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Convenience Wars – Update Post – Redesign of everything?

Hi guys, it’s been a long time, several months in fact. We are back! Seems that life kinda just got in the way of everything, as seems to happen. However it turned out to be a very good thing. The entire Rakit Studios team has come back together and been working hard for a week on a redesign sprint. We’re not totally finished yet, but we’re finished enough that we wanted to share a few things with you.

User Interface
One thing we hadn’t worked on at all before was the user interface. We had discussed it many times, but decided as a team that working on the content of the game was more important. However, after our hiatus, it seemed very important to us to create the look’n’feel that players would experience. Cue AliasVegas, bringing in the designing guns and firing out a fifty calibre design. We’re all totally stoked about it and it inspired us not only to rework the logo, which secretly I was the only person who seemed to like it, but to decide that we had completed our logo. The GUI was designed around being app like, bubbly and simple to use. There was a great focus on a fresh feeling. Since our VN is about two convenience stores, it sort of fit that we would go for a stylish, clean and very over produced GUI.

Take a look at some of the screenshots below:

Title Screen GUI

Title Screen GUI

In Game GUI

In Game GUI

Preferences GUI

Preferences GUI

Save Load GUI

Save Load GUI

Logo
The logo was reworked after the Main Screen had been designed by AliasVegas. The colours and feel she had chosen were worked in to the logo by cbx33 (me). I felt it was important to maintain the same look’n’feel in the logo that was present in the GUI and the team seemed to agree. After the initial logo concept, we actually went through only very minor changes. That in itself was proof to us that we had finally hit on the right logo for our VN. I’ve often found in design work, though I’m no designer, that a design is finished when you add something and decide the design is better off without it.

Logo Design

Logo Design

Characters
Though we’re only giving you a brief preview today, all of the Convenience Wars characters have undergone major redesigns. This isn’t to say the original characters were bad at all, but through the break period, AliasVegas, our Art Director, really began thinking a lot more about character design and how to make them feel more real. As we reveal more of the characters you will notice how different they are and hopefully see that we’ve dolloped an extra amount of care and attention this time around too.

Yukito Redesigned

Yukito Redesigned

CG Backgrounds
Well. What can I say here. We’ve had a huge change of direction here. I previously posted about using the Edge Detection node setup that we were using in Blender for the outlines. Turns out that during our break, Freestyle was integrated into Blender. Freestyle is a much more configurable way of introducing edge lines in Blender. I toyed with this for a few weeks, but during the sprint, we decided that we didn’t actually want to use outlines in our backgrounds at all. That was one of the biggest shifts in the design work and coupled with taking a more realistic approach, we ended up with an image which is completely different from the original.

Classroom Old

Classroom Old

Classroom Redesigned

Classroom Redesigned

We spent a large amount of time on the lighting, working on just the right setup to get the shadows plus the bloom effect on the window areas. sbx34 and I worked together for several hours producing render after render. As it turns out, the new way of rendering our scenes turns out to be a lot less compute intensive that previous, so bonus all round then! We also made the decision to upscale the game from 1280×720 to 1366×768. We did consider HD, but for this VN, we’ll be sticking to the latter. We didn’t want the possibility of the game slowing down on older machines and so decided against HD. sbx34 has been becoming very well acquainted with CG trees. We need a forest. I think he hates me.

So as you can see a very very busy time. All of the GUI work, redesigned Yukito, rendering, basically everything discussed in this post was achieved in a week. We’ve really worked flat-out and I think proven to ourselves that we definitely have what it takes to make Convenience Wars a success.

Let us know what you think – we’re gonna take a break for a few minutes

cbx33Project Coordinator