Wildcard Art Team Fireside Chat

SHow Notes

In a comprehensive session with the Wildcard Art Team, viewers are invited to a Fireside Chat and AMA that delves deep into the artistic elements that bring the game to life. Hosted by the Director of Community, the event gathers key art team members to discuss the intricacies of character development, visual storytelling, and more. The first part of the video serves as an introduction to the team, offering a glimpse into the roles and responsibilities of each member. This sets the stage for the audience to understand the collaborative efforts that go into creating the game's visual appeal. The conversation doesn't end with just introductions. The team goes on to reveal never-before-seen content, providing a rare look into the creative pipeline. This segment promises to be a treasure trove for anyone interested in game art and design. Become part of the community today: https://discord.gg/playwildcard


An extra raffle entry for this month's Wildpass for those that are here. I'll let everybody know near the end of the event how that works and how to make sure that your name. 


Is in the hat for that. 


So hang tight. And we'll do that, but we'll give it, let's see, 30 more seconds to let people trickle in so no one misses anything. 


And go ahead and get. 


Everybody welcome. 


Are we recording it and streaming it. 


And doing other things? JD. 


Just gave me the We're Lag discord twitter. 


Oh, my God. 


I'm famous. 


You guys. 


We had a whole hour. 


All right, awesome. So I got that the stream is good on all channels, so let's go. 


Ahead and kick us off. 


Hello to everyone in the audience. Thank you guys so much for joining. If you haven't been to one of our talks and AMAs before, these are relatively new but regular series where we meet with different teams at Wildcard and learn about kind of their day to day and how all of their work is contributing to the Wildcard game, the Wildcard ecosystem. And also we take your questions. So if you're curious about what the art team at Wildcard does, what art teams at video game companies in general do, this is your chance to talk with them one one. So throughout, we'll be keeping an eye on the arena stage chat for any know as you're watching and anything comes up, drop those questions and then we'll ask them at the end. My name is Ami. I am your director of community. You've probably seen me around the discord if you've been here for a little while. 


And I'm going to let everyone go around to do some intros first. Is there anyone in the audience that should be up here that I haven't. 


Put up here yet? 


I don't see anyone, but I also don't oh, Natalie. Here we go. Let's bring Natalie up. That's the only person were. 


Natalie. Yep. 


Hey, Natalie. 


Hey. Sorry. 


Sorry for leaving you in the audience like that. Okay, so I will start because you're the first on my screen. I'll start with Kara, and I'll let you guys popcorn around. Everyone can let us know who you are, what you do at Wildcard, where. 


You came from, that sort of thing. Sure. 


I'm Kara and I'm the art outsource manager, which just means that I get to work with all sorts of cool contractors and partners to get us even more awesome art that the internal team guides and directs. And then I also do a bunch of other art for anything anybody needs. 


About you. Chris hey, everyone. 


My name is Chris. I'm the art director at Wildcard. Yeah, I've been working in the industry now for over 20 years. Worked on a few titles. A lot of folks here at Wildcard worked on the Orcs Must Die franchise, worked on Halo Wars and Lucky's Tale, and then most recently, Wildcard. So, yeah, I pretty much just give art direction, give feedback where I can. I help do modeling, concepting, just paint overs and anything that the team needs. But yeah, really excited to talk to you all today and show you some cool stuff and introduce you to the rest of the team. I'll pass it over to Woody. 


Yeah, that's a good call because everything that Chris said, you can just duplicate that because we've been bouncing around together since like, 2000. Hi. My name is Woody Smith. I'm the animation director here, and I've been working in the industry for about 23 years now. It's sad for me to say, you can see by the gray hairs in my side that have been around a while, and I basically run all things animation here, so character rigging, character setup, animation implementation, all the above. And I really love working with this team. And we got a very small team that punches above its weight, so I will pass it over to Natalie. 


Hey, everybody. 


I am Natalie and I'm the art production coordinator. So I work closely with Jeff to assist on branding development, and recently I moved into social media planning and content production. 


Jeff? Yeah. 


Howdy? My name is Jeff Simpson. I kind of work alongside the art team for the game and help build the brand of Wildcard for the marketing side of things. And we cover the basis of the brand IP and support for social media as well, so we do a lot of that kind of stuff. I've been in the business for 20 plus years in the toy and game industry, so that's where I come from. 


I guess it's me. So I'm Kyle. I'm the UIUX director here at Wildcard. So I work really closely with a lot of these guys, and I've worked with them in the past, just like Woody and Moffat. And my job is essentially to work with design and kind of create a visual language for their different designs. So I'm the person that kind of creates the screens, creates the wireframes, works through kind of the functionality and the flow of things that may live on the HUD and things that may live in our menu system. And I have been in the industry, I worked for about ten years in commercials as a motion graphic artist, and then I've been working in UIUX for about eight now. 


That's it for me. 


Is that everybody? 


I think it was everybody. 


I think that's everybody, yeah. 


So as you can see, you all lots of varied experience in different industries, many years of experience combined, and everyone's doing something a little bit different at Wildcard, so I think we touch on most of them in this presentation. I know a lot of people, when they think of game art, they think about the characters and the environment. There's a lot more that kind of, like, goes into play for Wildcard in general. So you're going to learn about all of it. But I think Wild Waffles, aka Chris, is going to kick us off and start going through some of these slides here. Take it away. 


Yeah. Thanks, AMI. Yeah. So there's so much that goes into creating art for Wildcard and just too much that we can cover for this 1 hour. So we're going to just focus on the first thing today we're going to focus on is the summons, because we can do a whole talk on summons and the creation of summons, and there's just a lot that goes into them. So one of the things that we really wanted to do with Wildcard when we started this project was we really wanted to create a unique set of creatures that players can have to choose from. We really wanted a colorful, stylized, approachable art style for the game, something that's scalable, that's not hyper realistic, that's clean, and has just bright colors and readable shapes. And so that was something that we really wanted to make sure that we had for the art style. 


So some of the things that we think about when we're creating summons, there are goals that we kind of keep in mind. And so one of those things would be just does it communicate what it does? As a so a lot of times you may see an image of a creature and wonder what it does. Some of those things, I think, can come across through the animation. The effects, some are obvious right away. Like Jans has this big cannon, and Slow Claw has these massive claws that do huge hits of damage, but a lot of times it's not totally clear just from an image. So we really just try to keep that in mind as we're doing these things. And so that we have readability. And the other thing, too, that we like to make sure is that we have a nice variety of different looking creatures having a range of cute characters, cool characters, things that are weird, some things are comical, maybe creepy, and we don't have horrifying yet, but eventually we'll get there. 


That's something we want to have as well with our summons. But another thing we try to do is we try to make sure all of our summons have faces so that they can emote and kind of show their character and their personality. So there's things like there are a lot of other games out there. Like, you think about Mario Kart, where you have these kind of instant replays and slow moments where you might know Luigi kind of give a side eye to another racer. We want to try and have those types of know for those replay moments. We want to be able to really kind of show those little conflicts between some of these summons and kind of capture that. There's things like celebrations when you win a match where we might be able to show a lot of their personality as well. The other thing, too, is that no two summons would have the same silhouette. 


We have some creatures that are similar, like you can see here in the middle, fendor and lump. They're similar in shape, but their silhouettes are different, with one being made up of plants and the other being made up of PEC and armor. So there are characters that have similar roles, but then we want to make sure that their silhouettes are unique, and then we want to make sure that our color palettes fit the houses that they belong to and that they're easily identifiable. So that when you're out on the battlefield, if you see something drop in that's covered with plant life and green, that it's love above immediately. So that's just kind of some of the things that we like to think about as we're creating these. So where do we start? 


So when we first start to think. 


About new Summons, this is something that we do, is work closely with Design. So Design will have these different ideas in mind, right? So as players start to build decks and put together these strategies with their creatures, there's a lot of things that the Design team is thinking about as far as how can we give the player a new creature that will help them kind of strategize effectively? And so it starts there. We talk to Design. We get a brief. So in this case with Shrink Fairy, which I think if you watched the last Fireside chat with Design, they kind of touched on this stuff. So we'll get a brief from them and some reference inspiration images and just get kind of an overview of the house that this creature needs to belong to, the size, what's theme that's in mind, and then just kind of is it a flying creature? 


Is it a melee? Does it have ranged abilities, that kind of thing? With the Shrink Fairy, it has this basic attack that it will attack with a projectile from some sort of magic weapon, right? And then the main ability is to shrink other enemy summons and make them weaker and slower. So we get all that information, and then from that point, we take that and we start to build out a proxy. And so as we're just kind of grabbing this is a very fast, like, half of a day sort of thing where we just get something that represents the bare minimum idea for what a Shrink Fairy is. So we'll get that just kind of blocked out, make sure it has the right color, but not too detailed or anything that looks too final, because we want people to see it in game and recognize that it's not finished. 


Like, it's not a finished asset. It's just sole purpose is to just show what it does so you can see, yeah, we got this really kind of goofy magic wand, and he's got a face. And then we get in the engine and we just make sure that is the scale. Is this going to be big enough to see? And does it feel right next to other creatures? We'll make sure we're viewing those things from the game camera. A lot of times, the field of view from the game camera can get a little distorted. So you may think something looks like it's the right size until you play it, and then it looks too small or too big. So that's something else that we try to do. Once that model is good on the size and we have some basic color on there, we pass it over to animation, and I'll let Woody talk about that. 


All right, let me unmute, and I will take the screen from you, chris, I think you have to unshare before I share, right? 




Should we come back to that part of it? Because I think sure. 


Yeah, sure, go ahead. 


Yeah, no, you're fine. So for animation, and you'll be getting a glimpse of it later on with the updated. Shrink Fairy is basically the process by which we get the character from a modeling state into a place where it's moving and it's dynamic and it does things that design wants it to do. And then we get that in the game. And so you can see some clips of it here. And for the proxy, that's a very short amount of time. So we usually do it within a half a day. We put a bone rig in it, and you'll see a little bit more about that later. And then we get that into the Unreal Editor. Then we use the technology in the Unreal Editor to get it set up so that in the game, it functions just like a living, breathing creature. 




Then once we get that into play test, we'll get some Temp VFX hooked up. So here's an example of Shrink Fairy kind of doing its thing. Little Shrink action. 


Play one more time there. 


And so that'll go through play tests quite a bit until we're feeling pretty good about it. And at that point, we'll start having concept artists explore some different ideas for what it might actually look is. Carrie, did you want to talk about just kind of the briefs that you send out to artists? 




So in the case of Shrink Fairy, like, going back to that first slide that we get from Design, I go to Design and I say, you need to tell me what size they're supposed to be relative to everybody else, what's the basic abilities? What do you want to see represented, and do you have any inspiration to provide? And then Stephen comes up with this awesome brief, as he did, and we go to our concept artist. This is from Venetius, who is amazing, obviously. And I say, look, we need a fairy, and we need it to shrink things. It needs to have a wand. We want it to not necessarily be humanoid, maybe. But I encourage artists to really think outside of the box and not necessarily go based on the title because, like shrink fairy, you could get locked into a tinkerbell really quick. So I try to ask them, what does love abub's fairy mean? 


Based on all of the concepts that we've already done, all the summons that are already in game, what else would live in that world? And then we start to come up with things. So this, I think, was several iterations going through, and eventually we get to, like, C Eight, and we're like, we're starting to like this. And we pick out our favorite. I think we picked A for the wand. And then we start to refine. And then it goes to the next slide, right? 




And then so this is after back and forth with design, with everybody in art, with leadership, everybody weighing in and deciding what is it that we want this fairy to be? And also involves our first instance of shrink magic. So what does shrink magic look like? We have that VFX concept that we threw in there, but maybe these colors represent shrinking. We're leaning into a little bit of, like a fall vibe, maybe. And then what is the opposite of that? So, yeah, we decided that this was really fun. We really liked the childlike proportions. We tried to stay away from the usual Lanky long, fairy like things, and we just kept kind of squashing her down until we got something super cute. 


Yeah, it's something that we really want to make sure we have a nice range. And this is one of those that we wanted to make sure had acute factor and still having a sort of mischievous kind of vibe. So the eyes can kind of see that in this concept, in the eyes. And like Kieran mentioned with the green, we're kind of thinking green probably is going to signify health. So how can we come up with a color that is unique for shrinking? And it's a pretty challenging thing. And then this gets handed off to another outsourced group. 


We have Original Force doing the high poly down through the rig. And this is their amazing sculpt. 


Yeah, they did a really great job capturing the concept. And then we'll give them certain bits of feed. We really want to make sure that we're thinking about not just the character in game, but also marketing art and renders of the character. So we want to make sure that they're able to emote. So we want to make sure they have full mouth interior and teeth. And we'll do some expression tests and poses to kind of just to make sure that it's what we want and it captures the essence of the character. And then so once that's approved, we will do kind of a render turnaround of the character in a sort of an action pose to kind of get a feel for how they'll look in game. So this is the high Poly sculpt rendered out. And then from there, we'll hand this off to get a low Poly model created with full textures and materials. 


And then while that's happening, we'll be thinking about how do we want the VFX to look for real? So this is just an example showing when she shrinks something, we want to kind of leave a residual sort of echo kind of image as it shrinks down. And then. 


I think we have this. 


Other concept, I think, that had the opposite of this, which is growth. And it so it kind of shows like things blooming and blossoming as it grows. And this is kind of the opposite of that. So it's shrinking. So the petals are kind of sort of turning brown and orange and kind of falling and changing color as they fall and shrinking. So it kind of helps reinforce that shrink effect. And then once something is shrunk, we want to show that it's in a shrunken state. So we want to have this persistent kind of effect happening that's around the character as it's moving through the arena so that people know that, oh, it's not normally this. 


And that's actually a good example of going back and forth with design, is we need that proxy to get into the game. We need to test it. We need to throw the effects on there so that we can see, oh, just that first effect of the shrinking and the blast wasn't enough. It's not selling it. You don't really see that it's smaller. What can we do to reinforce that? And sometimes it's something like a persistent effect. 


That's right. It's a very tricky balance because there's so much happening at any given time on screen with all the different effects. So we're trying to go as minimal as possible so that things are readable as they're happening and we're just only showing what's necessary to kind of convey a state something. But yeah, so then once we have the low Poly and the textures back, which we don't, this character is still in progress. And for this talk today, luckily, Woody's a rock star when it comes to getting characters rigged and skinned and animated and all that stuff. So he quickly grabbed a decimated version of the high Poly, and I'm going to let him share his screen and talk about that. 


Rock on. All right, I will share my screen and can everybody see that? 


All right, great. 


So Chris had mentioned that this is a decimated rig. So that's a little bit higher Poly than a normal rig. Come on up at games. So you can see that the character itself is, like, quite a bit more dense than it would be normally in the game. Normally, this would be a much lower poly character. But because we use the same process no matter what, we can go ahead and get started on this while the work is being done. So that type of parallel development really helps keep this small team kind of running efficiently. So what you can see here is you can see what's called the proxy rig we put in here. And it's like a build skeleton that you only do one side of it. So you can come in and you place what are called joints, right? So you think about anatomy and skeletons and what's inside of you very similar to the way that we would do it in a 3D process. 


If you've ever played with action figures and you can see the armature that's in it, or if you ever snapped a GI. Joe in half and you saw like, the little metal parts that are inside of it, same thing. We've got these bones that we put in the middle of it. And once that is all set up and you can see that it kind of follows what would be the anatomy of the character. So while we're developing this, we also think about, well, what is this character in real life? What would it have? Right? If it has wings, it has like a bone structure in the wings if it has arms and legs. So once you've done that setup and you've placed these in the places that they need to go, we use an auto rigger, and it's called Advanced Skeleton Five. And so once you've done that, then you can build the rig. 


And the rig is the skeleton that you just made and they flip it over to the other side and then it adds all these controls. So if you can see it's kind of hard because they're kind of light here, but you can see these, like, rings around the character or these boxes around the character's feet. Those are controls that we use to animate the character. And what they do is when you move those controls, they move the bones, which in turn move the character. And the character is actually attached to the skeleton using what's called a bind, right? So if we select the character, we can see that it's just a bunch of polygons, it's just a bunch of pieces of geometry. But when we attach the bone to it, we say, we want this bone to affect this. And what it does is it creates this kind of illusion that there's a structure underneath the objects of the character. 


So if I take, like, the root of the character, I can kind of move it around and you can see that the legs stay planted. And there's lots of different options that we have on the rig to give us the ability to animate the character the way that we need. Now, in this case, there's a wand here, so I didn't get a chance to rig up the wand in hand. But we'll go ahead and we can add that in later. Another great thing about this process is you can always go in, you can add things and you can change things. And the way that we do it is we have one file that is for the rig file. And if you think about how that's in game, it would just be like your character just standing there. And then we have animation files that reference that. 


So let me open up one of those animations. This is just, again, a quick animation that was kind of whipped up today, so don't be too harsh on it. 


So I'll open it up and I'll. 


Kind of go through the process real quickly. You're getting kind of the bullet train view of our animation, right? So this would be the character posed. And the way that we pose it is when we bring it in, it's normally in that kind of neutral t pose. And then we take our controls and we move it around. Now, the way that I work in kind of a layered process. If you've ever worked in Krita or Photoshop or any image editing software, you know that there are layers, right? And those layers give you the ability to go and make things that are nondestructible to the thing below it. So in this case, we make just a simple pose for the character and the character just kind of leaning forward. This is what would be called the idle animation. So this is your character not moving around, not doing anything, just kind of hovering and floating there. 


Because this is a flying unit, the character is just going to be hovering off the ground. The ground is represented by this little kind of grid square at the bottom, if you can see that. So we posed our character into a relatively good kind of flying neutral pose. And then the first thing that I went in and animated is I did the wings. And now this might be hard to see kind of at the frame rate that we're presenting, but if I show that and I play through, you can see that the wings kind of flutter the same way that a fairy would. And right now the wings are just made up of just a couple of bones. Eventually we'll add in some extra follow through and probably some effects in the game to kind of highlight those wings kind of moving like a fairy would. 


You'd see them like a blur. And then after we do that, then I'll go ahead and create another animation layer. And this animation layer will have the character kind of moving up and down, right? So the idle animation is just the character kind of going up and down, just kind of not going anywhere, not going left and right. And what you see is that a lot of the things that are happening on this particular animation are all kind of happening at once. The character is going up and down. The arms are moving kind of at the same time. The back is going up and down as the rig is going up and down. And so we use animation process called overlap. And that is not to get too technical, but for those of you that are here to see behind the scenes, when you take things that were moving at the same time and you kind of change the timing, either you have them happen later or you have them happen earlier. 


It adds a little bit more of an organic feel. And we can do that in a number of ways. But let me show you here. This is called the graph editor. This allows me to see my keys. And then I've got this control here. And this allows me to select different parts of my character. Now, I can always do that in here. I can just grab a piece of the character using these rings, but I can also use this little selection set here that if I'm, let's say my back, for instance, right, I want my back to be happening, moving a little bit after my root. My root is like the center of my character. So my character is going up and down. I want the back to happen a little bit later. So I'm just going to grab these keys, I'm going to move them down, and we'll just say they'll move down like three or four frames. 


And then same thing with the arms. Like, I want the arms to kind of be following the back a little bit. So I'll grab their keys, I'll move them down a few frames, and then last but not least, I'll go ahead and select the head. 




The head doesn't have much animation on it. So now if I play through that, you can see that the character has much more of an organic feel, right? Everything isn't happening at once. The character has some squash and stretch. It has some movement beyond what it normally would be if were just doing one pose. One pose, one pose. And so this would be a good example of like a rough proxy animation that we would put in the game. And then we'd go back and we'd refine it if it looks good in the game. And that's that sort of working with design that we've talked about is we'll show it to design in this real rough, fast format and they'll say, hey, this looks good, or the character needs to move up and down more, or the character needs to do this and we'll react to that feedback and make those changes. 


And then once that's all done, then we can go in and do all the details. We can animate the fingers, we can animate the eyes, we can animate the ears following through. And that's basically it. That's a process that we. Would use to get it in unreal magic. 




I'm just blown away by that. I'm looking at the timestamp from this morning when I sent that decimated model over to Woody, like, 730, but then I don't even think you got online until, like, nine, which means you got. 


To have your morning workout. You got to do that. Yeah, this is kind of bad, because now when I try to pad all my jiras and I like, oh, yeah, it took me a whole half a day. No, just kidding. This is actually really rough. And that's one of the important things to remember, is, like, the decimated model, the proxy rig, all the processes we use are so that we can move fast and that we can be very responsive. Not only responsive to design or art feedback, but also the community. As the community speaks into the stuff that we want, it's like, hey, we'd love to see this, or, we'd love to see this. It's easy for us to kind of whip something out and use that to kind of flush out whether or not it's going to work. 




Yeah. And as we get more and more of these summons in proxy form, it'll be great to get these out in front of all of you guys and let you try them out and see what you think and share that feed with us. This team is just amazing in all the different disciplines. They're all experts and showing how quickly you can get that stuff together. 


You mentioned the team. Right? The team is beyond just our team, right. The community team, the art team, the design, the engineering, everybody's kind of aligned. And that's what's great about working in a company like this, is that I don't know, how many people are we? Like 26, 27 people or something like that? Up to 30. But we're a small company. You think about AA games that have 500 people on a team, it's like when you need to change directions or do things on that, it's like you got to get an act of Congress and you're steering the Titanic. And meetings, so many meetings. But that's one of the great things about working on a small team like this. 


And that's not to say that this just works. We don't just show up and say, this is the pipeline and this is how we're going to do it. It is a lot of conversation, and it is refining processes over time. And every sprint will have, like, a little retrospective. What went right, what didn't go so right, and how can we improve? And I think the best part of working on this team is that there's no ego. We all just have a huge desire to see Wildcard succeed. And so we bring 150% to every day, and we work towards that goal. 


Yeah, absolutely. So the next stage of this process is taking the new creatures that we have the new renders and taking some of that art and handing it off to Kyle to get the UI assets created for all of our front end and our HUD and all that stuff. So I'm going to pass this over. 


To Kyle and let cool. 


Yeah. So it's like, where do these summons go once we're ready to start kind of testing them? And even at a proxy state, I'll start creating the art for all of the different places that these creatures live on the UI, and so they live on the HUD, so I can select them to actually throw them out in the arena. There's places they live in the activity fee. There's a creature bar that we have on the spectator view that shows different creatures getting in vicinity of the goal. And then one of our main areas that I wanted to talk about today is our deck builder. So obviously that's the place that you go to build decks in the game. And that's one of the places that we want users to spend the most amount of time. We want that to be a fun experience, and we want this to be a place where casual users can come in and just pick gort because he looks like a cool creature, but also have the ability to kind of dive in and get more kind of statistical information for different creatures. 


If you're looking to really put together a specific deck. So this concept here is these are more like wireframes and not necessarily style frames, which are more visually appealing, but this is one of our kind of older deck builder concepts that we did back in the day, and it kind of solved a lot of the problems that we wanted to solve back then. So we have all of our different filters broken out on the top, so I can easily select and filter by faction my mana cost, rarity the type, and then on the right side, whenever I've hovered over a creature, I get some more information about them and I get a little bit more of their stats. Back in the day, the main stats we had were kind of like damage, health, and speed. Those were kind of the main parameters that you would use to kind of gauge, is this a creature that I want to put into my deck? 


And then one of the main things with kind of designing these layouts and things and we've touched on it several times with the other speakers. But speed is a really big part. 


Of our job and the quicker that. 


I can get these kind of prototypes out to stakeholders to click through to give me feedback allows me to go back and address that feedback. And so that's a big process when we're doing any kind of like UX or UI work, is getting feedback, breaking apart what has been done, reformatting it, going back and getting feedback. So it kind of creates this loop. And so eventually you get to a point where you get a large amount of approval from everybody. It feels good. It feels good to kind of click through things. And so then that is the point where we would start taking these assets and putting them into the engine so that we can actually start actually user testing with these things. So like I said, this was kind of one of the older Deck builder concepts and we can go ahead and go to the next slide. 


And so recently we have looked into, well, does a deck builder serve all of the needs that we currently have? Some of our creature abilities have changed. We want more functionality in the Deck Builder. We wanted a bigger grid space to kind of show off all of your cards. And one of the main driving factors. 


For me when I'm kind of working. 


Through these flows is I generally kind of focus on the console controller version first while also thinking about the PC version. But my main issue is I don't want this to be cumbersome at all. I want to try to make things have the least amount of clicks as possible. I want things to be intuitive. I want it to be an easy experience because like I said, we want and anticipate that users are going to be spending a lot of time in Deck Builder, kind of putting together decks and trying new things. So from that, we have made some changes here on the Deck Builder. So on the right hand side now, the main things that we're kind of showing off are with Shrink Fairy. When I call up Shrink fairy or I summon Shrink Fairy, how many do I get? Shoot, a crew has like four members and all these different creatures may have one to two. 


I think we've got some other creatures that are like four and they carry a battering ram. So you needed to kind of know how many creatures am I summoning at one time. And then the other main points that we have kind of at a glance when I'm hovering over a creature is their main ability. So what they do and what they're going to do when I summon them. And then there's a lot of creatures that also have kind of these passive abilities that can kind of be passive over time. Those are kind of the main things you can see on the left. We've put filters into an overlay because it just didn't make sense anymore for our filters to be broken out. We have more functionality and more sorting properties that we want users to be able to use. So it made sense to kind of make that an overlay by itself. 


But again, those filters are just one click away. Same thing with the second image here on the left, which is what I'm essentially calling Deck Preferences. So Deck Preferences is a place where I can go and I can rename my deck, I can copy cards from my deck and paste them on another deck. There's ability to change the card backs of your cards that you'll see in different points of the HUD, different points of the game. And so that just allows a way initially for users to kind of start customizing their decks and feeling like they're unique to what they're building. And then from that deck builder at any point I can hit B and go right back to select any deck that I've created already and edit it. Or I can easily just create a new deck and again trying to keep these kind of switches to be kind of just like one button click away as much as possible. 


And then another thing that we also added here, which we're kind of working on the functionality of is we want to be able to test these decks immediately. So say I put together five creatures and I don't actually want to necessarily start a competitive game. I can go into what's called like a training mode. And so that allows me to take the deck that I've created, go into the arena and test it for any amount of time, throw the card, see what gets summoned, and possibly even kind of fight against some bots to kind of get a better idea of, do I want to bring this creature do I want to change this creature up? And maybe those things will help put together some synergies of oh, if I use this creature with this creature, maybe I get kind of a cool thing that happens. 


And that's another thing that we really want to push with this game is kind of delight and surprise users. And so if you have an idea of how two creatures could work together, we really want to make sure that is a possibility. And so then we can go to the next slide. And so from that deck builder, anytime I have a creature hovered, I can just easily click in the right stick and that will give me some more in depth creature details. So I talked a little bit about kind of the casual versus more specific experience for users and this is basically a screen that will allow people that kind of want to min max, see the more specific stats to a creature. They can kind of dive in here, check that out, they get a little bit more of the creature bio, they can see what house they belong to and also it gives a little bit of description for the numbers that are kind of showing up in the deck builder. 


So we have their mana cost and then each creature also has a role that they play in the game and those are things like a fighter, a healer, a utility type creature. A tank is someone that can take a lot of damage or include shielding for other creatures. So all of those things and then we'll continue to add to this page as we kind of go forward. But again, these are all just kind. 


Of ways that we kind of create. 


Things that we think users are going to want, information they're going to want to know. And then that process of trying to create what do we want to see at a glance and what do we want to kind of dive into so that we can kind of properly design these screens graphically? So we don't have just a wealth of information one screen and thinking through how users may want to go through and use the deck builder. And again, like I said, this is all a process. So once this kind of makes its way into engine and we get to play with it, certainly there'll be feedback on certain things that may not feel right or other things that feel really good. And so we'll just continue that process until we get something that we really feel is really working well for. 




That's basically the deck builder. 


Awesome. Thanks, Kyle. Sure. Let's see, we got next step here. I'm going to hand it over to Jeff and Natalie. Talk about marketing. 


Yeah, I'll jump in here. So at this point, as we see a character get developed, it reaches a certain point where we then want to take that asset and start developing it in many different ways that we can use across the brand. And so we're trying to build a brand guide as we develop these things. And so as we develop a character, they get their spot. We want to get a few poses of that character that we can use across the board. And so when something like this, for example, in this shot here of Bolgar, when he was ready and we knew he was approved, we had the final costume and the final model. Then we just jump into how do we want to see Bolgar, how do we want to show him what are the ways in which we want to use him. Sometimes we'll do it with a sketch and then pose the model to that. 


Sometimes Chris and I will be talking and through zoom, one of us will pose and we're like, yeah, that's exactly what we want. So that's how we kind of get some of the attitude or these kind of unique poses. For our champions, we do more poses so we can use them in many different forms and fashions. For the summons, we probably do two or three. And so also with this is like what we try to do is what were trying to go for in this is not just have a render come straight out of the engine from the game. We wanted to take it and really give it a flair a little bit, something more. So we take these renders and then we either do some of it ourself or we work with some outside groups and we used TerraForm Studios and Puga Studios to work with us on these. 


And we established kind of a look and feel. And in this look and feel. 




In game had a great outline to everything that kind of separated it. It made it more of a graphic feel. Well, we wanted to carry that through, but we also wanted to carry through onto the illustrations themselves, the brushstrokes, and make them feel almost painted a little bit more painterly. So that kind of came out. We really wanted to hit things also with a really hard graphic light. So once we got the base of what that style was, we worked with these groups to then start developing each of the characters and summons with us to a final render so you can go to the next screen. So here's another render of Bolgar and Burr. And then here's an example to the left of then how we take it. And we'll go into marketing and whatever we want to develop as we're trying to figure out what the marketing brand look and feel is for that year, we iterate. 


We iterate all the time. And right now we're iterating for what's going to be coming six months down the road to a year down the road. We're always adding to our assets. We're always trying to come up with what's new and anyway, this is just one example here's. Lock and watchy. And again, another version of how we use them in some of the different marketing main. That's kind of the look and feel for the main IP. But as we moved into social media and things like that, were like, what's a different way that we could have fun with the brand in a unique, fun fashion? And so we created this look and style, and I'll kind of let Natalie jump in here. We have a lot of fun creating these because it creates a different attitude and personality. But Natalie, you can share more about these guys. 




So this is Chibi art, and it's a cute stylized drawing from Japan. So usually the characters have kind of bigger heads, larger eyes, small bodies, and kind of exaggerated characteristics. So we like to incorporate the Chibi art into our marketing, our content, our merchandise, too, we made stickers out of them that are really cool. So the process usually starts with us contacting an outsource vendor, an artist, and then we'll describe the character, send key art reference images, and they'll send us a sketch. And then Jeff and I will give feedback and they'll kind of iterate on that and then send us an inks drawing. Once we have the inks, we go to another artist who will color them for us. And then when those are final, we're able to use them. So right now, we're developing sets featuring like twelve different emotions for each character that we can use as emotes and stickers. 


And we're also working on some more dynamic full body poses that capture more of the unique characteristics of each character and some of the different abilities. 


The next slide is an example of how we made some marketing swag. 


Yeah, these are all basically just created from that chibi art into 3D assets. So you can check these out on our site. These are on the marketplace as well, but yeah, these are really fun. 


So we're in the process now of developing items, so we will be sharing that in the near future. 


All right, so that pretty much wraps up all the content except for one last thing that we wanted to share with you all. This next slide is a little bit of a tease. Yeah. I just want to preface this with this is all work in progress. None of it is final, but we just wanted to share something really neat. 


Temporary expectations, folks. Temporary. 


Yeah, there's just a few other summons we've been working. 


Just a hint. 




So there's a few. That's it. But yeah. Thanks so much for joining us, you guys. Enjoyed it. Really excited about everything that we've been working on and can't wait to share more with you guys. 


All right. 


AMI yeah, amazing talk. Thank you guys so much. Those last 3 seconds, man. Got all the hype in Chat. Look at them go. 


Several people are typing. 


It really is like watching magic happen. Just like the whole journey from an idea all the way to animated alive summon in the arena. It's very cool. It was the most exciting hour ever, and we are pretty low on time, but we do still have a few minutes and we got some really good questions from the community in Chat and also before this. So I'm going to try to get through as many of them as possible. I'm going to try and honor our 1 hour time limit, but then we can always chat in general because everyone who's up here is in the discord, so we can always keep the conversation going if your question doesn't get answered. And also before I dive into this, reminder that if you are wanting to get that bonus entry for the Wild Pass raffle, stick around. I'm going to give you instructions on that after this. 


AMA but first, questions. So what I noticed as the questions were coming in, that there's a little bit of overlap between people's understanding of design and what design does on a game team and what art does on a game team. I think because design in a lot of other contexts is art. So can someone speak a little bit to what the differentiation is between those teams and how that relationship works? 


I don't know. Who wants to take that? 


The gist is that design. Think of it more like you're writing the design of the game. You're designing it in your head. What would you like it to be and then they feed us that and we turn it into a visual. I know that some graphic design is art, but in this case, in game dev design means lots and lots of writing and math and stuff like that. 


Yeah, we're really just constantly in communication with the design team as we make progress on all of these summons, whether it's just size, coloring, we want to make sure that it supports what that creature does and what they have in mind for that functionality so that it's readable and recognizable. So, yeah, we just work hand in hand on all this stuff. 




Yeah. Thanks, Phil. And if you guys have more questions about that, what that relationship looks like, let us know. We can always elaborate more. So, next question. So, Monty or Monte? Sorry if I'm botching that. Was wondering about skins and if we're considering those, if they might make an appearance in game. Do you guys want to talk a little bit about that? 


I sent you some stuff. 




We have started exploring some skin ideas. We don't necessarily have a plan as far as when we want to release skins, but we have at least started exploring the concept for the Champions. We've kind of discussed the summon skin ideas, but not to a great degree, just because we really want to make sure that summons are recognizable on the battlefield. So some games might do a completely different skin for a character, but that can cause issues with readability and you need to be able to react quickly. 


And I thought someone had mentioned like, steampunk skins. Right, which would be great, but if we're planning on having as many summons as we just showed a little bit, then it's going to be really hard to scale making a skin for everybody. You don't necessarily want to just do it as a one off, you want it to be consistent. So characters might be or champions might be an easier way to go with that. It's just something that's more accessible. 




So thank you, Kara, for digging these up. I would not have known where to find these right at the moment, but these are some different explorations for Bolgar and Locke. 


Yeah, were thinking zombie season, be really cool. 


And again, all with the caveat that these are just explorations. Some of these are finals going into the game, nothing like that. It's just things that we like to explore, especially on the art team, to see what's possible. And then as the game progresses, then we decide what's going in. I love these. 


Yeah. At some point. This is venetius again, isn't it? Yes, but yeah, were just like, look, if we had let's just take some holidays and make some stuff and go nuts, and then he turns in these wacky things and I want to see them all. 


Yeah. Yeah, these are yeah. 


Okay, let's get another question. Let's see so I wanted to clarification chris, while you were talking, we used a lot of vocabulary that I don't know if everyone is super familiar with. So one of them was silhouette, one was proxy. And then also, I think, Woody, when you were talking, we talked about low poly and high poly. So just wondering maybe about those things so we can get a better understanding of what they mean and how they kind of translate to the game. 


Yeah, sure. So proxy is really just a model that doesn't have a lot of detail. It's really just to kind of get the basic form and shape of the character. And so we don't give it a full texture treatment. We just kind of give it a solid color. The topology, the way that a 3D mesh needs to bend, usually when you do a final model, you want the topology to be built a certain way so that it deforms properly when animating. And so with a proxy model, we don't really care about those things and those guidelines. So a lot of times we'll get something in that's just there to work and function. So it's just the fastest possible way to get a model in. So that's what we refer to as proxy. And then as far as high poly goes, so when you saw the Shrink Ferry high poly model, that was basically like, you can imagine, like, a clay sculpture. 


So it's very dense. So it's made up of a mesh that's very dense in polygons. It's made up of, like, 50 million polygons, which would never run in a game. And so what we do is we build a low poly mesh that's right around 10,000 to 15,000 polygons, and that mesh matches the overall shape and silhouette of the high poly. And then we do a texture bake method that gets all that high detail information and turns it into a normal map texture that goes on the low poly model. And that's how you're able to get realistic lighting, and the details can pick up shadow and light through that normal map. So that's kind of the idea between high and low poly. 




It's just a make magic button. 


Yeah, magic. Awesome. Okay, so we are right at our last minute, so I just want to take these last 60 seconds to say thank you to everyone on the art team for joining us, making the time to talk to the community today. We so appreciate you, and I know that the community agrees. Any parting words before we close out for today? 


All your friends? 




We love having you guys. 


Thanks for joining. 


Thanks for being here. 


Appreciate you all being here. 


All right, well, our team, you are free to go. I don't know if you have meetings after this. I want to be respectful of your time. For those in the audience, claiming your raffle for the Wildpass is really simple. I'm dropping a link here in the voice chat. If you don't see it, tell me in general and I'll point you to the right direction. But click on that. You'll need, I think, to connect discord or something. A wallet maybe to have an account. And it's going to ask you for a secret word from this kind of talk today. The secret word is shrink fairy. It's actually two words, but I'm not going to judge. Your selling shrink fairy. You submit that it's going to be open for the next hour. And so you can submit that just to say that you are here. And then hopefully we'll do the drawing on Monday. 


And hopefully you can walk away with a wild pass. And that way you can get into the game and see all this amazing art. Not Shrink Barry just yet, but the other amazing art that's finished in the game. 


Hold on, let's write it again. They're saying shrink, Barry. Hold on. Shrink Barry. There we go. Okay. 


Sorry. I messed up a thing now. It should work. Yeah, sorry. I had it set to start in an hour instead end in an hour. It's fixed now. 


Nine. Okay. 


But yeah, that's all the time we have for today. Thank you again for joining us. If you are watching us on Twitter or YouTube and you're wondering about the raffle thing, join us in Discord. I'll give you the instructions once you get here. We'll do another one of these with some more of the wonderful folks at Wildcard pretty soon. Until then, we will see you. Thank you all so much. Thanks everybody. 




See ya. 

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