Visionary Realms has switched to a more sustainable, performant, painted art style.
Why the change?
Performance – We have run into difficulty with the former art performing well on even the beefiest of machines. We have made progress on this front but ultimately determined we could get better gains by a shift in style.
Speed of Development – The shift speeds up the art pipeline substantially. What would sometimes take weeks now can take days, or in some cases, hours.
Sustainability – With the new art direction, we feel confident we can achieve our long-term goals with an indie-sized development team. It is not only faster, but more affordable.
Marketability – One of the top comments we routinely receive from the public is how the game looks old or unappealing. This is an opportunity to reach a broader, more contemporary audience.
When we took on the Pantheon project we targeted a more realism-based art style. As development continued we began to realize that this direction caused a few problems. The target style didn’t perform as well as we would have liked in-game, and it was expensive to make. With our new painted style we addressed both problems. A simpler style is less taxing on hardware, making it much easier to hit faster frame rates and less likely to slow down performance in busy areas. Additionally, the style is much quicker to create and implement. In August, for example, we were able to add models for Gadai camps, crafting stations, 3 new creatures, 4 armor sets, miscellaneous environment objects and textures like stumps and dead trees, ground textures, bushes, grass, several player and NPC animations, six new creature concepts and more. This is about 4 or 5 times more art than we were able to produce with the old style.
Visionary Realms is a team of around 30 people across all departments and we are crowdfunded. A simpler, more efficient art style fits in perfectly with our budgetary needs. Not only can the art be done quicker, but it is also much less expensive to make.
We also want Pantheon to have its own identity. We didn’t feel that it had that kind of soul with our old style. Now, we are able to capture our artist’s creativity and the game is more identifiable when it is seen or played. We feel our previous style felt a little too generic and appeared much like many other RPG-style games on an indie-friendly budget. With its own identity, something that can be identified as Pantheon, the recognizability and accessibility increase. We feel that with this move, we are able to more efficiently catch the attention of more gamers and continue to grow our community.