How the Heck Did They Do It? (Art Edition)

Greetings, tasty earthlings.

Today’s bloggitty blog will focus on the delicious eye candy that is our game’s art. (written in a completely UNBIASED point of view by me, the Art Director / texture artist / level artist / UI designer / graphic designer / ladies man)

We’ve already blogged about the progression of the art style, but how about how it’s actually all slapped together and ends up in the final game? No, contrary to popular belief, we don’t employ and army of well trained macaques to assemble the levels by hand out of cardboard, banana skins, and feces. The art is actually created using the wizardry of the Photoshops, the sorcery of 3D Studio Max, and the devil witchcraft of the DrinkBox Engine.

So here’s an example of how a level looks in 3DS Max before it gets art-ified. To you it may look like just a jumble of nonsensical lines and shapes, but to ME it’s a mess of illogical edges and forms.

Export of level from Game Editor viewed in 3DS Max

After coming out from hiding under my desk for several hours, petrified of the daunting level in front of me, I get to work. Like a masterful painter, the 1st step is to lay down broad strokes. In this case; it’s figuring out what will be made of ground, or grassy outcrops, or buildings and other structures, and then creating and applying broad textures to large polygon shapes to cover as much space as possible.

Level filled in with "Broad Strokes"

After countless back and forth play testing and adjusting, and play testing and adjusting, and play testing and adjusting, the art is locked down for the final spit polish. This is where all the purdy little details get added. In this case, it’s all the fun little bits like the windows, fire escapes, trim details, tufts of grass , and hilarious billboards and signs.

Level filled in with more details

Even though the game is essentially a 2D side scroller, it’s actually built in 3D in order to get that slick n’ flashy sense of depth and parallax. Think of it like tediously stacking and sorting thousands and thousands of cut-out paper shapes till your eyeballs bleed and your brain explodes……..I know that’s how *I* saw it 😛

Level split into 3D layers

And here is the final art imported into the DrinkBox engine with all of the final in-game objects, enemies, characters, point pick-ups, lights, and pixie dust added. No, you haven’t died and gone to heaven; it just LOOKS that way.

Final level viewed in the Drinkbox Game Editor


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Samantha Fraser and Samantha Fraser, About a Blob. About a Blob said: New post: How the Heck Did They Do It? (Art Edition) […]

  2. Nitai says:

    Steph you are a hero for doing all that level art, and it turned out sooooo good!

  3. roma says:

    Stephitty Steph needs to blog more.

  4. John says:

    Very cool. Really neat how the level is made using three D’s instead of just the pair.

    Acronym alert: TFS:ABaB FTW! 😉