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Darkness Revealed Update 13 - Creating an Art Kit

Hello, everyone! How's it going?

In the last update, we showed the beginning of our art production process for levels. We talked about how we start figuring out each level's visuals by doing a specific type of concept art called thumbnails - in our case, really low resolution art that helps us figure out colors, shapes and the level's overall atmosphere.

It's highly recommended to take a look at it, to get a better context to our approach! It's explained and illustrated in these two small posts: Concepting Part 1 and Concepting Part 2.

We also showed one "rendered" image and mentioned it as being not an actual level, but rather a level's Art KitToday we'll go a little deeper into what an Art Kit is. Let's get started!

Graphics' Building Blocks

Once we are satisfied with the thumbnail version of a level, we proceed into rendering it at a higher resolution. Then we start breaking down that concept art into useable parts. All of these parts come together to form an Art Kit.

The Art Kit is the group of assets that are provided to the level designer so that he can decorate the levels according to a previously defined art direction.

While the art direction is mostly in the realm of the artist, and the level topography and challenges are mostly in the realm of the level designer, the Art Kit itself stands somewhere in the middle of these two roles and also the programmer's. There is a lot of technical and artistic "negotiation" happening at this stage, specially when the first Art Kit is being built. This is so that the Art Kit ends up containing assets that will fit with that level, work in the game engine and ultimately produce levels that look good.

For Last Dive's Art Kits, we had to decide things such as: should assets be exported with blur, or should they be blurred by the engine? Will the water surface be procedurally generated in realtime, or does it need an animated texture? Should each asset be exported as individual image files, or should they be grouped in spritesheets?

Here's a simplified example of what the base ocean's art kit consists of. Important to mention that all of this is exported separately, we only grouped in this picture to show to you guys:

That's it for now guys, next week we'll continue to talk about the creation of Art Kits for Last Dive, and we'll explain their structure!

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Cya next time!

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