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How the Sausage Gets Made

Welcome back to another action-packed edition of Arcadian Atlas Updates, all you gorgeous backers you! This go-round we've got a sneak peak behind the scenes at our march towards beta, with the nitty gritty animation process, graphic design, and our menus as they become full-fledged in-game assets.

So kick back, relax, and breathe in nice and deep. The deluge of content is coming... now!

Dressed to the Nines

We want all our classes prepped and ready for battle, and it's tough to go to battle naked. These are just facts. Not only do you look like a crazy person, but swords and arrows are going to go clean through that tender skin.

So one of the very practical things we've been working on? Animation, and that means putting clothes on these little freaks:

Insider View: For all those who ask, Becca and I (Taylor) primarily use Photoshop and Pyxel Edit for our graphics work. Pyxel Edit is especially useful for animations, as it has digital onion skin layovers and a continuous preview of the animation as you work!

Animating characters involves a meticulous knowledge of each piece of clothing the character wears. With the Ranger, the frills on his boots and loose sleeves move independently of closer-hugging clothing like his gloves. So in action animations, there's a slight delay before those items move in relation to the rest of his clothing.

Likewise with the Cavalier, their capes are bulky and have a real weight to them, so during the jump animation you'll notice it still pulls down and drags until late in the jump.

And this year in the Arcadian Atlas Olympics, who won the high jump event? Fem Cavalier, obviously.

Designers, Make it Work

What's the most important part of the user interface? Design, of course. The look, feel, and usability of each menu needs to have consistency throughout, while still being clean enough to see all the necessary details of your soldiers at a glance.

Menu design is a harry business. From conception to execution, there are several steps we follow:
  • Style Guide - ensuring the colors, font sizes and looks mesh across menus and sub-menus, everything begins with the style guidelines bible.
  • Mockups - in order to then begin constructing menus in-engine, we template out some basic concepts in a mock-up file, similar to what's seen below. These are often messy to look at, but contain necessary details about character limits, color guides, and how the menu operates.

  • Prototyping - Patrick then begins constructing the menu in-engine, following the mock-up guidelines. This step is essential to get a feel for how the player actually moves through the menu.

  • Refinement - animation work, bug fixes, and usability tweaks are the final step to give a menu full polish. This can take place over the life of development, and the more beta input, the better the refinement process.
As you can see from the video below, the refinement process involves more than just animation work. Sound Effects and music are subtle ways to guide through a menu and set a mood, making it clear when funds have run out, purchases are made, and provide much needed chill out music after your fights.

Don't Take It Outside

And did you notice some of those gorgeous interior tiles Becca has been working up? A few shots of the WIP Tavern and Item Shop are below.

We're really excited about these interior tiles for another reason, though! We've got a few fights planned where patrons will most certainly not be taking the fight outside. Not all taverns are friendly places, after all, so look forward to a few arrows flying into a beer keg near you!

Get In Formation

As we keep pushing forward on beta progress, we'll be bringing all you lovely backers a look at the Troop Management screen - where all the skill, class, equipment, and level up magic happens, along with more music, sounds, classes, maps, and everything you've come to know and love from Arcadia. More goodies than you can shake a stick at!

So polish up those swords and brew yourself up some potions - we'll see you next time!

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