Blog: Air Kingdoms

Golemite Kingdom

Posted by BubbleZap on Thursday, May 14, 2015 | Tags:
Posted Under:


Firsthand account of the battle of Kal’Tor – Recruit Immeldus Starkin

We had known the Elves would put up a fight, but no one knew the numbers they could drum up. Great walking trees, giant bears from the forest, not to mention the archers. Battalions upon battalions, backed up with so many mages that they would have put the Academy itself to shame. And we knew that for every Elf you see, five more are hiding in the shadows, great bloody knives drawn and waiting to strike. I think every one of us would have turned and fled right then and there, maybe a few were going to, but that’s when the tanks rolled up behind us. I don’t know much about Gravite, but I know that when a rolling building is on your side you feel a mite more secure about your chances.

Then the General ordered the charge. We saw the pikemen rush out, ready to keep the tree-lovers at bay while we lined up our shots. When we started firing you couldn’t even hear the gunshots for all the thunder and lighting the whitebeards were calling down on the enemy lines.

And that’s when it happened. No one quite noticed the ground shake at first, with what seemed like everyone in both kingdoms running around stabbing and shooting and magicking everything up. But after a time you couldn’t help but tell this wasn’t anything any number of feet could do. By the time the fighting paused the ground shook so hard my teeth nearly rattled from my skull.

And then...and then I don’t know how to describe it. Like an explosion turned into a man. But...not a man. Some sort of demon of rock and fire and magic, Gravite pulsing through it like blood. And...and he just said one word...never forget it…”DEFILERS!” Voice sounded like the mountains themselves were speaking...booming...and then...then…

No, I can’t, I can’t. Fire, death...I’ve been a soldier since I was little more than a child and I’ve never seen anything like it. The world just...exploded. And hung in the air. And...and that’s where it stayed.


The Golemites are the ultimate challenge for the player. Tough, powerful and relentless, they view both the humans and elves as a scourge upon the world and would do anything, even blast the world apart, to cleanse the land. They are inexorably tied to the powers of Gravite and exist to ensure that it is not misused. Awakened by the humans’ excavation of Gravite mines and the elves’ misuse of their powers to battle the humans, they are singular in their goal. Destroy the defilers at any cost.

RockCastle_02 RockCastle_01

The Elves

Posted by BubbleZap on Friday, April 24, 2015 | Tags:
Posted Under: Development

Hello and welcome to our next peek at the world of Air Kingdoms! Today we're going to look at the development side and process we went through when designing the look of some  characters from the Elf race. We'll look at some of the oldest concepts in our library. We'll also go through some of the brainstorming and thinking that goes into creating the look we were trying to achieve.

When creating a character for a game there is no one correct way to do things. The staples like silhouette, appeal, asymmetricality etc. are always good features to fall back on. But there is never a correct way to do things when it comes to creating art. Our artist took all that into consideration when concepting the Elf Melee unit. With this particular unit we wanted him to feel light, agile and quick on his feet. So we went in knowing he would be a little smaller in stature and thinner than some of the other characters in our lineup. We ended up throwing around a ton of ideas; "Does he wear armor?", "Does he have one or two weapons?", "Should he show his face or should it be obscured?". All of these valid points that could potentially make a cool looking character, because after all we wanted him to be cool.

The artist then set off to do what we feel is one of the most important steps in concepting. And that's REFERENCE! Reference, in art, is a process where the artist searches the internets for literally thousands of pictures in order to find any particular look or style you want to incorporate into their design. Using reference in both art and animation is always a helpful tool in getting to the final look you may be chasing. Two-handed weapons, daggers, swords, cloth, armor, hoods, skin tone, eye balls and even ears were just a few of the subjects the artist searched for when referencing for the elves. After countless hours of getting reference and placing it all in and orderly folder the artist went to town creating hundreds of concept sketches. After a few days of concepting some ideas we were handed a large amount of art but here is one that particularly stood out that we liked and eventually wanted to work from as a base.

This one was a great starting point for the melee character. It had the cool looking gear and was an appropriate size and shape for the direction we were headed. We liked the tapered and shingled armor and the short dagger/shortsword melee weapon. But just narrowing our initial view didn't really give us a chance to explore more of the character. Maybe different weapons would look cool? Maybe no armor would be a neat direction? What about a long cloth? What if we took the helmet off? We had more and more questions as we looked at the different pieces of art. The artist took these questions and created a ton more fantastic art that we all fell in love with. But when creating art, you should never fall in love with it, especially in the concept stage. We loved a few, we liked a few, and others we felt didn't move in the direction we wanted. We knew we wanted some color, two tone at least. We also were looking for hard melee weapons, specifially swords, daggers or polearms. We weren't too keen on exotic weapons like whips, flails or hooks. We also knew it needed to be a weapon someone could control with ease and finesse.

Elf_C2 Elf_C3
Elf_C4 Elf_C5

So as you can see from just this small portion of art there were variations to choose from. We ultimately ended up with a character that fit into the direction we wanted and went ahead with creating the 3D in-game asset. We were very pleased with the final look and overall feel of the character and are excited to show it off in the upcoming weeks. We leave you with one more concept of potential weapons we were looking at giving the Elf Melee unit. And stay tuned for more art next week!


Welcome to the world of Air Kingdoms!

Posted by BubbleZap on Friday, April 17, 2015 | Tags:
Posted Under: Development


Welcome to the first look at the world of Air Kingdoms! Let us share some of our concept art for the human units and structures to help show this rich, immersive world. This is a world torn apart by great cataclysm and chaos, a world at war. Three races battle for supremacy across the floating continents; the Elves, Golemites and Humans. In the coming weeks we hope to share more of their lore and stories with you, and we’d like to start that off with a brief overview of the humans!

Excerpt from the journal of Cedric Bullecint, High Artificer of the New Realms

We’ve done it! After the great cataclysm the whole kingdom was in disarray, the generals scattered and army routed! They said we would never be able to put together a force with the world torn into chunks! Oh, they didn’t have the vision, the vision that I had! How could the not see? The very Gravite that blasted the world apart was now holding up mountains, continents floating in the air! Why, what a simple thing to float a castle, then?
Of course there were challenges, the mages hardly understood the powers that could be harnessed from’s no surprise they couldn’t control the power, that there were consequences…
But see now what we can accomplish! The elves may worship the land, the Golemites protect it, but we, we have used it to build wonders! A mighty palace, fortified and mobile! From here our armies can set out; from here we will be able to set right what went so, so wrong…

Players will lead the humans through different environments and against various enemies in order to push back against the chaos currently running rampant in the Air Kingdoms and set the world back to order. The player always operates from the mobile Castle, the base of the human operations. From their they deploy mighty wizards, fearsome marauders and many others in order to fight off the agile elves and powerful Golemites.

There and back again

Posted by BubbleZap on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | Tags:
Posted Under: Studio News

What a week! GDC was a great success. We got to meet a lot of other developers, share thoughts on the development process, see loads of cool new tech and play a lot of great games! Air Kingdoms was well-received and we got a lot of constructive feedback not only on the game itself, but how to let people know about both the game itself and the development process around it! We hope to be putting this into practice very soon by letting all our followers see glimpses of the game being made!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t give some attention to some great folks we met at the show:?

  • Guns Up is a great looking tug-of-war game from a studio up in our neck of the woods!
  • The folks over at ogardonix were wonderful to meet, and they’ve got a game in development you should check out!

Thanks to everyone who tried out Air Kingdoms, the people that put on GDC, and as always a big thanks to all of you for visiting!

Here's a picture of our fearless leader trying out the new Crescent Bay model of the Oculus Rift.

Our leader tries out the Oculus Rift

GDC here we come!

Posted by BubbleZap on Thursday, February 26, 2015 | Tags:
Posted Under: Studio News

And we’re off to GDC (Game Developers Conference) this week! We’ll be checking out new

technology, listening to other developers talk about their own experiences over the past year and generally learning and sharing a ton of information! We’ll also be showing off a very early demo of Air Kingdoms as we walk around and see the sights. The conference is always a great opportunity to meet and share knowledge and insights between developers at all levels of the industry, and we’re sure this year will be no exception.

If you’d like to meet up with us at GDC to play the demo or just talk shop, e-mail us at and we’ll try to arrange a meeting! If you’re a business and prefer the GDC tools, you can also reach out to us through the GDC business matchmaking service.

San Francisco or bust!

Air Kingdoms (blog) has landed!

Posted by BubbleZap on Friday, January 30, 2015 | Tags:
Posted Under: Development

A big hello to all those reading our first post! This blog will chronicle the development of Air Kingdoms, a fast-paced fully 3D action strategy game from BubbleZap! We’ll endeavor to keep all of you up-to-date with screenshots, design and art notes straight from the source as well as keeping a general track of the state of the game.

Speaking of development information, let’s start that off! Air Kingdoms is being developed in Unity by us, BubbleZap, a small team of dedicated artists, designers and software engineers. It’s a real-time action strategy game with a rock-paper-scissors style unit heirarchy. Air Kingdoms is set in a fantasy world that has been literally torn apart through war and cataclysm and it is up to the player to make the world whole again.

That’s it for our first post! Thanks so much for joining us, and look forward to more information, screenshots, and general Air Kingdoms goodness!


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