Time for another round of Year Walk making-of pics! Let’s look at some characters this time. This post contains some spoilers, so be warned!
Human bodies + animal heads = FUN, so we knew early what we wanted to do with the Brook Horse. He didn’t change a lot from his first concept, but he went through some iterations in which he either looked too psychopathic, too evil or too cute. We wanted him to be mysterious, and we knew early on that we wanted him to not feel evil or scary.
Visually, Downton Abbey was an inspiration!
We didn’t even have a concept for Stina, her face worked from the first test, but finding the right type of clothes was harder. We didn’t want players to read too much into her clothing; the first dress looked a little too “worky”, while the second felt a little too posh.
It was important that she wasn’t too pretty or too cute, but players still needed to feel a connection to her, so she had to feel charismatic. We also wanted her age to be left to the players imagination, so she couldn’t look to child like or too grown up.
Too make her feel alive, we made a set of different expressions, very subtle eye movements and blinking, and she even has a breathing animation that is very very subtle. We really wanted to avoid the classic idle animations that you see in most games, where characters seem to have a really hard time to stand still.
The view/perspective is inspried by the Ace Attorney games.
We struggled the most with the Mylings. At first they were supposed to look a lot more human, then we decided to blend in some roots and sticks (don’t ask!), until we went for the final more “ghostly” mylings.
In one of the tests a myling is crying some black liquid. In the game, drips signal where mylings are hiding, and for a long time those drips were black. We wanted the black goo to be some kind of materia that was connected the netherworld/the other side/the place between time and space (and that black liquid is present when you open the rift that breaks reality after meeting the grim), but during tests we found at that a lot of players didn’t see the little black tears, so we decided to change them to red – Which is kind of fitting too, as the mylings are ghosts of murdered children.
The Huldra was tough! At first we had imagined her as being naked but that just felt really juvenile and Tolkien-silly, so we went for a more dressy approach. In the first test she looks too much like Stina and we wanted to avoid that confusion. She also looked to ghostly. The second test is really close to the final one, but she blended to much with the background and you didn’t feel her connection with nature. So tinting her green was a natural choice. By having her eyes closed she feels independent and focused on her song. She only opens her eyes once, and those of you have played probably remember when that is!
Alright! That’s it for now. We’ll be off for San Francisco next week as Year Walk is nominated in the Independent Games Festival for Excellence In Visual Art. Wish us luck!
So it’ll be quite for some time here. Hope that’s ok!