пятница, 15 марта 2019 г.

Our game designer Max abot how he started to work in AYGames

A piece of half-faded hard parchment lay in my hands. Among the hillocks of yellowed paper, stained with dirt and mold, I saw barely noticeable marks of the village.

"What an interesting combination of buildings ... I haven't been in this location yet," - I thought.

Several fancy flakes fell from somewhere above and covered the edges of the old map. “Damn, not the weather,” flashed through my head as I looked up. Hundreds of dark gray ash plumes slowly fell out of the overcast gloomy skies, slightly yellowed in the pale rays of the barely rising sun. The pinkish shine of the muddy sunrise was reflected from the slippery gray heaps along the edges of the unclean road.

"A dead place ... but someone here, you see, still walks," - I whispered to myself, looking intently at the narrow path. Spitting on left shoulder, I set off. Fortunately, I didn’t meet thugs and marauders in this wilderness. Although the treasure also did not fall once, no matter how hard I looked around the neighborhood.

The camp looked modest, but at the same time impressed with some special business charm. On the threshold, I was met by Ash Master with his companion.

The three of us went to a local herbalist to drink a cup of hot potion. A couple of sips drove away sleep and invigorated me to an adequate state. As a result, our conversation was more than successful, and the camp owners agreed to accept me to their party.

The goal of these brave "businessmen" was thoroughly impressive - their quest seemed to be a real test, a worthy test for fortitude and skill. Paying off with herbalist, Ash Master took me to meet the others, now to my new colleagues, sisters, and brothers.

“Maxim, our new game designer,” introduced me Martin, marketing director of AYGames, whose true appearance filled in the dissolving image of a fictional character. Shaking snowflakes off the smartphone screen and turning off the navigator application, I put the mobile device in my jeans pocket and held out my free hand to meet friends.

I smiled, they smiled back at me. Outside the windows of the office, the pinkish winter sun rose and the sky finally cleared.

Yes, these are the quirks of the game designer's vision - to live in two parallel worlds at once, which intersect every second.

I took the opportunity to become a part of this wonderful company only now, a few months before the release of their first, but very exciting project, which managed to break into my soul literally from the first voiced words, from the pile of the first concepts. And every day I, by virtue of my capabilities and responsibilities, try to finalize the cumulative vision of our team and make it available to all players.

вторник, 5 марта 2019 г.

Promo Art

Before I tell you about the process of the creation of promo art, I’ll explain what a fantastic beast it is, where it lives and for what purpose it exists.

Promo art is used in advertising, marketing materials - on banners, covers for CDs, in social media. It attracts the attention of potential buyers of the game.

To create marketing art, you need to completely change the usual look at drawing for games. It isn’t enough to transfer already finished concepts of characters to a bright background and add sparks and glitters. If you act this way, then, in the end, you will get only a sad copy of what has already been done, which will definitely not interest anyone.

Promo art is always a new look at the same images and concepts that already exist in the game. This is a vision at a higher level. This is an illustration in which the perspective and dynamics are more pronounced, the colors are brighter, and the accents are clearer. As the most expressive, in my opinion, and most illustrative example, I will give marketing work to “League of Legends”. Little sprites of heroes run on the playing field, merging with the same beetles as themselves. But, transferred to promo-art, the characters as if come alive, the details begin to work, their surroundings cease to be just decorations. On the faces of the characters, the emotions of rage, joy, fun, depending on the situation, are more pronounced. Sometimes they seem crazy, completely wild, but it is even good. Everyone loves freaks. In the pictures, of course.

Promo art development requires a lot of time and effort. Often you have to go a few steps back, sending work hours to the basket, leaving no good, but not best, options.

Work begins with sketches and exploring examples from other artists. From them, you can draw ideas, color scheme or posture. In the sketches made the story or small details may not yet read, but certainly, there should be a competent composition and dynamics. In order to achieve this, it is best to try to solve the composition through the spot. In addition, this tactic will help solve the breakdown of tones at an early stage.

After you complete the sketch, the approach to further work may be different: either study the pattern in gray tones, in order to paint the art later through the blending mode or immediately draw in color. Usually, the second option is more convenient for artists with academic education, and the first is for those who learned to draw in Photoshop, like me.

The longest stage in the development of art is detailing and post-processing. The drawing takes on a final form, and become unique. And do not hesitate - your promotional art is still not bright enough. It only seems so to you!

The work of the artist, as, indeed, any other employee is limited. Many people are sure, that the artist has no limits; he can reflect on each stroke with inspiration and concentration. Of course, it is not true. Perhaps, unfortunately.

I always have specific deadlines. And consequently, during the creation of a large work, I need to plan the time frame for each stage of drawing. Another equally important difficulty that an artist, who creates promo art will have to face is blurry eyes. When you work on the same project for a long time, you stop noticing obvious mistakes. Even your hero may cease to be like the hero of a game, acquiring the outlines of someone unknown from your mind, but you will not notice.

Yet drawing promotional art is fun and extremely useful. This is a serious boost to the author's skill. What artist wouldn’t want to stop drawing icons and start living life to the fullest, creating full-fledged illustrations? In addition, promo arts are well paid)

среда, 23 января 2019 г.

Hello! My name is Julia. I work as an artist in the company AYGames. Right now I’m working on the project named “Deck of Ashes”. So, I’ll tell a little about myself and about the process of creating art for the game.

I always wanted to be an illustrator, so I received a classical art education. Like any academic artist, I was taught to love details, anatomy, and the study of volume in the subject. In this project, all this knowledge was very useful to me.

I worked on the background of the camp, its characters, game locations, mobs and map illustrations.

In a very beginning, we had to find our unique style and the correct way to show the atmosphere. Our game is about the dark, cursed Middle Ages, this meant that art must be full of all sorts of monsters from ancient legends, dark forests with crooked trees, fetid swamps, ravaged villages. All our team was very enthusiastic about it because we had a lot of opportunities to create something great. It was obvious to us that the monsters must be especially vile and bloodthirsty. We drew a bunch of sketches and it was a very fun process, because, despite all its bloodthirstiness, our monsters are definitely stylized and it is really interesting to look at them. I love to invent all sorts of fantastic creatures, to develop their design, to fill their images with characteristic elements. Each monster must have its own characteristics, which from a visual point of view is expressed in the difference of silhouette, color content, the character of attack. Among all these creatures, I even have my favorites. And the "cherry on the cake" was the opportunity for me to animate our mobs. This is a separate and very interesting process through which you can reveal the character even better.

In the development of backgrounds, we also tried to convey the oppressive atmosphere we needed and, in the necessary proportion, to stylize and simplify them. At this stage, the knowledge gained from the academy about heat and cold and aerial perspective was also very useful to me. Background development is a laborious process, it requires intense concentration of attention. It is necessary to divide them the features of game backgrounds into three clear plans. In the foreground are the characters, the second sets the environment, the distant one - unites everything into a whole picture. It is important not to break down these plans too deliberately because the liveliness of the entire composition can disappear. You should also try to draw on different layers at once because this greatly simplifies the subsequent work. In the future, of the chopped backgrounds, you can make options for new locations. It simplifies and speeds up development.

I also worked on illustrations of maps. It was decided to stylize art under linocut because this technique suites greatly to the Middle Ages. We focused on the contour, clear lines and characteristic strokes of this printing technique. As a result, the cards are well read, their essence is not lost, and, I think, the choice of such graphics greatly contributed to this.

In general, on this project, I constantly solve interesting problems, pump my skills and I really hope that you will enjoy our game and you will appreciate our efforts!

вторник, 22 января 2019 г.

Hello, my name is Yuriy.

I work in AYGames as a testing specialist. Initially, my role was to correctly plan the test coverage of the company's projects, but very soon I began to share my ideas on the development of Deck of Ashes and moved away a bit from the initial tasks. My ideas came to the team's liking, and I took on some of the responsibilities that the game designer and producer of the project perform.

For all the time that I work on Deck of Ashes, I have already managed to make many contacts, give an interview to Anton Logvinov on the version of the game that we showed at White Nights Spb 2018, participate in the showcase on VK Fest 2018 and DevGamm Moscow 2018, telling about our game as a Russian-speaking and English-speaking audience.

The most interesting thing in my work is that I solve complex problems with which I have never worked before, and do not dwell on this, setting myself more and more new goals.

A real test for me is the need to keep the entire array of necessary information in my head, distributing resources to resolve the obstacles on my way to release a product that is facing me and my colleagues. Each solution, each task requires attention, and controlling the flow of these tasks and building them as they arrive at the hierarchy from priorities, as if the orchestra conductor is both the most difficult and most exciting part of my work.

All the difficulties that I encountered in the work, I could not solve alone. I really don't have to do this. AYGames is a gallant team of experts who help each other in their work and participate in making decisions on the development of the game. I am very grateful to our guys for not being left behind.

The Deck of Ashes project began as a small game with card mechanics, and I am delighted with the fact that he grew up in a full-fledged game with hardcore battle mechanics, an original plot, a stunning and original visual style. A game that I personally find interesting to play.

Thanks to the understanding that I can make this game as high-quality as possible, every working day for me is a new opportunity, a new round in the development of the project and a new feat that is being accomplished by all our friendly team. If I were asked why I like working on this game, I would not be able to find an unequivocal answer, because the diversity of decisions and the love that we all invest in Deck of Ashes cannot be described in words - you can only feel it.

среда, 26 декабря 2018 г.

Hi! I'm Michail.

In AYGames, quite a small team, there are 4 of us, artists. And we all, of course, dream about creative freedom and unlimited resources. But these are, of course, pipe dreams. Our technical capabilities are limited, and our creative freedom exists only within the requests of a specific audience. But of what we really feel the shortage - is time.

So planning and unification are really important to us. How to deal with our uniqueness as artists, our completely different ideas, fears, and even different education? How to make us four draw in the same way? To whom and how many souls do we have to sale, so that in the end a team of strongly dissimilar people could make an almost perfect game?

Personally, I consider that the only thing that can help us is the feeling of overall inspiration, which is not so easy to catch for all of us in the same time and in the same way. We started our search with exploring the best examples of art among the already created and successful projects. We redefined them, creating something new and unique. This gave us the necessary soil on which we grew our separate art. The inspiration for us was mostly served by the illustrations of Yakub Rebelka and art for the game Darkest Dungeon.

But we had a huge fear that we could get carried away by other people’s work and lose our uniqueness, and start making the trivial copies of arts that gave us inspiration. But our background really helped us with it. All of our artists know how to make the animation. This fact allowed us to avoid turning characters into dummies with to frames, capable only to make the imitation of movements. We created full-fledged heroes and monsters, and their plastic made them truly alive.

We made characters created by different artists similar with the unification of style. It means a specific color scheme, and the thickness and plasticity of the line, and the use of certain textures and brushes in Photoshop. Every stage of creating was controlled by the art director.

Yes, at the first glance, there is not much creativity in this kind of job, but, in fact, the restrictions only helped me personally to concentrate on the details that make us unique and special both in the picture and in life.

среда, 5 декабря 2018 г.

Hello, world!

My name is Katerina. Here, in the AY Games team, I’m responsible for everything that’s related to a visual component of the project. Also, I manage the artists' team.

Today, in this post I’d like to tell you a little about the process of designing the visual style of our last game, named “Deck of Ashes”.

First of all, we needed to choose the general style of arts for the whole game. We were guided by the general mood of narrative - the disquiet landscapes afflicted by evil. Abandoned villages, misty swamps, and dark caves.

Characters look battered as they’ve passed through lots of life difficulties. Surely, they can’t sparkle with polished armor.

To create the tightness in the air we used ragged and quivering contours of our arts and muted colors. With the help of dark musical accompaniment, we created the necessary sense of anxiety and circumspection.

Also, it was important for us to keep the adventurous spirit of the game and not to turn “Deck of Ashes” into horror with gloomy backgrounds and depressive characters. So, we’ve chosen a worm spectrum of colors for everything that is related to mane characters, friendly NPCs and safe locations also supporting this in the UI in fair tones.

As the work was progressing, it became important for us to coordinate artists’ work in order to control that some personal style features won’t spoil the general style of the game. We regularly checked with already drown arts, consulted with other team members. Also, we used to focus on each others’ most well-drawn arts.

All these made to distribute various blocks of tasks among all artists, and not to entrust one certain person one type of tasks, which helped us to do the work faster. To say more, during the prosses all our artists learned how to make layered animation for the characters, which significantly accelerated and simplified the work we needed to do. In the result, the details for the animation and the animation itself were created by one person, which made easier for them to plan the characters’ movements and make it according to their idea.

Well-coordinated work of the team in general and the enthusiasm of each artist made it possible to create an entirely separate and diverse world, where many exciting adventures are waiting for the user))

пятница, 23 ноября 2018 г.

“So many bugs!”, PM says. “Here’s a bug list”, GD says. “Bugs. Bugs. Bugs”, says everyone. Every time I hear something like this I feel shocked and really confused. I run my build, check it out and find nothing in it. Everything works as it has to. I open the bug list that GM sent to me just to find out that it contains only a few real bugs and everything else is…

Anyway, let’s start with the definition of the “bug”. “Bug” means that there is a game error. The one which is accompanied by a red log is undoubtedly the bug: it causes a critical error. But not every bug can be the cause of this kind of error or even comes with a log. There is another kind of bugs which happen more often than the first ones. Here “bug” means that the game doesn’t work as the programmer expected.

Now let’s speak about the bug list. Here are some simple examples:
1) Damage the card deals depends on how much cards you hold in hand and "it doesn’t have to count itself". Is that a bug, when it's a pure lack of information at the time of its implementation? о_о

2) A card decreases 3 from effect timer N and “when you use this card it doesn’t trigger a passive effect which depends on activation of effect N”. Dude, it’s not meant to trigger. Decrease timer to 3 is not the same as activating it 3 times. О_о

3) Some mechanics work incorrectly. Wow. Hold on. When I was testing it, it worked perfectly right. And I tested it a few months ago. During this time no one asked me to fix it and SUDDENLY it becomes a bug? О_о

4) “Events should give not cards but recipes”. So, we are about to introduce such an entity as a"recipe" and implemented it as a reward for the fight and craft. Does it mean I had to redo the events? How is this related to the events? How months ago was I supposed to know that the reward for the events would become a recipe? But it is also added in a bug list as a “bug”... X_____x

To sum up, to make fewer bugs I need to delve not into the code but into esotericism. Start studying predictions, thought-reading, divination, which seems to be the basic set of skills necessary for every programmer who wants to hear less nasty words like “bug”. Gone to pray Cthulhu. Have a productive week. (с) me

Our game designer Max abot how he started to work in AYGames

A piece of half-faded hard parchment lay in my hands. Among the hillocks of yellowed paper, stained with dirt and mold, I saw barely noti...