[ART] The Blacksmith
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Thread: [ART] The Blacksmith

  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 24th, 2016
    Los Angeles, California

    [ART] The Blacksmith

    Originally Posted in the Dev Pub
    The content presented below was originally brewed in the oak barrels of the Dev Pub forums. After allowing this thread time to properly age, it is now ready for public consumption and has thusly been moved into this forum for all to enjoy. Please note that finely aged Dev Pub threads may contain outdated designs and information. That said, we still encourage you to leave feedback as we'd love to get some new opinions on all this.

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    When we released the Kynseed prototype alongside the Kickstarter, we had only an initial collection of tilesets to work with. It was more than serviceable for the purposes of a prototype, but one area that we always wished we'd had a bit more time to flesh out were the interiors. Since so much of the player's time in the prototype is spent outside in nature and the world itself, it simply made sense for us to focus a large portion of our time and creating assets for things like trees, grass, rocks, and so forth. However, now that we're working on the rest of the game in preparation for Early Access, it wasn't long before we needed to turn our attention to creating a more robust set of building interior tiles. One of the places we decided to work on first? The humble blacksmith.

    The Blacksmith Gameplay Diagram

    We first began our journey of creating the blacksmith not by considering its cosmetic appearance but, instead, by considering the gameplay elements that would need to take place in this building. It was in some of these initial designs that Charlie mapped out how the player would run their blacksmith shop as well as all the various work stations the player would use to create goods.

    Charlie's Blacksmith Diagram

    From there, Neal began coding the basic foundations of these jobs. Once the core bits of code were in place, it was finally time to turn our attention to how the blacksmith building itself should look. It was important that the blacksmith functioned not just as a gameplay element but functioned equally as a believable location in the game's world and lore. So for that we turned to Sarah, PixelCount's stellar concept artist.

    The Blacksmith Concept Art

    We gave Sarah some basic reference points of what we were looking for; things like making sure there were stone floors (so that the blacksmith wouldn't burn down!), the various work stations that the player would need, places to put items for sale, and other such things. Beyond that, we let Sarah do her thing. The trick is to not overexplain what you're looking for and to instead give the artist room to be creative.

    Blacksmith Concept - Draft 1

    This first draft closely followed the layout as seen in Charlie's blacksmith diagram from above. This piece also establishes the exterior look as well. We were very keen to find opportunities to curve things just slightly so as to avoid the game having that squared tileset look so commonly seen in top-down 2D games of this style. You'll also notice an offering bowl which will be placed outside the blacksmith near the front door. Sarah also helps establish the look of various floor textures in the top left of this image.

    We liked this concept piece just fine, but we began to feel that there might be way too much we were trying to pack into such a small floorplan. We didn't want the blacksmith to feel too cluttered and we still needed to leave room for customers, the player, and all the work stations. So we talked some more with Sarah and she began work on the next draft.

    Blacksmith Concept - Draft 2

    This was starting to feel much better. The blacksmith was roomier and the step-down part of the interior created this nice dividing point between the 'store' section and the 'work' section. Additionally, the actual work section of the blacksmith was now both an interior and an exterior! Plus, the layout of the work stations worked much better in a top-down 2D space (as it's important to remember that only one angle of a room is ever seen).

    We were particularly pleased with how this concept turned out so we gave Sarah the go-ahead to polish it up, add some shading, and to finalize the entire piece.

    Blacksmith Concept - Final Piece

    This, my friends, is what we ended up with as the finalized concept piece for the blacksmith. It has all the necessary components from Charlie's diagram, it has plenty of room for the customers and player, and part of the building is open to the outside. Sarah also took the liberty of making a few rug designs to be placed on the floor of the store area. Truly a lovely piece.

    The Finished Blacksmith Tileset

    While Sarah was busy working on these concept pieces, our environment artist Matthew Weekes began working in tandem putting some of the basic core elements of the blacksmith's tilesets together. Once the initial floorplan was laid out (using Draft 2 of the concept art for reference), he then began working on various elements such as flooring tiles (both wooden and stone), walls, wooden support beams, and other interior essentials.

    Around the time that Sarah had finished the second draft of concept art, Matthew now had enough to go off of to start making all the other tilesets. Shortly after, we had our first in-game draft of the blacksmith. For this, I'm going to cut straight to the chase and show you the near-final blacksmith as it will appear in the game. It's honestly one of my favorite things we've made in the game so far and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Behold, Kynseed's blacksmith:

    The Finished In-game Blacksmith

    There's still a few more things we'd like to do to get it juuuust right, so even now it's still a work-in-progress. For example, we want to reposition some of the floor and column of the lower right so that it better communicates the fact that there's access to the outside from there (as currently it's easy to confuse as a solid wall due to the position of the column). However, little tiny adjustments like that aside, this is more or less the final layout of the blacksmith. So for any of you deciding to take up blacksmithing as a job, this is where you'll be spending much of your time!

    We've also begun tentatively animating some of the various components of the interior - particularly the work stations that the player will be interacting with when performing their job. Hit the button below to check out how it's looking at the moment.

    The Blacksmith Animated

    Lastly, I thought you might all find it interesting to see the entire process behind the creation of the interior so I made a GIF for you that shows the step-by-step process that the blacksmith interior underwent. It's a bit crazy how a GIF can sum up the hard work of multiple people and the investment of multiple weeks, but that's definitely how it often goes in game development!

    Creating the Blacksmith Step-By-Step

    Much credit to Matthew Weekes for his excellent work in creating these tiles and equal credit to Sarah for helping guide us with her concept art. And I guess I'll give a bit of credit to Charlie and Neal if I have to.

    I hope you've enjoyed this look into the making of the game's blacksmith. Just think: all the hard work that went into this one building's interior is being put into dozens and dozens of other areas in the game as well. Doing things right takes time, but with the support and feedback of all you lovely people we'll get there soon enough. Thanks everyone!
    Last edited by Matt; February 21st, 2019 at 05:30pm.
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    July 19th, 2017
    Great work everyone! I've said it before, but it really is interesting to see all the process that you go through and how much thought goes into everything.

    Also, I've got to say, I really dig Sarah's concept art

  3. #3
    Beautiful artwork from everyone! Very inspirational.

  4. #4
    CaptainOsyrus's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 29th, 2017
    I'm really happy with how this looks. Seems like a good layout and I can't wait till we get to test it.

  5. #5
    LeeJ2512's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 28th, 2017
    I love seeing the progress and the final thing! Looks gorgeous it really does. Looks very warm inside too which being a blacksmith it would be haha

  6. #6
    Forgetaboutme's Avatar

    Join Date
    September 26th, 2017
    behind you
    Oh,man. In-game blacksmith looks just great!

    Pixel? Just yes!!!
    Don't panic!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    December 5th, 2017
    really really great work! I Love it, beautiful <3 keep up the excellent work guys! The conecpt art from sarah is amazing - and everything fits together really good! thumbs up from me really looking forward beeing a blacksmith

  8. #8
    Carbunkel's Avatar

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    June 29th, 2017
    The lower work section looks great! practical, professional and yet still has that family business feel. Great piece!

  9. #9
    Secretcode's Avatar

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    January 31st, 2018
    I added this in the tavern thread but I assume if you have a blacksmith in town he'll be selling weapons/armor or will he be sellings tools, I guess what im asking is will there be random warriors/bandits that come in here to shop..maybe you don't know why they are purchasing these items but perhaps if they go to the tavern you can find out more info...i think everything can mesh together sort of based on the needs of that person

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 5th, 2018
    @developers: one detail: when you take the stairs, going from the upper to the lower level or vv, your character just walks in a straight line, and this breaks immersion for me a bit. This is imo a general problem with stairs going from left to right in 2D games. The only solution I can think of, would be rotating the stairs 90 degrees, but this would be a big change.

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