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Month: September 2021

Forest / Desert Environment Concept Talk!

Hello blog friends! It’s been a while! Real life has been crazy, but we’ve been chugging along on the game! [EDIT: holy heck, this post has been sitting in drafts for like, a month! I completely forgot to post it, aaa] Last time I posted, I wrapped up on talking about the starter Phantoms in the game. Now it’s time to talk about where all of the Phantoms, NPCs, and the Player live–the different worlds and environments.

I’m going to let you in on a secret πŸ‘€: I don’t particularly like doing environment stuff. Yep, crazy. My drawing passions lie with character and creature design, not quite UI and backgrounds. However! I do really like learning about new things and drawing inspiration from places I’d never thought to look before. So, I spent a lot of time looking at architecture from all over the world and used my newfound love of houseplants to fuel my sketching! (I have… too many houseplants for someone who just got into the hobby a few months ago πŸ˜…)

The Forest 🌳

You’ve seen the forest a lot, and you’ve probably even seen the concept art I’ve done for it in Claire’s posts! But I’m going to touch on it briefly just because it was the first environment we figured out and the first one that the player will see upon entering the game.

So, this is what the forest looks like in-game at the moment! A lot of darker colors, with a few pops of bright colors with the mushrooms. I did all of the textures for the trees and ground that you’re seeing here, with no bump mapping, if you know what that means! Basically, it just means that I painted them completely flat, with no computer magic to create actual 3-dimensionality in the game! Just good old-fashioned shadows and highlights πŸ˜‰

We used a lot of purples and dark greens, with a fairly strong blue tone over both. Cooler colors feel naturally a little less cozy and, well, warm than warm tones! We wanted to get a somewhat creepy vibes without making everything too dark to read.

And here’s the concept sheet I did for some props for the area! Some big mushrooms to platform on, some greenery to fill in the forested parts you can’t get to, and more!

The Desert 🌡

This is the hub world of the game! The second place the player will visit! There was some apprehension about the idea of a desert world in the game, since the deserts in many other games are pretty… barren. Monochromatic. But I think there’s a lot of room for color and beauty in a big sandy expanse too! My favorite biome in Minecraft is the painted desert, so it kinda influenced a lot of my colors choices here πŸ˜…

This is my colored sketch for the environment. A lot of larger than life succulents, painted terracotta and clay buildings, and color! Lots of color. I referenced a lot of African architecture (among others, the painted village of TiΓ©bΓ©lΓ© in Burkina Faso, Ndebele house painting, and the traditional architecture of Morocco and Mali), plus a few references from India and… the Tatooine set from Star Wars. The stairs are cool, okay?

Some of the images I used as reference/inspiration are below!

I’m pretty… wary of borrowing inspiration from cultures I don’t know personally, so I tried to be respectful about my approach. I won’t be using any specific buildings as a mold for ones in the game, and I’m making an effort to establish my own set of rules for patterns and color palette in this area. This isn’t just for aesthetics, but so that I don’t accidentally grab parts of the culture that hold significance that I’ve missed. By the way, if there’s ever any part of these blog posts or art that I’ve done for the game that you think isn’t culturally sensitive, please message me or comment! I want to include influences from various cultures within my art, and I do research on all of it, but I’ve only been deeply entrenched in the cultures I grew up in myself so I’m bound to miss certain nuances.

In Conclusion

Anyways! I have 2 more environments to share in a future blog post, so look forward to that! Until then, stay cool, make good choices, and… uhh… don’t do drugs ok bye!!

Sorry for being Quiet, but Here’s Some Phantoms!

Why hello there, stranger! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Summer here at Pine Drake was absolutely NUTS, and we’ve got so much stuff to show you and talk about! We appreciate you all sticking around here with us, and we hope the stuff we’ve been working on will make it worth your while. πŸ™‚

Since I’m me (Claire, if you did see the picture πŸ‘€) I’ve been working on bringing all of our Kindred Phantoms to life! We’re super close to having all of our starters animated and in-game (only one more left to go!) so without further ado, let’s dive right in!

So our first new Phantom is Kalfin, the Love type! Kalfin is a coyingly sweet Phantom based on the cryptid rhinoceros dolphin. While its round and huggable shape may make you lower your guard, Kalfin can actually be quite sharp and dangerous when it needs to be, especially against enemies or those it distrusts. It’ll never show its true face for too long, however, and always finds a way to hide its powerful jaws under a lovable facade!

This friendly pal doesn’t have a name yet, but represents the Calm Phantom in the Kindred set. Armed with a powerful calming energy, it has the ability to lull its foes to sleep when given the opportunity. This Phantom floats around without a care in the world – perhaps that crown on its head has something to do with it!

Last but not least, we have the newest member of the crew – a Sadness Phantom with an unknown name! Not much is known about this ghostly axolotl, but it seems to really need a friend – maybe you can help it feel better!

Another awesome thing about this Phantom – I recorded the process I took to create it! Creating a Phantom is usually a 6-8 hour process, and I recorded it and sped it into a nice 2 minute video πŸ™‚ Check it out below!

One last important update before I sign off. Pine Drake Games is growing as a studio and family, and we are happy to announce that we have made two key hires for our Human Resources department. State Alchemists Edward and Alphonse Elric have joined the team full time, and they have been delightful to work with thus far! You can see them here in their work clothes.

(In all seriousness, CJ and I adopted two kitties and their names are Edward (left) and Alphonse (right) and we love them so much!!)

As always, thanks for reading everyone! We hope you like the content the next few months have in store <3