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Posts Tagged ‘A Kingdom For Keflings’

Forget that voting nonsense, this is the big news from yesterday:

A Kingdom for Keflings on sale

Why bother electing someone to push you around when you can do the pushing?  Be a giant, control the masses of mindless servants!  For $5, complete with two map packs (XBox DLC), this is a pretty sweet deal.

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It’s coming!  This winter, we’ll release the sequel to A Kingdom for Keflings, aptly named A World of Keflings!

I built a lot of buildings and a smattering of other things for this game, and I’m excited to get it out there and start playing with it.

I’ll also have an article up digging a little more into what I do as a game artist here in a little while, using this game as an example.

In the meantime, we have a trailer on YouTube for the game.  Our office PR guy Andrew did a great job with this, so here’s hoping you enjoy it and spread the word!

A World of Keflings

Oh, and then there’s Doug Kefling on FaceBook if you’re one to follow things in that venue:

Doug Kefling

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Some more information has been released from the NinjaBee secret vault.  Microsoft is allowing devs to create costumes for avatars, and we’ve taken the opportunity to make some fun stuff, themed around the pending A World of Keflings (sequel to A Kingdom For Keflings):

A World of Keflings Avatar Store Preview

(this graphic is copied from there, but it’s worth clicking through for some extra details)

A World of Keflings Costumes

…and some of the pieces of those costumes are found here.

It’s a curious thing, this new MS policy, allowing devs to have a bit more to offer in the avatar customization arena.  Not only is it a way to maybe monetize interest a little more, but it’s also advertising of a sort, not unlike branded t-shirts.  It’s also fun; I can’t wait to see someone meandering around in a NinjaBee costume.  I think it’s a good thing, and I’m very curious to see where things go.

Beyond this being an announcement for my company, though, I get to show off some concept art that I did for the male Arabian-flavored costume:

Arabian Male Concept

I spent a fair bit of time painting this costume over a generic avatar, offering this as a proof of concept for what we might offer for avatar costuming.  The final male Arabian costume doesn’t quite match up with my original concept, but it’s fun to see that it’s at least similar to what I dreamed up.  It’s especially fun that they kept the little trim decoration design.  I doodle that sort of thing all the time in my notebooks and sketchbooks, and it’s fun to see it get through the production pipeline.

Y’see, concepts don’t always come out in the final game as intended or originally conceived.  Larisa lamented this a while back, wherein I responded with a bit of a peek into the dev process in the comments section, here quoted for completion’s sake:

Might I chime in as a game artist with a background in film production? I’ve worked with some fine concept artists, but inevitably, given engine or time constraints, the final implementation of concept art will not match the concept perfectly.

Some companies do try to match it as tightly as possible, and others use concept art as mood pieces to set the emotional tone for a piece of the game. Still others are mere color studies, a great many others are merely experiments, and it’s even likely that the bulk of concept art is merely sketch work. It’s impractical to polish it all up to “museum” quality. I’d go so far as to say that we’re not likely to be seeing even 5% of the concept art created for the project, and what we do see is likely a cross section of varied types. Straight up production pipeline concept art almost never makes it out of the studio.

Even if it did, probably only 10% of that art is faithfully represented in the game down the most granular details. There are simply too many compromises to be made in the translation from fine art to game art, most especially in the change from 2D to 3D.

If the final game art can match the mood and spirit of the concept art, evoking the emotional response that the devs desire, even if some details are lost along the way, the production is successful.

Think of concept art as a sketch (as so many of them are for various reasons; trying to make the equivalent of the Mona Lisa in 3D would be ridiculous in game production schedules) that must be translated into something playable. Much as the translation from vision (or reality) to painting can lose fidelity, translation from concept to final can lose fidelity.

The best production pipelines don’t sweat that loss. They find the most important parts of the art and focus on those and let the unnecessary bits go. That’s where the artistry and skill comes in on the production floor, making the choices on where to spend time. That’s where the art director steps in and keeps both the concept artists from going too far and the production artists from endlessly chasing miniscule details. It’s a matter of scope… and a LOT of game devs don’t do that well, to be blunt. That’s an article in itself, though.

To be sure, it’s possible to take concept art and match it to a high degree of fidelity, as in a Pixar movie, but the practical realities of game production mean that a different approach is necessary. (This, both in the production cost and the lack of prerendering… Pixar’s 30 frames per second are typically rendered over the course of DAYS, while we have to render in real time.)

So, concept doesn’t always translate directly to the final product, for a number of reasons.  I also intend to dig into this a bit more with Yet Another Artisty Article over at the official NinjaBee blog… but I’m not done with that article yet, and it might need to fit into the promotion schedule.  I’ll mention it when it comes up.  There’s only so much detail I can get into for a variety of reasons, but I really want to show a bit more about how things go from concept art to final game asset.

Until that time, then…

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One more day on the sale for our A Kingdom for Keflings game on the PC!

It’s good to see some of you having fun with it, especially when kids step in.  It really is a great game for almost any age.  Thanks for liking it!

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My Art Director here at work just mentioned our new NinjaBee website, found hereabouts:

http://www.ninjabee.com/

We’re also running a sale on A Kingdom For Keflings on the PC.  It’s been a significant hit on XBox Live, and it’s really cool to see it on the PC (especially since it’s the only way I can play it at home)!  Thanks to the guys who took the beta testing plunge when I mentioned it earlier!

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The company I work for, NinjaBee, has announced our newest game.  It is the best sandbox game that I’ve had the privilege of working on, and well worth looking at if you have a chance:

A World of Keflings

The official company blog announcement

IGN’s preview

And various bits of concept art from the NinjaBee blog.

It’s been a fun game to work with, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it in its final state.  Here’s hoping you all enjoy it too!

(Of course, the irony here is that I still don’t even have an XBox.  I guess I have to play it at work.  I’ll call it… testing.)

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How about a little beta testing to get your feet wet?

“A Kingdom For Keflings” on PC, Beta Testers Wanted

The company I work for, NinjaBee, is looking for people to beta test our “A Kingdom For Keflings” conversion to the PC.  It was a hit on XBox live, and we’re excited for the PC conversion.  We need people to put it through its paces and let us know how it performs.

And hey, if you put in some work and give us some good feedback, you get the game for free when it’s released.

Oh, and we recently released a title update for the same game on XBox live, so now it’s harder for others to grief you, your Transport Keflings are three times more effective, and the game is primed for some upcoming DLC.

It’s a good time to be a Kefling fan.

(In case you’re wondering, I built and textured several of the buildings for the game.  That’s my job; working in 3DS Max and Photoshop, with a side order of Excel.)

 

Addendum, ’cause I R Dum n’ forgot…

The application process, so you don’t have to click through to find it (quoted from our NinjaBee forums):

Good news! A Kingdom for Keflings is coming to PC and we need volunteers willing to help test the upcoming PC (Windows) version.

Interested? If so, e-mail betatest@wahoo.com with this information:
* Full Name and Address
* Information about the PC you’ll be using to play the game
(processor, operating system, sound card, video card, RAM)
* Do you have internet access at home?
* Any other information you might want to provide on how you can help with the QA effort

We would also like to know the answers to these questions, but your answers won’t exclude you from being accepted into the beta test program.
*Have you had any experience beta testing?
*Have you played any of NinjaBee’s games before?
*Have you ever played A Kingdom for Keflings on the Xbox 360?
*What is your age?

Notes:

1. We’ll expect you to give us useful detailed (written) feedback on problems in the game. If it crashes or has some specific problem, we’ll expect you to document how you got to that error. If you’re just here to play the game and not help with testing, you might want to wait until it’s released.

2. We’re not anxious to get a ton of game design change ideas, because we expect the game to be quite similar to the Xbox Live Arcade version, though we’ll certainly consider low-impact requests.

3. We’ll probably expect you to sign some simple NDA and promise not to pass the game around to friends or talk about it outside of our test group.

4. The game seems pretty solid. Ideally, this will be a short test period and everything will be fine.

5. We’ll give the official beta-testers free copies of the final released game. To be clear: we are not paying the beta testers and you have to give feedback to receive the free game.

Thanks!

I suppose you can use me as a point man/reference, and I’ll pass along your information, but you don’t need to use me as a middleman either.  😉  I’ve heard we’re getting applications from all over the world, and it’s great to see interest in what I think is a great game!

 

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