Pitch : In Gamayun, the player controls an avatar that evolves in a dream world, flying from island to island. The player must explore the environment to accumulate energy to reach higher places and thus reach the top of the main island.
My role : Game Designer & Artistic Director.
Note : We had the 2nd highest mark of our year (3rd year – Bachelor Game Design)
Prototype : https://gamayungame.itch.io/gamayun
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/GamaYunGame/
I’m going to talk about the process behind the Artistic Direction of Gamayun step by step. It’s all about gameplay analysis and consistency between game and graphics.
1st step : Low Poly & Performances
At this stage of our research, we were already using Low Poly assets from an old project. It worked very well in terms of performance, so the first prerequisite was fulfilled. With these graphics, we did not had a strong identity however, which did not particularly support our gameplay or even our intentions.
2nd step : Supporting the Gameplay
Subsequently, we began to develop an artistic direction bearing our gameplay while remaining in the performance of the Low Poly. Indeed, in Gamayun, one passes from the night and from a dead environment to the day towards an environment that wants to reward. So we chose the explosion of colors to reward the player.
Colors are a very effective way to reward a player. The primordial element in graphics is light and our gameplay plays with even in its core gameplay, so we must bring this idea of contrast between night and day. We chose to use for the night aggressive shapes and dull colors and for the day soft shapes and bright colors.
3rd step : Finding our Direction
The third major iteration was oriented towards graphic processing. We knew then that Impressionism could be an inspiration to carry our ideas. Among our ideas we had the need for fluidity, depth, coherence of environment and relationship to movement. We therefore seek to use pure colors on the treatment of grass, trees, sky and rocks in order to sometimes confuse the leaves of the trees with the grass on the ground. This creates a shift and very interesting depth feelings.
We also wanted to avoid redundancy (we can not create 1000 different models for a tree) and as well as each element, depending on the reflections of the light may look different from its copy. This is the point made by many Impressionists about light, which completely and thoroughly modifies each element according to its intensity, its color and so on.
4th step : Improved graphics processing
This is the fourth and last iteration. We sought to transcribe our artistic intentions as best we could by drawing lessons from our successes and failures on the third iteration. We have therefore sought to improve the impact of light on the environment in order to make each element unique even if, for example, each pink tree is a single model. It is the use of bloom that makes it possible here to create variant effects according to the impact of the light on each leaves of each tree. We also improve the feeling of confusion that one can have between green trees and grass in order to create a certain depth without complexing the whole. The colors have also been modified and are here more pure and seem more complex yet.
5th step : Digital Impressionism
The graphic processing of Gamayun is based on the Impressionist movement without seeking to copy the painting. This movement is however very graphic and fixed, it is also one of the main theme of Impressionism: Recreate the movement of light on a still image. I personally consider that the container of an artistic work is an integral part of the work. So I played with our digital format to the maximum in order to realize a genuine original proposal of innovation and not just use our format to imitate the paintings.
I created a digital impressionist artwork using the capabilities and specificities of the digital format.
I played with the LOD to display the trees as the player comes closer. This simple technique allows many positive effects : Excellent performance thanks to a late display of high poly models ; Constant feedback on the distance of the avatar with the elements of the environment ; Emphasize the notion of movement that we must support as much as it is the heart of the game ; Playing with digital format quite interestingly by using a performance saving method as a real graphic improvement.
Below is a detailed list of LOD levels with one of our trees. The trees are much more generous when Gamayun is close to them than when he is very far.
To finish this article, here are a few screenshots of the game. If you want more informations about Gamayun or give any kind of feedback, feel free to write a comment or send a PM. Thanks for reading 🙂