Dev Diary 2 Art Deco
The game is set in a fictionalized version of the 1920s, and what would be more 1920 than an Art Déco?
The style is often used by games, especially for 3D. But very often it is reduced to the design of interior and objects only, while keeping characters in another style.
We always wanted to bring this decorative and elegant design to games. One fascinating specialty of the style are the often missing eyes in depictions of people.
The advertising and propaganda posters of the 20s and 30s, while being very clean and minimal, do portray objects like ships and cars or humans as titanic god-like beings while leaving their faces very minimal. Sometimes the faces of humans are just some simple shapes while extending their bodies to show off clothes or activities.
Many Art Déco style posters use heavy shading to hide the eyes. We definitely wanted to incorporate this interesting element in the design of our characters. Because it fits the overarching theme of the game very well: A factory of conformity, and your patients and other humans are merely a product of this factory.
It was not easy, finding graphic design of that era. As a template for layouts of documents etc.
Before my start in games, I worked in multiple different marketing related companies. So the question of layout was a daily struggle for me. So I looked more into the typographic design from the era. Lucky enough, my native Switzerland was a very influential place at the time for graphic design. So many of the documents in the game are based on graphic design in Switzerland during the 30s up to the 60s.
I also tried to emulate the architectural style of Art Déco buildings into the game. On a trip to the Palace of Nations in Geneva, built in 1932, I was able to take many pictures of the beautiful architecture. Some of which have been used to create the in-game environment of the sanatorium.
Of course, all this art is not yet final and subject to change.
Over time, doing all the coding and artwork for the game by myself became overwhelming, so I got Fabian (@robotsonrockets, robotsonrockets.com), who was part of my game design class at university, to join the team. Fabian is a very talented environmental artist and sound engineer. All around a great guy and recently he won a prize together with his roommates for creating the best gin in Switzerland, so positives all around with having him on board!