-Characteristics of a few mobile game maps -Part II
Please note: in this post I use art works from some popular games to elucidate the ideas of the article. As our team also creates map art, please don’t mistake that the art work in the post are created by our team. And a big thanks to those developers who had released those great games!
Today almost every mobile game has a map, in this series of posts, I would evaluate the characteristics of maps of a few popular games: Bubble Witch 2 Saga, Jelly Splash, etc, from the point view of an art producer. If you’re a game developer who’s planning to have a map for your game, or an artist, this series is for you.
This is Part 2 of the posts, let’s take a look into the maps of Bubble Witch 2 Saga.
It’s a game aiming at female players, the color palette is pleasant, the design is cute and interesting, and for its 3D render graphics, the elements are relatively sharper and more geometrical that other digital painting maps. Overally, the map is very beautiful and with good sense of details.
Art production solution
It’s 3D pre-render + 2D touch up solution.
In any map section, you can see there’re not too many polygons. By today’s PC power, you can easily get the soft 3D lighting effect by Final Gather or Vray stuff, the render time is much shorter (a few minutes with a $1000 PC), in the past you may take hours.
And finally with some 2D work to finish the picture. In most part of the maps, the pictures are heavily 2D edited/painted.
You can see in this example, the green trees bleed bright color to the side of the skull. By 3D render, you can’t get this intense color bleeding by simple setup. But it can be easily done in 2D.
And one thing need to mention is that this art solution is expensive, it needs careful plan, design, and then 3D production. In 3D itself there’re many steps involved.
It’s a young witch’s adventure, the themes of the map zones are mostly spooky, or themes that can add some spooky twist. The themes are variegated, there’re traditional spooky themes: grave yard, pumpkin field; World famous sites: great wall, Sphinx and Pyramids; And some fantasy themes: floating islands, crystal mine.
Basic design of a zone
The basic design of many zones assume this pattern: a main building, and the terrain is relatively flat, then with many smaller items to enrich the picture.
In the first few zones, the terrain is flat, 2D painted; And in later zones, there’re more and more full 3D modeled terrains.
A key color for each zone
3D objects re-useable
For it’s 3D solution, many objects could be reused.
3D objects adjustable
For it’s 3D solution, many 3D objects on the ground could be moved, it offers some flexibility.
Level nodes too crammed
For many zones, there are way too many level nodes, and many turns of the path. At one glance, the map is dominated by the round nodes.
Path is not baked into the background
For many games, the path is integrate part of the background picture. In this game, however the path is represented by pave slates. I can’t see what consideration the King’s team have in mind in doing so, perhaps only out of the concern of art design.
And one interesting thing is, although the 3D pave slates could be easily duplicated, I can’t spot two exactly identical slates in the map. I see that, no doubt they duplicate the slates, and make some minor modification to each duplication. Being mindful to details- this is the hallmark of all big productions.
Rich of animations
The maps are rich of simple small animations, wiggling ghosts, hopping skull, fireflies. These makes the picture live.
Rough estimation of production time
I’m not sure how much time King’s team spend on each map, but I can give a time estimation to the production of a sample map zone, in a general sense, with breakdown of each stage’s work:
For this Japanese zone:
It would take a lot to come up with a concept in the first place, so how long this step takes, really depends on your team. So I leave this step blank.
In this Series:
P4: To be continued…