One of the things that I thought Jason did really well when he created Vespers was the creation of a very vivid image of the monastery church, an image which rots and decays over the course of the game as the abbot and monastery descend into darkness. One of the real challenges for us as we adapt the game to a 3D environment is the visual representation of this decay.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in this regard is one of the game’s best depictions of this fall from grace: the frescoes on the ceiling of the church. The frescoes are extremely difficult for a number of reasons —
– the frescoes are on the ceiling of the church, which is supposed to be high above the player. And as the church is modeled now, the ceiling really is pretty high up — high enough that the player would have a lot of trouble seeing the frescoes all the way up there.
– Jason did a remarkable job describing them simply and plainly, which was quite effective in the game, but it didn’t provide us with a gret deal of guidance.
– frescoes of that age have a distinct appearance which is complex and difficult to replicate, which requires an artist with a great deal of talent.
After some consideration, we decided to put the frescoes on the walls in the front foyer of the church, rather than on the ceiling. The foyer also contains the font, another object in the game that rots as the narrative progresses, so it fits right in. And the nice thing about the foyer is that it provides a nice frame for highlighting the frescoes, to help make sure the player notices and explores them.
The frescoes in the game start out with the following rather succint description:
“Frescoes depict the fall of Satan, with angels singing as they cut down the wicked.”
That’s about it. Fortunately, I think we found the right artist for the job. After placing an ad online and reviewing the work of those who responded, I decided to go with Régis Moulun, an artist from France with an impressive body of work. So far, I’m really happy with how he’s approached the work. We decided to go with more of a Renaissance style to the fresco, based loosely on the works of Signorelli and Giotto, even though an earlier style might have been more appropriate.
Recently, Régis finished his work on the opening fresco, and he’s done a great job of it. I thought it would be nice to post a shot of it, as well as a screenshot of it in game. Click the images for a larger view. Enjoy…
Enjoyed this article? Subscribe to The Monk's Brew RSS feed.
Wow! That looks amazing! I love the fresco, and the game design. though the candle looks weird on it’s own like that.
Could you have his hand there? Though that’d be tricky because it’d have to change as he got sicker…
but maybe not. All looks pretty cool.
I think the candle does look a little strange like that, but I’ll be experimenting with a couple of options for showing more, like his hand.
I like the idea of being able to show his skin changing as the game progresses, which probably wouldn’t be that hard to implement. I’ll put that on the list…