Game Art Spotlight: Body of Water

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Howdy. I’m Tom Kitchen – an illustrator/graphic designer type, who in the past few years has turned his hand to game development. Currently I’m working with Blind Sky Studios on a game titled Adam. A physiological/almost horror themed game, loosely in the style of old adventure games.

And very recently, during a game jam I teamed up with a group of people from round the world and we ended up producing The Tower at TortennaWe’re currently working on our next game under the collective name Tower Team.

Emporium Inspiration 

So this was my design constraint for the Emporium scenes – take a location and imagine a tornado tore through it – and all that it left behind were things that had emotional relevance to a specific memory. Body of Water is one of the few scenes in Emporium taken from my own memory bank – I was maybe 4/5 years old. It was a family day out at a nondescript dock/pier and we were about to hop on a boat tour or something? All I remember is looking down down and seeing the water rushing bellow through the wooden slats. At the time it felt like a long way down and the water seamed impossibly deep and massive. It was the first time I remember experiencing a mortal fear – like I am able to die and the water below me has the capacity to make that happen – you know, typical kid stuff. It was this memory that set the scene for Body of Water. The rest is just making shapes in blender.

Emporium was my first time making a full 3D game, So I figured low poly would be an easy approach for a novice. But now, after working on more hi def models I wouldn’t say that low poly stuff is necessarily easier. It’s definitely quicker – but things like colour, readability and the overall silhouette require a very different sort of consideration compared to more photo realistic stuff. So 90% of the stuff in Emporium is just low poly box modelling – mostly tweaking cubes and cylinders – I leant heavily on Blenders boolean modifier as well. Flat colour pallets for textures/materials and so on. There’s nothing super technical happening really.           

Emporium

Emporium is a short interactive vignette. Exploring notions of escapism, loss and a fragmented sense of self in the wake of a personal tragedy.

These pockets of dissonant clarity are a vain effort to find beauty, poetry and reason in one’s bleakest and most desperate moments.

Emporium is a small game lasting roughly 30 to 45 minutes, with a minimal approach to game play, focusing on visuals and audio to build a visceral experience with sporadic dialogue choices leading the narrative.

Although Emporium touches on themes of suicide, depression, bipolar and dissociative identity disorder in a very fleeting way, it’s not necessarily a game about those things. More a sort of confused, vaguely poetic response to those things.

Emporium trailer: 

First 3 minutes of gameplay:

I didn’t discover Sketchfab until after I’d finished Emporium. But game development is a long and slow process. It can feel like you’re just treading water and making no progress. However with something like Sketchfab – I can upload bits and pieces of a larger project and have them be displayed in a very polished and processional manner – it really helps to mark progress in a long development cycle, I can look back over my Sketchfab page and see these little milestones – also there’s models and scenes I spent hours and days on that only appear in Emporium for a few seconds, and tiny on the screen too – It’s fun to give those models more of a spotlight!

LINKS!

My personal website/portfolio

My Twitter 

And off course my SketchFab page

Blind Sky Studios

Tower Team Twitter

Tower Team on Itch.io

Emporium on Steam

About the author

Tom Kitchen

Tom Kitchen is an Illustrator and game designer based in Cardiff, Wales. Currently working with Blind Sky Studios on their upcoming title Adam, while making odd little games on his own.


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