Environment Art Style Test

21 Sep Environment Art Style Test

The following is a video of a Hellblade pre-production Art Style Test:

Dan Attwell – Principal Environment Artist

What is an environment art style test?

An environment art style test is a way of getting a sense of what a finished level will look like, and is a way of helping an art team to find their feet in the terms of the overall style of the game. It generally takes the form of a vignette, or diorama of a small part of a level, and is presented as a fly though video, or a small, controlled playable demo. On Larger projects they are usually part of early milestone deliverables for the publisher. In very basic terms, you can think of them as in-game concept art.

The woodland environment seen in the video is made entirely from these assets.

The woodland environment seen in the video is made entirely from these assets.

In the case of Hellblade the art style tests have taken on a slightly different roll to what they have in previous games. In previous blog posts and dev diaries, we touched on our ethos for art creation. Because of the time scales, and lack of man power, I’m building the worlds with kit part props and with as few bespoke meshes as possible. In a traditional role style tests are about exploring ideas and seeing if they work in a game context. In production of Hellblade, they are more about being able to view the kit parts in context, which helps to maintain continuity and quality. As the levels are being designed in parallel to the art creations, we’re also using the style tests to feed back in to the design, and vice versa.

The cave environment seen in the video is made entirely from these assets.

The cave environment seen in the video is made entirely from these assets.

It’s worth noting that the style tests in the video are shown with first pass lighting and very minimal post production. It makes sense to keep everything as natural as possible during this early phase. This will give as more to play with when it comes to colour grading later on. As the name suggests, post production is the last thing we’ll want to add to the levels, and this can drastically alter the look, and mood of a level. It can be very easy to tie yourself in knots when it comes to colour balancing, and lighting when you rely on post too early on.

3 Comments
  • Cameron Craig
    Posted at 04:44h, 05 December Reply

    I noticed nobody had commented on this and I wanted to mention this is one of my favorite posts. I show this to people all of the time as a great example of what can be done with a few flexible parts. Keep up the awesome work!

  • Tudor Vaida
    Posted at 10:07h, 20 January Reply

    You really made this look awesome! And what is nice it seems so easy 😉

    BTW, do you have any recommendations on a software for keeping a studio database of assets/ versioning them ?

  • Bertram Hein
    Posted at 11:32h, 11 August Reply

    are those assets from the marketplace ? because i want those assets 😀

    @NinjaTheory : Please release those assets to the marketplace. they are so freaking awesome. especially the rocks.

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