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DF Lee

Art Update #1: Creating a Visual Style, Part 1

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This raises an interesting question, actually. How many people who donated to this Kickstarter were expecting something more like what was made at LucasArts and were LucasArts fans rather than Double Fine fans? It might be safe to assume that a Double Fine adventure will look and feel quite different to a LucasArts one. Something I honestly never stopped to think about, really. Won't affect my excitement for this game, but lets me know that this is probably one of many reality checks I'll have that I hadn't considered.

I too thought of LucasArts, specifically DOTT style at first when I heard of this game, which I believe is one of the best styles for the game and it still looks nice even by today's standard.

However, I learned that it's best to wait a bit to pass judgement on these things. I think we need to ignore the character until they actually design it. As for the scene, I would love to see this scene come to life, meaning watching the leaves and plants move by the direction of the wind, more elaborate dynamics of lighting. I can imagine this as a picture coming to life which could be stunning! They shouldn't be shy on utilizing the computing power available today, in fact, it could help this genre.

It will come down to a question of personal preferences eventually, but it's good we don't just cheer for everything they show or tell us, makes the backer forum more relevant for discussion IMHO.

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Indeed. I'm not passing any solid judgments yet, but Tim did explicitly tell the artists to utilize Nathan's style specifically. I will wait to see more, of course. But I hope that the "collaboration" Tim mentioned in the pitch video goes beyond simply showing us what they're coming up with and everybody worshiping everything they do. I want them to make the game they want to make, but I also want to have my voice heard and taken into account as well as everyone else's too.

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Indeed. I'm not passing any solid judgments yet, but Tim did explicitly tell the artists to utilize Nathan's style specifically. I will wait to see more, of course. But I hope that the "collaboration" Tim mentioned in the pitch video goes beyond simply showing us what they're coming up with and everybody worshiping everything they do. I want them to make the game they want to make, but I also want to have my voice heard and taken into account as well as everyone else's too.

Thanks! That ist exactly how I feel too. I gues everbody had some kind of expectation what the game would look like. For my part: I always liked the MI2 style best. A little comic like, but also kind of detailed with this hand drawn flair.

I also would like it very much if Double Fine would clarify as what kind of user input will be taken into account. I think it's fair to assume that many of us expected some kind of influence. Not necessarily in form of a direct decision but perhaps somethin like a vote on two or three alternatives so that DF can keep making the game they want to make but offer us some crossroads down the way.

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I love this post. The art style is very nice. If its anything close to this its going to look awesome!

Btw video require flash it seems. They would not play in chrome for android but the default brower did OK. Must suck to be a backer with an iPad. :-)

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The way I see it, Tim Schafer and the rest of the crew at Double Fine is the king, and us backers are the king's counsel. The king should listen to the counsel and weigh their input, but the final decision is the king's alone to make.

That said, I really like this art style, at least for the background. The lumberjack hipster character is a bit creepy looking though. Its eyes look into my soul, or something.

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Must suck to be a backer with an iPad. :-)

Huh. Could've sworn vimeo videos play on my iPad.

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It is obviously very nice, but I would prefer an art direction more like CMI for example..

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The way I see it, Tim Schafer and the rest of the crew at Double Fine is the king, and us backers are the king's counsel. The king should listen to the counsel and weigh their input, but the final decision is the king's alone to make.

And that's how it should be, it works as long as the king doesn't drown in power ;)

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This is looking really, really good. Actually, if this was the actual game, I wouldn't complain. It's beautiful.

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Mmmm! Seriously, I'm really not sold to that visual style... You guys seems to like it and I know it's just some exploration, but it doesn't feel right. Mr. Stapley might be a awesome guy and a great artist, but it doesn't do it for me.

I just hope you'll try different avenues to see the reactions. And there is also the probably that a good batch of people will like anything you guys suggest regardless of what it is...

But keep up the good work, it's nice to see some progress!

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Wow, video looks great, and I really like how the camera can move past the layers. It gives the game something of a cinematic feel. As for the art style, distinctive is good.

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It's a good concept, I like the camera movements and background style is cool but I'm not much of a fan of the character art style, as someone else pointed out, it's too Psychonauts style, the design looks weedy and thin.

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Thanks Lee! It's really inspiring what you guys are doing, and even trying to push things further!

One correction i'd like to make though: you call it "Creation a Visual Style"... i'd call it "Creation an Identity" (by composing the right style).

Best regards,

Ronald

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The vids are amazing, especialy the last one, but would b terribly disappointed if in the end it looks slightly as it. Artwise of course. Also would b delighted to see a 16bit pixelated game, although it is probably asking too much now a days. But just look at sword and sorcery, it's so beautiful! But 16bit instead of 8bit.

Anyway, who cares about my opinion?

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Great! I really like the art style. However, I think that maybe if it was a bit more realistic (not overly cartoonish) it would look even better.

But it's awesome to see you're making progress, and overall I loved that one last video.

Good work everyone!

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Wow, it looks great, loving the in-depth camera panning and the idea of using it in-game for clues/hidden items etc. Thanks for the update! Very glad to see so much detail about the process being shared, wasn't expecting quite so much.

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So the genre (storywise) and the story of the game has already been decided???

Shouldn't that come first? The story could be horror, action adventure, mystery, film noir, crime, romance, sci-fi, etc. ....shouldn't that be decided before visual style?

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So the genre (storywise) of the game has already been decided?

Shouldn't that come first? The story could be horror, action adventure, mystery, film noir, crime, romance, shouldn't that be decided before visual style?

Right now it's just test concepts. They're basically playing around with different things to see what they like the best.

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Thank you so much for the insight. Great read!

Z-Scrolling looks innovative and immersive. I'm not sure how playable it is, though. I can see it as a transition between two scenes and the example scene with the different layers of hills is a good environment for the effect. But I'm not sure how the player would get from one parallax layer to the next in other environments.

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All of these development postings need to be put together as a virtual bible (including the videos) on how this game was created. Amazing stuff, i can´t imagin how helpfull all of this will be once it´s one big pice of information.

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Indeed. I'm not passing any solid judgments yet, but Tim did explicitly tell the artists to utilize Nathan's style specifically. I will wait to see more, of course. But I hope that the "collaboration" Tim mentioned in the pitch video goes beyond simply showing us what they're coming up with and everybody worshiping everything they do. I want them to make the game they want to make, but I also want to have my voice heard and taken into account as well as everyone else's too.

Thanks! That ist exactly how I feel too. I gues everbody had some kind of expectation what the game would look like. For my part: I always liked the MI2 style best. A little comic like, but also kind of detailed with this hand drawn flair.

I also would like it very much if Double Fine would clarify as what kind of user input will be taken into account. I think it's fair to assume that many of us expected some kind of influence. Not necessarily in form of a direct decision but perhaps somethin like a vote on two or three alternatives so that DF can keep making the game they want to make but offer us some crossroads down the way.

Tim absolutely has to have the latitude to make strong design choices here. One questions how much voting will help this process. What if he gives us 2 options and 60% go for A and 40% go for B? What about those 40% that really preferred B? What if Tim was one of those people who preferred B, and is now in a position of having to second guess his instincts? I'd argue that it's not obvious that that would always be a good thing.

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Having just recently gone through and finished Machinarium, I can't help but notice a few similarities in Bagel's style of art. that being said I really really like the stuff he has posted on his site, kudos to him keep it up :), and I'm really liking the rough look at the graphics.

I disagree with the cries for a more pixelated style of art. I think that it'd lose something in translation when you look at the rest of his work. It really has a sharp contrast and eye for scaling that shouldn't be played with because it's perfect as is.

That being said, just my personal opinion.

Great work DF can't wait to hear more from you. Keep up the awesome work.

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Meh why some people don't like Nathan's artstyle? I think it's amazing, expecially for a surreal setting!

sf.jpg

His stuff is great. I'd gladly go to an exhibit of his work. But does it work for this game? We're all sitting here with a Lucas Arts style bias. Not a bad thing. His style is very distinct, especially his human figures (beady eyes, square heads, red nose), so it'll become a Nathan Stapley game if it's too obvious it's his work. I wouldn't mind a Nathan Stapley game, but then it'd have to be all him. I'd want something that is less distinct (talking about characters).

Then again, what's the point of having a certain artist do the work if he can't do what he does? Artists don't like being told what to do. In my experience, that is.

That is my opinion!

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Interesting post

Nice to slowly start getting an idea of how this game may look :3

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I was disappointed when Tim announced that the characters will be influenced by Nathan Stapley's artstyle. I looked at the portfolio several times and I still can't warm up to his style. Don't like them at all. To me, they keep looking bland and expressionless. But hey, I gave DF an expensive carte blanche to make the game they want. That also gives me the right to chunter into my beard as long as I want to when I finally play the game.

If you're really considering Cutout / Bone Puppet Animation as a viable option for character animations I would be glad if they would at least look as good as to what Vanillaware did in Odin Sphere. Basicly starting with such an After Effects puppet and ending up with painting over the unpleasant spots until it looks stunning. The result are nearly as fast to come by as flat vector animation but it looks much nicer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEMBRpd9c98

This would also allow you to keep a very textured, painted look to the characters if purely drawn animation is not an option (e.g. because those lazy animators in Korea want to have two days off on the weekend).

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