Posts Tagged ‘Art’

State of the Art: The Long Dark’s aurora

The Long Dark

The coloured lights flaring across the night sky in the frozen Canadian wilderness were one of the most anticipated elements of Hinterland’s survival game, The Long Dark [official site]. Since the Kickstarter we’ve known they would do more than brighten the night, playing a key part in the game’s episodic story mode, but now they’re in the game I find myself braving the uptick in danger they bring or setting aside a necessary survival task to stand outside and stare up at the skies in delight. So how did the design of the aurora develop. how did the team balance beauty and hostility and DID YOU KNOW that the Aurora Borealis makes a noise in real life that Hinterland incorporated into the game?? Here’s creative director Raphael van Lierop to explain more in our latest State of the Art feature! Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: The slimes of Slime Rancher

Phosphor slimes

I’ve spent a looooooot of time with my slimes in Slime Rancher [official site] and watching them bounce and coo as they wiggle free of my corrals and wobble off like determined balloon-toddlers has been a delight. But how does one convert a ball into a creature with such a strong sense of spirit? How do you keep their little slime modifications from becoming a confusing mulch of wings and ears? What happened to the meteor slime? How does Gremlins figure in the design of Slime Rancher’s monsters? And will anyone listen to me when I tell them puddle slimes are actually cuter than tabby slimes???

Let’s do a slime art and design interview with game designer/Monomi Park studio co-founder Nick Popovich and find out… Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: The monsters of Prey

Prey's Typhon

I’m only a little way into Prey [official site] at the moment but one of the most interesting aspects for me is the monster design. I love pausing the trailers to peer more closely at their glitchy, weird forms without worrying about being killed. The monsters in question are these hostile lifeforms which all come under the bracket of “Typhon” but there are different species of Typhon within that.

The differing shapes, sizes and movements make it easy to distinguish one species from another. There are the scuttling spidery, crabby Mimics, the tentacled, floating Telepaths, the humanoid Phantoms… But there’s a common visual thread – all of them are these glitchy, threatening oilslicks whose forms never quite settle. Even when dead their surfaces ripple and shimmer. Emmanuel Petit (lead visual designer) and Jason Timmons (lead visual effects artist) offered their expertise so we could unpack the design of these writhing oddities. Read on to find out why the idea of colour palettes makes the team laugh and how they repurposed foliage tools for monster silhouettes! Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: Old Man’s Journey

Old Man's Journey

Old Man’s Journey [official site] caught my attention before release entirely on the strength of its aesthetic. It reminded me of board game illustrations, of children’s books, of a particular Courbet painting, and of colour palettes remembered from trips to the sun-baked south of France. The game itself offered a touching tale told through environment and memory as an elderly man strapped on his rucksack and headed off.

The landscapes you encounter are both the setting for the game and the game itself because you play by raising and lowering the layers of scenery. Where the curves of two layers intersect the old man can hop between them, dodging obstacles and navigating around errant sheep. I sat down with Clemens Scott, the game’s art director, earlier this year to find out more about how he made the hillscapes work:

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State of the Art: How Edith Finch’s most memorable scene works

Another day at the cannery

EDITH FINCH SPOILERS AHEAD. THIS IS A REALLY OBVIOUS WARNING SO CONSIDER YOURSELVES WARNED!

What Remains of Edith Finch [official site] is a home exploration story – an anthology of the lives of Edith’s family members – where playable vignettes tell you what happened to each of them. Each vignette is a distinct tale with its own mood, its own rules. Here I sat down with Ian Dallas and we dug deep into the story of Lewis. Without giving too much away before the jump Lewis’s story is probably the star of the game – not my personal favourite, but the one which showcases just how different and accomplished these vignettes actually are in the current landscape of games. Join us as we explore the world of fish and of fairytales…

The illustrations are a mixture of concept art and screenshots from Lewis’s story and can be enlarged by clicking on them. Read the rest of this entry »

How Inside’s levels were designed

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Inside [official site].

Playdead don’t design games in the same way that other studios do. They’re the result of a process where nothing is written down. There’s no script and no design document. No member of the team owns any aspect of what they make and what will go into the final game. Everything is up for change.

From that creative anarchy rose Inside, a game of the leanest pacing and most intricate staging, and entirely wordless. Story and play are entirely communicated through its meticulously constructed environments, which spin subtle mystery and challenge with spare details – a chainlink fence, a hanging rope – created through five years of constant iteration.

This is how they were made. Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: Chris Delay talks Scanner Sombre

Scanner Sombre [official site] is Introversion’s curious LIDAR-inspired exploration game. It caught my eye last year at Rezzed because it had such an unusual art style – the only thing close to it is A Light In Chorus and that does very different things with the specks of colour which make up its environments. In Scanner Sombre you use a scanning gun to reveal the world around you and to navigate its secrets.

A spectrum of colour helps you parse the terrain with bluer areas being far away and reds indicating what’s nearest. Yellows and greens mark out the middle ground. It’s an atmospheric game although it cleaves to a narrative I wasn’t particularly interested in. That said, it managed to get under my skin to the point where I quit out forever about halfway through because I was TOO SCARED. But the art style is the thing which drew me in and which continues to absolutely fascinate me. Chris Delay, one of the studio’s directors, was on hand to talk more so we delved into particle systems, maps and the secret mouse button function: Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: Guild Wars 2’s art passes from father to son

Horia Dociu various concept art for Guild Wars 2

Recently I had the chance to talk to ArenaNet (and thus Guild Wars 2) art director Horia Dociu about his work at the studio. One of the interesting things about his promotion to the role is that he succeeds his father, Daniel. As a result there’s a lot in our Q&A which is actually just a touching account of a partnership/mentor/mentee relationship across two generations of a family which was nice to read. I particularly love the point about making sure people have a place where it’s safe to try and to fail. Beyond that we talked via the email questions and answers about the art of the game which has been the most personally satisfying for Dociu The Younger, how to keep an art style from looking dated in a living game and the relationship of concept art to in-game assets… Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: The art of creating Subnautica’s flora

If you’ve spoken to me for more than five minutes, chances are I’ve mentioned Subnautica [official site]. It’s an open world survival game set largely underwater on an alien planet. You explore biomes, collect resources and, as updates to the early access project add more content, start to piece together the story of the planet. I played huge amounts of the game before more significant story elements were added and my big project was my volcano lair’s garden. I collected all the weird and wonderful plants I could and cultivated them in little plant beds outside my underwater home. That’s why, when I had a chance to speak with art director Cory Strader, I immediately wanted to talk about the game’s flora.

Read on to find out how The Abyss, microscopy and a real fish with a transparent head and a visible brain all played their part! P.S. You can click on images to see larger version of the concept artwork or, if they’re game screenshots, to just see them in isolation. Read the rest of this entry »

State of the Art: Burly Men At Sea

Burly Men At Sea [official site] sailed onto my radar at Rezzed earlier this year. Part of the Leftfield Collection, the game offered a beautifully stylised tale about three bearded brothers going off on an adventure. The reason I was particularly excited was, more than any other game, the demo I played seemed to capture the essence of children’s story books and translate that to the screen in a way that felt natural.

To find out more I spoke to one half of the development team at Brain&Brain, Brooke Condolora and asked her to share snippets from her sketchbooks and from across the game’s development.

Take a peek after the jump, and click on any of the images to see a larger version.

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State of the Art: Sunless Sea and the world of Zubmariner

Sunless Sea‘s [official site] first expansion, Zubmariner will be released on 11 October bringing with it new ports and cities to explore and tales to be told. Or as developers, Failbetter, put it: “agonising choices presented in beautiful prose.” But it wasn’t the beautiful prose which caught my eye in recent dev blog entries, it was the undersea (or rather, Unterzee) flora and corals. That’s why I’ve been asking Failbetter CEO and art director, Paul Arendt to tell me a little more about how the art works in the game.

For the images in question, just use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard or click the arrows just next to the pictures!

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The Great Art Upgrade: Overlooked Bits Of Art/Gaming

Strong subtitle.

“Can games be art?” It’s a question I spent part of yesterday complaining about while brandishing a forkful of jacket potato. I used to engage with the debate on those terms but it’s so unhelpful – a strange grab for cultural legitimacy by association. When it comes up in such an explicit way it tends to feel like the games industry has smeared itself with makeup, stolen its mother’s heels and is trying to get into a club it’s heard is super important using a fake ID.

That’s why I was curious to read The Great Art Upgrade by Paolo Pedercini. It’s an infodump/transcript from the Art History of Games keynote he delivered back in 2013. It covers off the main points of the conversations which were taking place (and still are) in mainstream and games media but then it flips over, focusing on what art has been doing with games over the most recent decades.

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Artface – Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: Art Edition

Is this face art?

Our Adam might have enjoyed Pippin Barr’s Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment in 2012, but didn’t answer one big question: was it… The A Word? Y’know, The Big Chinscratch. The Great Hmmmer. The Old Wallhanger. The Inherited Necklace. Art. Was it Art? There can be no doubt about the free new Let’s Play: Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment: Art Edition Edition.

It’s got ‘Art Edition’ right there in the name, for starters. This time, as you play Prometheus scaring off the eagle pecking out his liver for eternity, you’ll find the game hanging on a wall, and its frame reflecting your webcam-captured face back at you. Just like real Art you see in real galleries!

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Time To Admire Art In Secret Habitat

ART.

I like Secret Habitat. I like it an awful lot. I’ve been playing this latest from Strangethink Software for a fortnight and I keep returning to see more but it’s taken me this long to post because I want to do right by it. Oh, this’ll have to do! Secret Habitat is wonderful and special, okay?

It’s a free walking simulator on a procedural island covered in procedural art galleries with procedural layouts and procedural wallpaper and procedural collections of procedural artwork with procedural names by procedural artists, accompanied by procedural sound exhibits.

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Gallery Trip: Tate Worlds’ Minecraft Map

New York, if Minecraft had existed in the early twentieth century

I have made more progress on my cup of tea in the last five minutes than I have in clicking on the Tate Worlds download link for an André Derain Minecraft map. The map forms part of a Tate project which sees artworks from its collection inspire Minecraft worlds and experiences. The reason for my reluctance is that I’ve only just stopped crying over the one based around Christopher Nevinson’s The Soul Of The Soulless City. It wasn’t moved-by-art crying either. It was horrified, panicked sobbing – a visceral reaction to claustrophobia and lifelessness.

As Julie Andrews once advised, let’s start at the very beginning…

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Rise & Shine: Games Drawn As Children’s Book Covers

I don't have kids, but I do have a house full of kid's books.

Consider this your daily dose of nice. Artist Joey Spiotto, aka Joebot, draws films and videogames as the covers of children’s books. His game work includes imagined covers for Half-Life 2 (above, in part), Skyrim, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect and more.
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Bower Defence: It’s Cello Fortress

THIS!
The diagram above and the video below are both proof of Cello Fortress, a multiplayer game where four players use tanks to attempt to break into a fortress protected by a cellist, is thing that is real. But I’m calling foul. What’s more likely? That the maker of the pretty racing game Proun has managed to turn the music a cello creates into a gaming art show, or that John has created an elaborate series of blogs, websites, press releases, and even gone so far as to hire actors to video a concert to fake a game? And years from now, when everything is going well for me, he’ll text me telling me it was all a joke to make me look slightly silly and I’ll cry? He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again.
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“Fan” Produces 70s Movie Poster For Portal 2

If you could hold this picture and smell it, it would surely smell of nicotine and communists.

That’s me done for the day, but I saw this over at gaming.reddit and basically needed it to be on the RPS frontpage over the weekend.

Seattle-based artist (edit- and Valve employee) Tristan Reidford has made a 1970s-style movie poster for Portal 2. It’s an absolutely stunning piece of work, and awaits you in full after the jump.
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