Embarrassment of Riches

I’ve written before about art thumbnails, the initial sketch for a scene that we use to make sure the layout and storytelling work.

three alternate thumbnail sketchesThis set seems particularly hard to choose between. They work in a purely functional sense (i.e. they can be covered with text and still read well). But each has some nice elements. For example, alternative 1 has a closeup, which is nice. But alternative 2 is good for showing the extended family. And I particularly like the children in all three.

Author: David

Creator of Six Ages and King of Dragon Pass

6 thoughts on “Embarrassment of Riches”

  1. I think I like #1 the least because it’s got that frontal “looking into the camera” family photo thing going on. Almost seems a little too direct. I liked how a lot of KoDP art felt like you were looking into a moment rather than being presented it. You know when, when there’s an angry member of the clan pointing a finger into the image, you knew they weren’t pointing at you the player, but at a Ring Member. So 2 or 3 seems more appropriate to me.

  2. #1 and #2 are more cinematic because of lower angle of view. Like Hollywood movies.

    #1 has very nice deep stage setting, there are many layers that makes this scene very three-dimensional.
    #2 feels kinda opposite: looks almost as mural painting with emphasis on one layer (of course there are at least two, but they feels like one).

    I think you aren’t in need of my opinion, but is’t such a pleasure to write something here. Of course you’ll choose the right one, the one that best fits the story and player’s actions in this scenario.

  3. Also:
    #1 most dynamic (a lot of new parenthood challenges)
    #3 intermediate
    #2 most static (like they blend with history of their clan)

  4. Thanks for the preview! I don’t have a strong opinion re which to choose, but suppose it’s down to what aspect you want to emphasize from the story (if the emphasis is on that particular child and parents perhaps #1 does that best, while #2 places more focus on the celebration and impact on the extended family or clan).

    Your post reminded me that I always enjoy it when game developers find an opportunity to show off or utilize a variety of their concept art or early art prototypes/sketches that would otherwise go entirely unseen by players. It’s remarkable how much interesting art reaches various stages of partial development but might never make it into the game in a finished form. Most often, developers do something simple like display a portfolio of concept art as a slideshow during a closing credits screen. Even a limited display like this can be a cool easter egg in itself; but in a unique game like Six Ages with plenty of different art styles and historical/mythic settings I wonder if you might find some opportunities to use concept art or sketches in the game itself.

    * A dream sequence, Heroquest, or spiritual event could perhaps incorporate some interesting sketches as line drawings that fade/pan gradually over a background, creating a mystical impression like an apparition. This could be particularly great for an ancestral visitation, where an afterimage of concept sketches could subtly recall the initial event itself!
    * There are plenty of cool Photoshop effects/filters that could make concept art into potentially interesting content – e.g. turn simple line drawings into appropriate images for charcoal cave paintings or metal engravings, etc.

    I’m sure there are plenty of other ways you could use them too. Just a few thoughts on some unique ways you could stretch your existing art as far as possible! 🙂

    1. In some cases it’s not just the specific story situation, but details that help enrich the game world. Just showing children being children worked quite well in KoDP, I think, and I hope we can do that again.

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