Hi fellow gamers! Since it’s my first article here, let me introduce myself real quick. I am Alex and I’m concept artist and illustrator at Shockwork Games. I'm responsible for the art style and graphic assets for the whole project for the project. I want to talk a bit about progress in designing terrain objects for Alder’s Blood.
Our art director and project manager, Michał, gave me instructions to go for an autumn forest-like tileset mixed with forgotten cementaries for first locations, that you will encounter in game. Yeah, it sounds like a simple choice, as we set the game in Victorian-like times and the only natural way is to have vast forests around human cities and villages. It will be a good enough introduction to world of Alder’s Blood. My job was to add a bit of that mystery to all of it, giving some lore hints.
One of our main concepts in lore are nature-like forces from unknown source, trying to take over what humanity have built. Thus we have monsters born from these sources (I will not spoil any of the origins, spoilers doesn't sound like fun, I know). I wanted to represent that concept in some unnatural, twisted objetcts…More like white trees that instead of leaking sap they leak blood…
Yep, I really digged that idea at the time and it got stuck in my mind really hard, but that was kinda too much, unnecessarily gory. Due to the time pressure I quickly draw some other objects like tombstones or something and I still wasn't happy with the results. On the other hand, I didn’t want to drop the color of blood, I wanted to include it all over the shop. Michał set nice, leafy texture in autumn colors in engine so we could test how it all looks combined togheter. It was ok, but not "that okay". Then, a bit of the frustration came to my mind and I wasn't sure of the path I've taken.
Then I realised what was my photography teacher at high school always trying to teach us: “Trash bin should be your best friend if you want to be a successful artist, don't be afraid to left behind some of the artwork and ideas, even if you think that this is a peak of your possibilities, strive to be even better”. In my opinion, those words were really powerful; you should be your first, own critic. No one else should do this before you. I took the advice to myself, discarding all of my previous work.
I started from the scratch and this time I went for the roots. I begin with looking for some good inspiration. Mostly through photography, you can’t find better references, right? Then I came across a beautiful photography, showing cementary landscape with tombstones and trees in the background and a single sarcophagus at the center, mostly overgrown by green vines and absolutly oustanding surface of only red leaves covering the whole ground. And that was it! Ruby leaves covers my idea of the red color being the main one in the tileset. The deep feeling of a presence of something lost and forgotten, a calm, silent death, that we already accepted, tranquility and half-muted sounds linked permanently to the burial grounds, nature, that is slowly arising through everything that we had build and a little bit of eeriness in the air. That was everything I needed to push myself and my work on the right track.
All came out nicely. We’ve got objects that block the line of sight and some of them will give us the abilities to ambush and provide us hiding spots. We also got some objects that are just for decorative and lore hunting purposes. Well, here are the finish results (for now, for the prototype) of the terrain objects for Alder’s Blood.
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🆎New post on our blog from our concept artist and illustrator - Alex Siwek, how do you like the idea with ruby leaves? 🍁
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