Art direction (part 1)

Akhaan soshor!

Here I am, ready to reveal some juicy news on our progress after being absent for more than a month, a time we’ve used to really push forward. But that’s another story (and another article)! Today I’d like to start talking to you about one of the key elements of any creative project: the Art Direction. As you all  know by now, X-Light is the evolution of a rudimentary project called Genomia, which we presented years ago and which became the actual foundations we are using today to develop our game. But as anyone could have guessed these foundations were then completely rethought during the metamorphosis. Yeah, but what was changed exactly?

Well, we’ve already covered the characters’ development in the article about out characters (Part 1, Part 2), but that was only one of the countless aspects that involve the art direction. For instance, let’s talk about the colour palette. It may seem silly, but it’s actually something that’s both really simple and really powerful: it’s practically when you choose a series of colours you have to use during production. Genomia only had four colours in its colour palette, because it was supposed to be very plain and straightforward, where every backdrop equalled a certain fluid, which in turn was always matched to one colour.

So back then we had our green levels that were connected to the agility fluid, the red levels that stood for violence, the blue levels were intelligence and the yellow levels were courage. That was it! Far too little (and too predictable) for an art direction worthy of its name, don’t you think?

It goes without saying that all that has changed. The levels we are developing are four vast levels with many branch,  but even though they had the same number of fluids as the first game (although they’re no longer bound to concepts like “intelligence fluid” or “courage fluid” etc.) we gave the development they deserved. X-Light’s palette has undeniably grown, going through dozens and dozens of colours divided in categories and each and every one created following the same approach. And since all of these colours appear inside every stage, we’re not only able to achieve wonderful visual coherence throughout the entire game but also make things really vibrant and colourful. Yeah, because apart from the fact that we’re using them all together, our new palette’s colours are also taken from the whole colour spectrum.

I mean, it’s safe to say that we left the past behind us and chose to follow a more complex and mesmerising path. For example, we created a category for the “backdrop” colours[Francesca1] , so we could use softer tones for the larger elements against the backgrounds, and that could be used as a neutral base to make the visual elements in the foreground stand out more when needed to reach the game-play’s goals.

But our Art Direction saw many changes also in other aspects , like when developing the environments or in the photography, as well as rendering different materials. Unfortunately we can’t go into the details of everything we’ve and that we’re doing (we’d need 48 hour days, and we prefer 24 hour ones!), but next time I’ll try and tell you as much as possible about these other facets.

Chaaluca to all!

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