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.
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!