Game Identity, Sound Design and Development

I need to design an identity for my game for things including UI, marketing, logo and promotional material. I began by making a few design boards of inspiration and references to get an idea of what I want and to keep me on track when going further.

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I had some ideas about how the UI would look in-game. I would like a the information the player gathers such as landmarks, interesting objects, creatures, clues etc. to be drawn in a ‘journal’ that will fill out as the player discovers more things. I found the journal in Red Dead Redemption 2 to be super charming and a really nice, simple way to deliver more thoughtful information about events and landmarks which also reveals more about the main character in turn. The Uncharted series does this too, but Nate’s drawings are always a bit too good, whereas Arthur’s and John’s drawings from RDR2 have much more personality and they each have different ways and skill levels of drawing which is such a nice detail that really gives their gruff characters some likability.

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Because the bug people have no livestock, a leather journal wouldn’t be reasonable, and I had heard of a kind of leather made from plant matter so I thought that could be a process these people use to make more hardwearing materials from fungi and cacti.

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I made some sketches for a possible logo for the game. I’m really not great at typography and usually just use the same few fonts but I want to try and make hand drawn text in a pixel style similar to the game. I sketched out a few ideas but only really liked one of them enough to continue, I think I need to have another go at sketching some more ideas as I’m not that sold on any of them.

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I took this idea forward, mainly just to try out some ideas for some possible lettering effects. I wanted a somewhat pictographic font like the one I am planning to make for the game world to add some interest to the world, but as I haven’t designed that yet I might give logo-designing another go afterwards and see if it comes out better. But for now, I thought I may as well try and make something usable just in case I run out of time.

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A rough go at the design using mouse, which is quite hard.
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I cleaned up the shapes but I still wanted some irregularity to it as I want them to look natural, like landmarks in the cliff or sand.
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I tried adding some spider web details to suggest the bug aspect of my game. I quick like the effect but I’m not sure if it suits the vibe of my game well enough.
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Then, I tried rendering the letters in a similar way to how I’ve been rendering the cave interiors. I quite like the effect but again, I’m not sure it works that well for my game.
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I used a cracked earth texture as an overlay and traced some of the cracks to create a different effect. I really like how this looks but I perhaps it’s a little busy? I might take out some the smaller cracks to make it more clear.
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Sam said it look a little bit creepy in black and white, like a logo for a horror game, and to use more natural colours, and I agree these kind of colours look much better and suit my game more.

 

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I made some lighter versions. I’m still not entirely sure what colours to use but I need to move onto other things now, it’s easy enough to change the colours later so maybe I’ll revisit the logo.

 

Alex Ayling, a musician, came in to talk to each of us about what kind of music and sounds to include in our games. He advised me to keep the music simple and ambient for my game as to not distract from the visuals. I want some simple atmospheric sounds and perhaps some ambient tones for music, but nothing too modern/electric sounding and not too much melody which could get annoying when exploring areas. I really like the atmosphere of the Yume Nikki soundtrack, specifically how it sounds a little static-y and lo-fi, which works well with the pixel style of the game – I think this might work well for my game too. Natural sounds such as gentle percussion and string instrument tones with a slight digital filter over the top so that it meshes well with the obviously-digital pixel style of the game but still fits with the technologically undeveloped world.

Alex also mentioned having some individual noises for each of the characters to add personality and differentiate them. I hadn’t really gotten round to thinking about character sounds but it makes sense and would be a nice detail, so I’ll think more on the kinds of sounds each character would make.

I’m planning to gather sounds from the environment with a portable recorder, which should be fun and sound better and be more custom for my game, rather than just using stock sounds off the web, which are no doubt very overused in indie games.

 

 

I started on the background for the next room, a bridge connecting the two sides of the city across the chasm. This is the basic design, which I will add more detail to later. The bridge is made by spider-people. I wanted a foreground section of the bridge to make it look like the player is walking through it, so I made a separate layer that can be added as an object on top with a depth modifier on it to make it appear in front of the player.

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The background with the added bridge layer.
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The character between the two layers. The effect works : )

I also added a feature that means when the player interacts with an object, a large detail shot of the object will appear to give the player a closer look. This is just an ugly placeholder for now, and I would like to add a border to the image as well, but the idea works.

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I added more detail to the second room background, with little glowing mushroom lights. Now I need to make some more NPCs to be lingering around and hopefully get them to move idly a little.

 

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