Backworlds

Development Blog by Anders Ekermo and Juha Kangas

Category: Art (page 1 of 2)

A few notes on Parallax Scrolling

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“Parallax” is, quite simply, the name for the visual effects where objects seem to move differently depending on the viewpoint – in media we typically refer to parallax scrolling as a way to add depth to a flat scene by having several layers of background that we move at different speeds. It has been used in animated movies more or less since the beginning and in videogames since the early 1980s. While 3D rendering removes the need to take specific steps to create parallax effects it is still used heavily in most 2D side-scrolling games.

Parallax scrolling existed in the Backworlds engine even before we started working on the original prototype, but I’ve recently had to change the workflow a bit to make production more streamlined so I thought I’d talk a bit about how it works today.

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Gravity Session

We have been thinking about and working on themes and art styles for our different worlds recently. I made a mockup in Photoshop for our inverse gravity world and thought I’d record the process of beginning to implement it into an actual level. The inspiration for this theme is, vaguely, Leonardo Da Vinci machines and Treasure Planet (which in my mind is easily the coolest Disney movie thematically). This obviously needs a lot of more work, it’s only the beginning stages, but should give you and idea of the direction. Some of the art assets I made before I started recording.

Music: Final Fantasy X – That’s Besaid The Point OC Remix by Anticitizen

Shifting Hues

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The kind of work we do can be very sporadic in that we wear many different hats as developers and without any strong deadlines we are free to experiment with things we may want to add further down the line. While being detrimental to progress (and, to be honest, maybe the biggest reason why we’ve spent so long on this), it does mean we are free to work on what we like. Enthusiasm is important too.

One of the things that we have been experimenting with is player customization – I personally have been torn on what to do with that, as we did not want to give the impression that your loadout somehow affected your ability to solve puzzles, and I did not want to make vanity items that could be confused with free-to-play moneysinks. In the end though, personal expression is meaningful and with the simplicity of our art customization is a pretty quick thing to do. One of the things we’ve created for customization is the ability for the player to change the avatar color with this hue wheel.

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Art Machine

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We have mentioned and shown a couple of times that our basic level art is mainly made out of small chunks corresponding to pieces of geometry – flats and corners with different sizes and decorations. With colored outlines and world-mapped patterns this makes it relatively quick to add basic art to a level, but depending on the complexity of the geometry it can still take the better part of an hour.

Since we are only two people with limited time, a while back we added functionality to automate the placement of these pieces – removing the mundane tasks of giving the level shape and readability to allow us to focus on the creative side of making each level look distinct.

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Brush Technique

avatar_painterThe brush is one of the central pieces of input in Backworlds – we have gone over a few iterations on how it works and we will probably go over some more, but these are some of the steps we have taken to get us where we are. Continue reading

Where There is Smoke

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We strive to bring an element of procedural generation to a lot of the art of Backworlds – this gives us the opportunity to create large amounts of content without spending too much time, but more importantly it gives us the opportunity to animate the art from the way it is generated. As an example, this is an in-development effect regarding a smoke particle.

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Paintgate

I have posted a number of videos from the editor for Backworlds so I thought I would mix it up a bit by showing you how we create an art asset. There are a few basic things I do for every art asset I build, which you will see in the video:

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Game Objects; the Vector Field

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Hello! after last month’s overview of some of our early graphical effects, I thought I would go into a bit more detail about one of them.
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Art in Motion

I recorded a little video showing of some of the editor features Anders has added that we will use for bringing some life into the levels of Backworlds by adding motion in different ways. The video shows of a few of them and it is more a demonstration of the things we can do than a artistic showcase. Enjoy!

Music:
Battletoads – BirdGuyJam OC Remic by Zelig
Donkey Kong Country 2 – Set Sail OC Remix by Blizihizake

Regarding Style

Today I will talk about some of the steps we took to reach the current art style of Backworlds. While we still have a long way to go with the art and may decide to make further changes to the style, I will go over some of the reasoning behind what the game looks like right now. Continue reading

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