Monogon Games
Developing Aril’s Art
January 24, 2013, written by Ingmar Aril, Art, Design

Guess what? Developing a game takes a long time. Especially so if the game is a multiplayer game made without game-making tools like Unity or Adobe Flash. Nevertheless, we make games and continue to work on it until it is finished, which in Aril’s case is almost eight months now. Fair enough, we can’t work on Aril full-time because we are all still students, but eight months is a long time. However, we are nearing the final months of development and we have an exciting time ahead of us.

There are a lot of decisions you have to make while developing a game, and sometimes (actually quite often) you don’t know what the right choice was until you’ve already built it into the game. If you find out you made the wrong choice, time is lost and you have to make new stuff. One of the things that took a lot of time while making Aril was the art-style. There were a multitude of problems with both conceptualizing the art-style as well as making the graphics themselves, and it’s fair to say that finding an art-style that we personally are happy with took too long a time.

Our vision of what the world of Aril was like always was an abstract world, with mysterious mystical objects. The reason for this is that we thought of Aril as a ‘purified’ form of your average RTS, with a couple of differences of course, and geometrical shapes are fairly pure in form. But geometric shapes were not the only thing we experimented with. Below you can see a couple of our concepts.

What is interesting to see in these concepts is that there are quite a lot of ideas that overlap with the other concept sketches. We had plenty more ideas and sketches, some not as good as others which we eliminated. We went on Steam Greenlight with a couple of screenshots and a video of the style we had at that moment and we got a lot of mixed comments on the art. Some were very positive, some were very negative. Because amongst other reasons we felt the game deserved to be focused more on gameplay than on the art, we simplified the art style to the even more abstract style we have now.

As you can see, our current art-style is a little different from what you might have seen earlier on. The environment is now as simple and readable as can be, putting the gameplay at focus. Because of Aril’s unique gameplay we felt this was essential. We use a lot of white because white matches with pretty much all colors which is very important if the player basically ‘is’ a color. Another thing you can see in the image is a couple of other levels in the background. This is because of the underlying story of Aril, which I believe we shed some light on in the past and will clarify in the future.

That was it for now. What would you guys like to hear about next? We might not show it, but we put a lot of thought in what Aril is. Are you more interested in the story? How it is technically set up? The gameplay? If you’d like to know more about the gameplay, don’t worry too much because we will get to this very soon. We promise.