March Studio Update
The whirlwind that was March is over! Greetings, it's time for a little sit down and discuss what went down at Broken Hammer.
Starting off, art production wrapped up the month with some nice additions. One background, one focus image, and three character models either got completed or are in engine ready states. In fact, we're happy to announce that the backgrounds for day two are now 100% complete.
As far as the models, Iqbal, our new intern in the Asia unit has been churning out some great work.
We tasked him with finishing up some of our red shirt cast members so we could see what he's capable of and he has been really doing some great work.
While it will still take some time to adapt to our styles, he's showing a lot of promise.
On the left is a sample of one of his models that he did for a Yeshan character.
You'll have to wait till the game launches to see the full model.
Pending of course, if it gets used in the first story or saved for later. We constantly consider things like this as we go. Just like the Fjordlander character he also did during this month.
As seen on the right, there could very well be changes in store as we go, changes which would alter where these red shirt characters get used.
The Fjordlander styles certainly call for being very flashy and regal. Right now our style guide is interpreting that to include more European style armor in spots. Fjordlanders seem to very much cling to old traditions and like showing off, so utilizing more armor, while antiquated, would seem more their style.
The Yeshan headshot above is a result of expanding of our style guide when it comes to Yesha.
What has been utilized so far with Yesha has been much more traditional looking Chinese hairstyles. However, Iqbal did that long hair design and he did it so well that we decided to expand the style guide to include the style. He actually did do a variant with more traditional styling as seen below.
This design likely will be revisited again later. Possibly even during production of the Yeshan arc.
Or who knows, it may even take on a life of it's own and become the model for one of the named cast members.
We certainly can't rule out that possibility. In fact this is something we consider in going forward as we redistribute our work load and take some pressure off Georgy.
Do we keep him on for the major models and scenes? Or do we start opening some of those up more to new artists coming in?
It has certainly been our long desire to expand our team and get production going much faster. Pending how Iqbal's internship period concludes, we very well may be having some big discussions in April regarding the character models.
Before we move on from art, there is a late breaking development on the decals. We've reached out to Rebekah. She did some voice work for us awhile back for our promo (The voice of Abigail). Originally we wanted to bring her on more as one of our artists but it didn't pan out at the time. She's lately been doing a bit of commission work and expanding her art skills. So we had a chat with her and we'll be working with her in the month of April to revamp and finalize the designs. We'll update next month on how it goes.
Moving on from art, music also had some big developments as Sean wrapped up some key tracks and we did some play tests of a few major scenes. Which, are turning out fantastic. So good we brought Conn into a play test so he could see the scene he drew with the music. In the end he finished up a key image for it and it looks amazing. We're really glad he's feeling better after dealing with a nasty bout of health issues the last few months.
A big part of these play tests was not just showing the team the work they've done come to life but also digging into the new features Tyrano enabled in the last major update. To be specific, the screen filters, and to be even more specific, the blur filter.
This was an idea presented by Conn during the play test we did with him. He thought it would look better with a blur taking place on the background. Possibly swapping the background with a blurred one for the effect. Naturally right then it dawned on us that Tyrano added blur filters in the plugins. As you can see from the image above, the background is blurred and the focus is set to Aoli.
The effect is perfect for emphasizing close up face to face moments or for popup images.
However, it isn't perfect yet. Part of the problem is the time to transition for the effect's activation. Being an initial release, there is no timer that can be set. We've reached out to Tyrano about this and they got back to us. However, in the case of this plugin, it is designed by another developer in Japan. Getting this amended to add this feature may take some time. It could very well be that our initial release will have the current version, then later have an amended version.
Another option would be for us to just simply make our own blur plugin. But that would entail hiring a programmer. Yohana, our director of the Asia unit, has a brother who is in fact a programmer and has done work in the coding language used in Tyrano. We've reached out to see what he thinks but Yohana will have to physically be where he is to show him the game engine due to the slow net speeds in the country. If anything comes of this, we'll update later.
All of this brings us to the final updates on March. The completion of the final background for day two had us do some tweaks to the script. Not much but, enough to refine the scene they are used for and make notes of the new background image.
Writing has been busy with this doing tweaking and re-tweaking as we add more finished content into the initial story. As we stated in the opening, it's been a whirlwind of a month. Which is a good thing. Much better than last year. We're happy to see things keeping a good pace again.
Till next time, see you in the skies!