This is the asset list of what we wanted – Best case scenario for transmutation. We had a list of the things that we wanted, and images that represented what we wanted. But it wasn’t in the art bible. Why? Well in this particular case the original art style that we wanted was completely out of scope.
We didn’t have the skills, or the collaborators with the skills to create anything close to what we wanted, nor did we have the time. The art bible became the asset list. ‘These are the thing’s we want if we have time to get the core gameplay finished’. And in this particular instance of making Transmutation I felt that I was more of a programmer than a designer. I didn’t focus on making the game look how we wanted it to be. I focused on making sure that people could play an unpretty version of the game we were trying to make. Hense constructing the entire game out of objects that can be made with primitve shapes in unity. We played as Yellow android logos fighting green android logos without legs.
We only gained animation collaborators when the project was already half way through production. And we knew that eventually we’d gain collaborators who would make our character models, so do we source ones in the mean time that have animations that we can use as placeholder that could potentially change the dynamic of the game? Or wait to see what they come up with. The animation collaborators had less than three weeks to two make two character models with any animations and a few clutter assets. And what they needed to know, and the reference images were in available to them but just not in a place called ‘Art Bible’. I sent them the picutures individually and described what we wanted out of each which took less that 5 minutes.
But what I’ve learnt from ‘Sea Of Mutiny’ and creating it’s art bible – is that the art bible is supposed to be/does:
- A reference document / guide that contains the detail of what the complete desired finished look is.
- Created before art production.
- Made by the person who has a clear vision of the game visuals.
- Maintains consistency of art style.
- Helps the team understand the direction of the art.
- Explains that this is what we want this to look like, why and what it’s supposed to be conveying.
- Get new members up to speed.
- (In a case where it’s going to be released properly) Help in marketing and communication of art syle.
- Character Art – Poses, expressions, height scale comparisons, color palette, costume/armor, etc.
- Camera – Camera FX, field of view, gameplay angle and the position of the character relative to the camera.
- Color Palette – Color Swatches, vibrance and values, environment colour palettes, etc.
- Atmosphere/Environment – Scale, openness, weather conditions.
- UI – Menus and HUD, UX, animations.
- Many many more things.
- A place where the art style is updated with progress changes and what to change (this is what I actually did in SOM).
So the difficulties I’ve found aren’t neccesarily in making an art bible. It’s actually knowing what we want and having the ability to make it look like this within a given time frame or create or find reference images that accurately get across what we want without writing a thousand page novel explaining the image. And like I said before, If I got to be a little less of a programmer and more of a designer, we might not be playing as the android logo in a white room with no textures.
Until next time –