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DF Lee

Art Update #3: Creating a Visual Style, Part 3

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I just love that every week we're getting at least some sort of cool and informative update, and this last week with the 2 sidequests and this pre-viz and now this coming week where we're expecting episode 3, it's been a great June so far!

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I cannot overstate how excited I am, purely based on the art style. I want to ingest it, somehow, and get it into my bloodstream. Also, the lumberjack surely deserves a small cameo in the final game.

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lol, Dialogue Tree. Brilliant. This visual style is working on a bunch of different levels. I definitely don't feel it's anywhere close to looking like a flash game.

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I love reading these things, I feel like I'm really learning about the whole game design process. It's a rare insight into all the work that's involved.

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Aww, no hipster lumberjacks who are secret rocket scientists? That guy was awesome.

I'm against highlighting all selectable objects, and somewhat against highlighting objects the player is near. My reason is that I'm hoping for a lot of the world to be clickable, like the games made by Humongous Entertainment. The thought of all those leaves, nooks, stars, et cetera being highlighted scares me.

A painterly style... I wonder if a picture frame around the game is a good idea, with the game's UI on the frame? Or maybe it's too out there. Just throwing some ideas around.

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Well, I liked pretty much everything I've seen. I normally prefer pixel art but the style being used in the video is really attractive. Carry on!

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Forgive me if this has been stated or asked before, but since the game will be two different characters in two different worlds, don't you think it'd be better to have two different art styles?

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Forgive me if this has been stated or asked before, but since the game will be two different characters in two different worlds, don't you think it'd be better to have two different art styles?

The idea has been suggested, but I think it really depends what you're going for. If you're trying to emphasise the difference between the two worlds, maybe so. If you're trying to draw parallels, maybe not. And I'm not sure we have enough info about the game world to know if this approach would work - for example, the location brainstorming thread suggests that there might be a lot of weird stuff going on besides just those two worlds.

Either way, you can still keep one style but have different aesthetic sensibilities within that. For example, the game Journey goes through quite a few colour palettes and different areas with different kinds of geometry, but its style is coherent. Similarly, I expect that the aim will be to figure out a way to visually distinguish the different worlds without having to completely switch style from one to the other.

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It looks a lot better this way, the art style and the ability to use the camera as an object that can pan and zoom in gives you an ability to view all the intricate details of a scene. Might do some wonderful things with size. And drawing-designs with soft edges instead of the now-famous vector-edge gives it a much more personal look. And that'd work really well with the story that we have so far.

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seeing this update has got me excited over the game again... The backgrounds came across a lot more interesting and less dark than on the update 2 and of course the whole thing with the dialogue tree was fab and genuinely funny :-) ... The voice acting even as a test was good as well... I am glad to see in the initial description that the animations will be greatly improved (ideally hand animated?) and the character design of the hero will be changed as this is the only part which still feels weak in my opinion... I agree the highlighting objects would be good to switch off...

Actually one idea for those that still like the woodcutter... It would be cool to have a mini game with him in...maybe have it where you find Tim's design notebook left in the main game and it transports you in to the sub game ...A bit like Day of the Tentacle had Manic Mansion only of course a much shorter game. (perhaps where the woodcutter in it finds out hes only a practice design, when he thinks he is the main hero). Maybe have the world of Tim's design notebook full of other adventure game never-was characters roaming around..Now that would be pretty cool, especially if we got to see old prototype artwork for Tim's previous games come to life.

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Here's how I imagined it was going to end...

Hipster Lumberjack: Oh, great Dialogue Tree. I seek your legendary vision and insight. Where, pray tell, can I find the rocket fuel for my space ship?

Dialogue Tree: I'm a tree, stuck in a forest... How the hell should I know??

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looking good so far!

Just not a fan of the highlight thing. It does not really fit with the art style.

Maybe the user could shake the sreen and every clickable object would shake too .It would work with some mobile devices, otherwise you can use the fact that you can pan to shake the screen, or you could repeatedly tap/click in one place (that's what I do when I start to get frustrated by a puzzle).

this game is a good example of what interaction with the world could be in a modern point n click (I might be getting of subject here though..).

http://windosill.com/online/

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That Dialog Tree scene made me laugh out loud, so that's a good sign, not many games manage to do that and this tech demo did :P

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Beyond saying that the video was hilarious, here are by thoughts on it:

- I think the pine trees in the 2nd layer of the background, on either side of the house, should be given a gentle sway.

- I'm really opposed to the object highlighting in the scenes. I don't need to be told where I just clicked, and I don't like to be notified of which items are clickable in a scene. Also, it's inane to identify when a successful interaction has been achieved. The evidence for that is the successful action itself, not the highlight. Do you think a person wouldn't notice that the lumberjack took the axe and chopped the tree in the mouth if there wasn't a highlight? The confirmation that he successfully took the axe and chopped the tree in the mouth is that he took the axe and chopped the tree in the mouth. The object highlighting is really a toddleresque feature. I hope it will either not be present in the game, or that it will be turn-off-able.

- The inventory UI is HUUGE... too huge. I could see a ton of scrolling being necessary to browse such an inefficiently large inventory. The less scrolling needed, the better.

- I would also much prefer a UI that makes no sound. Accessing the inventory represents the inner thinking and decisions of my character in visual form, and should flow as silently as thought. When sound is added to it, it feels like an imposition on the scene, and it no longer feels like what my character is doing, but what I'm doing, choices to which my character is just a helpless vassal to obey. Don't like it

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Using an inventory item suggestion - different approaches for touchscreen device and mouse driven device.

• Drag inventory down for touchscreen is great but could be less cumbersome for mouse driven interface.

Have top 5-10% of screen hover-sensitive to mouse so that, when mouse is in this zone, the inventory automatically scrolls down without having to click anything.

• Moving the mouse away from the revealed inventory should make it automatically scroll back up again.

Small feature but reduces the number of mouse clicks a user has to make, which is always a good thing. :)

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Regarding the UI aspect of it. I like the inventory but agree that you will soon have to do a lot of scrolling as the icons are huge. But I do like the simplicity of the inventory to find items.

One thing I have seen in other games like Mario and Luigi Partners in Time and Minish Cap that I think is good is how they made the inventory another character (Stuffwell & the Minish Cap) . The main reason why I think this is a good idea is because it will allow a constant companion to bounce dialogue off when stuck and so add to the humor. The best example of this in my opinion was in the game Comic Jumper by Twisted Pixel. That idea of two characters stuck together that hate each other was great.

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I would also much prefer a UI that makes no sound. Accessing the inventory represents the inner thinking and decisions of my character in visual form, and should flow as silently as thought. When sound is added to it, it feels like an imposition on the scene, and it no longer feels like what my character is doing, but what I'm doing, choices to which my character is just a helpless vassal to obey. Don't like it

Man, if it flowed as silently as MY thoughts then the act of getting the axe out of my inventory would go:

"Axe. I should totally get that axe. Axe is a funny word. Axeaxeaxe. Kind of onomatopoeic actually... swooooosh... AXE! I wonder where the word axe comes from? Where was I? Oh right, I have this axe now. Axe sometimes means guitar. But this isn't a guitar. But I guess Double Fine already did that one in Brütal Legend. Man, I can't stop thinking about axes."

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My only beef at the moment are those BIG Creepy eyes!!! I'm not kidding you when I say; I have had a nightmare with this guy chasing me, with that stiff walk of his, staring at me and smiling getting ever so closer no matter how much I ran; then I fell into a ball-pit where I was recruited by the Ball People to fight of the invading hoard of zombie cows (What can I say, it was a dream).

I just hope for smaller... Less shiny/creepy eyes. *Shutters*

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I love the feeling of depth the world has. I know it's just the world for pre-viz, but yeah, development tools are the foundation that you build upon, so it helps to have awesome tools.

One of the things I loved about Monkey Island 3 was the depth it had to it (Monkey Island 1 also felt like it had the same type of depth). Seems you've got the same thing going here. As someone who likes to take photos, I understand how important depth is is to conveying a sense of reality in something you look at.

I already want to give you more money so you can make more games like this, and you haven't even made the game yet. :D

It's so cool getting to be part of the development, in that we can see the process unfold. Usually you just see a game, and while that's cool, there's so much care and love and ability that gets put into the craft of creating a game, so it's very cool to be able to see that aspect of it.

I really think this is a great, new funding model. It's interesting--like everything of late, it's a social model that adds a social layer on-top of an existing experience. :)

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My only beef at the moment are those BIG Creepy eyes!!!

The better to look at you with, my dear.... *creepy lumberjack laugh*

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I love it! This is truly impressive and beautiful.

Hipster Lumberjack and the Dialogue Tree need to be in the game though. At least as an easteregg.

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The landscape artwork is gorgeously moody - I can't wait to wander around in those woodlands myself!

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I don't think I'm the only person disappointed the lumberjack won't be in the final game. You should really fix that.

Just for fun mind you....

I think you all should seriously consider having a picture/portrait of that lumberjack in the actual game as a well hidden easter egg!

I think a bunch of people would find that hilarious.

Remember, Double Fine, in-jokes help communities like this stay together longer. :)

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Love it all! It's improving a lot from the simple beginnings.

Some (hopefully) constructive thoughts:

- The interface between the feet and the ground still looks unnatural. The character is gelling with the world a lot better but I hope you keep working to perfect this as it still seems to rough.

- One thought concerning the following:

In a traditional static painting, this depth is often created by painting distant things with looser brush work, less detail and lower color contrast.

That approach works fine when the player can never get to the distant area, but because the player can in our game we had to approach this issue differently.

Actually, it can work even if you are going to get there! It was put to good use in Skyward Sword where distant objects instead of receiving the more traditional fogginess of open world levels had a very carefully designed effect applied that sounds much like what you describe. Of course, that's not to say your solution is not welcome. I understand the assets will be quite different here than a full 3D world like Zelda SS (where a fancy effect shader can be applied) and therefore different techniques are called for, but if you wanted to explore a more painterly level-of-detail effect I would not be disappointed (even if it failed miserably)!

- Getting a bit more abstract, I feel like I want something in there that allows the world to not just look like one of Bagel's paintings but behave like one too ... at least, like you would imagine one would behave if it came to life. You seem to have done things like adding real world motion (wind, dynamic lights, etc) but these are what it would do if it was just real and have nothing to do with it being a painting. If all it's going to do is look like a painting the art style won't have much to offer beyond its predecessors like Braid or Puzzle Agent. The style is different yes, but the overall feel, the hand-made feel, is not.

Obligatory compliment sandwich: axe-to-mouth ... brilliant! It evokes 'ewww' and 'ouch' and 'ha' all at once!

Seth

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I love it! This is truly impressive and beautiful.

Hipster Lumberjack and the Dialogue Tree need to be in the game though. At least as an easteregg.

When you beat the game, I think you should be able to unlock characters that you can replay the entire game as! The Lumberjack and the Dialogue Tree and Raz etc etc! Won't make a lick of sense with the story, but it'd be fun! :)

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I'm honestly a bit surprised at how quickly this is progressing. I assume we're going to at least have a spin-off lumberjack game soon afterwards?

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