Post news RSS Frozen Synapse: A look at concept art

A quick look at some of the work we've been doing on level backgrounds...

Posted by on

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that our original concept artist had departed to pastures new. He was kind enough to recommend a new guy to us, so please welcome Johan to the Mode 7 fold!

Johan and I have been thrashing out some of the issues to do with level backgrounds. Here is a current-ish in-game grab:

Quick shot of the Gamecity mode

Some of the issues people currently have with the level art are:

1.) It doesn't look like there's any floor, and the characters are floating in space
We found that having a tiled floor, or a flat bitmap floor, or a coloured gradient floor looked incredibly dull, hence the idea of the transparent floor. We wanted to keep the good bits of that idea, but address people's irritation with the "floaty" effect.

2.) The background walls are confusing
There are randomly generated fuzzy walls under the level, to make it look as though you're peering down through many different floors of the building. This effect has never really worked as intended, and ultimately ended up being a bit confusing.

I thought you might like to see some of Johan's early work on addressing this problem. Something we've found is that it's good to do little "sketches" of different aspects of the issue before moving on to a full image of the new concept. So...

Early background iteration 1

One of the first things Johan did was to strip everything back to give a clearer outline of the level.

Early background iteration 2

Here, he tried some experiments with a glass effect on the floor.

Early background iteration 3

Next, he looked at "tech" elements - small 2D symbols and text snippets. This is the direction I wanted to go in.

Work-in-progress new background concept

We ended up with this composite image, showing the tech stuff mapped onto cuboids and incorporating the glass idea. I think things are looking better already, but now he's busy fleshing this idea out.

I still want the idea of depth and perspective in the background, like you're looking down into a huge cityscape: the cyberpunk aesthetic of a city of data! I think by extending and randomising these cuboids, as well as creating some other elements, we'll be able to get this effect without the annoying "floatiness" creeping back in.

And now for my final Singapore-based update on LIFE...

It's a little bit difficult to get hold of books in Singapore. No trouble in this shop, though! Luckily they're all in English...

We went on a dodgy harbour cruise on a dodgy Chinese boat. There were lots of these things.

If you're in Singapore, have dinner at Equinox. Flipping amazing view - quite inspirational for the city in Synapse!

These little dudes are everywhere.

I always miss home hugely after being away for more than a week, but arriving at the airport and seeing this....who POSSIBLY thought this was a good advert for the UK? Cheap buses to SOLIHULL - a completely miserable place next to Birmingham. Appalling.

I hope to have a load more art for you next time, so see you then.

(Please track our updates! We try to make each one as amusing and informative as possible. Remember, don't click this button if you are already tracking - it will make you stop tracking! This is the opposite of what we want!)

(If you join our mailing list, we will use it only to send you important Frozen Synapse and Mode 7 Games updates. These will be very infrequent and guaranteed to be interesting! We will never, ever give or sell your precious juicy email to any naughty people - promise.)


Yup looks much better in the last screenshot!
I've been thinking about how to get you more watchers, but I can't really think about anything other than shameless advertising :/
This game really deserves some more attention though..
EDIT: And I love the picture with the books!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Mode7Games Author

Glad you like it!

We will definitely be doing significant advertising for this game, and when the trailer is ready we'll be pushing that very hard. It's difficult to get new people in before then, but I'd still like to try.

If you're on any gaming forums then please post on there. Even if you just post on your personal Facebook page or Twitter account (I'm @visitthevillage on Twitter if you want to talk to me), that all really helps. Let's get more people!

Reply Good karma+1 vote

To be honest I'd take out the glass effect. It looks a lot better without it in my opinion.
I'd keep the other new effects but take out the glass.

I think it shows off better the lights in the map.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote

Also I think that the game looks a bit too saturated in colour with the new effects.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Mode7Games Author

Thanks for these - really appreciate getting your opinion.

Glass: yeah, I can understand why you've reacted so strongly to that. I think it just needs to be a bit more subtle at the moment - it might be a bit "too much" when we have the more complex stuff in the background, as well, so I'll keep an eye on that.

Too saturated...I know what you mean - it looked a lot darker before. I'm actually confident that this problem is just a lighting issue - these new concepts are lit intentionally very "flat" so we can really see what's going on - there will be more contrast eventually, and we'll retain a darker tone in general, so I'm not too concerned about that. I'd say "wait and see" on this one.

Hopefully Johan will have some new stuff for me soon - this will really kick off in January, but these were just his initial ideas to give him the right direction to work in.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.