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Here I am again, as promised. This week we worked full time at the studio, morning and afternoon, so it was the same amount of work as a regular fortnight. The updates doesn’t seem much compared to our last two montlhy updates but bear with me:

The prototype is advancing at a fast pace. Me and Vermonde finally worked out one of the most tricky aspects of the game logic which is the way the game will control the NPCs routines. We are now implementing our solution onto the actual code.

Sound design finished the blizzard concept sound effect (which will probably be the actual asset used in the game) and made a lot of new conceptual definitions. This time it was about the abstract layer of the voice overs and more specific details about soundsteps.

Visual arts this week worked on tests regarding how the game will handle the different light sources (or lack thereof) upon the sprites and background. Besides this, the Yard concept art was thoroughly improved with new different layers of snow and snowfalls.

Finally, our screenwriter continued her work with the characters, finishing the full characterization of our protagonist, our “antagonist” and some secondary characters. They are finally fully fleshed out and whole, which will be a big help on the development of the game’s script.

And that’s it, pretty much. This update actually is more of an announcement as this was the last week of 2009 for Aduge Studio. As we approach the end of 2009 and, consequently, the holidays, Aduge will finally get a much deserved break from work. We return January 11th and before that there will be no new Tsar Updates though I can promise there will be other posts around the corner. So, in the name of the entire studio, I wish you all readers happy holidays and a successful and great 2010.

Hello again!
Bruno already told you in the last update, I’ve just finished the character concepts arts. I’ve done around 100 concepts since the start of the project, and I think that, having finished the entire set, it’s a good time to start telling you the making of those characterss, back from the first week of April 2009.

At that stage of the project we’re working in the Tsar Project for a month, basically developing the idea, researching and searching for plots that would express our goals. And then came the question: how to translate all this visually?

To answer this I’ve first worked in the characters graphic style. Interestingly, after those 8 months, and all the researches I’ve done along with Ingrid for our graduation project, we’ve developed a methodology of creating visual worlds focused exactly in the characters style.

Some of our first references were illustrations by Vladmir Semenov

This creative process started with the selection of a character that could be both generic enough so it won’t need many individual features and could carry as many cultural and contextual elements as possible. A soldier was a natural choice at the time: we’ll have plenty of them in the Kremlin and they seemed the more neutral characters in the cast. Upon that, Muscovy armors and arms from the period were some of our major visual references in the beginning of the project.

Set the character, a Muscovy soldier wearing a heavy armor  and wielding a spear-axe, I’ve done a set of sketches during the first two weeks of April. What I had in mind was to see all the possibilities, from realism to pure geometric abstraction, from childish cartoons to the complex frenchphonic comics. The result was the next image, that we now call the Father of all Tsar Art. He’s a hand drawn lad 2 and a half inches high, made of indian ink and markers.

The next step was choosing a direction to go and explore it deeper, testing other characters in the same style. I’ve done that with another soldier, lighter and faster, and with a nobleman. A very synthesized style turn to coherent and flexible, allowing good consistency for the characters without needing too much visual complexity, just what we’re looking for.

And how the character creation continued I’ll tell you on my next post! See you soon!

So it’s already December and we haven’t posted any news? Well, these last 4 weeks were the most busy weeks of the year for we Adugans, hands down. Last fortnight I was at São Paulo attending the first Interection South America, where I’ve published together with Beto a paper about Game Design. This paper is the result of our early studies on Game Design for our graduation project of which Beto will write about in the near future. There were also finals at university and all around end-of-the-year-craziness for everyone. Excuses, excuses, but what about the project? Well, let’s do our usual round up:

Game Design finished the core of the GDD and, even if we are a small team, the GDD is very important for this project. Now it is just polishing and revisions (and extensive testing of course!).

Vermonde at the programming dept. is working hard on finally turning the prototype into a prototype (the screenshot above may seem a little silly in it’s crudeness, but the function is what it is important at this early stage). Now we have a controllable character, guards, multiple levels, so things are finally taking a true shape. Probably me and Beto will drop the Legos and go work with the real deal very soon.

Sound Design is steaming up work on making the last sound assets for the conceptual soundscape. They also made an comprehensive conceptual work dealing with the nature of the abstraction layer of some sounds (specially soundsteps related to the guards and other NPCs) which seems complicated (and actually is pretty intricate) and I hope Marcel will write about it in the near future.

Ingrid, after finishing the core script, took a step back and started to really develop and deepen our main character’s… well, character. The whole deal: backstory, internal psyche, external behavior, etc. This was necessary to address some issues we are having with plot development. She finished this step and now is extending this work at a less detailed level to all the other characters found in the game.

Speaking of which, Visual Arts finally finished the characters concept arts. Endless color and texture testing resulted into a complete package of more than 70 characters, being 30 basic archetypes, plus 30 special individuals, plus a bunch of bonus characters, now resumed into a beautiful crowd concept. Some of which Pirin will present to you very soon.

That’s it for now. Expect a new Update next week, since it will be a productive one.

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