Art For Gunnheim

Written by Klaus Kääriäinen

This year I’v been working with design, environment art, effects and sounds for our newly released game Gunnheim. The project was first PC Steam release for our company, but second for myself. The previous large project was the Airbuccaneers of Ludocraft Ltd.

Gunnheim has now been officially released, yet it was in early access for couple of months. With the feedback we got from it we were able to push the game into the direction in which our small but dedicated community wanted it to go. If being honest with you, I bet that we would have done a lot of bad design choices for the game without the feedback of early access.

When developing Gunnheim we had some problems to keep on track with features which we want in the game. At some point the game could change drastically within a a week, because we figured out some new and more interesting way to do things. But after another week, we noticed that those choices were not good. Every game project needs time for iteration, there is no escape from that but now when thinking the pipeline, we could have done it a lot more efficiently.

There is so much to talk about of the different areas of Gunnheim development. I’m planning to write different posts related to other areas of the project. But in this post I’m going to focus more into how we created the environment.

We are a small team. Because of that we had to think it from the start that how we can create all the stuff into the game without using years for it. The project was planned to be in development no more than around six months, but like always in first bigger projects, we failed the timeline. It took us nine months in total. One choice in which I’m proud of is the technique on how to create the environment and levels.

There is nothing super innovative or high skill in this technique, but with this we were able to create a art style which pleased the eye, got good feedback and was easy/fast to create. I guess that for small startup these kind of choices are essential to keep the project size in shape.

When you start planning the art style for your game, remember that every new step you add in model pipeline needs to be done to all the other models as well. For example, if you decide to use normal maps, you better start counting the estimate how many models you need for the final product. Or do you really have to use normal maps for all of the models, is it enough to only create those only for characters? It’s really easy to forget this when starting to create the very first models for the game and trying to make them look as awesome as possible. If you have limited time, you need to think this before hand. So think before you start and reserve time for testing different techniques, it will save a lot of your time.