Posted Tue, Nov 15, 2011 by Martuk
The Artistic Process
Our internal process is not too different from other design companies. Here’s how it flows:
Research -> a lot of drafting/sketching -> confirmation/finalizing -> finished art
Especially for monsters, we proceed with research and drafting some sketches after we receive information on the monster’s background and combat style from the game design team.
After we make some sketches, we discuss our ideas and make decisions on how to create the monster so it’ll work in the game. Then we complete the animation in perspective view to deliver the feel of the monster, make three-view drawings (useful in creating 3D), figure out how the monster moves, and so forth.
The most critical part of the process: the ideas of the concept artists and the people who lead the artists when they bring the concepts to life.
The Challenge of Originality
One could say that medieval elements have been infinitely repeated in the MMORPG genre. So we’ve come to ask ourselves whether we should follow along with medieval-looking elements that have been standardized after repeated use, and how original a game can be if it only has images with medieval-like elements.
Instead, we began to insert other artistic elements into medieval components, creating a fusion with medieval concepts as the base. And we sought ways to add originality and popular appeal to medieval clothing—another element that no longer seems exotic due to its frequent use.
Furthermore, TERA has realistic graphics, so we have an environment that can incorporate design elements that exist in the real world.
Rather than looking at character clothing and armor design as a simple concept art task, our design goal is to make clothing look good on the player’s in-game character and to emphasize what makes that character special—like a “good fit” when a real person wears clothes. And because of this, many fashion designers give us inspirations.
We also carefully consider the materials for our clothing and armor. Because the outfits look so real, we have to research each material’s texture, shine, and finish, so we can incorporate the materials’ characteristics into the art. For this reason, we need the perspectives of many different kinds of designers: fashion designers, industrial designers, and graphic artists, for example. Getting all these perspectives together is quite a challenge.
For monster concept creation, we have an additional challenge. The monster’s outer shape matters a lot in combat because TERA lets players aim their attacks naturally. Auto-targeting games only need a normal attack with different attack motions, but we have more aspects to consider because the player’s character actually gets hit in TERA. But this extra challenge is one of the joys of creating monsters for TERA.
An online game has everlasting life as long as the game is in service. Our task, then, is providing the necessary variety to make that virtual reality flourish. It will take more research on players’ different perspectives to match their numerous expectations.
With TERA, we try to deliver a new feeling to the players—something they’ve never experienced—and we will try even harder in the future. Thank you for your continued support!
PC Concept Lead Artists: Yoonkyoung, Kim, Jeongmyoung Lee
Monster Concept Lead Artist: Junghyun Kim
Ovolith - Behind the Scenes
Ovoliths are the largest arachnens, the children of the goddess Arachne. Like Arachne, arachnens are greedy and prone to collecting things simply to satisfy their material lusts. Arachnens are tough creatures, able to survive the deserts of Val Aureum and the icy hills of Westonia. Ovoliths are the most solitary of the arachnens—even when found in numbers, they usually work alone. Ovoliths are aggressive, capable fighters—ripping through groups of soldiers with ease.
Behind the Scenes
We wanted a monster that piqued players' curiosity when they first encountered it, then surprised them as it transformed into this creepy killer. The initial concept called for the creature to morph from egg shape to its spider-like form for battle. This worked out very well. We affectionately refer to ovoliths as Fabergé death eggs.