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Tag: sproggiwood

Broken Forest Progress

 

broken_forest_final

I haven’t had a lot of changes to do painting lately, with Sproggiwood nearing finish and all, so I was really happy to get my (digital) brushes out for this one! This is an illustration for a story scene in the game depicting a “horrible future”. This picture was actually first asked for few years back already when we started development on the game, but as the story evolved the need was scratched. Through the magic of iteration it made a reappearance this fall, so I dug out my old sketches and promptly scrapped them.

It turns out I have learned something about painting the past two years, because this time I had the sense to start with drawing before jumping to paint.

forest_progress_1

This is the thumbnail sketch I picked from my efforts.

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Scanned the thumbnail and added digital values. I probably could have gone a bit further with this one, I had a few problems with the value composition later on.

forest_progress_3

Printed out my value sketch at around 20 – 30 % opacity and drew the final line work on top of that. I’ve found this is a neat way to avoid having to use my light table that I paid lots of money for. Honestly though this is a lot faster, and the slight values underneath my drawing help me to visualize the whole thing in three dimensions.

forest_progress_4

Here’s the color scheme settled, I knew from the beginning I wanted something that would feel a bit oppressive and strange, so yellow/red/purple was what I had in mind. I don’t usually try out different color schemes for pieces, since my original concept of a piece always comes with color in my mind, then I just need to work at achieving that feeling in paint.

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Continued with blocking shapes out and changed some drawing details. Started working from the background out, so that’s almost final at this point.

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Giving everything a second pass with more detail pretty much.

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Finally added some details, drew the river out and added some line work on top of the piece for emphasis on a whim. Originally when I imagined the piece I saw it as kinda sketchy and scratchy, and the lines seemed to work well to bring that about.

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Sproggiwood Greenlit!

Sooo! We launched Sproggiwood over at Greenlight on Monday, and I was planning on doing a nice blog post about it once I got my current gigs finished, but it turns out I can just tell you it’s passed Greenlight in two and a half days! It feels a bit surreal since we’ve been gathering the material for the Greenlight for what seems like ages now to just finish almost at once. My art got lots of positive comments in general – except for that one guy who said it made him feel greasy like the free-to-play games – so I’m feeling pretty gratified. The game design side of the project still has to prove themselves with demos/ actual launch!

Check out the greenlight page!

We started at 80% yes votes and dropped to 75% by the time we got through, which is apparently pretty good. We had an article appear on rock, paper, shotgun and a few other nice press sites, but there was no major explosion of press associated with the release, we sent the material out a little late so articles mostly appeared on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The release is set to fall 2014 at the moment for PC, Mac and Linux, with mobile hopefully to follow. Now we just need to actually finish the game and integrate it to steam – let’s hope all goes well!

My other posts on making Sproggiwood and it’s art.

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Searching for the Sproggiwood Look

As I’ve been posting the occasional art update on Sproggiwood I thought it might be time to give more insight into making art for a game.

Sproggiwood is by far the largest game I’ve made art for, as I have history of smaller mobile game projects. As our personal indie project, it also came with all new freedom and responsibility. Being the only artist with very accommodating team members I was solely responsible for setting up the visual style and managing my workload.

screenshot3
Early prototype screenshot.

I started designing the graphics with a few key pointers in mind. First of all, the character art needed to have easily swappable gear art. To the rescue came Spriter, which allowed us to use bone animations with easy to swap single pieces of art. As Spriter was still very much in development when we started using it I had more than a few frustrating moments when the old files stopped working or the ui changed so that I didn’t know how to use the program anymore. Overall though the project would never have been possible without it, and it made the animation workload much easier to handle.

The final animations in the game don’t feature the pixelation that seems to crop up in the exported frames.

stab_animation

As I wanted to be able to easily add more gear, the animations were designed so that a single image of the item in question would be enough, no different perspectives. For the same reason we also settled on one animation direction with horizontal flipping, no back views.

Spriter also allows for easy combination of frame by frame animation and bone animation, so I was able to do more frames for monsters that didn’t need to have parts changed.

turso_walk

For the general graphics style I knew there was no way I’d be able to fit in the painted look I love so much, so I went looking for a more simple style. I was kind of fond of the look of many retro pixel art games, but had no interest in actually pursuing pixel art myself so I ended up adopting a rectangle based aesthetic. I’ve long been looking to try out more simple, graphic design in my other work, so I saw a great opportunity to explore it here.

ui
Early UI mockup.

At first I tried to set myself strict rules to follow, but eventually I just started doing stuff that felt right and good. As time has ticked by everything has been getting more simplified and streamlined, especially the interface.

Final UI in progress.
Final UI in progress.

The game design has also been simplified along the way.

Notice the empty spots that used to have resources/ infiormation.
Notice the empty spots in the UI that used to have resources/ information.

A few lessons I’ve learned along the way:

– Simple things can take more time do than complicated ones, as you cannot hide imperfections in the detail.
– If someone asks you to do a tilable river with animation, say NO.
– Good mockup ui graphics to make iterations easier.
– Tilesets have an unbelievable amount of tiles if you’re doing corners, and making good looking tiles takes forever.
– Things change, and graphics end up obsolete. It’s better to do placeholders instead of finals for big stuff that might change.
– You’ll never anticipate all the little stuff, especially when working with an iterative design.

Overall I’m really happy with the project. I’m proud of the art I’ve created and even though some of the lessons along the way have been painful they will make my work more efficient in the future. Of course the game isn’t quite finished yet, but most of the graphics work is getting there. Soon I’ll be able to count the remaining tasks with my fingers!

We’re entering the dreaded state of game development called “polish”, so in a few more months we might have a completed game.

More about Sproggiwood:

Twitter https://twitter.com/unormal
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames
Webpage http://www.freeholdgames.com/

 

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Sproggi and then Some!

Fresh of the press, all Sproggi! He’s just so adorable I could keep doing these all day. My way to take a break from all the menu work that still needs to be done. Seriously, there’s a lot of menus in this game.

He’s the main good/bad/plain weird guy in our upcoming indie game Sproggiwood. I’m sure you get the idea from the images! These are his dialogue portraits.

sproggi

For more info on Sproggiwood see:

Twitter https://twitter.com/unormal
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames
Webpage http://www.freeholdgames.com/

 

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Sproggiwood classes design

I realized I’ve neglected posting about Sproggiwood for a bit, so here are the designs I did for the different classes.

As we are using Spriter as our animation tool all the character consist of pieces being moved according to a saved animation file. The different pieces can be freely changed while using the same “puppet”. We adopted this system in order to easily swap out gear and armor, without totally failing at budgeting for graphics.

In hindsight this has worked well, doing the different clothes for different classes has really been a breeze compared to other parts of the game (river, I’m looking at you). I especially like the big hats! Each class has several sets of gear, though you can only see one here.

 

icon_farmericon_warrioricon_archericon_wizard  icon_thieficon_vampire  

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Sproggi Boss Design

So I haven’t been posting a lot about our progress on Sproggiwood, not because it’s not moving forward, but because most of the stuff involved in the production is kinda boring from the outside. I’ve been spending ages on doing and redoing menus, and in addition to polish work that’s most of the stuff left.

We have finally moved on to adding beta testers though, going through the first wave now! We’ll take more of them in waves, trying to improve on the design in between based on the feedback we get.

Here’s something genuinely fun though, a boss based on the Kalevala monster Iku-Turso. A slightly non traditional interpretation!

turso_idleturso_walk

More about the game:
http://www.freeholdgames.com/
https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames

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Sproggiwood Promo Art Step by Step

Here are the steps on the Sproggiwood promo art, as you can see it was quite a complicated picture to work with. I started by doing a simple 3 value composition based on a pencil thumbnail, then added simple color and lines on top of that. I think the first steps actually have quite an interesting ink drawing look, it’s feels bad to loose that to go to the painting.

sproggipromo_step0 sproggipromo_step1sproggipromo_step2 sproggipromo_step3sproggipromo_step4 sproggipromo_step5

After I had my greens more lively I went back to photohop and upped the contrast, as I felt I’d lost it. I was originally going for cold light/ warm shadows, but eventually realized I just couldn’t create convincing sunlight that way.

sproggipromo_step6 sproggipromo_step7

As you can see the tree trunk at the lower right was a another trouble point, I REALLY liked how it was coming along, and yup, it was definitely a problem for the composition. Usually things you like too much end up being the problem areas. As it was supposed to be a simple framing element and not a focal point I eventually decided to get rid of it all together and added in some rocks instead.

sproggipromo_step8 sproggipromo_step9sproggipromo_step10 sproggipromo_step11

The slimes ended up being extremely tricky to paint too, for the simple reason that it was incredibly hard to find any reference that would apply. I can hardly buy jelly at the store here, and all the jelly photographers seem to think white background and photographic lightning are the bees knees. I think taking that into account the finished result actually looks surprisingly good.

Another time consuming bit was the pile of leaves, you wouldn’t think that it would be hard to find good reference pictures of them, but for some reason people don’t seem to think that seeing the details on leaves is important. As it was a focal point I really wanted it to look right and interesting, though I suspect I might have overdone that a bit.

sproggipromo_step12 wallpaper_painting12

Here is the supposed final, with the mockup title.

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And the actual final after some further tweaks , clarity and contrast.  I really wish the next painting I do won’t be full of leaves and grass, because I need a break!

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Worldmap progress

WorldMap_progress

Here is a step-by-step progress for the creation of the Sproggiwood worldmap I posted earlier. I needed to figure out a good way to represent a worldmap divided into four different regions: forest, swamp, mountains and glacier, with each region except the glacier having three dungeons each. I could have good for a really simple, more symbolic background and more complicated dungeon entrances, but I wanted to paint something for a change so I went for a complicated painting in the background and simple buttons in the foreground -approach.

I started by figuring out how to divide the map into the proper areas, and briefly toyed with outlining them in a few ways for extra clarity. I didn’t really like the look of the outlines though, so I resolved to differentiate the areas without having to resort to outline.

The general color scheme evolved pretty naturally, except for the forest that I had to really fight with to find a look I liked. I tried to avoid drawing individual trees at first, but eventually realised I need to know the shapes I’m trying to simplify, and there simple isn’t a shape to the forest without the trees. I still kept them as simple as possible, but they were the major time sink in this piece.

The mountains and glacier are probably tied for my favorite part -spot, I’d love to do some more of those. I foresee more need for forests though, they seem to crop up everywhere!

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Sproggiwood Worldmap

WorldMap

 

The worldmap -screen for Sproggiwood is finally complete, at least as far as graphics go. When playing the game you’ll be opening more dungeons as you complete the old ones, but each dungeon has some new rewards for each class, so going back to complete old dungeons with never classes will be a part of the game.

And of course if you can’t quite make it in the newest dungeon, there’s always the option of going back to old ones for some money to buy that flaming shovel at the store.

For more info on Sproggiwood see:

https://twitter.com/unormal
https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames
http://www.freeholdgames.com/

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Sproggiwood: Beta

 

Sproggiwood from Freehold Games has reached beta!
Sproggiwood from Freehold Games has reached beta!

Happy days, Sproggiwood is finally in closed beta!  Folks eager to try out the game will need to hang on a little longer though, as at this stage all the user trials are scheduled as observed and recorded sessions, to give us the best possible chance of catching all the trouble areas. There’s still quite a way to go for a finished game, mostly on adding and balancing a huge amount of content. However once the closed beta comes to an end and we think the game is easy to pick up and enjoy we will move on to less restricted testing!

There’s still a lot of work to do before we are ready for release, but I think there is light at the end of the tunnel now. Might be a train too. I’ll be posting more art from Sproggiwood again in a bit, as I work hard to smooth done the rough parts and finally arrive at a final looking game. The menus are definitely a big time sink here, as there is a lot of complicated stuff going on that needs to be made to look simple and understandable.

For more frequent updates, news and info on Sproggiwood see:

https://twitter.com/unormal
https://www.facebook.com/freeholdgames
http://www.freeholdgames.com/

 

 

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