New player has arrived + designing a scene
  • 12/06/2014
  • art

Greetings from paradise! It’s been a tough month, picking ourselves up since we separated from our previous partner. We’ve been speeding things up and working 24/7 in order to coordinate with our new programmer before coming back to the normal workflow. Many stuff had to be rearranged and the game’s code has been started from scratch… I know it may sound crazy, but it was the only thing we could do at the moment. Luckily, we were able to implement all mechanics very fast and use our previous experience to progress in the development. We don’t want to go over the limit stepping aside from deadlines and repeating the same mistakes we had at the beginning. We are giving priority to make things right and have a better planning to complete PLFC as soon as possible.

Taking on the programming issue, you have to think that making a game is a convoluted process that requires a lot of testing and constantly redo of code. We want to ensure that everything works perfectly before showing you new gameplay material and send a sneak peak of Paradise Lost to all the backers. I know we are putting your temper at test… hope you could forgive us for the damn troubles.

Half man, half machine

We want to introduce you our new team member and the responsible of making the game works, Carlos G. Mangas. Carlos is a big passionate about video games (specially the Nintendo ones), computing and artificial intelligence. He’s taking charge of anything that involves coding and develop of tools for Paradise Lost. The most important thing is that he is excited about the project and is giving the 100% of his effort and time to develop the game you all deserve.

Giving live to the G.E.R. facility

Considering that we’ve been ultra focused recomposing the game, we didn’t have so much time to prepare new stuff (aside spoiler material), so we decided to show you how we build a stage step by step. The example above was one pain in the ass in terms of design and assembling, the stairs section. You know why? check it out:

1 Concepts

First of all we draw quick sketches of the scene, focusing on the overall look and functionality. This is the part where we think about the possible puzzles and different kind of situations you can afford with the minimum elements, in order to keep a balance between variety (for the players) and reusability (for the engine).

Concept stairs - paradise lost labAnother thing to consider is how we’re going to design platforms and surfaces to move through. Subject W give us a lot of headaches in this matter because its pivot is wider than the human ones, and the sprite looks horrible over corners. We decided to add depth to the stairs so the base doesn’t show empty pixels standing in the air.

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This kind of things are decided right now, trying to solve all possible complications before the problems appear in the game. At this moment we don’t look at the kind of tiles we can use in order to not restrain our ideas about design.

2 Organization and first steps

Now with the general idea in mind it’s time to go digital and select the elements that will take part of the scene. Before doing the new pieces that are characteristic of this area we look to previous files, searching elements that could be reusable. It is common on the scenes that take part of the same level to share visual parts and have a similar aesthetic in terms of colors and materials. For example, in this case parts of the background like the wall pieces, ceilings or the structure blocks are reused tiles from the main corridors.

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3 Design and color

At this point we draw the characteristic elements of the stage. Usually we take on different objects at the same time, using our standard palettes to represent particular materials. For this area we wanted a more industrial feeling, with exposed metal textures for the vertical tiles and stairs.

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4 Polishing things and color balance

It’s time to improve the appearance of the different pieces and assemble them together to see if everything fits good. After all things are finished, we apply parallel shadows, gradients, curves and hue layers to have an homogeneous look. Here’s the evolution of the scene:

Animation process

5 Splitting the stage

With everything designed we must separate the different things in layers to add them into the game’s engine. The components are distributed in six groups: foreground, characters, interactive objects, decoration, background and second background (behind-glass rooms and elevators). Some pieces must be slightly modified to obtain perfectly tileable pieces. The stairs zone had to be assembled in vertical, so this element must fit for different heights. In order to elude visual repetitions we add objects from the deco layer, giving a different look to the same tiles.

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6 Done!

This is how a 2 heights stairs area looks like:

art-concept-items-pixelart-paradise-lost-first-contact-2d-pixel-art-game-asthee-works-videogamesWell, that’s all folks! Don’t forget to make a little push to other interesting projects right now on Kickstarter like the emotive That Dragon Cancer or the fantastic Crossing Souls, an old-school adventure with original 80’s like cutscenes.