This post was originally published on Cometh
Hosted by Cometh Art Director | Sneak Peaks | Q&A
Cometh is creating a new UI and preparing to launch Cometh Battle soon. So, we decided to do an AMA session for a quick sneak peak of the new UI and answer your questions regarding the game. It was a teasing session since we got to see some of the new designs before the launch.
When a game is created the art is as important as the game mechanics. Thus, we decided to host our Art Director (Thomas) to share his perspective on the creative development of Cometh Battle.
In this recap, you will find the representation Thomas gave us regarding the new design & all your questions are answered by him as well!
In case you’ve missed it or need a refresher, here is the recap:
Thomas: So this is our new logo, yay! However, believe it or not it’s still in the refinement process. We very recently had a major change in style direction, so we will make the logo match this.
I think this is a good opportunity to say that my goal is to create a universe that seems believable.
For this, it doesn’t only have to look good on the surface level, but we need to be able to justify our design decisions. It has to make sense from the ground up and that requires tons of research and development. Hardly ever will we get it right the first time, and that’s okay!
Thomas: I’ll explain to you what I mean by research and development using our NPCs as an example.
First, we decide on what role the character is going to play. Then, we add a passion as an extra dimension to make the character more interesting. In the meantime, we think of how the passion and the job could be connected so that the character makes sense as a whole.
Let’s take Toxoplasmo 2.0 on the left as an example. His job is being our merchant and his passion is his cat. Our merchant wants to sell goods to make money. Why would he want that money? He wants to be able to feed and spoil his fat cat.
Now, why does he want to spoil his cat? Toxoplasmo 2.0 is a robot and usually we think of them as machines without emotions.
Hence, I thought of the famous Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which makes mice less scared of cats, so they become much easier prey to them. This is the parasite’s way to continue its life cycle from cat to mouse and from mouse to cat.
Allegedly, it affects humans in a similar way. This is why I thought about making the parasite evolve to a digital state corrupting robots. It would be the perfect trigger to make the robot feel emotions like the love for his cat.
Let me also tell you a little bit about Quoletta Chocoletta on the right. We try to steer clear from stereotypes. If we go for example for another middle aged, bearded mechanic with a belly, nobody is going to remember our mechanic, because this trope has been overused so much in other types of media.
Hence, we created Quoletta Chocoletta, who developed an affinity for high calorie foods, as she needs the energy for her physically demanding job as a mechanic.
So, as you can see on the slides above, I give a brief and then one of our artists develops the idea with moodboards and tries to describe the character in words.
Then, he draws some silhouettes to visually capture the essence of the character for the next artist to pick up. Once we are happy with the detail development he renders everything as pixel art.
And while all this happens I give feedback. It honestly depends on the character, but in this case I pointed out things like the lollipop touching the mask, which makes the illustration unclean. Also, I redrew some of the facial features to make her appear younger and make the face more memorable.
I didn’t find an example of Quoletta, but we also tried out different colour schemes. Development is all about trial and error. Even if I describe all of this in a linear way, none of our art went smooth sailing. I believe the results are worth the effort, though!
Thomas: Let’s have a look at the background.
When I joined Cometh I thought that a large part of the game already looked reminiscent of classic “Shoot ’em up” games from the 90s. Since we wanted to get inspired by retro games for anyway, I thought ‘Shmup games could be an amazing source of inspiration, especially for their vast history and important presence.
First, we had a concept artist try to visualize the design brief. I thought the initial submission was already very well done, but the visual noise in the center of the illustration was too strong.
I did not want the background to compete with and distract from the spaceships and their animations. Sometimes, what would look great as an illustration will not translate well into gameplay.
After he removed the visual noise and we decided on the colours and the mood, we moved onto the details. In this case, the asteroids.
Once we found a style of asteroid we liked we rendered everything as pixel art.
Thomas: For the spaceships I decided for us to integrate some form of perspective, because otherwise I thought we might risk the designs looking too flat and also I wanted them to match our painterly aesthetic which by default has a lot of depth in it.
This also means that we have to draw the ships from multiple perspectives, because otherwise things don’t line up depending on the spaceships’ orientations. It will be a lot of work, but I assure you it is worth it.
Also, I tried to make the shape language of the ships clearer, so one can recognise them just by seeing their silhouette.
We also added hue shifting, which is a coloring technique to add more depth to the shadows and highlights.
User Interface (UI)
Thomas: Here is a sneak peak of how our UI development is going, where we are trying to make things look clean and elegant while clearly communicating different kinds of information. We want that the player instinctively knows where everything is.
We are happy about the feedback of the latest UI we released, but there is just some information missing like for how many rounds effects last or by how much they are stacked, but we will update this as soon as possible.
AMA Moderator: With the complete design overhaul that we witnessed today, Cometh is getting its shine back. It looks fresh, as we are approaching the upcoming public launch. I really hope that you liked today’s presentation and the overview of the creative development of Cometh.
Now that we had a sneak peak of the cool, new design of Cometh, let’s continue with the Qs & As!
Q: Thomas, what about some leaks on the Cometh Beyond design and graphics?
A: We don’t have enough substantial things to show yet but stay tuned.
Q: Are you planning to expand the lore & introduce more characters and storyline content down the line?
A: We actually created quite a few crew members to join your ships and we’ll show them next time! They will come with small descriptions.
Q: Will there be 3D spaceships?
A: Maybe! We do have a 3D project in the running. Let’s see how it will go.
Q: How will the game look 5 months from now… Will we be able to mine comets/combat?
A: That’s kind of our plan, yes. We would like to do it as soon as possible but that depends on the development. I think we’re getting quicker with our workflows, though.
Q: Are you thinking of improving on the UI/UX (like decks collection, card & more)?
A: A new version of the deck builder is coming soon.
Q: Do you think about putting some ‘easter egg’ references in the designs?
A: Yes we’re trying to add cute little details. We’re designing some of our crew members based on popular memes.
Q: What’s the inspiration behind the new logo?
A: Basically, I wanted the logo to include fire and metal just because the game is called Cometh. Even though comets aren’t made of fire, they are made of different elements. I wanted to make the logo a little more diagonal, to look more “speedy” and exciting. Also, the style is a tribute to logos of retro Shmup’ games.
Q: When can we expect sneak peaks of new characters, and where?
A: I will send some stuff here and there to tease you guys and make you more excited. We’ll tweet them or put them on Discord.
Q: What is the progress of Cometh Beyond?
A: All the focus is on Cometh Battle right now. There’s plenty of people on the waitlist. We will let you know about all the progress. It’s going to be great.
Q: Will the reward and crafting mode come with the launch of Cometh Battle?
And..that concludes the Ask Me Anything, first of many. Thank you for an amazing AMA session! And see you again, soon ☄️
Stay tuned for what is to come!
And don’t forget to follow us on socials & join community of players:
☄️ Twitter: https://twitter.com/MUSTCometh
☄️ Whitelist for the ComethBattle BETA: https://www.cometh.io
☄️ Follow the updates & engage: http://discord.gg/mcXn2R2QRx
Cometh AMA Recap: Feb 18th was originally published in cometh on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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