Archive for the ‘ Game Art ’ Category

Kill them all campaign

Riftforge is an online RPG with tactical combat. The campaign raises $2730 to develop three end-game campaigns that culminate in an epic boss battle.

November 14, 2013 – Riftforge, an ambitious fantasy online role-playing game, has launched an Indiegogo campaign. The $2730 will be used to finish the game by adding two grand campaigns as well as a special super-monster campaign.

Riftforge has been in development for four years, the last two in open playtest mode. It has a quarter million beta signups and over 44,000 Facebook fans. The game features tactical combat in over a hundred handcrafted missions. In addition to the singleplayer content, Riftforge has an active multiplayer Arena.

“We have built a modern game that pays homage to 90’s RPG’s like Baldur’s Gate, the Ultima series, even Final Fantasy Tactics,” said Krasimir Koichev, Riftforge’s Producer. “With the Indiegogo campaign, we’d like to give our fans the ultimate choice: which enemies they want to kill in the epic end-game confrontation.”

Riftforge is the game world’s central location. It is a hub structure that seemingly exists out of space and time. With the new content, players will be able to go through the Rift to explore three new warzones and interact with their inhabitants. True to genre conventions, the majority of those inhabitants are both hostile and dangerous, thus the “Kill them all” slogan.

Riftforge features:

  • Deep and engaging tactical combat, within a familiar turn-based system
  • Three powerful, yet balanced RPG archetypes
  • Rare, elite, and epic units with over 70 unique skills
  • Free-to-play Arena and extra missions available for gold or cash

About Riftforge
Riftforge is a cloud-based roleplaying platform for gamers passionate about tactical combat. The game client is HTML5 and the platform is accessible on all devices with a modern browser.

Indiegogo campaign trailer:

Press release distributed by: GamesPress

Riftforge beta
Facebook fan page


Everyone has a golden age

Paul Barnett is probably more famous with his “Bears, bears, bears” video circa 2006 when he was working on Warhammer Online.

This is another gem from him: everyone has a golden age (of gaming). Start at 15 minutes:

Just in case you’ve missed the link to the Bears bears bears video:

Sources of Inspiration, part I

When it comes to fantasy unit design, I find three constant sources of inspiration:

  1. Historic – that is the most obvious and often works flawlessly. Make your choice from Varangians to Teutons to Tartars. The big downside is avoiding cliches and meeting the player expectations. For example, making Teutons to be light-armored archers will surprise your players a lot!
  2. Word combos – sometimes a cool word combo will trigger associations for a unit design. Most often, I’ll keep the coolness for the name itself and the description will twist it a bit around. For example, the Gutrippers are one of Riftforge’s elite assassin battalions. However, the description states that they started as kitchen help before moving on to active duty (but the nickname remained).
  3. Music – for a long time, I’ve only focused on cool names and here rock and heavy metal come in handy. From the Ironmaidens to the Blackhearts (Joan Jett’s band) to Harvesters of Sorrow. Unfortunately, I have a problem with all of these – they are too literal, so the direct association breaks the immersion.

So music is relegated to inspiration about LOOKS!

Yes, punk rock becomes tribal, black leather becomes cultist/savages, and disco… Well, I’m still processing disco but it’s hard to top disco when it comes to flamboyancy, so it shouldn’t be hard to place it with a highly-individualistic race.

Exercise One: Here’s an over-the-top punk-rock-new-wave band from the 80s, see if you can find a place for it in your game design.

Now tell me you’ve already thought about putting a ripped pantyhose on the face of a character. No? Well, now you know it looks great. For the record, I first heard Sigue Sigue Sputnik in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, so sometimes it takes 20+ years of movie watching experience to pull off a single unit.

Fantasy Art Styles

Jon Schindehette has an interesting post over at the WotC site about art style, specifically when it comes to armor. He ends with the following conclusion:

Armor should look appropriate to the culture, environment, materials available, and technology, first and foremost. If the armor doesn’t pass that test, then it doesn’t matter whether it is being worn by a man or a woman.

I agree with his sentiments, but more importantly, I like his visual guide to the three general art styles when it comes to fantasy characters and their armor:

Once you have this guide, it’s really a piece of cake to figure out that Blizzard are fond of fantastic realism. Even Diablo 3, which previously sported a dark, gothic style, has now been transformed into another WoW when it comes to over-the-top fantastic realism with cartoony colors.

For Riftforge, we have chosen the third style. It requires a lot more effort on the part of the artist but when done right looks so true that Renaissance painters turn green with envy.


Creativity circa 1991, little has changed since then as John Cleese aptly observes in this lecture. No new research has been done, obviously because it’s a dead end research.

So what distinguished creative people from not (so) creative people? The ability to PLAY. Worth watching if you feel you are good at it (playing).

Checklist for entering open (creative mode):

1) Set up space – an oasis of quiet
2) Set start time and end time – play is impossible without time limits (90 minutes)
3) Don’t take the FIRST solution, the most creative solution usually comes after cliches.
4) Confidence – forget about the fear of mistakes, the essence of playfulness
5) Humor – catalyst for entering open mode quickly; the more serious the subject, the more needed humor is.

Pandaren Monk or Kung Fu Panda?

With the recent announcement of a new World of Warcraft expansion, Blizzard has confirmed my belief that their transformation from a cult game company to a mainstream one is complete.

Blizzard wants to be the Disney of video games now. Also, they also want to move their sinking (subscription numbers wise) flagship to shallow water somewhere in the Yellow Sea.

How did we come all the way from Ultima Online to Kung Fu Panda? When did the MMO players changed from nerds to… children?

Of course, Blizzard are the (only) one who know the exact demographics of the current WoW players. So their going in the way of cartoons is anything but accident. Will TITAN feature talking cars?

I blame Angry Birds. In selling $200 million worth of cartoony graphics, Rovio has proven there’s money to be made from bright colors and simplistic gameplay.

Does that mean that you cannot have an RPG for grownups now? Will online games become synonymous pre-pubescent adventures? Not, if I can help it! I’m taking the “no pandas” pledge on behalf of Riftforge.

Blizzard is mainstream

Looking at the coverage from Blizzcon 2011, I had a sudden realization: Blizzard cannot survive on cult games any more, they need blockbusters!

With the wild success of World of Warcraft, Blizzard has turned from a company specializing in cult games for hardcore gamers to a generic game company producing for the average Joe.

It’s just like a Porsche that’s been made into a sedan and fitted with a 1.6 liter engine. Average Joe is more than happy by the fact he’s driving a Porsche but to anyone who has driven a Porsche from 10 years back, this looks like an abomination.

It’s not like Blizzard has a choice in the matter now. Ever since they married Activision, it was all about mainstream success and blockbuster titles. They simply cannot go back.

Listen to a list of random updates from Blizzcon:

  • New WoW expansion called Mists of Pandaria!
  • – Is it possible to make WoW more cartoony and animaly than already is? Looking at the trailer, the answer is an emphatic YES.

  • Mists of Pandaria will allow pets to fight pets
  • – the only question is when POKEMON is going to sue them.

  • Diablo 3 will allow skill swapping only in town
  • – noobs have a problem switching between skills, so everyone will now spam just two skills the whole game?

  • Diablo 3 PVP will have endless re-spawning
  • – qq much?

  • Diablo 3 light radius removed
  • – is darkness too scary for new players?

  • Diablo 3 beta keys rewarded for Facebook likes
  • – also for email collection on a massive scale (over 1,400,000 likes compared to 400,000 a month ago)

  • Marketing gimmicks
  • – buy 12 months of WoW and get Diablo 3. Or buy Diablo 3 and get the next WoW expansion free. Welcome to our cross-promotions!

Does that mean we won’t enjoy the new 1.6 liter Porsche… I mean Diablo 3? Well, I certainly hope it is as good as a Porsche 911 (Diablo 2) but I doubt it will have the cult appeal of the classic. It is not so much about the game itself but about the people who will play it… teenagers who failed Angry Birds on their iPhone and are looking for something prettier and easier.

Reprinted from Diablo 3 news