Why the creature looks like this?

September 27, 2010

The creature has not been created randomly. There are some reasons that make it look this way.

The most important thing was to respect the evolution process. The creature needed to be prepared to look competed in every state of the game.

We can’t have a jumping torso without looking extremely strange and disgusting. Even without arms, legs, or head… the creature must look like a living being, without mutilated aspect.

That gave us two patrons:

  1. Its different limbs shall attach directly to the main body.
  2. The main body needed to be a creture by itself.

But… why does it have to be a ball?

There are several reasons for the creature to be a ball… some of them are involved with gameplay, and some are involved with design and visual perception.

Some gameplay reasons were:

  • As a ball, it doesn’t need any limbs to displace itself. It can roll.
  • It’s ball aspect allows us to create interesting gameplay mechanics, such as creating a “pachinko” looking level, use the creature as a cannonball, or use the inertia to create difficult challenges.

And some design reasons were:

  • Soft shapes use to be related with goodness and peace; and sharp shapes with danger. This is a common psychologic reaction that is not related with the culture or the education. Just as an example… there was an experiment about that. Just try to put name to these two shapes. One of them is called “Takete” and the other one “Maluma”.

If you called “maluma” the one on the left… congratulations! That was correct! curiously, almost everyone calls them this way. Even when they are completely abstract and they have no meaning at all.

Well, I was interested on the creature to look completely inoffensive, lovely and cute. This is a complete contrast with the creature described on the legend… It’s supposed to be powerful, evil and chaotic… but since you start playing, you are nothing but the smoothest, cutest and pacifist geometric form ever: a sphere. Funny paradox.

  • The second reason was to fight with the common WOEAI phenomenon (Where On Earth Am I??). This strange syndrome affects lots of casual gamers, and it’s even worst if they play on multiplayer games. They get really stressed because it’s impossible to discern which of the moving forms of the screen represents them. If you are a casual gamer or you know what I’m talking about… fear not! The creature game is completely WOEAI-proof! The circle is a form that automatically caught our attention. The creature is a circle with two circles as eyes, with two circles as pupils. Also, the eyes are self-iluminated, which means that they always will be visible, even in the darkest areas.

Oh! Oh God! WOEAI!?!!? Let’s play wii sports!!

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The mask project

September 25, 2010

Hi! I’m Kevin Cerdà, the game designer of “the creature”!

I’m introducing myself just for a reason… because I’m going to write some posts about game design!

These post will be about my opinion and my own thoughts and experiences, not about the game itself or other developers disciplines.

Soon there will be also some posts talking about programming issues; where Pol and David, the programmers, will explain some of the features of the game and how they are made!

And why there are suddenly posts about this??

As you know, the game will be available on 30 of september… and you can find a lot of information about it here, in this blog. We can’t keep giving you more information every day, because the game needs some secrets to be revealed while playing!

That’s why we are going to start writing posts about some interesting and specific issues related with game design or programming that have affected the development of our game. (Don’t worry, you are gonna love them!)

And I will start talking about the masks!

When the team was formed, in october of 2009, more or less… we realised that we had no concept artist in our group. Nobody knew how to draw something beautiful.

So… we had to engage a project that wouldn’t have art department at all. And the enemies where not yet designed.

The role of all of them was specified in the first game design document (the typical foe that would go from left to right until you jump on him… another similar that would fly through the air… one that shoots you…)

But we had to draw them before starting 3D modelling!

That’s when I thought about the masks!

All the enemies in the game would wear the same mask. That made them easier to design… and I started drawing with my five years old drawing skills:

A fraction of a second and the enemies were made!

(The brawler and the stomper are not included in the game, but they were in the original game design)

But the best part was all the advantages that the mask represented:

  1. Masked enemies means nor facial expression and modelling. That means less hours creating the enemies; more hours to create the game.
  2. Making them all simple and masked, makes them all similar. That makes them easier to recognize as enemies, and also gives more strength and cohesion to the design.
  3. It gives us a lot of narrative material, because it’s original and also mysterious… what will be under the mask… a face? nothing at all? Is the mask part of their body? It also gives them a common origin… which is the connection between them? there is somebody ruling them?
  4. My favourite one. If they have the same mask… we create a symbol. We all recognize the symbol of “peace” when we see it; even when “peace” is an abstract concept that cannot be drawn. Well, in our game we use this association effect. Putting the same simple face to all the enemies turns this:

What does it mean?.

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Into a symbol that means danger. We can paint it everywhere we want inside the cave… and everyone will understand its meaning, no matter they language or they culture. Because is a self-made symbol.

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That’s why the enemies wear mask, and that’s why the mask looks bad and self-confident. It represents the evil in our game.

More interesting posts about game design soon! Like… why the creature looks this way?

And keep checking the blog, because… these new specific sections doesn’t mean that we are not going to reveal new information about the game…

The final boss will be revealed through the next week…

Thanks for your interest!