Beginning of Phase 4 – Team Meeting for Art Style

We started developing the Art Style for Bell Jar today as a team> This was in order to define a style that we all agree on and be able to make sure we have something to look at for reference so that our style is consistent across the game.

To start off with, we made a joint mood board on Pinterest just so we could all have an input on the styles and from there narrow down to the images that best represent what look we were aiming for. As expected, we all had certain styles in mind so by having this discussion, it meant that we have now outlined the sort of art style we would like to have.

Design Choices and Target Audience:

What influenced our style choices was who the target audience will be.
Belljar will be aimed at ages 10 and above. We decided to make it this due to the game having concepts which may not necessarily be grasped by younger children. However, due to the style of game being fantasy based, cutesy and charming, the game could still be played with assistance from parents. We are aiming this game to have a rating of E (Everyone) and a PEGI rating of 3+ due to the style and nature we want to get across. The only possible hindrance to this would be that there is combat within the Dungeon yet we’d be portraying it in a cartoon-like style, there should hopefully not be any issues with this. What could be an idea is when we start putting everything together next semester, we could try to get a sample target audience ranging from ages 3 – whatever age to test it and see if there are any problems that we could fix.
One of the reasons we chose a Fantasy theme for BellJar is that when we were younger, we all had incredible fantasy fiction such as Harry Potter, something which the children of today don’t seem to have. We feel that they’re missing out as fantasy allows for your imagination to run wild and in the harsh world that we live today, I think this would be a nice injection of fun that everybody needs, not just kids.
The reason why we also chose for it to be Isometric, is because this way the map is easily navigatable as the whole area is in view which would help the younger players. Isometric is also something that the older players are familiar with too and so we know they would still play – think games such as Diablo and SimCity 2000. Due to the maps themselves not being too large either, we felt Isometric would best suit this simplistic style.

One issue that I can see arising is that it will end up being too child-like in its art style and that people won’t necessarily want to play it. In order to combat this, we’d need to do extensive testing next semester to our entire target audience to get feedback and make adjustments as needed.
As this is a Tycoon game, we’d need to make sure that we’re marketing it for the ages that we’ve highlighted without swaying too much towards the child-like style or veering too far away from this and making it unsuitable for the younger target audience. Due to wanting to get the game to Steam Greenlight, we need to make sure that it is marketable to the ages that we’ve specified.

As mentioned above, Bell Jar is supposed to come across as quite a cutesy, charming game so, in order to achieve this, it was felt that the concepts should be:

  • illustrative
  • low -poly
  • Simple

These are the images we’ve selected to use as a reference for the art style:

Now we’ve highlighted the art style, I can now move on to focus on creating the environments for the shops and greenhouse. Once I’ve thought about the assets that would be in these environments, I can then start designing and creating concepts for them. I will be aiming to spend roughly a week on these as they are quite a large aspect of the game. 

We also discussed the sorts of hardware we’d be using. The idea is that we build for PC with the potential for making for the IPad but this would be considered a stretch goal. Millie made a very good point that we could think about developing for consoles as this would easily fall into the Indie section of the game store and due to the number of people in our survey that would play the game, this could be an even further stretch goal if we’re planning on monetising Bell Jar; this would be a much later on venture. James has been assigned the task of looking at the limitations we could face as well as look at specs for the console. 

We would like to make sure our GDD has enough design and concept art as a basic foundation. This being so that we don’t have to start from scratch next semester like we did last year with SOUNDeSCAPE and Little Greyton. By starting the concept process now, we can have more time to polish and develop the stuff that we already have in the hope that we can achieve a much more polished outcome.

The Plan for the next 6 weeks:

  • 5th December – 14th/15th December
    – Have environments planned and brief concepts (get feedback from team on 15th)
  • 20th December – 23rd December
    – Systems iterations – Combat/harvesting system
  • 26th December – 29th December
    – Systems iterations – Farm/Harvest System
  • 30th – 9th January
    – Character customisation/character design
  • 9th January – 13th January
    – Ingredients concepts and designs plus feedback from work over Christmas
  • 13th January – 20th January
    – Finishing, refining, documentation focus, binding etc for hand-in on the 20th

Schedule  up until jan deadline first sem.png



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