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Hello again!

As I was saying, Easy Paint Tool SAI is remarkably different of other painting software, but now let me explain it better. Among those fundamental differences is the Water brush. Unfortunately I jut can’t tell exactly what makes this brush so special, even 2 months after my first contact with it and the intensive work I’ve done in it in the last weeks. The fact is that it is simply different of any brush I’ve used in Photoshop and Painter. To give you an idea it’s similar to the Artist’s Oil brush in Corel Painter, the one, by the way, that I used most until now. But Water has an unique dynamic of use, it’s trace just flows, it can vary opacity, color and width by pen’s pressure, and it blends and changes the colors already in the canvas in a awesome way. To show you a little about this dynamics I’ll present now a simple walk through of one of the Concepts I’ve been working on, an Outside Yard of the Moscow Kremlin Palaces.

In the first step I’ve traced the plan of the two stories of buildings that would be done, I’ve used just the Water brush with Noise at this point.

step01

After that I’ve started the illustration proper. It was done using some layers, as it would be useful have the concept being modular and flexible, being able to represent both outside and inside areas. One of the main goes of this concept was to map tilesets, the pieces of patters and textures that can be applied on surfaces, making easier to cover big areas. In this case it happened specially in the ground, the roofs and in stonewalls, where the tiles where used in a much more loose way then normally it’s done, not having geometric precise limits and normally leaving gaps that I would fill manually. I’m considering using this same loose system in the final graphics of the game.

tiles&patterns

Now to SAI’s high point, in my opinion: lighting. It has some features of layer blending that are really amazing. The one that caught my attention in the first glance was Lumi&Shade, great to create both projected light and enlightened objects. As the name suggests, it blends luminance and hue, helping in creating nice lighting effects. Another essential is PassTrought, that is applied to layer groups and allows each layer’s blending mode to interact with the layers outside the group. It’s quite important to allow the layers being properly organized.

Lumi&ShadeSAI interface

So, at the end of 3 weeks of work (during which I’ve been creating 3 other background concepts, helping Bruno and Ingrid create the character’s color test vector files and already doing some of those color tests myself), the result of the Outside Yard is this:

OutsideYard

Now I’ve gotta go, my trial period with SAI is running out and I must go buy it to continue my work. Incidentally, one more good thing about it: a single license costs just 50 dollars.

See you soon!

The Kitchen

Oops! We passed a fortnight without an update. It was a busy fortnight, you see, so we had to abandon the blog for a while and for that we apologize. The last month was a very productive one, obviously more for some areas in the studio than for others, but everyone got relevant stuff done, either way.

Starting from the borderline between project work and administrative work we, me as the Director and Marcel as the Producer, worked on a risk management plan for the project, in which a lot of issues were addressed and contingency actions were planned. For the most part, this kind of work is barely noticeable on the finished product but it’s just as critical as developing good assets or game design to the success of this particular project (and future ones too).

On the Game Design front the level design and the game’s structural pace were thoughtfully laid out (which resulted on our most recent posts, as you can see) and all of the game dynamics were explained on the game design document (GDD) for further programming reference. We also made a very complete revision of all of the GDD chapters and sections correcting a lot of out of date information and other minor errors. I can say that we are at the 0.7 version of the document.

Ingrid, our screenwriter, reached an important milestone last week: the structure of the core script is done! And what does it means? Basically, that the game’s endings, introductory dialogues, main tutorials and important events which covers the core of the game’s screenplay were written, drafted and their vocabulary and characterization revised and polished. Right now she is hard at work on secondary events and side scripts.

Sound Design is now working on the conceptual soundscape, but the entire fortnight was used to detail the components and descriptions of the sound assets that will be produced, overcome conceptual aesthetic issues about realism and abstraction and also the preparation of professional sound production hardware and software.  Now they finally are past all this and are working on the assets themselves. Hopefully before this fortnight ends we will be hearing blizzards, bells, footsteps and the cracking of fireplaces.

Visual Arts started working on the background concept arts, to achieve a better understanding of the tilesets and the overall game tone as you can see on the image. Four concepts of different areas (outsides, the prison, a palace hall and a kitchen, of which a w.i.p. is shown here) are being made as this fortnight approaches its end. Color tests for the characters were also made, starting with guards and civilians.

And last, but definitely not the least, our lone (at the moment) programmer worked on implementing a batch of features into the game’s prototype, the documentation of past milestones and, of course, the compulsory bug fixing and code efficiency improvements. The generic class for all of the game’s characters was created and now the process of creating new characters and enemy classes is getting progressively easier and finally we have a playable character in the prototype.

We also came across pretty interesting new information while doing some more historic researches, but the update is beginning to become a wall of text. So we leave these interesting findings for another opportunity.

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