Friday, August 12, 2011

New Character Concept Art For AVWW, And Time Period Details

The below images are not screenshots, but rather are un-processed original renders that then get scaled down to smaller size for actually being used in-game.  So, hence the label "concept art."

That said, this is basically how they look except smaller when it comes to the in-game running around graphics, while the in-game portraits are heavily stylized and more painterly.  It makes sense when you see it, and we'll show video and screens of that just as soon as we can get the video fully edited and then uploaded to youtube.  The footage is taken, but that's only half the battle!

Let me lastly note that all of the prior character art that you've seen for the game -- Dawn, Darrell, and the Skelebots -- has been removed.  Darrell and the Skelebots have all-new art as you can see below, but Dawn hasn't made it back into the game, yet.  There are numerous other female characters added, though.  And more to come before beta!

The Seven Time Periods With Humans
Overall in the game, there are actually 9 different time periods that we are featuring in the game.  Two of those are from time periods where humanity does not exist.  The other seven are where all the various NPCs are divided into, although I've done a lot more art in the ice age style since that's where you begin the game.

Through beta and after 1.0, it's highly likely that we'll also include some other minor time periods that do and don't include humans in them, but those will mostly be rarer and won't have nearly as much character art as the seven primary ones will.

All 9 Time Periods In Chronological Order
To avoid giving spoilers, mostly what I'm going to talk about here is how people are dressed in each period, and then share that period's name.

Unknown Ancient Century - The "Wild Garden" Age
This is the time period that the lava flats and ocean sections come from.  This is one of the two time periods that doesn't include any humans in it, and it's so far back in Environ's planetary history that it's an unknown date.  That's about all I'm willing to say about this, so far -- you'll find out the rest in-game!

4th Ancient Century - Bronze Age
This is the oldest time period with humans in it.  They are dressed more plainly, often in tunics or togas or similar.  Very cheap clothing by modern standards, and no armor at all.

3rd Ancient Century - Time of Magic
The clothing is a lot more mystical, very fantasy-themed, with still no armor at all.  Magic, magic, magic, here.

1st Ancient Century - Medieval
The clothing is best described as "oversized fantastical armor."  This is a time period where women and men alike are dressed in really bulky suits of armor.  But you can still see their faces and heads.

Full armor/snowsuits/etc that includes headgear is something that you can equip separately on any character, so characters from this time period never have headgear to make the difference clear.

4th Modern Century - Pre-Industrial

The clothing from here is the most cultured out of all the various periods.  Women don't wear dresses, but trend to pantsuits in a retro sort of style, and men wear suits and things like top hats, etc.  It's a very... soft... society in a lot of respects.  But still just as magically adept as all the other centuries.

5th Modern Century - Industrial Revolution

This makes a big stylistic jump, including the first (chronologically speaking) elements that are at all sci-fi.  This is a very adventure-movie-genre sort of time period, mixed with some bits of steam punk.  I really like this time period, personally.

6th Modern Century - Contemporary

This time period on Environ is the most equivalent to our modern times on Earth.  However, given the hugely different society of Environ, you no longer have characters that are just dressed in our ordinary sort of fashion that you'd see on the street (as Darrell and Dawn previously were).

The new style for "modern" in Environ is basically a sort of funky sci-fi blend.  With the very barest accents of sci-fi style armor in some parts, but that's mostly for fashion and not function in terms of this society.  This is the last and in many respects greatest of the human ages, before the ice age that sends everyone into hiding.

9th Modern Century - Ice Age

This is where you start the game, and consequently it's where I've focused the most effort on in terms of art.  For me, this time period -- character-design-wise -- is the least visually flexible, because everybody has to wear some sort of futuristic snowsuit to protect themselves from the cold.  It's still possible to see a lot of personality in the various suits, but this is by far the most one-note of all the time periods when it comes to that sort of thing, simply by necessity.

30th Modern Century - After People

Robots have inherited the earth.  This is the time the Neutral Skelebot character comes from, as well as all the unfriendly skelebots.

Incidentally, the Neutral skelebot is now about half a head taller than the regular skelebots, which are themselves about 9-10 feet tall.  This makes it rather difficult for the skelebot to get into tight spaces inside some buildings, etc -- and forget about trying to put on armor, snowsuits, etc.  Fortunately the skelebots are one of the few characters impervious to ambient heat and cold.

Last Note On Character Designs - About "Variants"
Previously, I was doing hue-shifts on the shirts or other clothing of the characters.  This caused a notable quality drop in the character graphics, especially when they were rotated.  And it didn't really look that different.

Therefore, I decided to take a different approach: drop the colorization, but instead do two versions of each character: their standard version and a variant.  Both can be encountered in the game, and so far as you can tell in most cases they are really different characters.  This tends to be color of clothing, sometimes style of clothing or accessories, often includes hairstyle details and facial features.

But in terms of the actual character assets being used to make them, it's the same base assets just with as-different-as-possible-while-still-looking-good variants applied to them.  The approach is working out really well in practice, as you'll see when we do the video.

On With The Art!

 Valeria - Bronze Age

Valeria 2 - Bronze Age

Lin - Medieval
Lin 2 - Medieval

Jack - Contemporary

Jack 2- Contemporary

Darrell - Ice Age

Darrell 2 - Ice Age
Dave - Ice Age

Dave 2 - Ice Age

Marie - Ice Age

Marie 2 - Ice Age

Richard - Ice Age

Richard 2 - Ice Age

Heat And Cold Matter Now
Not dressed for the ice age?  Well, depending on just how badly your character is dressed, they might be dead in anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds.  Or, don a snowsuit that covers your entire character head-to-toe.  Specifically, this:

It comes in male and female variants, but that's the female version.

Alternatively, not prepared for the intense, searing heat of the lava flats? Unless you have robotic skin, you're going to fry just as fast as you'd freeze in the ice age.  So better bring along a heatsuit, like the following:

That's the male version there, but there's also a female version.  When you craft a snowsuit or a heatsuit, it's just a generic "snowsuit."  But when a character puts it on, it takes on a male or female appearance depending on the gender of that character.

Incidentally, if you've transmogrified yourself into some other lifeform, such as a bat, you can't wear armor of any sort.  So that's one way in which the lava flats remains the platforming paradise, because you can't just fly around in there since you need a heat suit in order to stay alive at all!

Art Credits
As with all of the "commodity art" that we use in AVWW, we've got a huge credits list of which artists did what items, etc.  Since so much of the sprites you see above were pieced together (or wholesale) the work of others, in this case in particular I wanted to go ahead and share the credits even before the release of the game:

Character Elements: “Mark Hair”
Used by Character(s): Richard
Created By: SWAM, goldtassel

Character Elements: “Epsilon”
Used by Character(s): Richard
Created By: Lourdes

Character Elements: “Michael 4.2, Michael Morphs++, Michael Ethnic Morphs”
Used by Character(s): Jack, Richard, Darrell
Created By: DAZ3D

Character Elements: “Victoria 4.2, Victoria Morphs++, Victoria Ethnic Morphs”
Used by Character(s): Valeria, Lin, Marie
Created By: DAZ3D

Character Elements: “Beach Hair”
Used by Character(s): Jack
Created By: Valea

Character Elements: “Hardcore M4 (Uzilite Plus)”
Used by Character(s): Jack
Created By: Bobbie25

Character Elements: “Strike Ponytail”
Used by Character(s): Valeria
Created By: Val3Dart, Lesthat

Character Elements: “V4 Tunic”
Used by Character(s): Valeria
Created By: DAZ3D

Character Elements: “V4 Tunic”
Used by Character(s): Valeria
Created By: DAZ3D

Character Elements: “Moroccan Dreams”
Used by Character(s): Valeria
Created By: Ravenhair

Character Elements: “Lux Lucis”
Used by Character(s): Lin
Created By: ToxicAngel, Ravnheart

Character Elements: “MyLin V4”
Used by Character(s): Lin
Created By: Rebelmommy

Character Elements: “Digital Curlz Hairstyle”
Used by Character(s): Lin
Created By: Neftis3D

Character Elements: “Centurion A.D.”
Used by Character(s): Skelebots
Created By: The Antfarm

Character Elements: “Major Cache”
Used by Character(s): Darrell
Created By: Uzilite

Character Elements: “Major Upgrade 4.0”
Used by Character(s): Darrell
Created By: DzFire

Character Elements: “M4 Elite Texture: Rob”
Used by Character(s): Darrell
Created By: -Yannek-

Character Elements: “V4 Elite Texture:  Marie”
Used by Character(s): Marie
Created By: Sarsa, BTLProductions, -Yannek-

Character Elements: “Sedition Soldier for V4”
Used by Character(s): Marie, Snowsuit Female
Created By: midnight_stories, mighty_mestophales

Character Elements: “Diamond Hair”
Used by Character(s): Marie
Created By: Valea

Character Elements: “Sedition Soldier for M4”
Used by Character(s): Dave, Snowsuit Male
Created By: midnight_stories, mighty_mestophales

Character Elements: “WildMane Hair”
Used by Character(s): Dave
Created By: Neftis3D


EmperorPenguin said...

Ooo intriguing!!!! I'm so excited for this game, Chris, it's so different!

Really digging the concept art as well, some very interesting looks.

Best of luck on getting this released. I'll be preordering this along with three of my friends, but I think I'll try to hold off on playing until release... If i can!

Christopher M. Park said...