This is a little snippet of the first scene in Lower Naughton, one of the starting areas of the game. While it looks like a small island area here, it’s actually just one little building in a scene with a few other locations; the lefthand bridge that trails off here continues on to the rest of Lowtown. I finished this bit first though and wanted to share it while working on the rest.
The hardest part of this was easily figuring out how to differentiate between the different types of stone. Naughton is meant to be a struggling maritime town built upon the rubble after a great battle. I wanted there to be distinct variety in the structures: ruined stone walls, shabby wooden supports, and new stonework.
I like the composition so much that I’ll probably leave it like this for now, and then add a new post for when the rest of the scene is complete. While actual spritework is an area I don’t feel super confident in yet, I’m super pleased with how these NPCs turned out.
Here’s an interior of a shop in Naughton. While the frog shopkeeper looks focused on recording inventory at the counter, if you spend too much time looking at some valuables in the corner, he may shout at you to stop window shopping! While Naughton is experiences its fair share of crime, this shop hasn’t experienced theft in years, thanks to its owner’s watchful eye.
This is just the outside the door of your bedroom. Some of your neighbours aren’t the most personable (or owlable or foxable for that matter), but maybe they’ll eventually answer their door when you knock.
The stairs creak louder and louder with every step, and it’s a long way to the top. Still, it’s cheap rent for the top room, and you can only afford a bargain. It’ll do… for now.
This is a process picture from a battle in the game. While I take pride in the visual style I’ve created, the gameplay is always my priority and at the forefront of any design decisions I make. This is an older image and I’ve since leaned towards a different UI design (but one that I hope is still just as minimal). I look forward to sharing it eventually. Still, the setting of this battle, a swampy area, was one that I had a clear vision of, and it was pleasing to know that the finished product could be so faithful to my imagination.
As for the creature you see here, just watch where you step when you explore the wilderness. Some stone paths aren’t as sturdy as you may think.
This is the chapel-lighthouse in Naughton which features in my game. It holds significance to me as it’s related to the very first game character I designed: a little priest toucan you haven’t met yet, but he’s looking forward to meeting you. :)
I also really like the chapel because of it’s strong thematic design. In the past few generations, countless shipwrecks have washed up on Naughton’s shore, by a source that has… yet to be identified. The ruins of these ships have been used to build this chapel, and you can see their incorporation in various elements: the wooden plank walls, the draping tapestries (which were once flags), the steering wheel rose window, and the anchors in the window frames. The building’s purpose is both spiritual and practical as a lighthouse, as candles are lit in order to guide all souls, living and departed back to Naughton’s coast. While the windows are small, they shine bright from miles around, through the thickest fog. I hope you stop by and visit when you play.
The very first area you see in the game, this was the first polished scene I made. Prior to that, I was just prototyping with screenshots of Final Fantasy Tactics. I didn’t expect to get such a great reception from this when I showed it off, but this was a great motivation in continuing my work and knowing I was on the right path.
This is a gif that I made to explain the process in creating my environment art. I was heavily inspired by the pre-rendered backgrounds you see in PS1 era JRPGs like Final Fantasy, but I also wanted it to have a pixel art feel as the game’s resolution is quite small. After a bunch of experimentation I was able to find a decent balance between the needs of the game, my dream vision of what it would look like, and my own capabilities and knowledge.
In other parts of this site you can see other environment art I’ve done in C4D as 3D renders. I basically made one of those but rendered it at a very small size, to scale with the sprites I have in the game. From there I paint over top with more solid pixel brushes, as well as softer washes under different blending modes.
This colour-correcting and detail phase is actually pretty quick, and I try to continually go overboard with the saturation and contrast. The longest part is by far the very first few frames of this gif in which I’m just trying to greybox the general proportions of the environment and its contents.