Q: Which area and characters were the most fun to create?
Henning: We have a huge amount of characters and monsters, but I think that working on the player characters has been the most challenging and at the same time most enjoyable, especially facial variations, hairdos and equipment. I feel they're special because all of the artists have contributed, and it makes us all responsible for them in a different way than other parts of the production.
Down to detail, coming up with a good look for female Orks and female Dwarves has been fun and challenging. We feel we've succeeded in making them look appropriately interesting and cool enough for players to want to play.
Q: Can you tell us a little about Darkfall's graphical style?
Henning: We've aimed for a more realistic look from of the very start of production, which means no bright candy-like colours and shapes. We do push things a bit further in the sense that colours are a bit more saturated than in real life, and items and structures look worn and gritty.
Being a small team, we don't rely on concept art much but having good descriptions from the design department, and extensive research and continuous art direction we found that this turned out to be more inspirational for individual artists. This would probably not work as well with a larger team.
As with the colours, the player characters in Darkfall have also been beefed up. We don't want the female characters in the game for example to look like glam-models; we want them to look as if they can kick some butt. For the male characters, we've given them a fit and heroic look, and avoided the bodybuilder appearance.
Q: What is the connection between Darkfall's style, lore, and atmosphere?
Henning: The art department is constantly being fed with great lore and description from the design department, and we do our best to stay true to it when populating the world of Agon. Still, we are left with a lot of freedom to be creative, and this is great for any artist.
According to the lore, something big is brewing and there is an eerie and pressing feel to the world. Our effort has been to create a look and feel of a world that is about to end and enter a new era. This decay adds a lot of atmosphere to architecture, props and items.
Q: What was the biggest challenge as far as Darkfall art goes?
Henning: Art-wise, the biggest challenge is the amount of work in populating such a gigantic world and at the same time staying true to restrictions such as the poly-count (the complexity of the objects that we are creating). Darkfall is a game that features massive battles and we have to ensure that the graphics are also optimised for that. The variations of racial and monster cultures, architecture, and props, have only added to the challenge.
The terrain of Agon definitely sticks out as the biggest and foremost challenging part for us because we wanted to model and texture the entire world by hand. All the racial areas needed racial identity, the subcontinents have their own style, and remaining areas needed their own unique look and feel. This part of the project is ongoing with at least one artist working on this non-stop, and up to four during shorter periods.
Today, from the artist's point of view, the world is finally ready, but as with everything art related, we'll continue to improve and rework things for the best possible result, and for as long as the game is in development.