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Old 07-30-2010, 04:11 PM
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Alex Walz Alex Walz is offline
Reverie World Studios - Former Marketing Director & Assistant Producer
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Default Fantasy Friday XXXVII - Art Department & Updates Dev Diary

Art Department & Updates Dev Diary

You've seen and read all about the work of the level designers, checked out the daily chores of the scripting department, and picked the manic minds of the writing department, so now, I think it's time to take you behind the scenes of another department: the Art Department. You've obviously seen their work all over the place, but what does their day-to-day schedule look like, what all is the art department responsible for, who designs all the graphics for the GUI design and unit textures and models, and what are they working on now?

For the answers to all of these as well as some first-looks at the new unit GUI, elven ships, and orc concept art, read on!

The Art Department is our biggest department, with 11 members forming its many subdepartments. The Art Department is also one of our newest departments, with almost all of its current members having joined Reverie within the year. They are responsible for everything you see on the game screen: the models, animations, textures, and GUI display. They provide the paint to the programmers' canvas, so to speak. Let's take the construction of a new unit as an example of what they do. First, the concept artists will draw up a draft of what the new unit will look like. A typical concept consists of the unit with a rough texture, something to show the scale of the unit, and any notes to pass down to the other artists.

Sample concept artwork for the Goblin Privateer ship next to the Orc Rowboat for scale

After several passes between the Producer and the Artist, the concept will be declared final. At this point, the concept will be passed on to the Modeler who takes the concept and sculpts it to life. If the unit is a ship, wall, siege tower, or other object that units can walk on, the Modeler will proceed to implement the unit's "Walk Mesh." This can be done in the same modeling program used, typically 3DS Max, and allows units to walk over whatever parts of the model is covered with the new walk mesh wrap. When the model is declared final and within the recommended poly count, it is then passed on to the Texture Artist who adds the color, fine detail, and player mask to the model. By this point, the newly textured unit usually looks nearly identical to the original concept (although sometimes changes are made between the concept and modeling stages for better in-game performance - such as adjusting the sail on the above ship for more realistic movement) and all that's left is animation - making it able to walk, run, talk, fight, defend, and die - or whatever the unit is meant to be able to do. The Animator, usually the same artist as the Modeler, will manipulate the model to create all these artificial movements and save each animation so that they can be called on by the scripters and programmers as the unit is moved on to its implementation stage.

An in-game Elven Sloop, side-by-side with its texture wrap. The end result after the concept artist, modeler, texture artist, and animator are through.

In addition, we've got artists currently working on the game GUI, or Graphical User Interface. The team is responsible for the design of everything you see on screen - from the menu bar, to the resource symbols, to the dialog backgrounds. We also have the Painters who are responsible for a lot of the iconic graphics used for marketing, such as the game's box art. We currently have painters working on two projects that we hope to unveil shortly.

The art team is currently wrapping up the ships and the menu designs before they move onto designing new cursors, alternative wall textures, mercenary units and props, a new look for Reverie Online, elven and orc harbour props, and perhaps, just perhaps, a new forum skin.

A sneak-peak at the new menu design!

So now that you how they work and what they're up to, be sure to give them your props if you see them lurking around the forum if you like the WIPs you see in this thread.
Alex Walz | Former Assistant Producer & Publicist of Reverie World Studios, INC.
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