keeping it as simple as I can for design and not doing multiple or branching paths - it's linear but I will introduce a bit of randomization with enemy layouts so that reruns keep you on your toes. This way I can still balance it and direct pacing pretty carefully, but have a bit more replay value compared to if its exactly the same each time. 
    - for a solo developer something like Hades style levels would be a better setup where you have small, enclosed arenas that can be ordered as random as you like and they don't have to visually fit together... however I just really like immersive environments with a sense of adventure and discovery so that's what I stick with.
    - workflow organization plan is to identify a landmark building in each beat area, and just focus on making finished version of each of those, and then can consolidate common elements from those for a kit to construct all of the intermediate things from. Not trying to be hyper efficient with kit items because doesn't seem to matter at this scope and without teamplay considerations
    - I don't see great benefit from starting directly from a very granular modular kit. I construct it all in maya and scope is small enough that it can even work as just a couple fbx files for entire level, doesn't seem like instancing a million pieces nets me much benefit compared to just a handful of chunks which is still going to have fewer triangles than a single rock sculpt they use in nanite demos, and all geometry is using a single material with a single texture. So that's all to say, number one priority is development speed and following best practices from AAA world doesn't seem to net much benefit as a lot of it is built around team considerations and also pushing hardware to limits - both things that don't apply to me.







  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Really striking ! The speed at which both the characters and environment are evolving is inspiring.
    These breakdowns and wireframe shots are great.

    Maybe one day, more big studios will finally realize the value of working that way (not necessarily with unlit assets, but at low specs in general).

    Can't wait to see more !
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Thanks @pior
    Yeah i am really enjoying it a lot, even though I've never been big on cartoony styles, I am enjoying how it puts all the focus simply on the art and then technical matters are pretty straightforward
    it is just so nice that iterating on a characters design is so quick and easy there is little reluctance to do it, whereas with realism you might feel like some improvements can be made, but if it entails a 1,000 step process each time, you grow fatigued to do it as much.
    I think that will help a lot to reaching a nice level of polish for the final result, even though I don't have the firepower of a proper studio. Or at least, I think it will certainly end up looking more polished and complete, compared to if I stuck with realism. 
    In any case, I am having a lot more fun and I think for the solo dev or tiny teams, having that rapid momentum is worth a lot.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    some more work on this scene. I changed the way it is laid out a bit
    wanted to take a break from the complex palace for a moment, and focus on something more simple, landscape and rocks on this peninsula approach. I find it easy to build natural things all day long, but buildings really drain me. 

    trying to make a play space that is easy to navigate and understand, but if possible have it look "natural", but it does seem that I'll need a bit of standardization so that it is easier to understand what is traversable and what is not 

    gameplay considerations isn't big priority at the moment, just didn't want to go too crazy making an environment that might look very different from what the actual game requires

    i tried slight color variation in the rocks but it felt a little weird. It seems that simpler is better. I will try a few other things like a bit more small debris, perhaps just some tiny little accents of green from some small shrubs that might grow in crevices. 

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    some work on Persian forest level. 
    just a few more little dioramas like this to do and everything will be blocked in for a teaser trailer

    i have added lighting in as you can see but it's a type of cel shader that removes all of the diffusion. I might not be using correct terminology but you can see what I mean. It's like an unlit shader you just get perfectly sharp shadows. Because of this geometry is really easy, you can smash things together and transitions don't really show up. For example these trees don't even need to be 3d, just a slight profile and it seems 3d from any angle. The trick is given away if you see the end of the trunk but i'll have that covered up by ground clutter.

    tree leaves are just spheres smushed in whatever shapes felt nice


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    a corridor in the labyrinth. seems like a simple environment but i waffled on it a lot. In the end I decided to keep it simple with just a few abstract decor pieces and make everything a little off kilter to try and make being in it feel unsettling.

    taking some liberty and imagining it less as a dungeon meant to torture people by letting the minotaur hunt them down, and more like it is the minotaurs personal palace. He's just a bad host.

    not sure what color scheme I'll end up going with, I do like the moody blues but i feel like in a game where you replay levels a lot, it gets old if its dark all the time. 



  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    worked on logo for store. I built this in maya, lol. I use maya so much and image editors so little, I just found it easier to do it in maya. 
    I'll likely replace the gorgon silhouette once I update that model. I think the hair could look better. It's a small detail but I think the marketing art is worth getting just perfect.
    I feel like I generally suck at logos and this sort of art, though I feel somewhat confident about this one. It seems that less is more with this style - my initial 50 designs all did too much shit. 
    Two characters plus the title text is already a lot compared to a many of the more professional capsules you see on steam. A single character and off center text might be a little closer to the best designs. But I really like the characters having a face down, I think it communicates things perfectly. And I like symmetrical framing a lot - just personal taste. 

    and the smaller capsule. I tweaked this one to stand out best on steam. My initial designs I thought were cool, but once I actually put it on steam I realized it didn't read very good. So I think setting up the mock storefront to test artwork on is important to do first. Same as testing game art in the engine.
    This ones composition is more similar to what I see in the top games capsules. It's a challenge to communicate much with such a small image. A lot of games simply use the word art, but in a lot of cases those are franchises everybody knows so I think they can be a little more confident in that way.


    In character art news, Fabian has leveled up my satyr models: 

    compare with the first iteration: 

    basically he changed the colors to give them better shape, especially when you see them from a distance, but also added some subtle changes to the silhouette as well. Overall I think they read better as feral, grungy, animal people now.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Okay got all of the environment scenes needed for trailer blocked in at least. Some of them I going to make some changes, some will just need detailing. 
    Here's one that I did a bit of the detailing for just because it's otherwise too basic to get a feel for. Will get some more props and unique decor elements for the walls, right now I only did that elements that will repeat a lot.  This is inside a Sumerian palace, I am using the hanging gardens of babylon as major inspiration so I probably have a lot of plants - both potted and hanging from the opening. I have worked out how I'll abstract foliage a bit in the forest map but will need to experiment a bit to find what looks good and is easy to create for this map because it will have a lot of it, so I need an efficient way to make it.



    And the cursed hall of gilgamesh. Again like the others, it seems the more simple the environment should be, the more it troubles me. This is another square shaped hall and architecture is mostly rectangles but I spent more time on this than others. I waffled a lot figuring out what scale that I want to make things. 
    I think I will bring the scale down a lot. At first I thought it would be cool if its so huge that you have to look all the way up to see the main temple facade like seen below, but I think it will be better if you can see this frame during normal gameplay so it makes a better background compared to just brown walls. Once the sound design is handled that can help sell a sense of space (echoes). 


    Using this fog here because Ereshkigal is goddess of death so it needs to be spooky, but I will see if I can make a more minimalistic or abstract looking version, just cause I feel like this steps outside the style a bit. But I'll only use it for this one area so might not be worth the hassle - one of those things the developer thinks about but nobody else questions.

    And Ereshkigal redesign. I wanted to make her more creepy and sinister looking since she is goddess of death, so I did a sort of thin, needly design with the horns and her bow. At least me personally, nothing more unnerving than needles. But she has to have some sex appeal because she acts as a seductress for story bits, so hourglass figure. I attempted wings but found that this ruined silhouette, makes her look like a butterfly, or makes her look more majestic and less spooky. So will roll with this design.

    I'm not too keen on the shrouded face design, feel like it's over played, but couldnt come up with anything and player will only see her shrouded in darkness and fog so I figured, no reason to waffle over that. I do like her hair though, quite proud of that little squiggle.

    Going to redesign two more characters then move onto blocking in the key poses for the trailer before beginning to finalize the environments and then do finishing touches on characters.
  • Neox
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    Neox godlike master sticky
    this looks so much more unique and inspiring than those PBR takes you did initially. really love it!
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Neox said:
    this looks so much more unique and inspiring than those PBR takes you did initially. really love it!
    thanks neox. i am kicking myself for not trying it sooner. but live and learn. i should mention as well, everything would probably look like 50% worse if I didn't get some help from Fabian. He's a much better artist than I am, so having a few models made from him has helped a lot in giving me direction and also focus in on how to make the style work. 
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Redid Gilgamesh model. The original one was very abstract design, I think I prefer to stick a little closer to realism, at least for this character as he has a pretty human story. Perhaps some monsters or more comic characters could be more abstract in design though. 

    The design I followed pretty close from a reference that seems to be attributed to Marcus Aquino :: Behance, seen here The Epic of Gilgamesh - Sumerian Mythology (youtube.com).

    The base mesh does a lot of the heavy lifting, and I am using the same one fabian designed for the spartan character, I've just tweaked proportions, but most of the unique work is in the face. Overall much happier with this character now. As always there remains a handful of little tweaks I'd like to make, but in interest of momemtum I just take it to "good enough" for the moment and save the rest for a polishing pass. Now the only redesign remaining is the Minotaur.

    disregard the disgusting noodle fingers, I do a quick pose for my own benefit, helps me make sure character is working in more typical poses that will be used in the game. The next step for this character will be a proper rig, and then when posed his hands will look like big square clubs, being the manly man that he is.


    Size comparison with the tallest hero character



    update: got the minotaur redone today as well. Much happier with him now. I feel the body wants for a little bit of detail, but not sure what exactly. Perhaps a few scars. Could be a highlight on the big belly, but I kind of want to avoid grotesque things in this game. So don't want him to feel like those fat butchers in the dark souls 3 or elden ring, whichever it was - all oily and nasty looking. But the important thing is improved - his shape and also has a readable face now. 


    got that trumpian frontal lurch. 

  • iam717
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    iam717 greentooth
    Nice updates looks like everything is coming along, this was and is the best img for me so far i think more of this, all of what is going on in it. Looks like you are Nailing that style you wanted.
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