IMPORTANT UPDATE - PLEASE READ
This update contains some very important information so even if you do not usually read the updates please do read the Mandatory section below which is quite short and concerns all backers.
PS! There will be another update end of this week or early next week
We are putting the final touches on our new community site and also setting up the new forums. The community site will be used for both in-depth updates, community chat (and sometimes scheduled developer chats!) as well as the new forums. For now only backers will be allowed to register (this may change later).
Next week we will do a mass import of all 17000 backers and create users as well as setup your posting rights (based on pledge tiers and digital add-ons) and assign Knighthood badges etc. It is important that you check BackerKit and verify that your email is correct so we can send you the login information for the new community site.
We are sending out a reminder to all backers who have not yet logged into BackerKit so please check your spam folders if you never received a BackerKit invite. Also, if you plan to upgrade your current pledge tier or wish to purchase digital add-ons, doing it before 1st of April would be a good idea, since that is the time your card will be charged.
If you deleted your BackerKit invite go here: https://mandategame.backerkit.com/
Kickstarter backers: You can buy digital add-ons directly inside BackerKit. If you wish to upgrade your pledge tier you must first buy the equivalent sum in digital add-ons and then send us a message via Kickstarter so we can manually modify your pledge level by deleting your add-ons and changing your pledge tier (BackerKit does not support upgrading a pledge level automatically).
Paypal backers: If you wish to buy digital add-ons or upgrade your pledge level then visit our Paypal store and pick the variable Paypal donation button at the top (click picture below for direct link). This will take you to a new window where you can specify the total donation amount. Once your donation is confirmed, send us a message via Kickstarter or contact BackerKit. Tell us if you want credits for digital add-ons or to upgrade to a higher pledge tier or a combination.
That concludes the mandatory section of this update. Thank you for your attention.
Next Garret, our art director, wanted to take some time to discuss style differences between factions and also how we approach the armour design process.
Hi backers, Garret here. The art team has been quite busy lately as we are experimenting with with different visual styles and doing tests to figure out what works and what doesn't. The best place for us to start is by setting up a bad guy vs good guy scenario. So here we've made the clear choice of Pirates vs Mandate simply because of the dichotomy between these two factions: The Mandate is efficient and rigid, where the Pirates are makeshift and animalistic. The way I like to approach visually designing the separate game elements is to put myself in the place of an engineer responsible for creating the ships, weapons and armor for each faction. What’s the psychology of each faction? What are their priorities and philosophies? For example, here are some excerpts from the style guide for two of our factions:
“The Grand fleet is built by the Mandate to serve the military needs of their forces across all occupied systems. The fleet has a ridged style made from interlocking parts that were produced in mass to allow each sector admiral to adapt their forces based on the specific defense requirements of a given sector. As a result the ships may take on an ugly aesthetic as they are designed for function rather than flare. The Grand fleet ships would be considered the standard on how ships are constructed in the galaxy. So, although ships from other factions don't look identical, they do expand on the modular design approach first established with the Grand Fleet designs.”
“The Pirate faction is an unorganized group that operates from all the dark corners of the galaxy. They are driven by fear, desperation, psychopathy, and motivated by greed. Their ships are built by galactic black market designers, and they focus on closing distance with their prey, making the kill whichever way they can. It's this or starve. The pirate fleet can steal some designs from other factions but are most notable for the menacing designs of the forecastle section. Pirates will either recycle prize ships or occasionally buy custom ship which focus on speed and maximizing the firepower of the forward batteries. When engaged in boarding operations and fighting in cramped corridors, pirates tend to prefer versatile weapons with a secondary melee capability.”
So, taking a similar approach for armors there's much more to consider than just whether or not it looks cool. During the Kickstarter campaign we were focusing on the visuals and less on the functional aspects. But now we are doing silhouette and shape tests to figure out what works best from an isometric perspective. We want flexibility and variation so we needed to rethink some of our initial designs.
Above you can see the Mandate light armor concept. It’s based on the design we showed during the Kickstarter campaign, but the new design trims off some of the fluff and focuses on the player experience. The art team could spend lots of time adding all sorts of wonderful details but the players will never be able to see these from the distance and camera angle we will use in The Mandate. Actually, too much details could result in muddy or “too busy” looking armors, so we are focusing more on the shape and big lines. For this reason I’ve set out to really define what the important visual identifiers will be between different factions and also between different “protection levels” (light, medium, heavy etc). This approach has worked well so far.
One of our key goals with the armors (besides still looking cool) is to help the players easily identify the different units under their command as well as enemy threats just by eyeballing the scene. It’s pointless if the light and medium armors look good if you can't quickly find what you’re looking for on the screen.
When designing the pirate concepts below, I consider the psychology of black market engineers and what resources they have at their disposal. This makes scavenged and reused parts important considerations in the design.
Visual identifiers and faction psychology are important when developing a cohesive design language to add clarity as well as focus on what the eye most effectively responds to. Are X, Y, Z, visual identifiers effective at distinguishing one figure from another? If yes then how can we exploit these to enhance visual identification? If no, then should we remove or relegate these visual identifier to an exclusive faction style instead?
That’s it from me, I thought I would round off with a render from the Mandate light armor based on one of the first concepts in this update. What are some of your favorite sketches? Feel free to share and discuss in the comments.
Your friends at Perihelion Interactive