Dev Dispatch #06: Jaguar and Prophecy Weapons Art

By Tore Blystad, Creative Director

Hi Nyan Heroes family,

We are back with another Dev Dispatch. This time, we’re covering the weapons design process!

Nyan Heroes is a PVP Battle Royale game featuring cats piloting a roster of deadly Guardian mechs with a variety of unique abilities. In such a setting, the arsenal of weapons is an equalizing design element since it is the thing that all players must use, and their skills will determine the outcome of the session.

Visually, the weapons of Nyan Heroes draw inspiration from the games that we play and love. They are big and bold and should be easy to recognize in the field and stand out against each other.

The two weapons we want to feature today are the Jaguar and the Prophecy, since they are the first weapons we’ve worked on. We will use these two weapons to build the gunplay foundation.

Jaguar

The Jaguar is a high-impact gun and a veritable hand cannon. From its early sketches, we were excited about its iconic white and yellow theme. We started with the first approved concept art:

Jaguar Concept Iteration 1

As the project has progressed, the fidelity levels have augmented as well. Once we saw what we could accomplish with the character fidelity of the Genesis Guardians, we decided to improve the quality of the weapons too. The next iteration of the Jaguar retained the original iconic elements and added several new details. The final model turned out great:

Jaguar final in-game quality render

An important part of the weapon design is the reloading element. We consider not just how it fits with the overall gameplay tuning, but how inventive and interesting it can be made to look and operate. Below are sketches from our concept artist Alessandro Rocco on the reload steps for the Jaguar. As you can see, the magazine sits below the gun, between the trigger and the barrel.

Visual Effects are still in exploration, as gameplay is still under development and form should follow function. Concept artist Moritz Cremer has been exploring the muzzle flash:

Jaguar visual effects exploration

Prophecy

The Prophecy is a carbine archetype that is deadly at medium range. The first concept art explorations resulted in an interesting energy-based design with some memorable barrel details. An important part of game weapon design is to create unique silhouettes and recognizable elements visible from afar to help players make choices in the game world. First, we created the approved concept art :

Prophecy concept iteration 1

The Prophecy went through the same iteration cycle as the Jaguar. We used a high-fidelity paint-over to add details, realism, and wear-and-tear to the 3D model. We retained the iconic elements from the barrel, but used additional detail to break up the shape and make the weapon more grounded in look.

If you look closely at the design below, another consideration we realized as our Guardians made their way into the game was that the hand and finger size of the various characters made it impossible to keep the trigger in its original design, and we needed to extend the lower parts of the handle.

The Prophecy in final in-game fidelity

Reloading animation sketches highlights some of the considerations needed when designing an in-game weapon. The reload design goes back to the 3D team before going to rigging, and then further to animation.

Similarly with the Jaguar, we are concepting the visual effects as art negotiate with design over the exact functionality and aesthetics.

Visual effects sketches

Game development is always a thrilling challenge, and no day goes by without a new and unique issue appearing out of nowhere. Our Guardian mechs are all different sizes, so one way to make the weapons work for every characters is to scale them up and down to fit the hands. The Tank is our largest Guardian, and the weapons have to be scaled up to fit their enormous hands. In the image below, you can see how the scaling sometimes gets out of hand. It looks like he’s holding a cannon. 😊

We hope this provided an insightful look at the process of designing game weapons. Stay tuned for more Dispatches, and we hope you stay safe this winter season!

Until next time,

Tore

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