DESIGN DEVELOPMENT &
Game Design & Development ÂŠ 2013 Eye For Games Digital edition www.efgmagazine.com email@example.com Head office Antoon Keldermansstraat 8 1067 BD Amsterdam Netherlands Cover and interior design: Rai Sewgobind Cover art: Frank Openty Copy editor: Jerry Kline
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or otherwise by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the author, publisher and developers. All content in this book have been provided and given permission by their rightful owners; developers, publishers and artists. Interviews are original content done by Eye For Games.
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT &
New in version 2013.2 Secondary Output Devices 7.1 Audio Support REV source plug-in from Crankcase Audio AstoundSound effect plug-ins from Gen Audio And much more…
© 2013 Audiokinetic Inc. All rights reserved.
Note of Thanks We would like to thank all of the publishers, developers, designers, artists, PR, community managers, and more who helped make this edition possible. Thank you for your time and support! I also want to thank the EFG team for their advice, suggestions, and motivation; as well as the people who supported this edition in their own way and kept me motivated. Thank you. Rai Sewgobind Founder of Eye For Games
Don’t Starve Klei Entertainment
GoD Factory: Wingmen Nine Dots Studios
Expeditions: Conquistador Logic Artists
March of War ISOTX
Art Focus: Total War: Rome II The Creative Assembly - Sega
BattleBlock Theater The Behemoth
Guild Wars 2 ArenaNet
Guacamelee! Drinkbox Studios
Nameless: The Hackers BoxCat
Art Focus: Pokémon X and Y Game Freak - Nintendo
Megabyte Punch Reptile Games
Art Focus: Americana Dawn Bit Bonton
Skara: The Blade Remains 8 Bit Studios
Power-Up Psychotic Psoftware
Hawken Adhesive Games
Dragonâ€™s Prophet Runewaker
Art Focus: Ultra Street Fighter IV Capcom
Pixel Heroes The Bitfather
Introduction Let me introduce you to the Game Design and Development edition. Many artists may not know how inspiring they are to other artists. The game industry is a very inspiring and motivating place. If you look in the right direction, any artist should be inspired and eager to keep learning. We sometimes forget that we've all started somewhere; we all took that first step and we can all learn from each other. This is what this book edition is based on. Let this book edition be your time-out; an undiscovered journey, an inspiration boost, but most of all a snack to feed your passion. - Rai Sewgobind, Founder @RaiSewgobind
Welcome to our Design and Development special edition! I'm really excited about this special edition. It's a combination of an art book mixed with mini-interviews. We tried our best to feature everything from AAA to the smallest of indie developers. Variety was something we wanted to emphasize-we have everything from beautiful, realistic environments featured to anime inspired character designs. In keeping with our goal of being an international source of inspiration for game design and developers, our featured developers hail from all parts of the world. I hope you find the art and interviews we conducted to be worthwhile, inspiring, and informative. Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting us, and thank you for supporting everything EFG does. - Jerry Kline, Copy Editor @Jerrykline
DON’T STARVE DEVELOPER: KLEI ENTERTAINMENT
CHARACTER AND ITEM DESIGNS www.kleientertainment.com | www.dontstarvegame.com
ARTIST/ANIMATOR WHO? I’m Alex Savin and I am an artist/animator on Don’t Starve. There was only between one and three artists on the project at any given time, so we tended to jump around a lot. We’d do all types of art assignments needed for the game whether it be concept art, character design, animation, UI, etc.
KELLY GRAHAM ARTIST WHO? Hey! I’m Kelly Graham, also an artist on the Don’t Starve team. Like Alex said, on a small you team you are a Jack of all trades! We had new content updates every three weeks, so maintaining the art style and gameplay consistency was sometimes a challenge. I’d test out new features and try to work with the designers as much as I could before release so that things looked and felt right in game.
INSPIRATION Alex: We looked at a lot of different sources for inspiration. Early Tim Burton, H.P. Lovecraft, Lemony Snicket, Jim Henson, Jules Verne, Edward Gorey, and a ton of art blogs just to see what else was out there. I’m sure I’m forgetting a dozen more. Our process for designing creatures was fairly loose. We’d come up with interesting looking shapes or mashup a couple of different animals. How about if this bird’s body was a huge eyeball and it walked on stilt-like legs? Okay! Let’s give the rabbits horns - done! Kelly: Yeah, the theme became combo-creatures pretty quickly! I think that really helped give a familiar sense to the DS creatures and how you should interact with them but still gave you room to be delighted/weirded out by them. Chester was designed as a furry mobile treasure chest, which upon first glance you’re like, “What the crap is that thing?!” But we animated him to bounce around with his tongue out and follow you like a dog, so then you love him.
DESIGN Alex: Sometimes we would just design a weird and creepy creature and the game designers would find a suitable use for it in game. The Deerclops was an example where we designed the character and then came up with a use for him afterwards. Other times the game designers wanted to fill a missing role and we’d design a character based on their input. The Treeguard was created to prevent players from cutting whole forests down without consequences, and the monkeys were created so that you couldn’t leave your items out on the floor without having them stolen. Kelly: In general, we tried to keep with the eerie, cute theme and avoided anything too spacey looking. In some cases, with both creatures and items, we’d just be hashing out stupid ideas and if something made us chuckle (and could be remotely useful in game), we’d throw it in!
ITEMS Alex: At first we brainstormed the different things we could make from just the basics like berries, carrots, monster meat... We quickly realized that you can only make so much interesting food with those combinations. From a visual perspective, it isn’t very interesting just to see different lumps of cooked vegetables or meats, so we focused on designing cooked items that were visually distinct from one another, like the square waffles or the round meatballs,
trying to get quickly recognizable
shapes and make it look like a delicious hungerreplenishing meal! Kelly: There’s over 300 items in Don’t Starve that you can craft, cook, or just pick up in the wilderness. It was more challenging than I anticipated to design so many distinctive and delicious looking food dishes that read as tiny icons. I would sometimes browse through recipe images to get ideas. Or sometimes I would be like, “Mmm, perogies.” And then I would draw perogies.
PIGMAN CONCEPT Alex: The Pigman concept was there even in the
the first color pass they looked too “clean” so we
original pitch. The idea was for them to be a non-
gave their skin a texture that made them more filthy
threatening species that you could interact with
looking and pig-like.
that would positively or negatively affect your world. Based on that, we made them upright, bipedal
Kelly: I like that the Pigmen break up the loneliness
creatures with primitive human qualities. We went
in Don’t Starve. They have these fancy little houses
through a few re-designs. At one point they had white
and try to talk to you like cavemen, but then you’re
eyes, but they looked too creepy to befriend. We also
battling spiders together like bros and you feel a little
scaled them down to be about the height of Wilson
because they were menacingly large before. After
GOD FACTORY: WINGMEN DEVELOPER: NINE DOTS STUDIOS
S PAC E S H I P D E S I G N www.ninedotsstudio.com | www.godfactorygame.com
ETIENNE VANIER ART DIRECTOR WHO? My name is Etienne Vanier. I completed my college degree in digital arts, where I also went to a one-year videogame class where I was Lead Artist for the game we were making. I’ve had a couple jobs on the side working as a graphic designer. At Nine Dots, I’m responsible for
includes making the concept art, the textures, and some of the modeling. I give advice for the special effects and the animations created by the other artists. I’ve also shouldered the task of creating the game’s promotional images and its complex menus.
restrictions. Both the CEO and I were in agreement that our game should
something wonderful in exploring a game's unusual visuals rather than a rehash of gray space boxes. The species' ships would need to look different while belonging in the same universe. To give more life to our ships we've animated some of the ship parts. For example, when human ships change their speed their wings change shape, folding or rotating into a new position. We were pleasantly surprised when players noticed and liked those movements! So as they needed to move, I've had to integrate axles and joints in the ship designs.
DESIGN I wanted to use architectural and anatomical
I felt that using these references would give
influences to design the environment, the
depth to the visuals and would help me stay
species, and then their ships. The large carrier
away from the most common sci-fi clichĂŠs. We
ships have minarets which are inspired by
also gathered references of real and fictional
Indian and Arabian temples. Watching nature
machines to make our shipsâ€™ mechanical parts
documentaries provided me with the organic
more believable when possible.
curves present on some of the alien ship parts.
TYPES There are four playable species, each with a variety of unique models of wings, cockpits, and hulls you can mix and match. You can therefore use any species in each role as long as you've unlocked the right ship parts. In the current God Factory metagame, I can
Combining several roles into one ship is
identify four general roles:
what makes our customization so interesting.
• Bomber, which attacks the enemy carrier
There's even one species that has two sets of
• Defender, to destroy the Bombers
stats, which lets it completely change roles at
• Support, who uses special abilities to
any point in a match.
bolster their allies or their carrier • Hunters, to kill the Defenders, which lets the Bombers do their job
EXPEDITIONS: CONQUISTADOR DEVELOPER: LOGIC ARTISTS
ENVIRONMENT DESIGN www.logicartists.com | www.conquistadorthegame.com
GAME / LEVEL DESIGNER WHO? My name is Daniel Eskildsen and Iâ€™m a 29 year old game/level designer at Logic Artists. My role on Conquistador was primarily that of environment artist, as well as creating the graphics for the UI. I created around 92% of all the environment assets in the game. I also wrote a couple of the events.
INSPIRATION The main inspiration was certainly the actual geographic locations. The two campaigns were based on height map data of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Mexico, which we then cleaned and simplified so that it was more interesting from a gameplay perspective. The cities of Santo Domingo and Tenochtitlan were also a great deal of inspiration and many of the buildings in them were based on their real counterparts.
Since the game takes place in the early 16th century, the amount of sources when it comes to how things looked are scarce. I spent quite a bit of time finding old paintings or pictures of antiques that contained the assets that I had to create. I tried to recreate them as faithfully as I could. Sometimes it wouldnâ€™t be possible to find exactly what I was looking for, so I would allow myself a little leeway, going as close as the late 16th century, as well as a bit of creative freedom to fill in the gaps. The main problem is the stuff people saved from that period are the really valuable items that are extraordinary in their own way, so not really common things. I relied mostly on old paintings or photos from re-enactments in that regard. The city of Tenochtitlan doesnâ€™t exist as it did back then, so I based the buildings mostly off of pictures from museum recreations. The city of Santo Domingo fortunately still has a lot of its landmarks from back then, which was a great help. Unfortunately however, many of the historical buildings have been expanded upon over the centuries, so I had to study the differences in the designs and try to imagine what they looked like in 1518.
CONCEPT For the exploration part, it was mostly
of those areas. We also tried not repeat
done for Mexico, where we had different
the same aspects too much, so that
zones like the swamp and the volcanic
when a waterfall appears it’s unique to
area. This is one of the areas I feel I
a specific area.
could definitely have improved had we had more time and resources. The
One of the key things we also tried to do
battle maps allowed us a lot more
was to try and break the fixed 6x6 battle
freedom in this regard as the areas
grid you’d see in a lot of these games
were a lot smaller, so it was easier to
like Kings Bounty and Heroes of Might
add more detail without running into
and Magic. We wanted the environment
performance issues. As we progressed
to play a really big role when it came to
in the production, we’d have more
where and how you could move. It was
assets to play with, which meant that
okay to have narrow corridors, elevated
some of the later levels could look more
positions, etc. We didn’t feel that the two
and more different. We split up the battle
sides fighting against each other had to
maps into themes such as Road, River,
have an equal advantage when it came
Jungle, City, Swamp, Volcano, etc., and
to the environment. The vast majority of
tried to come up with interesting ways in
the battles are asymmetrical.
which a battle could take place in each
DESIGN The volcanic area was one of the harder and more time-consuming areas for sure. Getting the lava pits right took a few iterations. It was also the only area where I had to paint a lot of the textures manually, as we were running into some of the limitations of our tools. For battle maps, Xalapa was probably the most time-consuming level-design wise, as it just sort of grew and grew as I was making it. It had to feel like a big city, and I wanted to make a battle that was very vertically interesting. In terms of assets, I spent a lot of time making the interior tile set, and making sure that all the pieces could fit together and so on.
MARCH OF WAR DEVELOPER: ISOTX
VEHICLE DESIGN www.isotx.com | www.marchofwar.isotx.com
MARTIJN DE WAARD ART DIRECTOR WHO? My name is Martijn de Waard and I am the Art Director at ISOTX for the online episodic turnbased strategy game March of War. Before I became Art Director I was the 3D modeler for vehicles and environments for March of War.
INSPIRATION At the start of March of Warâ€™s development our concepts were produced to serve both storyline and gameplay, but as the game developed there was a need for more variation. This forced us to think more outside the box and gave way to more experimental ideas. This resulted in the critters (large spiders and ants roaming around the maps), and vehicles like the Sonic Tank. A lot of inspiration for the vehicles comes from pre/post World War 1 and 2, and weird experimental weapons from that age. It helps that we have access to a huge library of experimental war gear like the Russian Ekranoplan and the Tsar Tank. They didnâ€™t get a foothold in both world wars, but they are of great value to us now. Apart
documentaries regarding World War 1 and 2, reading through other documentations from that age and watch movies. We actually came up with some cool ideas from Sherlock Holmes.
CONCEPT There are a few rules we use. First of all, the vehicles should be early 20th century related, not very sci-fi. The concepts must look mechanical and dieselpunk, and they need to look and feel as if they could really exist in real life. All vehicles should look as if they fit next to a Sherman Tank (those are really iconic for WWII). After that we look at how we need to make the gaming experience more interesting and balanced. But first and foremost we are experimenting a lot with what is possible within our limitations.
When you create a great unit, but it doesn't work gameplay wise it's useless. There is and will always be a healthy conflict between art and game design; one can't exist without the other. During development we sit down with both teams and discuss what they want and what we think would be cool, and then we come to an agreement on what should get in the game.
WARLORD CONCEPT When we thought of the Warlords we were militia,
stuff from Mad Max in terms of vehicle design, but
warbands, and scrapyards. It sounds a bit crude,
in the end it all comes down to visiting a scrapyard
but the improvised vehicles that were used in the
and coming up with some cool ideas there.
some pretty awesome stuff there. We did look at
Libyan Civil War were a good inspiration for the Warlord faction.
Apart from vehicles, the Warlords use a lot of tamed beasts like the War Elephant, Overlord,
The Warlord faction gives us a lot of freedom
Gorilla, and Rhino. Something the Warlords are
in terms of design. They arenâ€™t really directly
famous for are their explosives, so we have to
influenced by real life vehicles, so we can create
keep that in mind when designing a new unit.
TOTAL WAR: ROME II DEVELOPER: THE CREATIVE ASSEMBLY PUBLISHER: SEGA
BATTLEBLOCK THEATER DEVELOPER: THE BEHEMOTH
LEVEL DESIGN www.TheBehemoth.com | www.BattleBlockTheater.com
LEVEL DESIGNER WHO? My name is Ryan Horn and Iâ€™m a level designer at The Behemoth. During the development of BattleBlock Theater, my role was basically to create as many fun and interesting levels as I possibly could, then mold them into an entertaining and exciting game.
PROCESS Planning out a single level in the traditional
in the prototype levels. For example, Chapter 7
sense was relatively limited. We tried planning
needed to have more level spanning puzzles, and
out levels in detail at the beginning, but quickly
Chapter 4 needed more boulder blocks. Keeping
discovered that it drastically limited the creative
this in mind while we protoyped meant that when
design process. The design process we chose to
we began to finalize levels we had a huge amount
use was much more flexible and open, and lent
of content to work with and a place where it would
itself much better to a process strongly directed
fit best in the Chapter. On an individual level
by individual creativity. To greatly summarize this
scope this meant that levels were often pieced
design process, we prototyped-a lot. There were
together from various prototyped sections, and
weeks on end where we wouldnâ€™t design anything
then finalized with many small touches. This entire
specific at all; we just built things we thought were
process worked best if it stayed freeform and
fun. This process started at the beginning of a new
organic, and we were able to use it effectively due
Chapter, so we knew generally what we wanted
to the small team size that we maintained.
FAVORITE TRAP My favorite trap or obstacle (we call them hazards), would definitely have to be the buzz saw. Itâ€™s versatile, allowing me to use it in many different sections and in different ways. It can also trigger things like bridges and fans, giving it an added utility function. The best thing about it though is the way it sprays body parts when it kills something. That never gets old.
LEVEL DESIGN BattleBlock Theater levels are square areas of varying sizes, usually dependent on the game mode (Arena or Campaign). Inside this area, many smaller blocks are positioned to create the actual parts of the level. What this actually ends up looking like depends on your level of magnification. Iâ€™m used to looking at levels as a whole, which at first can look like a bunch of blocks thrown into a space. From the usual player perspective, you would only see a small section of the entire level at a time.
This is the level of zoom normally experienced by the player.
This is a larger shot in the same level as the one pictured left. This is more the level that Iâ€™m accustomed to working with as a level designer.
There are substantial differences not only between
remains on beating the heck out of the enemy team
single and multiplayer but also between the eight
and not on fighting obstacles and hazards in the
specific multiplayer modes. The best way to explain
level. Challenge Arena, on the other hand, is all
this is to say that all the modes required a different
about fighting the level. This mode has two teams
approach. For example, Muckle Arena levels (think
racing through a Campaign-ized level strewn with
deathmatch), are very compact but have few level
obstacles and hazards, and the team with the best
hazards. This is to ensure that the gameplay focus
Muckle Arena Levels are more concentrated.
Challenge Arenas feature much larger and more complex levels.
CHALLENGES The first challenge that I ran into was just figuring out how all 60+ blocks in BattleBlock Theater worked. Each of these blocks have specific properties, and most of them react differently to the player as well as to other blocks. It took me a while to just figure out the basic block interactions, let alone more complicated block combinations, and even after all this time Iâ€™m still discovering new things. For instance, when the boat is pushed on a conveyor belt it speeds up far more than I would assume. When you combine that with three teleporters and a timed switch it effectively makes a boat launcher.
An overview of some of the blocks in BattleBlock Theater
The second big challenge when designing a level
that you explore every single facet of that level. This
was playability. Playability involves many things
gave me a level of knowledge and muscle memory
but can be summarily described as the overall
when playing through one of my levels that a new
experience of a player going through the game. As
player would never have. I saw the direct fallout of
it relates to level design, this involves ensuring that
this in a mechanic that I had thought was relatively
the difficulty scaled well, mechanics were taught
simple. It required the use of a horizontal lava
and built upon, and that even end game levels
block to get to a normally unreachable platform.
were accessible to everyone, just to name a few.
The player needed to walk into the side of the
This was an ongoing process that we considered
lava block, which bounced them horizontally, then
from the beginning of a level to the completion of
double jump to get to the platform. What I repeatedly
saw was that new players would first jump into the lava block, which expended one of their jumps and
The most difficult part of this wider playability
prevented them from doublejumping to reach the
process was to align my perception of a level with
platform. I remedied this by going to earlier levels
someone who was playing through the game for
and ensuring that there were sections that clearly
the first time. When designing a level, itâ€™s inevitable
illustrated this somewhat subtle mechanic to the
that you not only repeatedly play through it, but also
GUILD WARS 2 DEVELOPER: ARENANET
ARMOR DESIGN www.arena.net | www.guildwars2.com
©2010–2013 ArenaNet, LLC. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
LEAD CHARACTER ARTIST WHO? My name is Aaron Coberly. I am the lead character artist. Iâ€™ve been at ArenaNet for almost ten years. I was the lead character artist on Guild Wars 1, so Iâ€™ve been with the Guild Wars franchise for quite a long time. In the lead role, I have a team of artists, and we are responsible for basically everything that moves in the game. My team is responsible for the creature models, armor models, hairstyles, all the faces, all the body types, all of our races-basically everything that moves in the game comes through my department.
ARMOR DESIGN One of the things that ArenaNet has
by that is, when we make an armor, the
done over the years and since I've
metal should feel like metal. It should
been here, is that we've always strived
either feel like iron or steel. The leather
to have amazing artists on staff. Every
should feel like leather, so it feels like it's
artist brings a unique vision to what
being put together. It feels like it exists,
they do. Part of that is making things-
it's solid, the materials are real, and it
making armor, making weapons, making
comes from our world.
creatures feel believable. What I mean
55 ÂŠ2010â€“2013 ArenaNet, LLC. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
When it comes to the design on top of that it gives
universe. It allows for everything from the Charr and
us a lot of freedom, because we know that as long
their industrial revolution-steel, iron, and jagged,
as we adhere to these core philosophies we can
rough materials to the Asura, who are all magical,
kind of go crazy and do some fun things. And then
tech, and energy based. You have all these wonderful
because we have really talented artists, it allows
materials and themes to work with. We always have
us to always be coming up with new ideas and
billions of ideas, and it's not as much trying to get
new unique designs. And honestly the fantasy
unique things in the game as trying to get all the stuff
genre is a wonderful genre for creativity because
we want to get into the game in the time frame that
you are creating the world; you are creating the
That goes into our core philosophy about Tyria itself, the world that we have created. We want it to be believable and have the inhabitants of that world feel like their solid foundation comes from that world. We've created this world, so it's not necessarily medieval times, or it's not necessarily Victorian times, it's our own version of what we feel our fantasy world is. So over the years we've kind of honed that, coming from Guild Wars 1 up through Guild Wars 2. Our materials, the things that exist in the world, that keeps us grounded-rubbers, plastics. There are materials that we shy away from, because we don't feel like in the time frame of our world these materials exist. Really it's more of leathers, metals, cottons, satins, and velvets. More handmade materials and not as much of the chemical materials. That's kind of a way that separates us, that we feel like, “What kind of leather or what kind of cloth are we going to work with?” And from there we kind of know, “Well that doesn't really fit within our world,” or “That's perfect, that fits within our world.”
57 ©2010–2013 ArenaNet, LLC. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
It's amazing; we have so many options when it comes to armors. We made hundreds of sets of armors, and because it's all mix-and-matchable, because we've developed this system-our composite system, where you can swap everything out - it's all dyeable; it allows for each player to really make something unique. Then with our transmutation system it allows you to go, â€œYeah well I like the stats of that, but I'm really, really fond of this armor that I got a little earlier. I'm going to take the stats of this one and put them on this armor.â€? It just allows for massive amounts of personalization and freedom for players.
FAVORITE ARMOR My favorite is my current outfit, which is basically the Gladiator full outfit. I usually hide my helm. I'm wearing the Barbaric coat with that. So Gladiator shoulders, gloves, boots, legs, and a Barbaric coat. I'm currently using the Bandit Sunderer Great Sword as my weapon of choice.
59 ÂŠ2010â€“2013 ArenaNet, LLC. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
GUACAMELEE! DEVELOPER: DRINKBOX STUDIOS
CHARACTER DESIGN www.drinkboxstudios.com | www.guacamelee.com
CONCEPT ARTIST AND ANIMATOR WHO? I’m Augusto Quijano. My title at DrinkBox is Concept Artist and Animator, but normally in production those words get blurred and stretched. For Guacamelee! I brought forward the idea of making a game set in a vibrant fantasy Mexico with luchadores, alebrijes, and Day of the Dead imagery. I’m from Mexico, and after being in Toronto for 5 years at that time, the nostalgia levels were pretty high. While I did do a lot of concept art and character design I also had to do “Mexican” supervision (if that’s a real thing), and proposed areas, characters, and stories.
INSPIRATION The main thing for the game was to have Juan convey energy and power, but for me the important part was for him to look Mexican! He had to look like a luchador. The Luchadores have a very interesting physique, especially in the old days: barrel chested characters that were surprisingly athletic and graceful. We looked at a bunch of classic wrestlers like Blue Demon, El Santo, Huracan Ramirez, and newer ones like Atlantis.
graphic elements, adventure, and was stylish from head to toe. We looked at a lot of different things while attempting to create our own style for Guacamelee! I recall looking at Jamie Hewlett's work, The Incredibles art book, Charley Harper's work (we're huge fans of his), among others. I mean, these may sound completely different from each other, but we were looking at a design economy that conveyed character and art that used the limitations as strengths. Of course, the major influence in â€œflavorâ€? was Mexican folklore. We
at alebrijes, Day of the Dead pictures, and painted murals. And tons and tons of pictures of Mexico and Mexican people.
We had finished our first game, Tales
Blob, and that had a very fun 60's influenced graphic style. Everything in the blob's world had to be rounded so that the blob platforming felt good. The character design was very UPA* cartoon style, so the game looked very friendly, but the gameplay was tougher than it looked. With Guac we wanted to make sure the style was appealing for more hardcore gamers and had an edgy feel to it. In a way, as a reaction to the blob's soft lines we started crafting a very jagged and angular art style.
*United Productions of America. Originally known as Industrial Film and Poster Service, UPA was an American animation studio formed in 1943 by exDisney animators.
COLOR USE It was very tough because all areas have two color palettes: one for the Living World and one for the Dead World. Initially Stephane Goulet (art director), had the idea of inverting the values between the dimensions, so the Living World (LW) would have a dark foreground and light background, but the Dead World (DW) would have a light foreground and dark background. This became a problem we had to adjust, because the characters that were dark would get lost in the DW, but if they were light they would get lost in the LW. He decided to make the backgrounds the same value (desaturated), and have the characters super saturated in color and the foreground dark. This worked beautifully; by having very colorful characters the background can afford to be made more colorful than greyish. Due to this value change we could have any color we wanted in the backgrounds as long as it wasn't as saturated as the characters, so the restriction wasn't in color choice.
NAMELESS: THE HACKERS DEVELOPER: BOXCAT
CHARACTER DESIGN www.box-cat.com
JAMES LIU FOUNDER WHO? I’m James Liu of BoxCat Games. A year ago I decided to dive head first into the game industry. It’s been a smashing and educational process. I’m the founder of BoxCat, so I wear multiple hats: dev, design, coordination, software architecture, marketing, and the boring legal stuff too. If I had to pick one role for Nameless, I guess I’d be the Producer.
CONCEPT During the brainstorming, we talked about the type of world setting, the MacGuffin,* and the type of characters. While doing this, we were very focused on how the player would absorb our storyline. We found that the anime style would fit our characters, plot line, and comedic goals. (*MacGuffin is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues.)
We love the personalities that can come
There’s a significantly higher “bang for your
through. There’s something magical about
buck” for low cost 2D art. Also with 3D, you
emoticons like sweat drops, purple haze, or
always have to deal with “uncanny valley.” Our
an animated exclamation mark. There’s a
brains are pre-programmed to detect real/
magical quality that you can’t get easily in 3D.
fake visualization, so ultimately it was a design
We could have done cell-shaded 3D models
decision - a budget and aesthetics cooperative
but the costs would have been much higher.
DESIGN One design goal of our game was to “Tell a story through the reactions of the characters.” Right from the beginning, we knew the story telling vehicle we had to emphasize. This made the character design critical. We did our best to create characters that would be relatable and believable. They each had several character flaws, and each had their own methodical thinking process. Over
characters’ core design didn’t change much. We did however keep track of what we call “Emotional Milestones.” These are critical points in the story where something drastic changes within the story that allows the character to behave slightly different in the future. We saw these emotional milestones as storyline achievements. In a psychological sense, the more you dug into the story, the more you knew about these characters. Our goal was give the player a journey into familiarity.
CHALLENGE Our cyberpunk theme is very niche, as well as our JRPG genre. I’d have to say that the genre made it easier to express our characters. As with most JRPGs, it’s usually about the characters and how they react to the situation, rather than the situation being pushed by characters. The cyberpunk aspect definitely forced us into an interesting character creation process. We had to evaluate what it means to be “on the Internet” and how that might affect the characters - a very fun process.
Building for iOS was probably the most challenging aspect of our design process. In hindsight, we were correct that mobile players have less time to read long-winded conversations. We probably only have two story scenes where
exceeded three minutes. As a design goal, we wanted each scene to play out for about two minutes. We had to consider â€œon-the-goâ€? players, which probably is not something a traditional console game needs to do.
POKÉMON X AND Y DEVELOPER: GAME FREAK PUBLISHER: NINTENDO
LEVEL DESIGN www.gamesbymo.com
FOUNDER WHO? My name is Moise and I’ve been obsessed with video games since I got my Nintendo Entertainment system back when was about five years old. I come from a small town and never thought I could end up making video games one day. After trying programming, I ended up taking a 3D art course, and then I started my career as a 3D artist back in 2001. Since that time, I’ve always worked on my own games at home. I finally decided that it was what I should be doing full time back in 2012 when I founded Gamesbymo. Gamesbymo is essentially me and… me. After seeing so many personal projects come to an end because of a lack of motivation amongst peers I decided that I would focus on my own personal skills until I would be ready to undertake a big project on my own. So I’ve been working on a couple of smaller games to warm up, and now I’ve been working on A.N.N.E for the past year or so. So far the response is great; it is very motivating and at times nerve racking to have fans waiting for the game.
INSPIRATION So many games influence the level design. Obviously games like Metroid, Symphony of the Night, and Brandish are big sources of inspiration, but I wanted to keep everything more open. I guess thatâ€™s where more modern sources of influence come in the mix like Minecraft, Terraria, or Oblivion. I really want to keep the game open as much as possible. I donâ€™t want to be guiding the player in a linear fashion; I want the player to explore and make his own choices on where to go first.
CONCEPT I keep the levels unique and fresh by introducing new gameplay elements and ingredients as the game progresses. I try to have a theme for each “level” I create, whether it be a factory with moving platforms, an old temple with a lot of environmental hazards, or a giant worm nest where the player gets to ride on giant creatures while fighting and avoiding hazards. I try to keep things fresh as much as I can. I also throw in a couple of puzzles in the mix where using the game’s different elemental weapons is necessary in order to progress.
The game is currently broken down into five distinct areas that each have their own sub areas. For example, an area can be seen as a “world” where the player explores on foot inside his ship. Inside these areas there are multiple interconnected “levels.” The player can travel between the worlds using his ship.
CHALLENGE For me it was really establishing the controls and basic metrics down: how high should the character jump, double jump, and how fast should he run-elements that then dictate how the levels are created and how the game feels. I spent some time on those fundamentals from the beginning to make sure that the rest would just fall into place. If itâ€™s not fun from the start inside a gray blocked level itâ€™s most likely not going to become fun by adding graphics onto it. So far this has been working pretty well because when creating a new level ingredient I donâ€™t have to spend too much
time tweaking it; I just have to test and adjust, test and adjust until it feels just right. I also try to focus on how well the level flows. Depending on the areas I like to imagine playing like I would play Super Mario back in the day. I was known to be really good at speed running Super Mario, and for me it always felt like the Mario games were made to be played through holding the run button; platforms would be synced and be at the right place for you to just keep running and jumping. I try to aim for that super smooth game flow as much as possible.
WILDSTAR DEVELOPER: CARBINE STUDIOS
C O M B AT D E S I G N www.carbinestudios.com | www.wildstar-online.com
ÂŠ 2013 NCSOFT Corporation. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
LEAD COMBAT DESIGNER WHO? Hello! I have been working in the game development industry for just over ten years now, focusing almost exclusively on MMO game design. During work hours (which are pretty much all the hours lately), I am the Lead Combat Designer at Carbine Studios. My job here is guiding the Class, Creature, PvP, and Dungeon/Raid Teams to ensure that the combat in our upcoming game, WildStar, is amazing. When I am not at work, I enjoy eating fancy foods, watching my favorite tv shows, and training to be on
The Amazing Race one day! (One can dream!)
COMBAT DESIGN One of the things I strive to teach and design is
shows where your attack is going to fire. You can aim
simplicity. I find that a lot of designers try to add
this decal and when you press the button – boom,
additional complexity into their designs to make
everything in that area is hit.
things more “interesting.” Players can learn this VERY fast and the deep/ I believe that if you build simple systems that people
engaging part is how THEY as the player decide how
intuitively understand they will enjoy them much
to use/aim that ability. So a very simple system can
become complex and deep without having to add a high learning curve.
One of the reasons I really enjoy WildStar’s combat is because of the Freeform/Telegraph targeting system.
This is an example of what I guide my teams towards
In this system, we show an outline on the ground that
when designing all aspects of combat.
89 © 2013 NCSOFT Corporation. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
We try to follow these five core philosophies within the Combat Team: 1) Create an Experience for the Player This is a simple one, but it’s often overlooked or forgotten. For example, maybe I want to challenge myself and see if I can create a complex script or spell. In that moment, I’m creating a game or puzzle for myself to solve and I may enjoy solving it, but the player audience may not enjoy the end result of my labor. While we are working on a game we have to always remind ourselves that we are building an experience for our player audience to enjoy. 2) Make it Fun If a game isn’t fun, what’s the point?! To help ensure we are making a fun game, we have some rules for this category: • There should always be a clear choice Players will be encountering a variety of puzzles throughout the game. Players should always feel as though they have the tools necessary to deal with the puzzle. • Avoid Bad Synergy Example: Designing a tank that depends on taking damage to generate rage, the resource
they need to use threat generation abilities. This creates a situation in which the better they get at tanking the less damage they take, which causes them to generate less rage. This means they have a harder time generating threat which will eventually lead to them taking no damage at all and prevent them from doing their role within the group: tanking. • Avoid Conflicting Purposes Example: An ability that heals the target for a very large amount and gives them a buff that reduces incoming damage if cast on a target that is above 50% health. • Avoid Ruining other Players’ fun Example: Stun-Lock is fun for the player doing the stunning, but there is absolutely nothing the target can do, which feels terrible. 3) Keep it Simple Players want to have fun, and I’ve found that keeping it simple usually leads to more fun. To help guide us we have a few guidelines in this category too: • Easy to Learn, Hard to Master Our game should be intuitive enough that an average player could sit down and begin playing it within a few moments. • Keep the Burden of Knowledge Low Players need to be able to quickly analyze
91 © 2013 NCSOFT Corporation. All rights reserved. All names, logos, and marks are trademarks of NCSOFT Corporation.
what they are doing or what is happening to
˚ For example, a spell that generates a
them. If it isn’t easily understandable, we are
combo point 50% of the time vs. a spell
doing it wrong.
that generates a combo point every
• Avoid Unclear Optimization
Don’t make an ability do so many things the
˚ A player can depend and plan around
player has a hard time figuring out when the
the combo point that is generated every
best time to use it is.
other cast. A player cannot depend upon a combo point that is generated
4) Make it Reliable
50% of the time.
• Offer consistent controls and labels • Provide clear, immediate, and meaningful feedback
5) Stick with the WildStar Theme
• Random is not necessarily good
Wildstar has a very specific style to it and everything
When you can avoid randomness you can
we do should strive to match that style. Anything we
make things reliable for the player.
create needs to feel as though it belongs in the world.
TELEGRAPHS Telegraphs are indicators on the ground ingame that send a message to the player that something is about to happen within that area. It can be good, as in a player healing a group or party, or it can be bad, like when a boss is casting on a player or group of players. This really reinforces our three Râ€™s: Recognize, React, and Reward. Another nice thing about telegraphs is that they act in concert with our Movement system so that players can effectively position themselves against an opponent or opponents so their attacks (and heals or buffs, for that matter), can have maximum effect.
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MEGABYTE PUNCH DEVELOPER: REPTILE GAMES
DESIGNING CUSTOMIZABLE CHARACTERS www.reptile-games.com | www.megabytepunch.com
CO-FOUNDER / ART DIRECTOR WHO? My name is Tim Remmers, and I am a game developer from the Netherlands. Two years ago I started Reptile, together with my colleague Dion Koster. Since then, we have been developing our own IP’s, and we just released our first big game, Megabyte Punch, on Steam. Currently we are working on our upcoming “baseball-fighting” game Lethal League. Since we developed Megabyte Punch with only two developers and one composer I had several roles for the game. My main role however, was the art direction - defining the visual style of the game and also building the 2D and 3D assets and level design.
INSPIRATION We used references such as Metabots,
full of inspirational shapes, colors, and
Megaman, and several Gundam designs.
designs we often take for granted, but can
This was mainly for the anatomy of digital
be really inspirational if you think about it.
and mechanical creatures. The characters
What inspired me most is the simplicity of
from the game are designed to be some
things. A good design doesnâ€™t need to be
sort of digital life form. Other than robots
detailed or complicated to be interesting. I
the separate parts didnâ€™t need to be
tried to capture this simplicity in the visual
physically connected to each other.
design of Megabyte Punch. The challenge was to keep it interesting enough. Overall
Most of the inspiration actually came from
I am very satisfied with the designs of the
real life objects. The world around us is
characters you can create.
There are 150 parts in the game: 33 heads, 21 chests, 29 arms (x2), 20 hips, 24 legs (x2), and 23 shoulders. Mathematically speaking there are over 100 billion combinations possible based only on the parts. There are also 30 different color patterns you can apply to your character to make it even more unique. I think itâ€™s safe to say that the possibilities are endless!
DESIGN A lot of the parts you can find in Megabyte Punch belong to some sort of parts set. While designing the parts we pre-defined several part sets. In this case, we designed a set of parts that forged together will look like a nice and balanced character. An example for the predefined characters are the bosses in game. They will always look the same because we wanted them to be recognizable. However, the bosses are also built up from separate parts that you are able to gather around the game world. That is actually the cool thing about the part customization-you can create any character you want-even the bosses that you just defeated. While designing the parts we defined several rulesets regarding sizes, shapes, and colors. The goal of these rulesets was to make it possible to connect different parts from different sets to your character without looking ridiculous or unrecognizable. So because of those rulesets I believe every part looks good combined with any other part. However, in the end the player decides what he thinks looks good on his character.
CHALLENGE I think the most challenging part was to make all the parts recognizable for the player. One point of feedback we received early on in development was that the characters were difficult to read as characters. They were a mashup of different parts, and especially in a screenshot you were not really able to tell what was the head or the arms, etc. Of course when the character started walking or running it was easier to define it as a character. We had to find a way to make the parts more recognizable, which was quite challenging at first. However the solution was actually really simple. There is this phenomenon called “pareidolia.” The human brain only needs a vague hint of a face and it’s instantly recognized as a face. How often do you see faces in clouds, trees, rocks, etc.? So the only thing we needed to do was implement something that suggests eyes or other facial features on the character. It’s up to you to decide if those are the actual eyes of the character, or maybe something else, but at least it’s a lot easier to recognize it as a head part. Every character color pattern has one dedicated color for the suggestive eyes, so they will always stand out from the other colors on your set. For some of the parts we had to add some cylinders, cubes, or spheres to suggest eyes as well.
AMERICANA DAWN DEVELOPER: BIT BONTON
SKARA: THE BLADE REMAINS DEVELOPER: 8 BIT STUDIOS
ARMOR AND WEAPON DESIGN www.thebladeremains.com
CEO / CREATIVE DIRECTOR WHO? My name is Pablo Rodríguez, and I´m CEO and Creative Director of Skara: The Blade Remains. I’m from Spain and I am happy to do what I love: creating video games.
Each character will be able to
weapons and ranged weapons. Depending on the race of your choice you will use swords, clubs, spears, big axes, bows, throwing
and even slingshots. Players will be able to configure their characters before every battle
different armor types on each body part such as heavy armor on the chest and light armor in hand. It is important to emphasize that every configuration has pros and cons; a heavy armored warrior will be slower than a fighter with no armor, so players will need to find the combination which fits best with their combat style.
INSPIRATION Our Art Director David G端ell researched and compiled many references on weapon design in history, not only in the Middle Ages, but also in ancient cultures around the world like the Sumerians or the Mongols. All of this information provides a basis to start giving free reign to our imagination, drawing different variations of weapons for each race, depending on their level of cultural and technological development. It is a very enriching learning process. We never stop finding new ideas and concepts.
verisimilitude in the design of weapons and armor. All parts must work and be credible, but at the same time they are tools created by races in a fantasy world. Thus, the weapons that Durno Warriors carry have some medieval style, but Kharn tribes make their clubs and swords with bones and materials collected in the field. We try to give each race its own personality through the music, calligraphy, or style of combat. Obviously, weapons and armor are also part of this personality. At this stage we demonstrate the different weapon styles through our concept art.
POWER-UP DEVELOPER: PSYCHOTIC PSOFTWARE
BOSS DESIGN www.psychoticpsoftware.com | @psypsoft
Power-Up is available on Xbox Live Indie Games
MIKE HANSON FOUNDER WHO? I’m Mike Hanson and in a nutshell, I am Psychotic Psoftware. When I first decided to have a crack at making little games by myself in a back bedroom, Psychotic Psoftware was always the banner I used. It was really just a nod to those classic “Ps” named game companies of the Amiga heyday (AKA my youth), like Psionic or Psygnosis, and it stuck with me for the decades that followed. When I finally took the leap into making a commercial game Psychotic came with me, but it’s still just me. All non-in-game images are of straight rendered Power-Up models. These are then post-produced for use in the game.
INSPIRATION The look and function of the titans were firstly
with the Titans - the desire to make them all look
inspired by the skills and scale of level bosses
very, very distinctive from one another. Beyond
from SHMUPS throughout the history of gaming.
that, the creation of their actual fight patterns
In hindsight Orbital Defense-1 definitely inherits
was really a trial and error affair. I’d go in with
some of the Guyver’s (the popular 90’s manga
a rough idea, then through a combination of
series) overall details, ED-209 (RoboCop) clearly
available weapons I’d created, the functional
inspired the Walker, the Worm has something
requirements of a nice, tough but balanced fight,
Tremors-ish (the movie) about it, The Cleaner
and my simplistic, but ever improving coding
flouts shades of Unicron (Transformers), and the
limitations I would in equal measure compromise
Mastermind has just a hint of the crazy head-boss
and innovate my way to a finished product. Like
of Midnight Resistance (popular 90’s arcade
the rest of Power-Up, the development of the
shooter). Subconscious childhood influences
Titans was a very organic affair.
aside, I was really only motivated by one thing
ABILITY DESIGN The Titans have quite a range of weapons and fighting styles. The Cleaner charges up a monster, screen filling ray, which it unleashes while the unwitting player throws all their firepower into its weak spot, which is also, of course, the barrel of the ray cannon. Orbital Defense-1 blasts out short bursts of concentrated fire in the playerâ€™s direction, accompanied by destructible homing mines which act as a decoy as much as they do a projectile. OD-1 also has a charging ability which must be dodged or blocked quickly with the playerâ€™s force field. The Worm stands on its tail tearing up the desert as it hurls a barrage of aimed fireballs your way; then completely out of the blue, it takes off for a coiled, airborne assault of homing missiles from the front and behind.
The Walker initially attacks from the rear, demanding the player to power up their back shot in advance of the battle. It throws multiple bullet types at the player before shifting up a gear, lunging toward the player, and blasting out extra fast, extra large fireballs. The lunge requires a quick response; a lateral thinking player will see the opening between the giant mech’s legs via which they can continue their survival. As for the Mastermind…well I’ll leave that one to discovery, but let’s just say that between his flying walls of bullets and his closing walls of steel, fast reflexes and strong nerves in a confined space are a must.
DESIGN I worked chronologically though the Titans so each one became more complex than its predecessors. Most memorable for me was the creation of the Walker, which I split into a number of separate pieces including the front and back legs, the attaching bolt, and the body (alongside a few other intricate layer parts). The Walkerâ€™s walk cycle was going to be a huge animation in terms of screen estate. Rather than animate this enemy as a complete sprite as with previous bosses, the Walker was my first attempt in creating a whole level boss in sections, each one dependent on the cycle of the other parts, with the whole thing animated programmatically. Not bad for a non-programmer, if I do say so myself.
DEVELOPER: ADHESIVE GAMES
MECH AND WEAPON DESIGNS www.adhesivegames.com | www.playhawken.com
JOHN PARK LEAD ARTIST WHO? Hello, my name is John Park. I am one of the leads here at Adhesive Games. My role on HAWKEN is to help generate concept art and visual notes for the departments that require asset creation.
Creative Director Khang Le had a specific vision of how the HAWKEN Universe mechs should look. We initially started with small doodles on a piece of copy paper that our very talented Miles Williams used to rough out 3D models. Miles was able to capture the essence of the mech design in full detail. As a team, we then decided on a proper texture/color theme for the base of the mechs.
DESIGN The three major mech classes in HAWKEN are the Class A (light), Class B (medium), and Class C (heavy). The biggest differences in design between all three classes are the sizes. Starting with the light class, the primary focus was to maintain a smaller chassis design with height restrictions and slimmer parts. This would visually emote that the Class A mechs are swifter and more agile. The Class B was the middle ground between A and C. With slightly slower movement, the Class B mechs were also taller, so the design focus was to maintain certain height parameters and provide a bit more bulkiness to the overall aesthetics of the mech design. Last but not least, the Class C: this particular class had its design challenges, not due to the size, but mainly due to its secondary functions.
Combat wise each class has its advantages and disadvantages. Class A, for example, has high agility and speed, but the downside is that it has lower armor, whereas Class B is a bit slower but has greater starting armor. Class C is the slowest of all the classes, but has far higher armor. This particular mech has the structure to withstand huge amounts of damage.
Each mech definitely has its own unique characteristics and play styles. One mech that I have personally experimented with is the Class A, or Scout mech. This mech has immense amounts of speed and the ability to out-dodge any other mech in the game. The Scout mech is great when you need to be evasive and counterattack. This mech definitely makes for a great, fast mech experience for those players who enjoy fast-paced FPS games.
WEAPON DESIGN For the weapons we had a lot of freedom in terms of visual design, but later we had to make sure each design was in line with the mechanics of how the guns actually functioned. The major guidelines were to base it off of the functionality that would take place in the game. For example, if the game designers wanted to create a weapon that could charge and explode on impact, we would visualize a variety of concepts that we could all agree on as a team and finalize. The Rev-GL (revolving grenade launcher), and the Repair Torch would be on my top list of favorite weapons, both visually and functionally. The RevGL has such a unique design, where its emphasis is on the bulkiness and the size of the weapon. It definitely emotes the sense of a strong, explosive weapon. This is when you know your design was successful: When you can communicate not only the aesthetic, but the feel of the function of the design. The Repair Torch is the secondary weapon for the Technician, which was definitely a game changer. The visual direction for this gun was focused on making the weapon feel technical and not as lethal looking like the other weapons.
DRAGON’S PROPHET DEVELOPER: RUNEWAKER
DRAGONS AND PVP SIEGE WEAPONS publisher: Infernum | www.runewaker.com | www.dragonspropheteurope.com
SUPERVISOR 2D ARTISTS WHO? My name is Mars Huang. I worked as a supervisor of 2D artists for the project of Dragon’s Prophet. I’ve liked painting since childhood. I was born in a rustic countryside, where I associated with nature, readily picked up branches as brushes, and used the earth as my drawing paper. Nature’s wonderful for me with its endless sources of inspiration. I like to create new original settings and try a variety of painting styles with different themes. I love game design, which is my life, but also the dedication of my life. I will follow this dream for a lifetime of continuous creation.
DRAGON DESIGN The design and appearance of all dragon species
directed forwards. Then the design will clearly show
is important for our artists. According to the rarity
players an angle of attack to increase their sense of
of dragons, we will determine the number of design
intimidation at first glance. For fast moving dragons,
sketches, the length of drawing time, and the
the horns will be angled backwards to convey a
number of modifications. The growth direction of
smooth, streamlined feeling. For the cute dragon
dragon horns is a major focus of our design. We use
species, we use the chubby or chunky style in order
it to distinguish the characteristics of the dragon. For
to increase adorableness.
example, for aggressive dragons the horns will be
In addition to ancient dragons, the remaining
fits in the world of Dragonâ€™s Prophet based on
types of dragons in the game have their own
the principles of biological evolution. When we
designed purpose and functionality. Thus, the
designed the Aquatic Dragon type, we referred
art team designs the appearance according to
to the original design of all aquatic organisms,
these functional differences. For example, raptor
and our artists decided to use crocodile patterns
dragons require moving and riding speed. Thus,
as the basis. Then we considered the fact that
we will analyze the musculoskeletal anatomy of
most of the dragons are offensive and aggressive
the species in real life that have the same features
creatures and that we were missing the element
(such as leopards, horses, or raptors). Our artists
which would attract female players. Thus, we
then provide these dragons with more developed
incorporated aspects of the salamander to create
forelimbs or hind legs so that their appearance
the Aquatic Dragon that players now see.
LEAD GAME SYSTEM AND DESIGN WHO? I am YuYu, in charge of game system planning and design. I was one of the designers of Runes of Magic who planned and produced the guild war system.
I love playing real-time strategy games such as Command & Conquer: Red Alert and Age of Empires. I referred to those two games, and I added some elements required to fit in with Dragonâ€™s Prophet, and added the ability to display the driver to make it more fun and give players a feeling of superiority.
SIEGE WEAPON DESIGN The design of siege weapons was based on the medieval European fantasy style, which includes both practical and visual elements. There are anti-aircraft units, antiinfantry units, anti-siege weapon units, anti-defense building units, and anti-siege dragon units. We
weapon we design will have an irreplaceable strategical value. I designed a vehicle which is similar to a modern truck. It is good at transporting resources during frontier PvP to get a large amount of points, which will help the alliance to win the battle.
ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV DEVELOPER: CAPCOM
PIXEL HEROES DEVELOPER: THE BITFATHER
8-BIT GAME DESIGN www.indiedb.com/games/pixel-heroes1 | facebook.com/PixelHeroesGame
LEAD DESIGNER WHO? My name is Tom Hirsch, I’m the lead designer for the game Pixel Heroes, and I had the luck of finding a great crew to create a very special little game with. We are a small indie team from Germany consisting of a high-level programmer, a mastermind composer, and me, the rookie lead designer. Pixel Heroes is the first game I’ve worked on as a lead designer, and it surely won’t be the last one.
INSPIRATION There are several classics as well as some
generation (which is something I've always loved
modern games which had a huge influence
about the Diablo series), and random dungeon/
on me when I wrote the first concept of Pixel
quest generation to ensure a high replayability
Heroes. Classic western dungeon crawlers like
value. It shares many features of typical rogue-
Eye of the Beholder, the old Ultima games,
likes like permadeath and a graveyard where you
and Might and Magic had a big influence
can mourn your dead heroes. What makes Pixel
on the exploration, item management, and
Heroes stand out from other dungeon crawlers
customization part of Pixel Heroes, while the
of its genre is its unique sense of humor. We
turn-based battle system was heavily influenced
have hidden a lot of innuendos in the game,
by Japanese RPGs like Final Fantasy or Lufia,
which refer to modern nerd culture as well as
which many of you might know from the golden
many oldschool movies, books, and games of
SNES era. These core features are mixed
the early RPG era. I really hope it works out and
up with some modern gameplay elements
we can put a smile on peoples' faces who were
like unlockable hero classes, random item
part of that time like me.
CONCEPT The core concept was to create a dungeon
us the opportunity to implement some more
crawler with a huge variety of heroes to
dialogues and random encounters, which
choose from and with a huge emphasis on
created some sort of open world for the player
randomization and content. The original
to explore. We planned to have an arena in the
concept didn't even have the town and overland
town, but it got cut because it would have had
travel in it, but we decided that it would be a
a big impact on the release date. We didn't
good idea to give the player a bit more freedom
want to keep the fans waiting that long. Maybe
so he can move around in the town, buy and
that's something that will be released in future
sell equipment, and have a fun time traveling
updates (alongside with new hero classes and
to the various dungeon locations. This gave
Each class has its unique set of attributes, starting equipment, and two unique skills, so we can assure that there's enough variety when it comes to choosing your dream team of heroes. We have the classical dwarven warrior whose emphasis is clearly on tanking. He has a natural bonus to his physical defense and can turn himself nearly invincible against physical attacks for a short period of time with his skill Bulwark. He is also the first hero that I made for Pixel Heroes. I would say that he's the one that started it all; the true hero of our beloved game. Besides the usual classes for tanking, damage dealing, and healing we also have some classes who are either more specialized in certain skills or are hybrid classes, like the Wicca who is equally good at healing and casting damaging spells but lacks strength and dexterity. She has the ability to hex the enemy which will give him a 50% failure chance on all his attacks. She also has a very cute cat by her side. Every hero starts with a randomly generated and really fun to read background story, which also has a small impact on their attributes. It will almost never happen that you will meet the exact same hero twice in the tavern.
DESIGN I tried many different things before
the overall style of the game. I decided
finally deciding to pixel everything by
to use a more conventional approach
hand. The most interesting approach
which gives me more control over each
was to model the enemies with colored
pixel. What came out is now a graphical
putty, taking a photo of those sculptures,
homage to early dungeon crawlers
and editing their pictures on the PC.
mixed with comical 8-bit heroes and
The enemies had a very organic feel to
them with this method, but it didn't fit
McDROID DEVELOPER: ELEFANTOPIA
D R O I D A N D C R E AT U R E D E S I G N www.mcdroidgame.com
LAURENT LAVIGNE FOUNDER WHO? I
France. I studied at USC and worked on movies for 15 years ranging from Day After Tomorrow to The Matrix movies. One day I left to follow my passion, which is games. I founded Elefantopia, which specializes in games that feel good and that are focused around ecology in a fun way. I had an image one night, that of a blocky robot with a terra cotta pot on its back and a pine tree in it. The image persisted and it looked cool, so I built it.
DESIGN The main guy McDROID, is a multi-
The designs came from that image in my
purpose and modular droid built by a
head, but of course that is influenced by
little girl who likes trees. There are also
the many animes I used to watch, most
harvesting, Tesla, monkey, and missile
obvious of which is Ghost in the Shell:
droids which are manufactured in bot
Stand Alone Complex.
factories, but those robots donâ€™t think by themselves, unlike McDroid.
INSPIRATION Some of the species are just plain nasty and want to eat you, mostly because they don’t like the 60’s rock that the shuttle is playing in loop. Some other species are more cunning; they look innocent until they eat your strawberries (currency), and turn nasty and mean. The player doesn’t play with the mutation as much as the mutations play off the player, and if you are not careful you can get overrun by mutants fueled by your own strawberries. The original fauna of the planet mutated under the influence of the Remote Splicing Field after Somanto Corp. replaced the core of the planet to increase its farming yield.
Thank you for reading! Thank you for reading! We appreciate your support. But wait, thereâ€™s more! Weâ€™re taking the digital edition to the next level. A hardcover book version will be released in Q1 2014. It will be a bit different from the digital version. To stay updated about the process, please follow us at: Facebook: EyeForGames Twitter: @EyeForGames LinkedIn: Eye For Games YouTube: Eye For Games firstname.lastname@example.org
Rai Sewgobind Founder of Eye For Games
INDEX A very special thanks to the following companies for contributing and making this edition possible. Main pages 8 Bit Studios Skara: The Blade Remains www.thebladeremains.com
ISOTX March of War www.marchofwar.isotx.com
The Bitfather Pixel Heroes facebook.com/PixelHeroesGame
Adhesive Games Hawken www.playhawken.com
Klei Entertainment Don't Starve www.dontstarvegame.com
ArenaNet Guild Wars 2 www.guildwars2.com BoxCat Namesless: The Hackers www.box-cat.com Carbine WildStar www.wildstar-online.com
Logic Artists Expeditions: Conquistador www.conquistadorthegame.com Nine Dots Studios GoD Factory: Wingmen www.godfactorygame.com Psychotic Psoftware Power-Up www.psychoticpsoftware.com
Drinkbox Studios Guacamelee! www.guacamelee.com
Reptile Games Megabyte Punch www.megabytepunch.com
Elefantopia McDROID www.mcdroidgame.com
Runewaker Dragon's Prophet www.dragonspropheteurope.com
Gamesbymo A.N.N.E www.gamesbymo.com
The Behemoth BattleBlock Theater www.BattleBlockTheater.com
Bit Bonton Americana Dawn www.americanadawn.com Capcom Ultra Street Fighter IV www.streetfighter.com Game Freak - Nintendo PokĂŠmon X and Y www.pokemonxy.com The Creative Assembly - Sega Total War: Rome II www.totalwar.com
Hardcover book release in 2014... + new size + new cover + more games + more pages
Published on Dec 4, 2013
Half art book and half interviews, the Game Design & Development Edition is available now. You will find over a dozen developers in this e...