Hi, Johannes here. This blog is going to be about the artstyle for our next project. We did the prototype for Blamdown during one week, a simple artstyle made it possible to make it look coherent and keep the production fast. The aesthetic was heavily inspired by the game Crossy road, meaning everything was built with only blocks. When pre-production started we decided we needed a style with more visual interest but still something we could do with a small team.

blamdownArtstyle_Car

Going from only blocks I figured a simple cartoon aesthetic could work well with the destruction and humor in Blamdown.

blamdownArtstyle_Tank

I tested the new artstyle by iterating on assets from the prototype.

prototypeLevelBlockout_0011_char

Player character from the prototype.
prototypeLevelBlockout_0010_char0

Lowpoly version of the player character

prototypeLevelBlockout_0009_char1

A cartoony version of the player character

After getting feedback from the team. They found the lowpoly version too generic. They liked the cartoony version, but wanting more character.

prototypeLevelBlockout_0008_char2

After adding a simple helmet, a ridiculously big cigar and angry eyebrows, the chicken instantly became a character.

prototypeLevelBlockout_0007_char3
I kept experimenting and came up with a humanoid version of the chicken.

prototypeLevelBlockout_0012_SSAO

The prototype used few colors, simple geometry and a directional light with soft shadows, making the visual look flat. I was thinking by adding AO (ambient occlusion) the game would look more interesting. Light Baking was out of the question, because everything in the game world is destructible. So the only option left was SSAO (Screen space ambient occlusion) an expensive solution. By comparing side by side You can see how much more interesting the image is looking.

prototypeLevelBlockout_0000_Mockup

Here’s a small mockup scene.
Going from Magnetic and Medusa, with a atmospheric “realistic” artstyle, to a colorful cartoony game is going be a new interesting challenge. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or anything, we’d love to hear from you!

/Johannes