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9th April 2009 Arrrdvark

3D mock-up
3D mock-up of what the final game MIGHT look like.
Click here to see a larger version of this image.

Avast, ye scurvy dogs, tis a graphics mut'ny! We're takin' the wheel of this here diary; that lily-livered Mod Wivlaro gets t' walk tha plank!

With many of our games, we start by defining a look and feel to help us visualise the style of the game and how it will play. This is one of FunOrb's largest projects so far, which is the perfect opportunity to get the whole team involved! Because so many people love pirates and have their own ideas of what makes the perfect pirate game, we created a 'mood board' where everyone could pin up ideas, sketches, pictures, underwear (its an interesting office we work in), eye patches and anything else that we could think of that would help inspire the project. From here, we narrowed down the ideas and themes until we had a good grasp on the game's style and direction.

When you first play the game, you're asked to choose one of three factions, each of which has its own playing style and range of ships this was a great place to start with the concept art! I sketched out three ideas for each faction (we voted on which ones best represented each faction) plus the enemy of the pirates: 'The Admiral'. Two of these character concepts were featured in the first part of this diary.

Once we had the characters defined, we moved onto looking at the game as a whole, which is when I created a mock-up based on the ideas we came up with in our brainstorming meetings. I used a mix of Photoshop effects for scenery, custom 3D models and the current game engine items to create an idea of what the game MIGHT look like when its done.

Port screen
Artwork of the port screen.
Click here to see a larger version of this image.

Since then, I've been concentrating on screens and items for the game in particular the port screen. This is one of the most important menus in the game as it's where you can start the game, repair your ship, recruit more crew, and access a whole host of other features.

This meant that there was a lot to get in there - the docks, shipyard, market and tavern. I started out by sketching a rough idea for the layout and chatted through the features with our developers to check it had everything they needed. A few quick changes and one resized sketch later and we're ready to get started.

I prefer to work purely in Photoshop for something like this: sketch, rough colour, add detail sounds easy, doesn't it? Wink smiley I set up the port as a base and added in some background houses and trees, then got to work on the items. First up was the market, where you can purchase and sell items such as food, grog and other essential items to keep your crew healthy and happy.

To make the market, I started by 'blocking in' the basic colours and shapes. We'd already decided on a style and colour palette for the buildings, so I followed that to create a horseshoe of houses and, from there, added in little details like doors, windows and stonework. After that, I added in some more interesting details (such as little market stalls around a well) to make sure it wasn't all just red and white. I then followed the same process for the tavern, ship sales and shipyard and by the end of the day we had a port!

Mod Fosh
Senior Artist, FunOrb Graphics
Captain of the Dirty Seagull

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