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Project Update: Go For Baroque Initial Concepts

I am officially neck deep into developing concepts for Go For Baroque! Writing a proposal for a project of this scale is a tricky business. While I definitely am aiming to impress with intriguing visuals, I need to leave room for a year’s worth of growth and experimentation if I am to actually get what I am asking for with the Adobe Creative Residency. The trick is to show just enough eye candy along with an exciting pitch to convince an audience that what I’ve got is a worthwhile endeavor investing in.

I’ve decided to work on 1-2 finished portfolio samples of the visual style of the game, while at the same time sketching out the rest in rough form. The game mechanics themselves are not quite ready for prime time, but that is an entirely separate problem I’ve decided to leave on the back burner for now. Game mechanics are the kind of intriguing logic puzzle that can be tinkered with until the cows come home. At present, the mechanics in the current version of Go For Baroque show promise, so I’ve decided to be happy with them for the time being.

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In case you’re wondering, the scene is based off of a real place called Rundale Palace located near Bauska, Latvia. The reference photo is my own, taken while on a sightseeing tour this past year. So, if you were thinking the whole Baroque thing was maybe a bit random, this is the source of much of my inspiration!

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Here’s how I start an illustration like this. I typically place the reference photo into Photoshop, then trace some outlines to figure out basic shapes. Every photo has some lens distortion, so I never trace the entire thing. My next step is to put in some vanishing point layers (the red and gray lines you see above) that show where lines should vanish to properly. Then, it’s a lot of very patient work to draw in the architecture receding properly into space according to those vanishing points. In this illustration, I ended up painting over much of this linework, but having that linework is integral to making sure the entire scene looks grounded and real.

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The above card mockup is an example of how one of the game cards might appear. I’m not quite finished with the fancy folks in the foreground just yet, but they’re close 🙂

The goal of the game is for players to attain art commissions from wealthy patrons in Baroque era Europe.  The first player to reach three art commissions is the victor. Those little rectangles over the art are where the commission cards are placed.

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Up to this point, the game has been literally bits and pieces of paper with stuff written in 2B pencil. I took those scraps and developed a concept board in Adobe Illustrator to get an idea of how the game might actually look if printed, with each rectangle representing a card of a typical playing card size (except for the large cards on the ends). Illustrator has a very handy feature called Artboards that allows a bunch of different canvases in the same document. Its great for a project like this when you’re dealing with a lot of different individual assets.

There are more cards for the game not shown in this layout. Overall, I am dealing with around 50-60 cards total, with around 50 unique illustrations. Whew! I have done client projects with that number of total pieces, but I know from experience that they can be real beasts. I guess I won’t be lacking a sense of ambition in my proposal!