Hey everyone, got a question for you, straight from Second Star! What do snow banks, mushrooms, and a microwave have in common?
While you’re mulling it over, I’ll tell you what our team was thinking: inspiration!
When creating a brand new sci-fi adventure there’s a lot to consider. What does space… even look like? Nailing the environmental design is key, and a major focus for our Visual Artists and Level Designers.
“[We] just soak it all in, pulling from everywhere,” Tobias, our Art Direction Lead, said. “This look, this vibe,” from pictures, art, and other games all go into the melting pot that is the aesthetic of the Second Star universe.
Some influences are direct and physical. Anya, artist and level designer, spoke about how nature really can be, “quite alien,” when we take a closer look. By “remixing” nature and considering the unknown in our own solar system, there’s been some exciting and unique creations!
Other inspirations come from a predetermined aesthetic that needs shape in the game. Mikhal, artist and level designer, said, “I pay attention to shape-language and color palettes, and what moods they invoke.”
Anya echoed this when conceptualizing one of the game’s main locations. “Reds and oranges,” set the tone and she, “threw down shapes until I found one that was satisfying… and a little unlike [anything] we’ve seen before.”
Concept art, and plenty of it, is essential in pointing the way forward to a fully realized fictional world. But in games, environment has to combine both form and function, so the Visual Art and Level Design teams have been collaborating since day one. Lauriane, our Level Design Lead, has an idea of what a level should look like, “to fit the environment,” that has been established by the artists. She also shared three goals the teams have in mind during projects: “Would this work, would this be fun, and would this communicate well with the player?”
Tobias also summarized this with, “What does this need to do in addition to looking good?” These core ideas provide a template for how we want players to navigate each level — both to advance the game and to enjoy it!
And to think this all started with fungus, frozen water, and a food warming machine.
That’s all we can share for now, but stay tuned for more from all our teams here at Second Star!