MAKING OF: Pahelika Artwork

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Introduction We at IronCode Gaming have been using Blender in our games for the past 6 years. Last year we released an adventure game titled “Pahelika: Secret Legends". It is basically a 2D game which contains simple point and click adventure dynam- ics. Let me first get into how the game is de- veloped and how we approach the art- work in Blender. Firstly since this game is completely 2D, we require all of our art assets as images and sprites. Based on the story locations in this game we have a set of stages and their corre- sponding levels set in a mystic environment. Documentation describing the scenes was devel- oped first and a initial scratch of the concept by the game designer, which was then sent on to the con- cept artist for further development. After his initial penciling is approved, the concept artist prepared a final concept rendering in color. To keep the time short and ex- penses under control the artist was in- structed to draw and render the bare mini- mum as to give enough ideas about color, tone and design for the 3d artist to work on. This finalized color concept art is now ready to be made into a 3D rendered scene using Blender. A 3D artist now prepares the props and assets. The final render of the scene and vari- ous inter- active object renders were pre- pared to be included in the game. In all of Pahelika there were about 30+ scenes that were rendered with Blender. Modeling Since the scenes each contain various entities, it was a long job of recreating them all in 3D and preparing them for textur- ing. Texturing For most part the texturing is a mix of procedural or handmade 2d textures in Photoshop or Gimp. Some required a mix of both or even node textures. Lighting The trickiest part of the entire process was lighting. Realistic lighting could be achieved by using AO but it also increased the render time tremendously, given the number of small but detailed models in the scene. None of the images that were rendered used AO and doing so helped us in drastically reducing the overall time of the project. A normal AO render was any- where from 15-20 minutes, while most renders we fi- nally used were done in less than a minute on a quad core machine. Since this is a one man team doing the 3D art it was de- cided to use the Blenders Lighting for most parts, so it was a mix of scan line as well as raytracing for all of the 30+ scenes. Conclusion The only gripe we had about Blender was its low quality of raytracer and of course the complete absence of Glo- bal Illumination and caustics. Technologies like these are best suited for our type of work, so we also spent time testing out Yafaray. It is excellent raytracer but it sorely lacks the integrated facility of BI meaning a longer learning curve in textures as well as the lighting setup. We were fairly satisfied with Blenders quality and also my ability in using it ;). We have high hopes from Blender 2,5 for the renderer and shader improvements that it can bring to us, hopefully before we release our next game. Thanks for reading

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