Furmins: the Secret Artworks Stash - Part 2

Furmins: the Secret Artworks Stash - Part 2

2012 Housemarque

A few days ago we started to go through the pre-production artworks of Furmins with Mikko Eerola, the game’s Lead Artist. Let’s see what else we found in our secret stash…

Up next is this crest background. Readers can see it here at the top.

This was one of the first images I came up with when I started exploring the idea of having these medieval-themed crests – but I also wanted to keep in mind that this game is not supposed to be completely historical and that’s why I  included these “modern color-schemes” in severla elements of the game.

Tell me about this line art drawing.

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This is a shading technique that I rarely do, but for this project it was useful because it allowed me to predict and control the areas with a lot of contrast so that the gameplay elements would be as clearly visible as possible. For the Furmins backgrounds it is important that there’s not too much contrast anywhere – even though this is counter-intuitive when you’re doing a picture that’s supposed to look good. But with too much contrast, the game elements wouldn’t be clearly visible, and I wanted to keep that in mind.

It might seem like a lot of trouble to draw the sketches traditionally when the end result is purely digital. However the style of Furmins is something that was not in my skill-set in the beginning of the project and I had to learn to think visually in a different way and create assets that would fit this gameworld. For many artists their style is something that builds over the course of many years and old habits die hard. That’s why it was important to do even the sketches in that “Furmins-mindset” and in the end that kept the shape language consistent with the rest.

This is a mockup of the new menu.

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We revamped the entire menu system at one point, so I created this. It’s not an actual menu layout, but it shows how the items would look in the new menu.

What was the problem with the old one?

As the game progressed, we realized it wasn’t cohesive to the style of the game. This version here is a bit more “old looking”. The whole sash idea was inspired by one of my favorite clothing designers, Sarah Burton. I think there’s an old feeling to them, and they look like they’re from a completely different time period, which stays true to the idea of the game.

What can you tell me about this night sky test?

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The “space level” in the game is one of my favorite levels because we created a cool effect which makes the Northern Lights look really dynamic.

So someone else at Housemarque did this?

Yes. The 3D artist worked on a cool mist effect that changes color in real time. It makes this 2D image that I painted look a lot more alive. He also worked on a particle effect to make the northern lights sway slowly. I could just look at it move all day. He modeled the marble pieces as well, and had to go through lots of iterations since we had a pile of images of marble that were completely unreadable on the small screen. I had to simplify them down many times so we could get them to be visible on the screen.

Also, the lighting makes all the shapes more complicated to design. We went back and forth with different ones until we ended up with something that looks clear and whimsical but decorative and elegant at the same time. I honestly didn’t foresee how hard it would be to work in this context when we began to make the pieces for the gameplay area.

We are not done! More comments on the pre-production artworks of Furmins coming soon…


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