Hello Wizards & Sorceresses,
after completing my last personal challenge of 500 assets in 60 days, I got a straight month of resting. As every active creative person knows well, there is no such thing as complete rest for artistic minds, but I tried to keep distance from direct production, just taking care of my family and business, playing games in my queue and writing creative notes.
After intense crunches as I lived in the past months a pause helps the brain to refresh, and boost the will force, making you missing once more in your life the beauty of modelling materials and ideas into something sharable.
And so, when Luca, last week, asked me to prepare some assets for our forthcoming alpha 0.3 I was full of new energies and ready to make something good!
Luca needed some spells, and as you could know, I designed and animated almost all of them last year, so they were ready. But revisioning them, I realized that they were designed to work just on main characters, gathering powers on their staves… but what if an enemy with magic ability and no staff would have cast a spell? Main characters are 32×32 pixels, and spells are based on this size, so what if a 64×64 enemy for some reason would be able to cast a spell? Would be the animation I designed for Exekiel and Rake looking just funny?
The limit in my design was that I customized every spell, with a unique gathering phase as well as the effect phase. But in Wizards of Unica, your basic powers (Guard, Hurt, Fire, Ice, Necro, Holy, Summon, Wind, Earth and Illusion) will be mixable to cast combo spells.
But with unique animation for every combo, this mixing feeling where getting lost somehow, because there were not recurring graphics elements. Sure, both in Necrosis (Necro+Fire) as in Nightmere (Necro+Illusion), the Necro iconic pale green were present, but it was a light hint. As game’s main mechanic I wanted combos to be the most iconic possible.
So I pull out of my note-book some ideas I scrabbled last summer, about symbols as materialization of those powers, based on Platonic Solids. As I saw those sketches I understood how every power should have a precise incarnation into a glyph, a logo recognizable by the player. More, with a unique logo, every spell could have been overlayable with another to make an exclusive combo design, informing the player about the two powers involved.
When I started designing Wizards of Unica I was concerned to design and paint every element as unique. I was sure I would have not used lazy color swap, or modification, just to create every element as independent and precious. I’m so glad I changed my mind, and realized how useful is to have repetitions where the players can find references and familiarity, especially when assets magnify game’s mechanics.
In fact, human brain approach chaos and random elements finding patterns even when there are not. So, is better to make player’s brain comfortable and give em scheme that can be quickly detected, in graphics as in the game itself, to never let the player down.
So I learned a big lesson here: to standardize your choice design as soon as possible. This tropization revealed to be so useful into every ludo-narrative element (classes, races, skills and weapons), as well as in architectural visual structures (floors, walls, doors), so could help you too. And don’t worry about the risk to get your creativity stuck into this rationalization: this will help you to break free in focused moment, with the proper exception at the right place and time, and break patterns and standard when it’s needed, multiplying the power of those choices.
So, a new pre-alpha will be avaiable soon, and we’re working hard to put everything together to build a great turn based RPG, and if you like to give us the boost in this task please, feel free to make a donation and offer us a coffee!
And please share your opinion about standardizing design and graphics!
Thanks for reading,
Daniele Lynx Lasalandra