Art And Design Of Legend Of Abhimanyu 3D Mobile Game
Here at the studio where the team is currently busy completing the day’s tasks, I am writing this blog to share with you all the core experience from recruitment to managing the art/design and lastly the challenges we faced in all the phases of art creation knowing we are building up this game for mobile device and based on “Indian Mythology” for the World Wide audience.
So, the benefit of being an indie we haven’t spent much time in long discussions on creating a strong art pipeline rather spend time on working the design of the game. We did utilize the agile system and that really worked for us. In this blog, I am not going to cover core art creation process as we haven’t re-invented the wheel in art creation process. There are several awesome plugins/tools available on Unity Asset store which made our life really easy. We are a very small team and the strong communication between the team has been the biggest success factor till date.
There are very few titles developed from India that had made some success globally. Having said that, we do have some great talent in India but since the burst of the freemium game and the money which it can generate in a small span of time has encouraged lots of investors/studios to clone what works in the market.
Lots of small startups misinterpret freemium game ecosystem and due to lack of investigations/research, most of these games failed miserably. At the end, investors lose their interest and studios get closed. This situation is very common and one of the main reason Indie game development in India is still a struggle. At the end, so many great developers from the region decide to work for big names of gaming industry and talent keeps moving out of the country.
As said before — the first challenge was to hire the right pool of talent for Legend of Abhimanyu. Since it is our first game we had no history to attract good talent. The location Noida in India is not comfortable for many developers as compared to the southern part of India (Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc.) that already have built-up the right infrastructure and culture for game development.
However, we have some experience in developing freemium games while working in different big companies. Even then we as a team decided to create LoA as a premium game!
Started working on the design and after few weeks with some visibility, we initiated the hiring for LoA in Art and other disciplines. At the end, most of the guys were impressed with LoA being unique and in India most of the companies investing in 2D casual games and LoA being 3D mobile game under hardcore genre worked as an added advantage for us.
We built-up a small yet strong and talented art team that can work on multiple things (generalists). Finally, LoA’s art team is comprised of — 1 concept artist, 1 3D All-rounder (tech level designer, generalist), 1 3D artist with experience in working on VFX, 2 animators/rigger both of them have experience of working in 2D & 3D and expert in VFX and yeah that’s it.
In Parallel, we started facing another challenge, where making content for Global Audience based on “Indian Mythology”. The benchmarks available in the market started looking like a huge task.
We knew we had a great concept and an interesting storyline. But, was this enough? Well, not really! The challenge behind creating the art of LoA is how to recreate well known Indian Mythological characters that are already familiar to Indian Audience through zillions of years of history, art, and literature. We have to put all these in-game perspective and may be if it is appropriate — I would use the word “gamify”. We have spent months in research, checked several AAA titles, talked to lots of known developers to get the understanding of what global audience expect and how could we use Indian contemporary art to create satisfyingly awesome AAA art and gameplay for World Wide (WW) launch.
The mythological space being very competitive, we were very clear from the beginning that LoA must display true Indian contemporary art style. Below is a quick look on different explorations we built-up for the main character, Abhimanyu:
Primarily We Faced 3 Big Problems!
1. Creating in-game “Chakravyuha” with thousands of soldiers.
Mahabharata was one of the mightiest wars ever fought and the army used the scale of measurement known as Akshauhini to measure the strength of the battle formation. A single Akshauhini consisted of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 cavalries and 109,350 infantries.
It is said that over the course of the war, 18–20 Akshauhini armies were killed. And all this happened in a concentrated battlefield within the Kurukshetra, which is roughly 48 x 128 Km in the area. That makes a very dense war. Below is the picture of Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebidu showing — Chakravyuha:
It was quite an impossible task to render even 1 Akshauhini when we talk about mobile devices or for that matter PC and Console. We had to do lots of research and brainstorming and came up with the idea of Mud Soldiers. We also took some inspiration from the great Terracotta Army and finally below is the result of our hard work, the aerial view of our rendition of “Chakravyuha”:
Another big problem was to depict the “Chakravyuha” and the war scene in the game.
2. Creating Kurukshetra battlefield which was roughly the size of 48 * 128 KM in the area.
Next step was to start creating the Mud Soldier model and place them in a big scene which should depict the scale of Kurukshetra battlefield. We worked on some explorations with different lightings and below are some different explorations of levels:
In total at this stage, we have 19 Military Formations that includes an approx. 200–250 Mud Soldiers in each of the 19 Military Formations and all the above is divided into 16 levels. Lastly, since we could only capture 13th Day of Kurukshetra War, we tried our best to create all the different shades of lighting depending upon the daylight sequence. Below are some different in-game captures showcasing different lighting with different dramatic skyboxes:
3. Working on the gameplay using the art and assets created
Till now, I have explained the 2 major problems that we faced in the process of designing the art of the game i.e. “Chakravyuha” and “Kurukshetra Battlefield”. Now, I will talk about the 3rd difficulty, in fact, difficulties we faced while creating the gameplay around them. Since we are talking about The Epic “Mahabharata”, here I want to clearly mention that we have only taken inspiration from this Epic as it’s not possible to create something this big for mobile.
Also since The Epic is preached for ages and is still followed by masses we have done our best to keep the story as it is. To build an interesting gameplay, we used “Chakravyuha” to create different maze’s/puzzles. We have 5 bosses and all the bosses are equipped with different special powers for example Lightning, Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind. All the remaining AI’s are mix and match of Range and Melee combat with different behavior patterns.
LoA is a work of true passion merged with the different skillset we can. We have worked day and night to build this game in total 7–8 months. We are looking forward to leaving a long lasting impression on gamers worldwide through our unique game art and design. Until now we have attended few local / International events and the work has been appreciated all along.
We will start working on our next title based on some known Stories/Mythologies of India based on Freemium design. I thank everyone for going through this blog. Please do get in touch with us through our social media handles till we meet next time through our blog:
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And here goes our first gameplay trailer for few early levels:
Source : Acy Entertainment