Creature Resort Devlog #1 : So, what's it gonna look like?

Hello, everyone! We’ve decided to start sharing more in-depth insights into our creative process while developing Creature Resort. We’re very early in the process right now - the actual game is more of, err, some 3D models on a disc, floating in the infinite void of Unity… BUT we have a lot to say about the artwork which will soon be beautifying the bare bones of the game!

Woohoo, first devlog!

Woohoo, first devlog!

We had some values and themes in mind from the get-go, including relaxation, cuteness, and a sense of ‘home’. We started by essentially creating an IRL Pinterest board on one of the studio walls. Other games, animated films, illustrations and more were all collected together to get our brains ticking.

A week or two in we had our first free-drawing session, where in ten-minute sessions, all of the art team had to generate as many ideas as possible. It went: small creatures to large creatures, buildings, and others like incidentals and ‘world’ details. Using a keyword or two each time, we generated as much content as possible. Then, we began to riff on each other’s work and make refinements. Character designs took centre stage, but we’re being very secretive about revealing them right now so you’ll have to keep up with to see more…

Over the couple of weeks it became clear that there were two directions we could take the overall aesthetic of the game. These were: low poly versus high fantasy. We have our fair share of DnD’ers in the studio and they were exploring these stunning high-detail characters and ornate buildings.

devlog 1 style b buildings.png

Meanwhile, others of us were thinking more Animal Crossing or early-gen Pokemon and were going for simpler body structures and an all-round cuter feel. The buildings were similarly bubbly and ‘soft’ looking.

devlog 1 style a buildings.png

Now, we have some awesome 2D artists and 3D modellers and animators on team BIGUMAKU, so we knew we’d be able to achieve what we were designing, but at the end of the day we had to make the decision that was going to product the best game in a realistic time frame.

There was a lot to think about:

  • Screens can be huge nowadays, but they can also be tiny: it has to work for every device!

  • Most players will have phones chock-full of other apps, so the artwork needs to be as bite-sized as possible.

  • We work in agile sprints - what works best for the team’s pipeline?

  • Most importantly, what does our audience want?

devlog 1 villas.png

And much more. So, we collected together the refined drawings and began quickly creating some demo 3D models and colour palette mock-ups, before piling everything together and voting. With a large enough sample we were able to have our initial suspicions confirmed - there was a strong lean towards low-poly, although there was interest in both. 

We decided to incorporate some more details into the mega low-poly designs to create a compromise between the two. The finished direction leans more towards low poly, but uses added texture and the odd extra visual interest to create a richer experience. As we wanted the world to feel magical and filled with secrets, this made perfect sense.

With one of the biggest decisions made, we were free to further refine both building and character designs while outlining a more distinctive world. The art team set up their pipeline: rough sketches, clean designs, turnaround, 3D model, rigging and animation, and finishing off with a final texture. The first few finished creatures are now appearing, and if you’ve been following us on social then you’ll already have met this little guy!

devlog 1 sunhog evolution.png

He’s nicknamed sunhog here in the studio, and no, he doesn’t have any arms. We figure those quills help him balance? Either way, he’s a sunny little fellow and we can’t wait to have him in-game enjoying the beautiful, relaxing spa resorts our players create.

That’s all for this devlog, next up will be a bit more about the colour palette, atmosphere, and world, we reckon. In terms of what we’re working on, it’s mostly back-end setup and getting profiles, scheduling, and so on ready. We’ll keep sharing artwork across social media and do look out for more adorable creature reveals soon!

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