This is an example project where our team had an opportunity to work on a game in the Fantasy genre. It was a refreshing change of pace to work on what was essentially high resolution assets without the constraints of a 3D real time game as the 3D assets would be rendered out and implemented as 2D sprites.
A lot of our artists in the studio are fans of J. R. R. Tolkien's work and this project paid heed to the Lord of the Rings saga which we are all huge fans of.
Below is an ambient occlusion render of a Druid Castle. Check out the final color rendered version in our environment page here.
Hit the Play Button on the video below to see the destruction states of the various fortresses.
For the characters, we drew inspiration from the painted board game figurines. To capture that look and feel, we intentionally exaggerated the contact shadows which mimicked the drybrushing technique on a miniature board game figurine. If we were to use Zbrush for the characters, we could simply export the cavity maps, but due to the time constraints of the schedule, it was not a feasible choice for us to sculpt all the characters in Zbrush. Therefore, we opted to paint the characters literally like how we would approach drybrushing a miniature in real life. You can check out the archer and the cavalry in full size under the Characters Section here.
For the animation, ultimately they would be rendered into sprite sheets, but nevertheless, we rigged and animated the props and characters in 3D to ensure iterations could be made easily. Check out the Cavalry Rig below. In the next blog post, we will break down the technique on how we set up, paired and animated the horse and the cavalryman.
In the meantime, check out the animation test we did of the Catapult Firing sequence-
With the sheer amount of assets for this type of game, an efficiency workflow is a key aspect to ensure work gets done on time. We spent a bit of time in the pre-production stage, planning and working with the internal art team to ensure both the time estimates made sense and the visual benchmark was met.
We learned a lot from this project, the experience provided our artists a strong foundation on how to best craft game assets for the ever popular freemium Siege/Strategy games.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!