It’s been a while since the development of Blue Heaven was officially kicked off, concretely 1 month and 1 week. Although it seems to be a very short lapse of time, it feels like a year for us. We started having only a barely finished script, a description of the game universe and main characters, and a list with 300 ideas that potentially would be added to the game. Let’s make a brief recapitulation of what came next:
Once the team was complete, the main goal was to homogenize our knowledge and our objectives. The entire team had to have the same understanding of the big picture. This included reading the script, the setting description, solving doubts and knowing the references (movies, music, videogames, drawings, etc.), which took some days. After this, we could talk the same language while working every day.
It was clear for us that the first thing we had to build was our public image. Once you start developing the game itself, it’s very hard to reserve some time to do boring stuff like writing an accurate description of the game or choosing the colors of the logo. The first step was to create the official website, trying to make it distinguishable from the others, selecting the appropiate colors to transmit the right appereance regarding the adult and dark tone of the game, putting references to its story since the very beginning… We also wanted to produce some kind of impact on the visitor at the first time he entered the site so we worked on an colorful animated background that could also tell something related to the story.
We spent 2 full working days to achieve the effect you see at the top of the website, we faced many problems related to lighting, reflections, ink density… until we come up with a good result. Maybe we’ll share with you all the tricks in the future, when we’ve time…
In the meantime, we were designing the game logo too and, after tens of attempts, we got one that we really liked. It was important that it was easy to recognize and easy to rescale. It was also our intention to include elements in it that told something related to the game, not only about the content in general but also about the universe itself.
Then we wrote the web contents, created the social network accounts and greet the world.
One of the most exciting things of this project is exploring the unknown, doing something nobody did before and creating new paths. Making rotoscopied isometric animations? What were we smoking? We had absolutely no guideline nor guarantee of what we wanted to do was to work, just a handmade drawing and some basic trigonometric calculations that should emulate an impossible dimetric perspective camera. Besides, we wanted to get 8 points of view around characters. With some external collaboration, we built the eight 3 meters long iron supports, bought the eight cameras and searched for a place outdoors (due to the required angle of the camera, we were forced to occupy 10×10 meters) were we could film without drawing attention too much. We spent one morning on our first attempt and we learned a lot. Filming animations has a very high cost for us, 2 of us are not working on other things during the time we are there, and we return home quite tired for the rest of the day due to the effort required for acting and especially for moving all the stuff to the film set. Remember, we are only 3 people. But it’s ok! Doing this is cool!
With some real footage in our hands, we made some pixelated rotoscopy attempts and we got something quite convincing, better than what we had imagined. Using the 8 points of view, we rotoscopied the walking movements of a woman (a model we hired) and put everything together in a test project with an isometric background. That was the trial by fire, everything depended on the final result, and it was a complete success.
Another innovation we wanted to achieve was to define a new pixel art sub-style. We want our game to be recognizable at a glance and that’s very difficult, we don’t know if it’s even possible but we’ll try hard. The soundtrack of the game should be also original; we’re going to take some risks breaking the players’ typical expectations. That’s what we’ve been working on the rest of the time, making many drafts (visuals and aurals), until we get what we think is the best way to bring the game universe to your senses. We’ve finished several songs, many visual concepts and pixel art test scenarios. We’ve already shared some of them with you and we’ll share more soon.
We’ve also defined the combat system and the main mechanics. This will help to know the exact animations that we’ll need and to estimate how much work we’ve to face for the next 2 years. Currently we’re designing the inventory system, which probably is going to be very different from what we’ve seen until now in an action-RPG.
Apart from the above, we’ve to consider the time it takes to define the working process and to transform ideas you’ve in a paper or in your mind into something tangible. Besides, even in a very small team, people need to adapt to each other: you don’t talk to a person you don’t know as fluent as to a friend. This first phase has served to achieve all of that, so we can now move faster. The team fits perfectly, all uncertainties have vanished and we’ve a very clear vision of the quality and the amount of content we can deliver. Of course your help is so important and we’re so grateful for spreading our news throughout social networks, keep it up and we promise we’ll create something that you have never experienced before!
In next posts, we’ll talk about the game universe so you can immerse your feet in the dark waters of Blue Heaven.