When we started working on the game design of our new tower defense game we wanted to provide visuals totally new to the genre. Thus the setting of this game would have to take place in a different dimension of what players are normally used to see without making them raise their eyebrows in dismay.
To stand out from the very common medieval and sci-fi settings we had to explore a completely new world. This is the story of how we achieved that.
When we started to think about our concept, it was clear to us that we wanted to have at least one playable character rather than a pure point and click tower defense most people are used to. While thinking about the gamedesign, we quickly came to the conclusion that this game would be very cooperative, which led to the conclusion that we needed two characters. After lots of thoughts and scribbles, we developed the stars of the show, Spleemo and Glob – two sympathetic monsters capable of achieving anything. Well, at least if they work together.
Spleemo – the quirky Engineer
Being rather small and frail, this nerdy guy decided to dedicate his life to science. He knows everything about his world and how to efficiently interact with it.
To emphasize his dexterity we thought it could be a good idea to give him multiple arms. The first animal that came to mind was some kind of cuttlefish. Unfortunately, that was already messy to draw, so how in the world could that work out well in 3D later? Adding a white coat strangely didn’t help either. So we discarded those scribbles quickly. What we needed was something more constructed but still weird enough to fit his nerdy character.
We came up with a more humanoid shape mixed with a mushroom, which actually represented a traditional chinese headwear. Combined with thick glasses, we finally got closer to a nerdy look. The original cuttlefish concept merely became a tool; a bag that he would always carry on his back (who ya gonna call?). However, the concept didn’t really work well with the camera perspective in the game, you could barely ever see Spleemo’s facial features.
The next – and final – concept then took the approach of an insect-like look. These cute critters have an extra pair of limbs – how convenient! This design also added further height to the character in form of moth like antennas which he desperately needed being so small and thin. We also made his forearms bigger so that his actions could be tracked easier when in motion. After all, we’re still looking at the characters from a bird’s eye perspective. The squid – now inspired by a dumbo octopus – wandered from the back of the character into one of his hands, forming a ridiculously cute sidearm.
When deciding on his colorscheme, we immediately decided that it should contain lots of blue. This cool color is typically associated with science or technology and should thus underline his area of interest. To bring some more contrast to the character, we painted his hands in yellow. While this color scheme focuses on his hands, it highlights his dependency on tactile skills while providing a slight association with work gloves.
Glob – the friendly Brute
As a contrast to Spleemo, Glob’s design should be all about raw physical power.
Fat and bulky, he is built for close combat. But as a part of a peaceful monster world he had to provide some features that would show his relationship to nature. Because of that we gave him a petal mane and vines as upper arms. The spikes fit both of his characteristics. To make him look less terrifying we gave him big puppy dog eyes and big fangs. Wait what?!
We played around with all of the aforementioned features but still… something was off. Somehow he looked too overpowered in comparision to his nerdy pal. We had to come up with something hilarious to break the mold. That was the day when Glob started to skip leg day.
His color scheme was found rather quickly. Being a monster of nature we chose green as his basic color and added red as a complementary contrast that fits his brave and aggressive nature in return.
Once both heroes were completed, we had a foundation for the rest of our world design. Check back for my next blog post covering concept art and you’ll find out about the origins of our game world and the other monsters that inhabit it.