Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
So here is the last of my art dump for Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze! I hope you've enjoyed taking a look at it! There is so much that goes into the art of a video game. There is even more I wish I could share, but I think it's better experienced in the game! Also I've tried to share the contributes of every artist on each scene, but I want to emphasize that art in video games is rarely ever made by just one person. It passes through many talented hands on it's way to the store shelf. I work with an immensely talented team at Retro and we all worked together to bring the best game possible to the fans!
This is the diorama that is representational of the Autumn Heights level. I worked with an animator to come with the composition and poses for the characters in the scene. The Autumn Heights island is very near and dear to me. I developed a large part of the look for the island and worked on 4 of the levels themselves. In this scene the owl statues were modeled and textured by Sean Horton, and the grass and tree canopy were also created by another artist.
Just a small sample of the props I created for the game. Among my proudest is creating the HD version of Donkey Kongs Rocket Barrel! I also got to create the easter egg of one Bowsers tanks from Super Mario Bros. 3! The barrel was created for use as the Barrel Cannon but we ended up going with a different version. This version ended up just being used as a background prop.
This level was great fun because it is the only boss level in the game that has 3 different locations! For the main area I used the temple I created for Rodent Ruckus in the background, and fleshed it out. The Owl statues in the background were created by Sean Horton. For whatever reason they weren't used in any of the levels but I loved them so I had to put them in here. I imagined that there was a society of owls long ago that populated the Autumn Heights island. This is why Skowl was able to take over so easily. He used the Folklore as a pretense for the Snomad invasion of the island.
For the Second level (not pictured) I had to come up with a look for the Massive pine tree. It was tricky to make something that was able to run in game, look stylized yet still read as pine needles. The third level has nothing that I contributed to (besides the textures on the platform you stand on) but our technical artist Rob, and lighting artist Brad did an amazing job with the clouds and mood of the scene.
Friday, March 7, 2014
This level was an interesting challenge. It takes place on DK island but completely frozen over. Each level of the island takes place in a different section of the previous games world. So Aqueduct Assault had a good basis to build off of. However the assets used for DKCR couldn't be carried over. The textures were too low res (and didn't have normal maps) and the geometry was really low poly. So using the previous game as a point of reference I rebuilt the ruins structures. I even got to flesh out the look for the Ziggurat structures.
Finally my favorite piece in this level is the DK statue. In DKCR there is a statue of DK holding a Wii Remote in the background. However it was only a image mapped to a plane of geometry. I got to completely remake this in 3D, and of course since Tropical Freeze is on the Wii U he is holding a Game Pad! In the screen of the gamepad is a little easter egg of DK's past :)
This level was quite a beast to make and went under multiple revisions. The fact that DK shoots into the background twice meant a lot of art needed to be generated. On top of that while the look for the stucco and the factory pieces themselves were already developed. We had nothing for the factory itself. I came up with the look using the pieces and textures made by other artists. This was then in turn used in other levels. In the end this level turned out really great and I'm happy to say I got the approval to hide and easter egg in the background. Fans of old school Nintendo, and Donkey Kong will enjoy it I'm sure!
This might have been one of the most difficult levels I worked on. There was only a very loose idea for the level and that was plunger based dynamite. I decided to make it a mine of sorts. In my mind this is where the Snomads mined their ice to make their buildings. The level went through a few iterations. I worked with fellow artist Reed Ketcham on some of the ice tunnels. I made the initial block out and he refined them with better textures. Considering the toughness of the level (in terms of creation) I'm glad it turned out as well as it did.
This level was a very interesting challenge. How do you merge lava and ice? The idea for this level is that DK shows up and basically "restarts" the Volcano thus causing the Snomads main fortress to start melting. Coming up with the look for the Snomads structures was a blast. I love architecture and making the Ice castles was some of my favorite work. I also got to come up with a look for the cooled lava. Which unfortunately you barely see in the level due to the lighting. The initial turn around for this level was pretty short compared to other levels I worked on, so the pressure was on to deliver something epic for the last level in the game, and in a short period of time.