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Play as an alien plant and escape from a scientific facility, full of secrets and dangerous experiments.
Play as an alien plant and escape from a scientific facility, full of secrets and dangerous experiments.
5,953 backers pledged $144,960 to help bring this project to life.

Focus on graphic design + new project

Posted by Asthree Works (Creator)
49 likes

Hi plant lovers! We’ve been busy as hell this last months and because of that it took a little while to make a new update, sorry! As I stated other times, we prepare these posts outside work hours and the process of exporting pixel art animations + in-game gifs is sometimes a pain in the ass. We could make them without so much gifs or images but it wouldn't be the same updates you love. Also, writing down all the text in Spanish and having to translate and check the grammar repeatedly doesn’t help with the times! X)

Besides all of this, we were working on a new thing but you must wait till the end of the post to know more about it.

On this update I wanted to show you some design processes, but this time I’m not talking about game mechanics or animations, today is all about graphic design.

Iconography and color

As graphic designers both Sigrid and I feel the irresistible urge to give extra attention to every resource that conform visual and textual significance. Any type of graphic that merges within the game content is carefully designed, so we always strive to find the balance between an artistically elaborated result and a user-friendly experience.

To this effect, we wanted to define an interface that avoids text explanations as much as possible, trying to represent ideas and concepts exclusively with graphic elements. This is where the iconography takes importance.

We start sketching concepts of each icon that needs to be represented, considering that all of them must have a very specific and understandable meaning.

To have an homogeneous yet impactful look we leave aside contours and gave them a solid/filled finish to the forms on the final stage. Through the process some designs are modified, giving priority to the international meaning of the icon above its look. Yeah, it’s cool to put a thorny nutshell to represent the defense ability, but the icon suffers a lost of detail on minimum sizes and can be confuse. On the contrary, a shield image is easier to represent and more recognizable.

Status bubbles

This is a game were players must study carefully the routines and reactions of every character. We have endeavored to create realistic and complex animations that show the mood and behavior of the enemies, but we also needed to include status globes focused on their interaction with the plant and its environment.

These globes are constantly displayed in real time, so we decided to conceive a pixel art iconography for them, different from the vector graphics used for the rest of menus. This way every graphic component that appear inside the game world fits perfectly and doesn’t look out of place.

With this in mind we integrated the communication elements within the game graphics avoiding to outshine the backgrounds or the character’s main animations, so they are not bigger than the width of an enemy's head.

Also, the use of color-blending transitions helps to spot the characters without the use of shrilling effects. This way the player can easily take note of various situations inside a room at the same time. The different tones selected for the bubbles represent distinct emotional states.

Usually, the red color suggests action and impulsiveness and fits perfectly for the enemy’s alert state.

Orange is linked to emotions like anticipation and ecstasy. Based on that we assigned it to the evasion state. During this state the characters stay in surveillance mode and are able to transition from/to alert anytime.

Violet and blue are calming tones and help us represent the toxicity of the gas spores and the knockout state respectively.
 

Typography

Developing our own typefaces is another way to add detail and depth to the game. The facility is full of elements that incorporate lettering such as info panels, advertisements or displays with minimum text details. To this purpose different fonts were designed and edited depending on their use and scale.

Defining a corporate identity

If a real life company should worry about having a good brand and bothers to design a communication strategy through the use of colors, imagotypes and ads... Why not develop a corporate identity for the company that is behind the events of our adventure? In Paradise Lost G.E.R. is represented as one of the most important research + development companies in the world, so it’s completely logic to think that they care about corporate image and marketing.

For this purpose, Sigrid conceived a modern and geometric logo that could be easily represented at pixel level into the scale of the game. The color scheme used helps to stand out from the backgrounds, differentiating from the overall hues and the sterility characteristics of scientific laboratories.

To capture a realistic corporatism and bring credibility to the company, we applied the logotype to tons of objects and graphic elements. In addition, the color scheme is constantly present, giving personality and realism to the facility.

Here is an example of a dinning area within the complex. As you can see the menus, furniture and other decorative elements follow the same line of design and color.

Off Topic: pixel art master class baby!

Few weeks ago took place the first video game festival of Cantabria, the Culture Game Fest, and we were invited a pair of days to show the game and give a pixel art class (look how the chair by my side create a funny effect on my back XD).

The workshop was quite a success and a lot of people seemed interested to start developing their own games and give a try to Aseprite. I never get tired of recommending this powerful (and cheap) program, and if you already use it you can give new ideas and help the community to improve the software on Github.

 

As a curiosity here’s the example of a PLFC enemy with different art styles that I drew for the assistants. The Nes version (second from the right) is lovely vintage.

If I have some spare time (year 2020 aprox. XD) I could record a tutorial of how to work with the program and make animations step by step :)

PS: our new project

As I said earlier, these last two months we were a little bit overworked. The reason is that we’ve been creating another project in parallel with Paradise Lost. First of all, let me be clear, if you think that the development of Paradise Lost is freezed/canceled or may resent because of this don’t panic, This work is not another video game and it’s already made.

During the little spare time that we had between August and September we came up with a fun game card, just as a hobby for a friend’s party. Everybody liked the concept and had a good time playing it, so we realized that we could turn it into something real.

With this in mind, we polished the rules and designed all the graphics on weekends till we had a well-defined version of the different cards. These last two weeks we were preparing a Kickstarter campaign to see if people are interested on the idea and send it to production.

The project will be uploaded very soon, so at the moment the campaign is active we’ll publish here another update so you can check it out :)  

Keep an eye to your mail inbox!

Enol

Thomas Aigner, Daniel, and 47 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Darin Herrick on

      Well I've supported both projects, and I'm excited for both. Does it look kinda bad when a project is delayed and a new one is started? Sure. But I'm reminded of my favorite living author. Brandon Sanderson is working on an epic fantasy series called the Stormlight Archive, and he put it on hold to complete the Wheel of Time series. I'd read one book of that series and was kind of upset that maybe I'd never get the next book of the series I was looking forward to.

      Over the years it turned out that this author needed small projects to keep his mind fresh and excited about the big projects.

      If the creators need to take a break from this neverending project to remember what it feels like to get some work done that they enjoy, awesome. As long as they aren't cancelling the existing project, and are taking a quick break to knock off something that will get their joy back, I'm very glad for it.

      I work at a software company and I'm really excited about this game because it reminds so much of that environment in a hilarious way. I'm looking forward to playing it with co-workers.

    2. Ichiro Ota on

      Do not underestimate all other 'misc' tasks you need to do to complete your kickstarter project, such as backer management, packing and sending stuff, etc. These seem trivial but could actually require a lot of your time and attention.

      If you think this new project won't affect the fulfillment of already delayed existing project at all, it sounds a bit too naive.

    3. Jason Chau on

      I just hope that you guys don't detract too much from your new Kickstarter that it forces you to detract from Paradise Lost, as Kickstarters do indeed take up an enormous amount of time and manpower to fulfill (and you do need to finish what you guys promised, as otherwise it reflects on your reputation). You already lost enough time trying to make up lost ground for your main programmer who left and having to recode everything without infringing his work (as you mentioned before). I was involved with a KS campaign that was launched by a relative of mine last year so I know exactly what it is like. Even if you delegate at least one or two people to the task, it still can be a lot of work. And time is always a crucial factor. As a backer I just hope it gets finished.

    4. Missing avatar

      Raj Singh on

      I think it's OK that this project is behind deadline. The updates and communication have been good, and I'm still confident that it will (eventually) be a great game. It's also not like time is of the essence. The world of computer graphics isn't going to pass them by or anything (that happened in 1996)...

      I can also understand the desire to fill the coffers. The campaign earned $144k, which may seem like a lot of money, but for a whole game development team over the course of even just one year (let alone two)? Not so much.

      Despite that, I have to admit that it does feel like it's in bad taste to start a new campaign when the first one is behind deadline... and while I realize that programming is a big hurdle (I'm a programmer), it's very clear from the updates that you guys are putting a lot of focus on tweaking the graphics (and it seems you're also suffering from the ever-common, ever-dangerous disease of scope creep) when what really sold the game (for me, at least) was the story. Many of the visual improvements could have gone into the sequel or a post-release game update/revision (a $5 whole game visual re-skin, for example).

      Anyway, I've had some pretty bad cases of scope creep myself, so I'm not one to judge. I'm just looking forward to playing the game, and I'll definitely look into other offerings from Ashtree after Paradise Lost is released.

    5. Missing avatar

      S. Poulin on

      I'm starting to question if this game will see the light of day, I was very excited for it, but it's almost been a year since it was supposed to be released. In all honesty, I'm a little disappointed.

    6. Missing avatar

      Christian on

      New project before old one is finished?
      Lol?

      Dont expect any $$$ from me.

    7. Asthree Works 2-time creator on

      @Suiciderunner It is a shame to left a finished project in a drawer, knowing that will not influence in the development of this game. Hope that you can understand our position and trust us with the progress of Paradise Lost.

      @Robert Silesius thanks for your opinion and your suggestions. Any point of view is always welcome, more if it comes from a proffesional in the matter :)
      It seems that more people had trouble seeing the magnifying glass, so we'll probably reduce the states from 5 to 3 and use the "?" icon for both doubt and search.

      @Martin O :D

    8. Sir Jordi
      Superbacker
      on

      I like the idea of the use of these icons
      good work guys!

    9. Martin O
      Superbacker
      on

      The 3 pixels font is surprisingly good to read! The 1 pixel font on the other hand... maybe you should rework that one... :-)

    10. Martin O
      Superbacker
      on

      @Robert Silesius: I haven't seen a key in it. Maybe once you know it's about searching it's not really a problem. I also wouldn't know how to make a better magnifying glass, flashlight or eye with so less pixels.

    11. Missing avatar

      Robert Silesius on

      Big readability warning flag here:

      The way too small magnifying glass pixel art looks like a key. Have you tried other symbols like a flashlight or an eye?

      The corporate logo in its pixel art form looks like the fire exit map of a building, rather than a logo. Even the original logo is way to messy to be realistic. Have you tried simplifying the typography even more?

      (I'm a former interface designer and current product designer, so I'm a bit sensitive/damaged when it comes to these things.) :)

    12. Yo Chupacabro! on

      Awesome update and I'm pumped to play Paradise Lost whenever it's done! Take your time and try not to get too stressed out. I know a lot of creative people work on smaller projects when they need to let off some creative steam, so you've got my support!

    13. Diggeh on

      No no no no no. Don't be one of those guys. Don't start a new project in the middle of this. Please.

    14. Suiciderunner on

      Shit happens is fine, but not exactly a great thing to say to backers who already gave you money for a project that's not even done yet. That's fine if the card project is done, but why can't that wait till after this?

    15. Minoru TODA on

      Although I understand that you sometimes have extra thinking resources to make something totally different, I cannot support this new kickstarter project. I can already imagine the production / shipping process of the new project breaking the precious development cycles, making further development difficult because your mind has already shifted to post-production mode.

    16. Imaria on

      With the utmost respect, I cannot support any new projects from you until Paradise Lost is finished and released.

      You've had a lot of struggles getting Paradise Lost finished. There is no sugarcoating that. I don't care if you say the other project is "finished"; if you need money for it, clearly there is more to do. And as someone invested in THIS project finishing, combined with seeing the challenges you've faced, I can't in good conscience say "Sure, put more on your plate".

      If you hold off on this Kickstarter until AFTER Paradise Lost is released, and it's what you promised it would be? I'll be first in line to throw more money at you. But you haven't proven yourself yet from the first time, and in fact have shown you're prone to... complications. You need to earn BACK trust from your backers at this point; you're actually in more of a deficit than when you were an unknown developer starting out.

      I do wish you all the best, but don't be shocked that the Paradise Lost backers aren't going to support this. We want our money's worth on this project first, and anything else WILL be viewed as a complication to that.

    17. Asthree Works 2-time creator on

      About Beta and release date:
      We are planning to distribute a preview build for all backers as soon as possible. There’s plenty of things to finish before that and trust us, we cannot wait to give you playable material.
      The thing we don’t want to do is publish a certain date and after that change it month after month.

      @Suiciderunner As I stated on the update, it is a project that Sigrid and I made during our spare time and is already finished.
      It has nothing to do with Paradise Lost, and all this time we were (and still are) working in the main project at full time 9 hours, 7 days per week.

      @Gozuja
      @Ryan Gadsby
      We already survived a campaign and know perfectly how hard it is. We’ll use that experience in our favor. Also the new project is not alive, it’s finished. It only needs to enter production and shipping. Nothing more, nothing less.
      As graphic designers we know how to manage print times and manufacturing… with Paradise Lost was a completely new monster for us and besides that we lost the main programmer having to start from scratch one year later. Shit happens.

      @Mario Fafangel
      We are always sincere with all of you, talking about ups and downs and the things that happened through the process on a regular basis. Not so far we ended most of the AI, but the level/cinematic editor takes a lot of time to be made. Also, we are not always making super cool animations and working with playable modules, for us graphic design is very important and we wanted to share with you that part of the process too -while other boring stuff happens in the background-. My bad if you are disappointed ┐(‘~` )┌

    18. Suiciderunner on

      Also just a heads up, multiple kickstarters have been shut down for having a company start up a new one while one was still being worked on. I don't mean to be rude but I can't support this new project or condone it while we are long over due on this project.

    19. Gozuja on

      Running a kickstarter campaign is a tremendously involved and time consuming process as noted by quite a few companies and parties behind them. This seems like a poor decision while this present project is overdue and I feel like it's a bit disingenuous to insist that it won't impact the time available for the game's workflow.

    20. Ryan Gadsby
      Superbacker
      on

      You're coming up on a year past your estimated delivery of the game and you're working on a new kickstarter? Why would anyone support that?

    21. Suiciderunner on

      Awesome update guys, but curious about a few things. How will this not take time away from paradise lost? With being behind schedule already, is there any update to beta and estimate for release dates?

    22. João Pedro Miguel Messias on

      my hype is increasing with every update. y u do dis T- T
      also, can't wait for that new kickstarter, will be sure to check that out for sure

    23. Dablue
      Superbacker
      on

      Good luck on the other kickstarter... ever thought about making it a digital card game? That i would probably back ;p

    24. Missing avatar

      Sleet
      Superbacker
      on

      Awesome update! Thanks for sharing so much cool stuff, and best of luck on that other Kickstarter!

    25. Ng Jun Siang on

      Dat detail. Hats off to you fellas m(_ _)m