It’s hard finding the right art style for a game and deciding on it is just as hard. Because it’s hard to go back on a choice made with limited resources and time. I’ve been consciously refraining from making a decision on it. Not that I don’t have a style in mind. I’ve been hoarding art on my Pinterest for a while, and all of them could suit the project well. But what suits best? For the effect, I want to achieve, for the scope and budget, and for technical limitations. With the release planned in a couple of months and the gameplay more or less working, I need to start working towards art.
A couple of months ago, during the Dutch Game Garden Network Lunch in Utrecht, I put up a request for an artist to help me out. And it didn’t take long before visual developer Anouk O’Leary reached out to me. I commissioned her for a couple of character designs that came out great. Her designs give a lot of insight on what may or may not work in the game. Since I will (need to) animate the art myself, I’ll be drawing over 1600 frames for all the enemies and the player. (Don’t do the math how long it will take me..) So the simpler, the better. Besides that, I’m especially a fan of her work on the critters, though I can’t tell you yet what they are for (yet).
For the current build, I’m still using the original old drawings I made by tracing a couple of stances I put together in Cinema4D. Most people mention they like the art already, but it’s time to shelve these guys. Most of the animation sprites are only 3 frames, some only one. And for the game, I’m really looking for an animation that can smoothly transition slower and faster within the gameplay. And for that reason, I’ve bought a morph suit!
If you’re not familiar with rotoscoping. It’s a pretty simple technique. You capture video footage of movement and then trace each frame. The result is a superfluid animation because it’s based on real footage. It’s also a great way to get the animations down if you don’t have any talent in drawing body proportions in 3D as I do!
With the morph suit in possession, I’ll need to chalk it up with different reference points. Since I’ll be having multiple enemies in the game in different stages I will use different tracing colors for each enemy. Unfortunately, the morph suit came without a headpiece, so I’ll need to find a mask to go with it.
Another thing is, I don’t fit in the suit! I thought I bought it in my size, but it’s less stretchy than I hoped it would be. Luckily, when I was looking for a location with enough spacing and light for the recordings at a buddy of mine helped me out. While recording some testing material he used a couple of his Hapkido sword techniques and that fits nicely with the needed animations. So I hope I can convince him to wearing the suit for the actual recordings!