Dreamfall: from sketch to 3D model archived preview
Usually what we see of a game is only the final iteration of a long and arduous design process. In this preview of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, we're going to show you a small glimpse of the processes involved in designing Zoë, the game's main character. On the next page you will see a scene from the game from concept to finish. If you're a regular reader of Adventure Gamers, you're probably very familiar with this scene, and now you will get to see how it came to fruition. Most of these images appear as online exclusives, and the captions are based on the designer's own commentary.
1: These are very early sketches of Zoë, in which the designers try to define her appearance. She was originally going to have a typical European look. This look was later turned down, as the developers decided that Zoë would originate from Casablanca in North-Africa instead. Zoë was made to look more exotic and less traditional than many characters found in other games. Several different sketches and facial expressions were tried out.
|2: Here Zoë is starting to take on a more concrete form. The developers have found a direction that they are satisfied with, though are still unsure of some of the details, such as her hair style.||3: This is the final concept art, and the sketch that was used to model Zoë in the 3D world. This is one of several outfits that Zoë will wear in the game.|
|4: Zoë in 3D. This is the model used in the game. The animators now have to create the bone rig in order to animate the model. Then they have to create her movements, so that she'll be able to walk, run, jump and climb.||5: Here's Zoë after the animator has created a running animation. In the left image you can see the rig (the 3D skeleton). To the right, you can see the finished model in 3D.|
6: This is a high resolution 3D-model of Zoë, which is used mostly for posters, websites, movies and other promotional material.
1: Sketches of The Journey Man Inn, a cozy pub in Marcuria, which is a major city in Arcadia. This scene was originally used in The Longest Journey, and will make a reappearance in Dreamfall. Material from the first game was brought back and re-worked.
2: Remember this scene? It's the first scene from Dreamfall that got revealed after its announcement. This second concept sketch is more detailed with snow, icicles and so on. It's detailed enough for a modeller to start building the scene in 3D.
3: These are 3D wireframes of the scene, showing the contours of how the Inn will appear in the game.
4: This is the final version. Notice all the details that have been made to animate the world: people walking around, the snow, smoke from the chimneys, the sky, etc.
For more on Dreamfall, consult our game overview page. As a bonus, here's some giant versions of the concept art: