Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

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Grabthehoopka
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby Grabthehoopka » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:39 pm

Aubrey Beardsley isn't really the first person who springs to mind, seeing as how most of the stuff I've seen is just about the definition of a hot mess:

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that, like a lot of art nouveau, is less about perspective and proportion and more about form and shapes and the motion of the lines used to make it. (I tried to pick examples that might be relevant to NN.) However, this did make me look over his work again, and I noticed a couple of portraits that use a very different style:

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I couldn't find anything that looked similar, but they are certainly really visually gripping. I'll see if I can find more stuff that looks like this. Anyways, all this and more here:
http://www.wikiart.org/en/aubrey-beardsley#close

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evilkinggumby
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby evilkinggumby » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:48 am

it is a funky contrast to the previous game, for sure. If not to use the art style, it could serve a handy inspiration when considering imagery that is both fascinating, complex, repulsive and unsettling. I love the layered complexity in a lot of his work and how even in the more "normal" stuff there is still this sense of something being not quite right with it.

There is another artist from this era (i think) but I can't recall his name and can't find any images I recall from them so.. WIll keep looking.
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Grabthehoopka
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby Grabthehoopka » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:19 pm

It only occurs to me now that I forgot to mention the merits of his art style and came off kind of negative. =/ Sorry about that.

I do think that it's an incredibly elegant, methodical style that could work really well for nightmarish imagery (as evidenced by his drawing of a baby being pulled from a wound in a calf muscle - I'm assuming this is based on some Greek myth I've never heard of, but seriously, what's up with that?). His wonky proportions and perspective he sometimes uses would be incredibly hard to animate, but if it was done properly, like making someone's limbs shrink and expand as they moved, I think it would be about as head-turning as the first one, if not moreso. And if they don't copy the art style exactly, I think the large swaths of pure white and pure black would still be something to take inspiration from.

EDIT:

I was perusing wikiart, for reasons pertaining to this thread, and I came across an artist I've never heard of, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky (don't ask me how to pronounce it), a Russian-Lithuanian expressionist artist who has painted some very pretty cityscape pictures. However, he also did a very interesting series called White Nights, which uses a clean, simple, hand-drawn style with stark blacks and whites, and that I think might be a pretty good fit:

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More here: http://www.wikiart.org/en/mstislav-dobuzhinsky#close

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matt
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby matt » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:46 pm

Thank you for all the suggestions! I'll definitely keep those in mind and pass them along to the art team. One thing I'd like to keep is the "living darkness" feeling, so we'll probably need to do something that has some kind of shading pattern for dynamic lighting (but perhaps a different one than Neverending Nightmares).

While I really like the look of large swaths of pure white and pure black, I don't think that sort of style allows us to do the living darkness. There is another indie game, White Night, that uses that, and it looks really darn pretty.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Grabthehoopka
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby Grabthehoopka » Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:40 pm

White Night, you say? Hot damn. Well, I think I may have accidentally discovered the inspiration for that title. :) And on a sidenote, shit, they took my matchbook idea I was gonna suggest in the suggestions/brainstorming thread.

In Neverending Nightmares all of the shading was done with horizontal lines. I'm going to assume that you did multiple tests with perpendicular diagonal lines and vertical lines and settled on horizontal cause it looked the best, so I won't suggest anything further with cross-hatching. However, have you considered using stippling instead? An example:

Cross-hatching:
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Stippling:
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(sources:
http://allikatt.deviantart.com/art/Cros ... e-10362930
http://allikatt.deviantart.com/art/Stip ... e-10362975 )

I think if done right, the dots could provide a kind of revolting, splattery, pock-markey kind of effect. Maybe you could go for a sort of "ants-are-crawling-all-over-your-monitor" look, where each individual stipple shifts and moves around, or a sort of "those-eye-floater-things-you-see-sometimes" look where they kind of sliiiide up and down in big patches. Or, since they're little dots, I suppose you could really go nuts with it and make it look like dust in the wind or sand billowing in an underwater current, where it kind of ebbs and flows and dances around the light. However, I've seen your Retro/Grade postmortem, and I know that the phrases "particle system" and "go nuts" kind of have a bad history with you, so perhaps it's best to just keep it simple.

Anyways, just something to think upon.

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matt
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby matt » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:05 pm

Stippling is definitely a good idea. While doing a bunch of particles sounds like fun, it probably wouldn't make a huge difference in terms of the visual effect over using textures, and it would have considerable performance ramifications. Being able to run on low end hardware devices is nice, so I'm not sure particles would be the right choice. At least, I would want to try to do it with textures first.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

Grabthehoopka
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby Grabthehoopka » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:02 am

Yeah, I also think that it would be a bit much. If you want to make it creepier, less is always more. So if it was really simple, like the little dots crept or crawled across the shaded areas, it would probably leave a more lasting impression than a swarm-of-bees-type effect would.

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evilkinggumby
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby evilkinggumby » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:36 am

I actually like the idea of pointillism and i think it could make for a very effective method of shading. If you used it like just a craling series of layered dots I think it would be OK but really just do what it was designed to do (shade, obscure) and little more. I would much prefer to see you actually design it so that the shading itself was done almost like black television snow, except instead of white and blacxk dots, just have random black dots forming a shadow within an area. Essentially you'd end up with shaded "visual noise" that at first glance may look like just shading itself, but the beauty of it is that the "constantly moving" nature of the noise means subliminally the player will never get a feeling of calm, placid, relaxing safety. It is not the kind of effect that will push the game over any kind of tipping point, but when you are mindful of various ways to very slowly and subtley ratchet up the tension, it all works together into a wonderful frightening broth!

Not to mention you could vary up the speed and complexity of the noise in the shadows based on the moments in the game. In some spaces it could move fairly slowly and with very small dots, then in scarier or more intense moments could get faster and the dots slightly larger. you could also have it set to randomly have the dots form shapes that vaguely look like SOMETHING but not be anything in particular... just to make the player second guess if they're being watched or if something is coming for them.. hehehe

they used a sort of 'hash' style in Valkyria Chronicles that I loved and it was more of a facet of the shader/renderer than actual textures on the figures. As well they used a similar 'obscured' edging in persona 3 and 4 in many stages along with a layer of 'tv noise' or pseudo scan lines. Though the games were not outright scary, it did add a layer of energy to any given scene that a static unmoving shadow would not.
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matt
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby matt » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:17 pm

I apologize, but I'm really not sure what you mean. We wouldn't use random dots. The artists would create patterns that will scroll and whatnot. Are you just saying it shouldn't be random? Are you saying you'd LIKE it to look like black and white TV snow? That is 100% random, so I'm a bit confused.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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evilkinggumby
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Re: Art Style for Neverending Nightmares 2?

Postby evilkinggumby » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:46 pm

Yeah, like television snow, more or less. I did a quick search for "creating static shader" and found numerous sites and discussions talking about how to generate seemingly random "static" in 2d and 3d environments all kinds of ways (many of them using mathmatics) for game design. I realize it is quicker easier and already proven possible to just replicate what you did with NeN by doing layers of dots or lines and having them slow crawl across the screen to create an obscured shadowy effect. What I am proposing would require a bit of tinkering, research, experimentation and work to implement. But if it worked, it could be adapted and implemented with much more effect on the next game (or possibly added back as a bonus setting in NeN if you use a similar engine to design it).

Honestly I don't expect you to do this.
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