Odysseus Kosmos – Developer Diaries #11

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Hey there, friends! Welcome back on board of “San Francisco”, a huge spacecraft travelling far, far way from planet Earth.
Today we are going to focus on art. I keep hearing all the time that the graphics is not that important for a game and game play is all that counts. But we all know that people judge by the looks.
We have chosen a style for our visuals a long time ago, long before the first location has been drawn. Everybody calls it “pixel art” to be short, although it’s not that simple. If you want to see pixel art, the first thing that come to mind would be 8 or 16-bit retro. It is a pretty cool style, though not entirely what we’ve been looking for. Firstly, usage of a hardcore pixel art creates serious limitations for character art. Just look at the folks faces in Gemini Rue or Gods Will be Watching 🙂 Secondly, we love space and wanted to picture its beauty, and such a minimalistic visual style would not work here.
So finally we’ve settled for graphic modes of mid-nineties: SVGA adjusted for 16:9 screens, more common these days.

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The first draft I’ve created all by myself. I’ve assembled a pixel art demo using simple images and animations from popular cartoons (this I’ve already mentioned in the blog). And a bit later Roman joined the project and Odysseus flourished for real. Of course all of the credit for the wonderful final art of Odysseus with its colorful rich easy to read and definitely stylish visuals goes to Roman Gezerov, our artist. We’ve received a lot of compliments for game art, so we are not the only ones who share that opinion. 🙂

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There is a downside to this – the process takes a long time. The most time consuming part of our entire production is drawing of locations and animation. First I come up with a description of a location with detailed info on items and key points on the scene. The artist renders a temporary 3D placeholder that is used to set the perspective and the final composition of a location.

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Then we discuss and approve the final draft and afterwards all content is drawn by hand in several stages. Often we create multiple layers on a scene to add a parallax effect. As result a single location (a single picture) takes from a week up to ten days, and the entire project will take a bout a year of work. And we still have to add animation for the main character! Sometimes we hire outsource artists, but all content passes through Roma’s hands anyway. Big thanks to him! Without him Odysseus surely wouldn’t be so wonderful.

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Next time we are going to focus on sound design.

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