3. A Journey Through the Art of DEUS MINI (Part 3)

< PART ONE // < PART TWO

Valiant Reader! Congratulations on surviving to the end of his expedition into the art of DEUS MINI! 

In this final session, we will be diving into the character design and its various iterations.


CHARACTER AND CREATURE ART

An internal term that we give to the people that the player rules over as a deity is 'Minis'. You are the 'Deus', they are the 'Minis', get it? Anyway, their design was hammered out fairly early in development and has been one of the more consistent aspects of the art.

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These original character designs were eventually scrapped for characters that were cuter and less angular. There are 3D models of these characters somewhere, but I can not, for the life of me find them.

Animals were planned to spawn in the world as something Minis could hunt for food. They would also be threatened by carnivorous creatures.

In the transition from managing villagers in a civilization to managing troops in a battle, the color palette of the Minis had to change in order to facilitate colors that denote opposing teams.

Their natural skin tone variation and modular accessories pave the way for cosmetic customization of the various Unit classes.


CONCLUSION

And that's it so far! DEUS MINI has come a long way since its inception, and we have a lot more in store for it! I would say this project is a pretty good case study on how drastically games can evolve over development.

Hope you enjoyed the journey! Signing off for now!

- Your Sweet Baby Art Boy, Warren

2. A Journey Through the Art of DEUS MINI (Part 2)

< PART 1 // PART 3 >

Salutations dear reader! Welcome to part two of our journey through the art bowels of DEUS MINI!

In this segment, we will be exploring the early concept art and the evolution of the environment art of DEUS MINI into what you see now.

This is what DEUS MINI looked like in its earliest incarnation, anything look familiar?

At this stage DEUS MINI wasn't even called "Manifest".


EARLY CONCEPT ART

A short section, but I want to talk a bit about these early drawings. Most of the early DM/Manifest concept art didn't have a clear direction. I was just throwing a bunch of different concepts on paper and looked for what stood out.

Before we committed to the Nordic/Viking theme, I explored various different cultural influences mainly Native American and Greek.


ENVIRONMENT AND STRUCTURE ART

Environments

The environment design of DEUS MINI went through a lot of iterations not only in the concept stage but in the development stage as well.

These early environment art concept pieces main purpose was to explore the theme and feel of the game. As you can see, they are not representative of the in-game art style.

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Here are some of the earliest renders of the in-game art. This has the mix of pixel art and low-poly fully realized but will continue to evolve throughout development. One thing I'm proud of in this initial scene above is the ocean and the optimized solution I found to make it work.

Before moving to Hex based environment system, the environments of DEUS MINI were modular square tiles that can be mixed and matched together, similar to a top-down game level creator.

Moving from civilization builder open-world environment to arena-based environment.

As the game continued to evolve we made the switch from a tile-based modular system to the current modular hex-based system.  

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YGGDRASIL

We wanted to do something unique for the main menu that paid homage to our overarching themes Norse Mythology. One thing that we had to include was Yggdrasil: The World Tree.

We interpreted Yggdrasil's role in the game as a hub world that acts a gateway to the various 'realms' that lead to the different game modes in the game.

Full View of the tree in its current form in the game.

Midgard

Asgard

Shot of the lower level, Midgard, which contains the singleplayer realm and daily challenges. The upper level, Asgard, contains the realm of PvP, as well as the player's personal hub. 

PROPS, STRUCTURES, AND SHRINES

FUN FACT: Mostly all the environment assets you've seen here are contained in these 4 texture atlases.

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In the Third and Final Part...

We will be dissecting the visual design and evolution of the organic life in DEUS MINI, see you then!

- Your Friendly Neighbourhood Art Guy, Warren

< PART 1   PART 3 >

1. A Journey Through the Art of DEUS MINI (PART 1)

Hail and well met! Your dashing art rouge here, swooping in to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: the Art of DEUS MINI!

This post was getting vvv big so I had split it up into three parts.

PART ONE: (you are here!) will be covering the Logos, 2D, and Graphic Art of DEUS MINI.

PART TWO: will cover early concept art and environment art.

PART THREE: will cover character and creature art.

Before we begin, it would like to note that DEUS MINI has gone through a LOT of iterations. It is not uncommon for games to evolve and change throughout development and their final product to be near unrecognizable from its initial concept. To say DM is no exception is putting it lightly. 

As you journey through, you will see a good amount of artwork that is absent from the final game, either because it is visualizing mechanics that have been scrapped, or it no longer fit the aesthetic of the game. 

One benefit of posts of this nature is that this art will be able to see the light of day in some capacity!


LOGOS and 2D ART

LOGOS AND TITLES

What better place to start talking about something than with the title? DEUS MINI started out the same way most ideas start: with a name.

Wait what? That's not DEUS MINI's logo!

When we first started out on development, our project was originally titled "Manifest". The original concept of the game was a hybrid of VR and non-VR civilization building gameplay.

The VR portion of the game giving the player the ability to "Manifest" their presence in the civilization they built as a deity. It turned out to be too ambitious a design goal for our meager tow man team and we moved away from VR and the civ-building aspects.

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The final nail in the "Manifest" coffin was another VR game that was coming out that shared the same name that eventually forced us to change the name to DEUS MINI.

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The name DEUS MINI is meant to be interpreted as 'pocket god', or 'god of a mini-civilization' since the core idea of the game, having the power of a deity in your pocket, is still the same.

One thing I forgot to mention is the trend that all of that most art ends up fitting into our current aesthetic of 2D Pixel Art blended with Low Poly 3D, or gets scrapped. The logo/title evolution is a good example of this, going through different styles until eventually settling in its current form.

UI/UX DESIGN

For example, this clean, linework based aesthetic for early UI is almost entirely abandoned in favor of keeping a consistent pixel art look and feel.

We won't go too into the evolution of the UI/UX of DEUS MINI because that deserves its own posts and I have more than enough wireframes and flowcharts to fill one with.

  Current sprite sheet containing not only UI elements, but various other 2D game assets.

Current sprite sheet containing not only UI elements, but various other 2D game assets.

COMMANDMENT CARDS/SPELL CARDS

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Another element of DEUS MINI that has changed drastically throughout development was the use of divine powers. This aspect of the game changed a lot mechanically, and with it, the visual design of this constantly evolved as well.

Commandment Card thumbnail sketches

Some early commandment card art backgrounds above. The purpose of these cards was for the player to collect then used to assign their villagers jobs to grow their population. For example, assigning a villager to be a woodsman and chop down trees.

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Shards and Runes

As the scope moved more in the direction of resource management, so did the mechanics and subsequent design of the cards.

Enter Shards, and the pivot from commandment cards to a modular deck building system to numeric parts of cards that granted the player one resource your civilization needed at the cost of another.

Right: Basic logic of gain and loss shards.

  Possible Shard combination chart

Possible Shard combination chart

Shards had a color and a rune that corresponded to their respective resource. Shards of any color could be combined, but only if they had matching rune halves.

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  Back of Shard

Back of Shard

  Possible Shard Combination - both shards have half of the "Wood" so they can be combined.

Possible Shard Combination - both shards have half of the "Wood" so they can be combined.

Here is an example of a shard combination where a player would exchange Wood resource points for Mana resource points.

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Here are a collection of special Shards that can be exchanged for resource points to perform a variety of specific actions.

The Shard system in its current form doesn't use any of these mechanics sans the combining to a small degree, and none of the visuals of these original shards are used.

The Shards' functionality is more akin to the original Commandment card system, with shards performing various specific spells to help you and harm your opponent. Just goes to show the crazy road game development takes, haha!

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IN PART 2...

We will get into the early concept art and environment art of DEUS MINI so stay tuned!

- Your Art Martyr, Warren

Welcome!

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Hello world! Woot woot, first post! 

We are Autoclave Visions and we are a little game studio located in the historic city of Savannah, GA. We were founded in September of 2017 with the mantra “create curiosity" -- Our passion is in carefully constructing experiences that make users want to explore their own imaginations. We believe a well-designed game should give it's players something to chew on even after they've put their phone or controller down.

Our very first title is named DEUS MINI. We normally like to explain it as having a tiny village living in your pocket and you, the player, are the divine overlord of their fantastic little world. As the deity of these primitive peoples it is your responsibility to reward or punish them as you see fit because when you're not looking the choices that you make will continue to shape the lives of your villagers. You can assign tasks to help manage the flow of resources, use godly abilities to help or hurt, and even manifest yourself right into the environment using a virtual reality headset! We're so incredibly excited about introducing this mix of traditional mobile gaming and mobile VR - It's a new and unique way for players to immerse themselves in the game and witness their loyal (or not-so-loyal) villagers react to their visible presence!

Our goal is to maintain regular contact with you all through this blog and our mailing list, so if you're as excited about what we're doing as we are then please feel free to follow us on any of our social media accounts or sign up for our mailing list. We'll make sure to keep you updated on any progress or happenings here at the Autoclave Visions studio!

Oh and stay warm out there, it's starting to get chilly even down here in the south!

 

-Z.