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Art Test

January 30, 2019 | Dukus | 34 Comments

I've been tired of looking at grey flat land with test objects, so I spent a bit of time doing some art tests. It's hard for me to have any feelings about a game without visuals. Yes, the gameplay can be in place, and it might be fun, but for me it misses something undefinable without the visuals - partly charm, warmth, completeness, but something more as well.

At the same time, since I've still in a very much prototype phase of development, I don't want to spend days on each art asset, or hours making shaders.

So I arrived at a prototype art style that is certainly subject to change, but for now gives me something more concrete to build on where I can add detail later.

It looks like this:

So now I can quickly model general shapes, play with color and shading, without spending a ton of time getting high resolution assets built.

A bunch of other things had to be done to make this happen. I had to start a proper terrain generation system specific to the game that incorporates gameplay features instead of just being specific to terrain. This was fairly quick implement do to previous work.

I also had to rewrite the shadowing system I had from Banished - previously the camera couldn't look up to the horizon, but now I'm allowing a much more flexible camera, so I need to render to the horizon and handle shadows in any configuration. Not hard, but a bit of a change from a single shadow maps to cascaded shadow maps.

Also due to the camera changes I now have some new rendering systems to handle more objects and need to create LOD objects for things far away - another thing that I didn't have in Banished. And another reason to have a quick prototype art style. Each asset now needs multiple models for close, mid, and far view distances.

I'm allowing a large zoom out distance, so you can look over a fairly large area. Here's the same terrain as the previous image from far away.

Obviously it still needs, ocean, and sky - but usually I'm testing close up in the middle of the island looking down, so it's not an immediate need.

I may end up with something in-between this style and Banished's style, or something completely different. Or I may stick with it - I've got plans for far more assets than the previous game required, so faster art creation might be a really good thing.

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34 comments on “Art Test”

  1. I'm no programmer but if there's anything I can do to help, give me a shout. Looking forward to your new game!

  2. Looks good so far.
    Have you thought about the system for players? I mean multiplayer possibilities.
    Either via Lan or internet.
    I am aware that multiplayer protocols can be tricky but I am sure more of us would like the possibility for it. 🙂

  3. Looking good. I really enjoy your updates. I'm looking forward to when your game is ready to be tested. I am happy to help you.

  4. Loved the BANISHED game, so will buy a new one from you "sight unseen" if it were. But this adds to the anticipation fun.

  5. I love this visual style! 🙂 It is simple but allows much depth and details. If it were for me - just keep that style. It is awesome!

  6. Hey Dukus,

    Love your game (hopefully games!). Although the art style in Banished was good, it wasn't terribly exciting, unique or groundbreaking today (it was good when it was released, but many games these day make a similar style).

    Have you considered trying to experiment with many different types of visuals and art style? I feel this style is very washed out and safe (which isn't bad in and of it self).

  7. Very good news !!

    it triggers me some questions:

    Do you plan to allow mods and toolkit in this game and has it been build entirely from start with the idea of it ?

    Do you plan to add Building animations ?

    Do you plan to add light effects and day/night features ?

    Do you have now a very good idea of what modders will expect/hope if you allow mods to be created ?

    There will certainly be some kind of trades in game, are you planing a kind of ground merchants with the ability to modders to setup their own trade routes?

    UI: will we able to do some customized UI if you allow mods?

    Can't wait to see your next publication.
    -RedK

  8. Awesome! I'm happy to see the progress you're making in your game. Congrats on all the new and exciting things you're learning with this. Keep up the great work! I'm looking forward towards your next update. 🙂

  9. Your updates fill us with hope.
    It sounds as though you are enjoying this new endeavour.
    I have a feeling that you wake up with excitment each morning with anticipation of what the day will bring.
    (I hope so.)
    Waiting for more updates and a new Game......

  10. oh i have another quesion: will things stand on real elevated ground levels ? or everything at absolute ground level like Banished ? i ask because thats a big flaw from banished.

  11. Hey man, been a long time fan, since banished started development, and always wanted to ask you: any reason you didn't use an existing engine like unreal or unity and rolled out your own thing from scratch? Cheers and keep up the excellent work!

  12. Hey man, been a long time fan, since banished started development, and always wanted to ask you: any reason you didn't use an existing engine like unreal or unity and rolled out your own thing from scratch? Cheers and keep up the excellent work!

  13. Hey man, been a long time fan, since banished started development, and always wanted to ask you: any reason you didn't use an existing engine like unreal or unity and rolled out your own thing from scratch? Cheers and keep up the excellent work!

  14. I am so happy to see that scrolling out is more expansive. I would love beyond words if we could scroll in even closer particularly in wooded area. I've love this game since it's release and am in complete awe of all you have accomplished in creating this game.

  15. Glad to see you are going with the realistic look. I'm not a fan of the fantasy and plastic looking landscapes and objects.
    I hope your game will be compatible with Linux since it is all I use.
    Thanks for the update and looking forward to the final product.

  16. "...that incorporates gameplay features instead of just being specific to terrain."

    Hmm, like the entry to a habitable cave?

  17. I actually really like this "test" style- reminds me of Firewatch. You're absolutely right that there's emotional meaning to a style- I hadn't really put that together until you mentioned it. To me, this evokes a feeling that is slightly whimsical, but still full of the promise of adventure and discovery.

    p.s. Because I'm VERY helpful, I'll point out that the little "About" block of text on the right still mentions Banished as the thingy under development and uses the odd wordage "as an professional." As I said, VERY helpful.

  18. I think that art style looks really nice. Wouldn’t mind at all if the final game looked like that 🙂

  19. Love you updates and looking forward to playing a new game of yours, whenever that may be. 🙂

  20. So, from all the info that was posted in the last blog entries, is it safe to say that we have a new and improved Banished(2) game on the horizon?

  21. In my opinion you should try and keep as much of Banished's original art style as possible. It is what gives the game its trademark feel. Yes the textures are low res compared to the standard of the day but this allows for huge asset numbers with little drop off in rendering performance, LODs will of course help this. You are also a one man band so generating all these new assets required by the new game, complete with new textures and LODs will become a labour of love the more complex you make them, and more complex for your loyal modding community to replicate and expand upon. In this respect part of the charm of Banished was its visual simplicity and its accessibility. Finally there are a huge number of existing quality mod assets that could be quickly incorporated into the basic asset framework of a new game if their Authors were willing to collaborate.
    Keep up the great work!

  22. In my opinion you should try and keep as much of Banished's original art style as possible. It is what gives the game its trademark feel. Yes the textures are low res compared to the standard of the day but this allows for huge asset numbers with little drop off in rendering performance, LODs will of course help this. You are also a one man band so generating all these new assets required by the new game, complete with new textures and LODs will become a labour of love the more complex you make them, and more complex for your loyal modding community to replicate and expand upon. In this respect part of the charm of Banished was its visual simplicity and its accessibility.
    Keep up the great work!

  23. Perhaps your new game should take place in a large city, built by the player of course, and be called "Evicted".
    Whatever you choose, I am looking forward to it. Banished was and is still a good game for me.

  24. +1 on RedKetchup's questions up above. With powerful mod tools in place from the get go, the community can mod the art assets to our liking. Some prefer this more artistic take, personally I am more in love with the grittiness of Banished. More than anything I'm excited to see what new tech/design features you can come up with! 😀

  25. AAAAAAAA Good to see how your work is going! I'm sure it's hard and you've run into a lot of problems, and possibly might be running out of hair. You have a loyal fanbase and we appreciate your work and effort!

  26. Really can't express just how excited I am that you're working on a new game! I love Banished and have over 600 hours in it now but the prospect of something new is very exciting! Good luck with everything!

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