Development Diary #12

THE CREST OF THE ANCESTORS

The Ethereal Crest is now complete, and I'm inching towards the halfway mark for completing the series. When I started the crests it was out of the idea that the more bonus assets I had, the better the overall presentation of the game will be. That is still true, but as I work on the crests, it is not so much that they are bonus assets, but necessary ones.

The times have changed for game design. in almost all ways for the better. The art is better, the graphic design is better, and the production values overall are better. This is great for gamers, but it has also raised the barrier to entry for new designers. That being said, there is still hope for DIYers to get their games out there. The amount of work required to get a game funded is exponentially more than it was a couple of years ago, but there are a few things people can do to get some eyes on their project, and I believe one of those things is world building.

The crests for me are part of the world-building direction I am going with the game. I want players to have a world that they can immerse themselves in, and the crests are just one piece of additional flavor that the player can latch on to. When I started Kingdoms of Immacus, I wasn't happy with just creating a game, I wanted to flesh out the world I created so long ago and share that with players.

Over time, the Ethereals had drifted from their original Japanese-inspired spirits, to a Japanese-Nordic hybrid of sorts. This is due in part to the Mulavon art influence, but I'm happy with the direction nonetheless. The previous crest (unfinished) focused more on that Nordic inspiration with the shape of the Veil Gate. Though there was nothing wrong with this design, I was having difficulty closing out the bottom of the portal in a shape I felt made sense. By the time I got to this point, I had made the decision to pull away from the Photoshop approach and move to Illustrator. The Illustrator decision was not only an aesthetic one, but a practical one on the speed in which I can finish the design. With what little free time I have at Starbucks after work, I can finish a crest in a week and a half if I stay on task.

The new Ethereal Crest has shifted from the Nordic Veil Gate shape to a round shape that is more in line with the feeling of the Ethereals. When I was working on this new design originally, the lanterns had a lot of sharp edges, and I restarted the design from scratch and came up with the rounded lanterns you see below. The Ethereals are light-hearted and mischievous, and round is a softer shape to convey that. The iconic Ethereal mask is still present and now front and center in the image. The mask, red ribbons, and candles are all throwbacks to my Ethereal designs when I was in high school. For me, this best represents the new and old mergers of the Ethereal race.

Because of the rework on the lantern, this crest took a little longer than expected, but I am happy with the results. It captures the fun of the Ethereals as well as a little bit of the mystery and color changes they have seen. Now that the Ethereal Crest is done, it's on to the Astracties. The goal is to have all the crests done before the 3rd year anniversary of development on Kingdoms of Immacus. I'm pretty excited with their addition to the game, and I hope future players will enjoy looking at them as well.

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