Good news everyone! That’s what you all have been waiting for quite some time now! Yes, we’re gonna publish a nude calendar with our CEO. Actually no, our management wouldn’t allow me to do so. Pity though, would be a disruptive marketing trick or at least the act of modern art if we could pull it off. But there is a silver lining, we finally got our asses to work and wrote something about our game in the blog.
It’s time to tell you, my friend, how we struggled to create a perfect map for Silent Streets. Or something as close to perfect as we could get from our beautiful extraterrestrial yet woman-shaped artist (there is her portfolio link somewhere below). The thing is, the map is not the core game art, but it sure as hell is important as you will see it for enormous amount of time until the final titles in the game kick in. So we had to come up with something that you wouldn’t hate by the end of game chapter 1.
Some references for starters. Quite inspiring, yet far from what we expected at that moment (that’s euphemism for boring). We aimed for something modern and stylish, yet victorian-flavored, so we decided to supercharge these bad boys.
For some reason we thought that isometric view with lots of details would do the trick. Let’s call it an artist gut feeling. I love this expression, it plays nicely with my idea that an artist should be hungry in order to create something indie game-worthy. The work has begun and we got our first sketches.
The architecture style had to be either Victorian or Georgian to blend in with the game style nicely. Our writer also participated in the process which resulted in some inspiration to had been taken from the town of Bath, his former headquarters. We also wanted to divide our town into different zones, since the idea was “the higher you go, the more expensive the town is, with the Royal Institute/Society having an enclave of its own that's a bit like Oxford University.”
At this point we realized that we need to change the map orientation for better smartphone screen fit. People mostly hold their phones vertically, such a surprising discovery of ours!
We played around with different vertically oriented versions. The good thing about it - zoning would be much easier and more natural. Then we decided to make things spooky and added some snow, but it looked like a Christmas fairy tale in a very dirty neighborhood. At some point we thought of clouds to work like a fog of war, in order to leave some creative freedom for the next game chapters. But after further consideration we used less-is-more approach and got rid of clouds and snow. Our cozy town gradually turned into mysterious twilight place.
A lot of work had to be done. City planning turned out to be a hell of a job. We had to organize neatly all the main and additional roads, lights, pathways, parks, trees and what not. Sketch after sketch, loud Skype calls after even louder Skype calls we shaped the town and developed our own vision of what it should look like.
A couple of bridges and and island for thrilling walks around Snowport town. Throw in some special places for future script twists and a touch of mystery around the dark corners and we are at the final destination. And soon you can try it yourself. Meanwhile we have already test driven our Snowport map at numerous conferences and events and received promising feedback from fellow gamers. Ultimate tourist guide to a mysterious Victorian town is at your service.
Special words of appreciation to our artist. The work with Anastasia Telmborska (http://temborska.daportfolio.com) was enjoyable and fruitful. That is how it usually happens when you work with enthusiastic professionals, truly competent and extremely responsible. It was a great time! Fly safe to your home planet!