I was asked by Nick Glenn, the co-founder of Helpful Human (a design and development company in Seattle) to take on the art direction for a game called Conquer the Heavens. Since then, I’ve recruited a design student from Western Washington University, Nick recruited another developer, and we have been working on the project on our spare time for the last few years.
The game’s unique feature is it’s first-person-shooter-inspired ship control system and gameplay style. To expand on this, I aimed to design an in-space environment that would make combat feel like a close-quarters city firefight. I began abstract studies, slowly working from 2D to 3D to begin visualizing what the environment and vehicles would look and feel like.
In space, there is no up or down.
Our goal was to put player experience above realism. We asked questions like “What if space wasn’t black?”. As a result, I began painting scenarios where space could be colored to match the player’s mood or current game scenario.
For menu and UI, I designed and produced a typeface in four weights that would convey the retro-future aesthetic that was beginning to evolve.
The all-caps monospace font was designed alongside a small set of emoji that would be used to humanize information in the ship's heads-up-display.
After establishing the general idea of the game environment, I began to model and texture low-poly components that would be used to populate houses and building faces in the colonized space environments. Our eventual plan is to procedurally generate these environments, so a rigid modular system was needed.
We’re still in the early design and development stage so there’s more to come!