Setting the Scene

One thing we've been working on recently is creating a suitable effect for an upcoming battle! For this blog post, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at our iteration progress as we implement and improve upon an idea!

So, this battle takes place in that courtyard I showed a couple of days ago. From the beginning, we had a vague idea of the battle area being surrounded by a circle of flames. Once the background was ready, Teddy went ahead and made a quick prototype of what that circle could look like:


While it certainly gives some kind of effect, it also felt a bit underwhelming. While discussing our options, we thought about making the trees and bushes burn, using another color flame and using different sizes for the flame particles, among other things, but nothing really felt spot on.

During our talk it also turned out some of us had imagined the flame circle differently. And so we went on to prototype another idea, where the fire would cover everything not inside the battle area. 

Cue another screenshot:


Now this felt a bit more epic, but it still felt like it missed something. So I decided to take the above screenshot into Photoshop and started painting on top of it, creating a mockup of what I thought would be a cool effect for the battle: 


After showing it to the others, Teddy used my mockup as a base and created a third prototype, this time featuring the illustrated effects:


After seeing this in action, we all pretty much agree this is a much better direction than the first basic flame circle. And we're still gonna add/edit a bunch of stuff! For one, the graphics are all prototype here, the sparks in the air and the flame particles will be different in the final version. We'll also the add the burning trees and greenery we talked about after seeing the first prototype, and I'll edit the ground to look more burnt around the flames. 

Now, we could have chosen to look at the fire circle in the first screenshot and say "this is OK, let's keep it". Instead, we kept pushing to make the scene better and more epic. Would it have saved us a lot of time to just stick with the original idea? Yes. Would the fight be as epic in the end? No. 

And this is why it's so hard for us to estimate how long things will take! Sometimes our first try is good enough, but often we have to spend a lot of time prototyping different options and change stuff before we get something we're truly satisfied with. Is it worth it in the end? Well, I certainly believe it is and I hope you guys agree! :)

(PS. Tomorrow & Monday there won't be any blog posts, as I'll be on the mainland attending the 70th birthday party of my mother in law. I'll see you next time on Tuesday!)

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