From The Vault: First Mockups

Ahoy! I’m Xin, the Kitfox art officer. Today we’ll be digging up some artifacts from the archives, the first mockups created for Shattered Planet in 2013.

May 2: Space travel is cool. Video games need more fish spaceships.

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May 6: Maybe a separate screen for combat?

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May 16: But we wanted to focus on planet exploration!

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These guys are adorbs, but we thought it made our Roguelike look too casual.

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June 7: So we tried out three different aesthetics.

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The last one dates from mid-June 2013. You can see the beginning of the tile-based island formations. We felt a disconnect between the characters and the environment, so we opted for painterly look for everything. Mockups were great for brainstorming the art direction, UI/UX and even game mechanics! Possibly my favorite part of pre-production.

Painting “Jump-Shot”

The Design

All of the environments, characters, concepts, and backgrounds in Shattered Planet are created by Xin. After creating the “Just in Time” piece, we knew we wanted to also showcase the female character. Where the Renegade was inspired more by Han Solo and Mal, the Assassin’s design is more Commander Shepard and Tron for a different flavor.

We also knew that the first piece communicated the core experience of exploring a shattering alien world, but was lacking the urgency and action of the game. So, Xin aimed for more of a “comic book cover” feel, with heavier stylised elements and a foreshortened action pose.

The Process

For more insight into how Xin goes about painting, check out this video that goes from blank page to finished design.

The Finished Piece

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Xin will be attending the Massive Black concept art workshop in L.A. this week to increase his skills further!

For those of you out in the interwebs… any comments or questions?

Infiltrating the Alien Ruins

Sometimes, your teleporter might not take you to the surface of the planet. It can take you into the depths of abandoned alien ruins, where ancient devices continue to hum and whirr, preserved well against potential intruders. These ruins clearly weren’t built by the tribal nomads roaming the grasslands.

For our environment design process, we first looked at references and decided on an overall mood, from Jedi temples to Weyland-Yutani. We chose to go for geometric since it would match our tile-based world, and a clean, plastic feel would contrast nicely with the “fuzzier”, more organically textured outdoor environments.

This was Xin’s first doodle, experimenting with different concepts of rivets, grating, angles, transparency, and metallic tones. If you look closely, you can find an informative hologram screen, severed wires, a cybernetic supply closet, and an exposed electronics panel.

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From there, he went on to roughs, and refined them into an environment we could all agree looked sufficiently intriguing to call our interior tileset. The lasers serve the same function as water tiles — unwalkable yet visually interesting area. It still needs walls and obstacles that match the architecture, and help build up more of a sense of purpose to the space.

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As you can see, walking on heavy plastic, metal grating, and glass should feel quite different than walking on fuzzy grass and moist earth.

We liked it so much, we made it our Twitter page background, complete with an intrepid slicer droid!

What do you think the alien civilisation was like?

8 Captains

You might recognise these survivalists Xin sketched up early on! We decided they were just a little too cute, so we cannibalised them into our portraits on the About Us page. There’s still 4 leftover to choose from, for new hires…

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Announcing Kitfox!

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We’re a scrappy little team that’s here to stay! Nice to meet you!

We formed in May 2013 with a shared vision of bringing the joy of exploring new worlds to mobile devices.

We are currently at work on our first game, tentatively titled Shattered Planet, to be released this winter to iOS and Android. Make sure to say hi on Twitter!

More concept art coming soon!