A new wallpaper for our fans- the Black Clefts!
We’re unbelievably excited to share with you our update which will be coming out this Thursday, November 29th! In the meantime, here’s a wallpaper of the Star-Striders Field, one of the new environments that will be included in the upcoming update.
In addition to Thursday’s update, we may have a few more cool things to share with you in the next few weeks as well… stay tuned…
Hello White Whale friends!
We’re excited to announce we just submitted God of Blades’ newest update! And it’s a big one…
This update was a very ambitious undertaking for our team- we’ve developed a new type of asynchronous multiplayer mode called Revenant. Players can now create, customize, and level-up their characters in Revenant, and use Game Center to challenge their friends. When attempting a challenge, players will face their challenger’s character in a showdown just before they can successfully beat their score (and players can fight several of their friends in one run).
Additionally, we will have two new breathtaking environments- one of course is the Star-Striders Field (i.e. the jellyfish Jason wrote about a couple weeks ago), and the other is the blazing caverns of the Cave of Memory (this one will be available through Loreseeker- and yes, that is a dragon in the background!). Arcrim, Starwind, and the Tower will now be available to unlock using Loreseeker, or through regular sword points, giving everyone the opportunity to play with these powerful blades.
Our first big content update for God of Blades is in production, and that means we need a new phantasmagorical landscape for players to battle across. Though I did a blog a long long time ago about how I make these places, I wanted to go through the process now, transparently, to show not just the techniques, but also the line of thinking that produces the art in God of Blades.
I get most of my ideas from images/colors. If I can imagine two or three colors interacting in my brain, I can usually start carving out a place from them. In this case, I found the colors in images we had already made for the game. One was a sky-card I had made a while back. It’s a bit gray for GOB, but I knew that the neutral background would let me use some really loud colors as accents later on. So I put this background in the game, make a ground texture to match, and set the Nameless King loose on it.
First thing we need is a good light source. I put a lens flare in the brightest part of the clouds and make it super orange. Orange and blue can get notoriously overused, but they sure do look nice together. I’m keeping it. I tint the scene’s actual light to match my new sun.
Now its starting to look like the things I love. Reminds me instantly of one of my favorite spots in the interior of Iceland, the barren Kjölur Route north of the epic waterfall Gullfoss. Now it needs something alien and bizarre.
I remembered that George had done a concept of some massive flying jellyfish chained to strange towers a long time ago. Since a lot of this environment was the sky, I thought this might be the perfect spot to use them. I didn’t want any interference from humans, though, so I took out the chains and the towers. I wanted this place to feel like what John Muir called a “temple of nature” and you, the world’s ghost champion, were defending it from the despoiling cult. But what were those jellyfish doing there?
Telling a Tale
This is the fun part, where you get to start making up stories. My favorite stories are big, geological or cosmic stories, ones that make humans and civilizations seem small and insignificant. So I decided that these Jellyfish come from outer space. They roam the universe, drifting on solar winds and gravitational fields. Why did they stop at this planet? To mate, of course!
Across eons of time, one school of older jellyfish travel from planet to planet, searching for the right place to plant their incubation towers, which are living things themselves and take centuries to develop. Once they are ready, the towers call out across the stars, drawing in another set of far younger jellies (with specialized, bioluminescent organs for sensing the towers) who then deposit their seeds from the air onto the incubation fields, which will eventually produce young. The younger jellies then move on and eventually mature into the tower-planting type. In this way they leap-frog around the universe and their ultimate purpose (if any) remains a mystery.
None of this information is known to the inhabitants of the world of the game, and none of it needs to be apparent to the player, but it is very valuable for building the art in this place. Without stories like this, game environments can become collections of random tropes, mashed together for no reason beyond “it looks pretty”. Having a fluid logic that guides the artistic process is crucial to cutting out unnecessary elements and making something interesting. It also makes the whole process so much more fun.
So once I settled on the story, the jelly bodies and the incubators were sculpted in Zbrush. Some of those sculpts were inspired by natural reefs, some came from just playing with the tools. Then I added those bright color highlights (orange and green) to make it all sing together. Seed pods started to fall from the sky, jellies started to undulate and the sun started to shine through their transparent bodies. A bit more polish and this place should be ready for spectral combat!
I wanted to share this process with you so you can see how we generate content here at White Whale. We look at the world around us, we dig into our memories and the things that get us excited, then we break them down and try to tell stories with them. Even if it is invisible, we feel that none of that work is wasted, in fact it’s essential for building a cohesive and powerfully resonant world. We will be announcing our update for GOB soon, and we hope you will like all of the new content we are pouring into it!
Wow. It has been a long time since an update- as you can imagine, our team has been scrambling away for the past few months polishing up God of Blades and getting ready for all of you to play it on your iOS devices! We’re sooo close!
Last month, we were featured on Unity’s website, in their Made for Unity gallery. We’re proud to be using Unity for God of Blades, and needless to say it’s thrilling to see us featured on their curated gallery of games!
Earlier this month, our team presented at Juegos Rancheros, the indie collective (founded by Brandon Boyer, Adam Saltsman, and Wiley Wiggins) that meets here in Austin to showcase & play the best in independent games both local & global. Our lead designer, George, highlighted how our literary influences affected the design and aesthetic of God of Blades, and also our decision to create the God of Blades pulp fantasy covers. Additionally, those who made it were fortunate to get their hands on our exclusive poster prints!
Thanks all for the tremendous support!