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A Shadowrun cyberpunk cRPG set in 2056's Magically Awakened Hong Kong by the developers of Shadowrun Returns & Dragonfall.
A Shadowrun cyberpunk cRPG set in 2056's Magically Awakened Hong Kong by the developers of Shadowrun Returns & Dragonfall.
A Shadowrun cyberpunk cRPG set in 2056's Magically Awakened Hong Kong by the developers of Shadowrun Returns & Dragonfall.
31,497 backers pledged $1,204,726 to help bring this project to life.

LIVE interview with the devs on Twitch TV 1/29! And another peek behind the curtain...

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Our Backers are amazing! You are now over 19,000 strong (yikes!) and your legions are growing by the minute! 

Hey, great news! 

Andrew, our Lead Writer, and Mitch, our Fearless Leader are going to be LIVE on Twitch tomorrow - January 29 at 8pm EST - with Arvan Eleron talking about Shadowrun: Hong Kong! Andrew and Mitch had a great time the last time they were on his show and we hope you’ll stop by! http://www.twitch.tv/arvaneleron

In the meantime, here are two members of our Environment team to give you another peek backstage about how they go from a piece of concept art to in-game isometric perspective. Check out the cool gif they made, too! 

 -- HBS

Hi, I’m Cassidy Aquilino-Berg. I had a stellar time working on the environments for Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall as an intern and I’m pretty excited to have leveled up to work on Shadowrun: Hong Kong full-time.

And I’m Spencer Curtis. I’m happy to be back on the team after an amazing time interning with HBS two summers ago on Dragonfall. Some of you might remember my funky fresh dino skeletons from the beginning of the last game.

Spencer (in blonde) & Cassidy (in luxurious brunette)
Spencer (in blonde) & Cassidy (in luxurious brunette)

The first environment we tackled on this project was the Hong Kong Night Market, which was denser than anything done for our previous games. The painted mood piece below was created by Tristin, our lead Environment Artist, to give us an idea of the look and feel of this environment. It’s our job to interpret Tristin's concepts into our isometric game perspective.

Night Market concept by Tristin Ishmael
Night Market concept by Tristin Ishmael

Starting with props from our previous games and sketching on top of them helps us quickly block out a general idea of the space. This concept began with a more traditional style that represented the typical architecture of a traditional "Chinatown" - like peaked roofs and wood panel walls. 

Iteration is king
Iteration is king

Our initial feedback from Mitch and our Art Director, Chris, was that it looked "too touristy" so changes were made to make it feel more down and dirty Shadowrun. This kind of iteration is what makes our work better so we try to squeeze in as many iterations as possible to explore each concept. Just this one concept went through four different iterations before we got to a place where we wanted to move forward!

Once the overall environment is determined and the isometric concept sketch is approved, it’s time to start working on individual props - which really brings a scene to life.

Starting with a list of props and tons of references, we use Photoshop to sketch and paint new environment assets that are specific to Hong Kong. Painting one prop at a time, often we end up with a single Photoshop document filled to the brim with layers of different props which are saved and then placed in a composition like this one. This part is a blast, because we can finally start seeing our world come together one neon sign at a time.  

In the GIF below, you can see the process of how we build an environment starting with the sketch, then building a base layer of road, buildings and awnings and then street carts, lights, neon signs, and street trash getting more and more detailed as we go.

The Evolution of the Night Market
The Evolution of the Night Market

We had a great time collaborating with the rest of the team to make this concept come to life and we can't tell you how pumped we are to dive further into the art of a visually alluring game setting like Shadowrun - especially in Hong Kong. 

-- Cassidy and Spencer (The Insta-Art Shamans)

Steve Hayes, Blackstaff, and 97 more people like this update.

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    1. Ghostmourn on February 6, 2015

      wow I love the night market concept art and its inception :)
      So excited for the Hong Kong setting, infact I cant think of a better place for a SR campaign .

    2. Alyindar
      Superbacker
      on January 30, 2015

      Thanks! That's what I get for not reading the updates too closely, eh?

    3. RC on January 29, 2015

      @Bastinenz You can catch the recording on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/ArvanEleron/videos once it's up, Chummer ^_^

    4. Missing avatar

      Bastinenz on January 29, 2015

      Lol, totally got the time difference wrong and caught like 2 minutes of the Q&A xD I wanted to ask, whether the HBS guys still play Shadowrun Tabletop and if so, what edition(s)..

    5. RC on January 29, 2015

      Hoi Chummers!

      REMINDER:

      LIVE Q&A with the Shadowrun: Hong Kong devs!

      TONIGHT: 8pm EST / 1am GMT

      MItch (co-founder/studio manager) and Andrew (lead writer) with host @gregoryawilson on Twitch.tv here: http://www.twitch.tv/arvaneleron

      Youtube archive should be made available on Arvan Eleron's youtube channel after the interview/Q&A - URL to come once it's up. ^_^

    6. Dianne on January 29, 2015

      That GIF right there makes me happy for SRR HK's PC-only focus. There are so many intricate little details, like the holographic guardian lion statues. It brings back fond memories of being lost in the vertical sprawl of Kaineng City in Guild Wars: Factions.

    7. Missing avatar

      Karl Malm on January 29, 2015

      Fantastic work all around. Hope that the switch to full PC development means all that denseness stays in the scene!

    8. RC on January 29, 2015

      Hoi Alyindar!

      HBS provided the concept art wallpaper resolution in Update #1 here, Chummer! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/webeharebrained/shadowrun-hong-kong/posts/1106698

      Just click on the image for the higher rez wallpaper ^_^

    9. Charles Stuard on January 29, 2015

      @Ang - Wow, that's pretty ridiculous looking. Reminds me of something you'd see come out of a trash compactor.

      I'm not entirely sure a game from this perspective is ideal for exploring something like that. Seems like prime FPS territory (Deus Ex?) since it's so tight... don't want anything to screw with the camera. In this type of game, you'd probably just get all that claustrophobia removed from the fact the near buildings are cut out.

      Maybe they could implement something like Divinity did, where they "dissolve" the terrain between the camera and the character. Not really a necessary feature, but it would allow you to feel like you're being "closed in on" by the city buildings.

      Actually, looking at the Balcony views, it kind of reminds me of FFVI and that town of Liars (can't recall the name). They had a pretty awesome sequence of going into and out of interiors and climbing up a fire escape thing on the exterior.. and even leaping across from building to building at one point. I could see a SR mission similar to the one where you're scaling the floors of a building like these.

      Also, as I was saying about the "depth" of a scene, having a map on the TOP of this area could be really cool, depending on how far down you could see. The back drop of these sheer buildings into dense alleyways could be really cool, especially if it looked anything like that first image on your link.

    10. Alyindar
      Superbacker
      on January 29, 2015

      I love the concept art! Any chance of a desktop wallpaper? *puppy dog eyes*

    11. Missing avatar

      Ang on January 29, 2015

      @Charles HK is kinda a congest urban sprawl, but what I think made it really distinctive was the level of congestion - the main thing I noted as 'not entirely accurate' about the night market picture is that it wasn't crowded or claustrophobia inducing as HK actually had been. The main impression you get of it, being there, is that building codes don't 'not apply' as much as they are noted and strongly disregarded with.

      Of course the problem with that is that if you had that in a game, it'd be impossible for characters to move anywhere or for you to even see the ground past the forest of neon signs, so I suppose that's a thing too.

      http://imgur.com/gallery/jFoPv is a GREAT album of pictures from Kowloon Walled City, and what I'm really hoping to see them do in Shadowrun with Is0bel's backstory, considering that she came from the slums here. Something similar to this in a game would be seriously cool to me - I basically grew up on Hong Kong movies and programming, so to be able to explore the city in a game would be awesome.

    12. Charles Stuard on January 28, 2015

      @Ang - I get what you're saying. Honestly, I don't want it to look touristy... I just want it to look different. So far all the location have been what I'd call "congested urban sprawls". So if the terrain / footprint can't vary too much, I'd like to see some concerted effort in the colors used, the materials of things, the texture of surfaces... all those sorts of elements varied. A call to make it have more "touristy" landmarks (like the over the top emblem in the first image) is really just an easy way out to get more visual variety from what we're used to.

      A lot of the images you show uses a lot more color than what we're seeing here, though there is quite the collection of grey drab building going on in your pictures too.

      I like a lot of the images IamHowie is showing. Some really nice architecture in those. Even just adding a few of the curved buildings could really change the feel of some areas.

      Maybe if the "hub" zone is a combination of zones you could travel between quickly, we could have some of the crowded downtown feel in some areas, but expand out into other areas like the more British inspired areas, the more green areas, etc. That would satisfy me quite a bit.

      One of my favorite zones in Dragonfall was actually the exterior of the Mansion at the beginning and end of the game. I thought that was an awesome change of pace and it felt really different (and the gargoyle mechanic was fun, too). I just wish there was more of that variance spread throughout the game.

    13. Missing avatar

      Ang on January 28, 2015

      @IamHowie The impression I had of Hong Kong is MASSIVELY DENSE urban sprawl but totally green countryside and hills literally like less than a half hour's drive out. I actually went there for hiking and trekking, which tends to surprise people because they don't often go into the New Territories and stick to Hong Kong Island alone. I'd love to see Shadowrun: HK do all of Hong Kong and not just the island, but considering the part above is depicting the night market, I'm glad it doesn't look touristy. Hong Kong IS Chinese, it shouldn't look like a foreign country's Chinatown, is what I mean.

    14. IamHowie on January 28, 2015

      Hong Kong is full of touristy areas, some of these areas are even part of our everyday lives. It's not always bad to fill it with touristy areas.
      Might I suggest to add in buildings that incorporate British architects, like Hong Kong University?
      You should also consider that, unlike most major metropolis in the world, Hong Kong is a very green city. Buildings are all built on reclaimed lands or surrounding large hills that formed the islands. It is not always the gritty dark districts for miles, but instead you can find countryside just besides the CBD. Around 80% of Hong Kong soil (for now) are government designated countryside areas, you can easily check that out in google map.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Square_Street
      http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%8A%85%E9%91%BC%E7%81%A3%E5%A4%A9%E5%90%8E%E5%BB%9F
      http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%B8
      http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%9B%B7%E7%94%9F%E6%98%A5
      http://www.np360.com.hk/en/lantau-outdoor-fun/land/tung-chung-mangrove.html

    15. Missing avatar

      Ang on January 28, 2015

      @Charles - For what it's worth, I'm SERIOUSLY glad they didn't make it look overly Chinese. I'm Chinese myself, though from Singapore, and I've travelled to HK for various reasons before. I'd probably be cringing to pieces if they'd gone with a more typically oriental sort of look because that's what other people think of places like HK but not what HK is like at all. If anything, HK's an insanely congested urban sprawl where people are piled in on each other and there's hilariously little regard for outward displays of traditional architecture and things like that except in small personal ways. It's the city that's come closest to a truely cyberpunk sort of feeling compared to any other I've been in.

      http://imgur.com/a/Nd5EI I had some old photographs here from the last time I went (2011). The ones showing greenery / temples are all taken at Lantau Island, which isn't HK city proper though still technically a part of it. What they finally went with is much closer to actually feeling like Hong Kong than the original sketch, and I'm pumped that they're heading in that direction.

    16. Missing avatar

      'phoon on January 28, 2015

      Great update, and hoping to to see a few more gifs like that one - a real pleasure seeing the process.

    17. Alyssakx on January 28, 2015

      That gif. I just stared at it for ages. I wish I can do something like that too, but at last, I can't draw. XD I'm so glad I've backed up enough for an art book, I hope to see you make my home alive with the cyberpunk atmosphere! It's gonna be epic. :D

    18. Stacy Zielinski on January 28, 2015

      I'm ashamed to admit how long I probably stared at that gif... haha it was absolutely mesmerizing! Loving the look thus far!

      Cannot WAIT until the interview on Twitch tomorrow! I'll definitely be tuning in... and I have a hunch that either during the interview or shortly after, the re-vamped Matrix will become a reality. Keep up the awesome work guys!

    19. Felipe Machado on January 28, 2015

      This project is so different from the others I've backed...

      Really happy to be a part of it and get the opportunity to read those updates, meet the people that have made those games that I love and that will make this game that'll probably love as well... and, last but not least, help the game become better and better.

      On another subject... Can you guys give us more information on the e-novel?
      What's your goal with it? A story that happens before the game... after... during...?

      Thanks!

    20. Jeff on January 28, 2015

      Well don't spend to much time making it look nice. When I get through running the shadows there, not much is gonna be left standing. ; p

      Nice job with the artwork and GIF. Thanks you for the cool updates too. :D

    21. drow on January 28, 2015

      yeah, fair dinkum. seattle had one iconic setting, pike place market. berlin, not as much. but berlin's a pretty modern city, and i think the eurofonts and some props were reasonably distinct. if they work kowloon into HK, that'll be awesome. we may also see more local color in the interiors.

    22. Charles Stuard on January 28, 2015

      @drow : I get that, I do. But like I said, sometimes I feel like realism has to take a backseat to being interesting / fun. Even just increasing the color on the roof pieces in this drawing would make it feel a lot different I think. And honestly, as touristy as it was, I kinda miss the symbol from the initial sketch that was on the ground, like the statue in Dragonfall. That's a nice example of having something different that helps an environment feel different, as isolated as it was.

      I just would really love to see some environments that feel fresh and new. Or maybe some kind of epic vista? Add some depth into the scene with background? I know it's a bit limited with the camera angle, but hopefully you know what I mean.

      Not saying it's bad, it's just... not very new feeling.

    23. drow on January 28, 2015

      that's just the world, though. there are huge parts of any modern city which look pretty much the same as huge parts of any other modern city, no matter what country you're in. tarps is tarps, omae.

    24. Charles Stuard on January 28, 2015

      While I agree making it look too touristy is a problem, I'm a little concerned it's starting to look very... samey to the other two games. One of my major problems with Dragonfall was that the environment felt largely the same as Seattle. It didn't feel like I was halfway around the world.

      I'm starting to have the same concerns here, as well. The super muted palette has a lot of the same tonality and colors as I've seen for two whole games now. The neon lights help, but I do wish we saw brighter colors on the chinese architectural elements so they stood out more. Right now they blend into the scene so much they're practically invisible. For me, at least.

      A lot of the props, like the tarps, look like reuse too. While this isn't necessarily bad, it just continues to solidify the sameness for me.

      I dunno, maybe even changing how the roads are painted (I think they use different symbols over there? ...maybe?) could help.

      I mean, honestly, I'm no expert. I just want the world to feel significantly different. Even if that ends up meaning it's more of a caricature of what Hong Kong is really like instead of aiming for pure realism.

      Either way, good luck. I'm gonna play it anyway.

    25. Missing avatar

      Caleb on January 28, 2015

      @Mitch, Indeed, I was a bit hasty to push 'post!' The tightly-packed high-rise apartment(?) building in the gif looks wonderful (and those streets!). I look forward to seeing how vertical (both above ground and underground) the game environment will be compared to the city today. :)

    26. Harebrained Schemes LLC 4-time creator on January 28, 2015

      @Caleb - that was our point with the feedback on the first version of the piece. We *don't* want Chinatown. :D

      Mitch

    27. RC on January 28, 2015

      Chummers,

      Regarding the LIVE Q&A, remember to first check HBS's FAQ's at the bottom of the main Kickstarter page! And also, all the answers the devs have provided us in the comments, which you can do here:

      http://www.matrixsprawl.net/2015/01/Shadowrun-Hong-Kong-Kickstarter-news-from-HBS.html

      This way, we can do our legwork, ask new questions and gather more paydata! ^_^

    28. Thomas C Murphy III on January 28, 2015

      Yeah, love the gif. Really gives a sense of the process. I hope to see more like it in future updates.

    29. RC on January 28, 2015

      Wiz Update, Chummers! Loving the bits and pieces we've been getting a peek at so far, of Tristin's AWESOME concept art, and your realization of it in the Night Market! And I really did take a moment to admire the dino skels each time I played DF, Spencer. Nice work, Chum! And keep building that stash of Karma, Cassidy! It looks like you're already doing a great job of progressing your reputation and skill trees, omae. ^_^

      And we get a live Q&A tomorrow with Mitch & Andrew too!? FAN-FRAGGIN-TASTIC!!! Can't wait!

    30. nicholas perrett on January 28, 2015

      Props on making it look lived-in and not just tourist schlock. The whole "Chinatown" look is far more prevalent in US Chinatowns than it is in any part of China proper. This actually looks like someplace that used to be a pleasant Chinese neighborhood a hundred years earlier, and is now subject to the economic hardships of a cyberpunk era.

    31. Missing avatar

      Caleb on January 28, 2015

      'typical architecture of a traditional "Chinatown"'

      Less 'Chinatown' and more 'Hong Kong' please.

    32. Ber on January 28, 2015

      The night market looks awesome, can't wait to explore it. Love your work Cassidy and Spencer :)

    33. Wes Evans on January 28, 2015

      That gif is fantastic!