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Riven's baffling lack of concept paintings

#1 User is offline   tbr 

  • glotahn (beginner)
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Posted 09 December 2014 - 02:20 PM

Most of the time when people design games, before the make this kind of stuff:

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they do this kind of stuff:

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is preceded by this:

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That is, they make concept paintings to get the colors, mood and atmosphere of the locations right, before they go build it.

Yet in Riven, designed by a guy who can paint like this:

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and another guy who paints like this:

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it seems that the only thing preceding this awesomeness:

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Isn't it a bit strange?


#2 User is offline   Johnraka 

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 07:57 AM

Yeah, very weird in fact especially when you consider the whole project took 4 years, did they really just work from sketches on rough pieces of paper?
Even the 'Making of' videos don't offer any clues...
Really strange...

#3 User is offline   Zephyr 

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 07:02 PM

Yes, I have often been wondering about that lately-seeing all the Elder Scrolls' incredible concept art, for example. I would LOVE to see/buy a Riven concept painting, but that would probably cost more than a house right now :)!

#4 User is offline   Shinkansen 

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 05:07 PM

I figure that there is a lack of concept art paintings for Myst and Riven is due to the nature of those games' developments.

Mass Effect, the Elder Scrolls, and Assassin's Creed are all modern AAA games made by large development studios with hundreds of employees. There's a good possibility that lighting and texture artists, 3D modellers, and the concept artists rarely see each others. You need incredibly detailed concept art so that the team of lighters have a good idea of how a scene should be lit, so that the team of texture artists know how things should look, and so that the team of modellers know how things need to be scaled and laid out.

With Myst and Riven, you're dealing with games that were made by much smaller teams. Less than 20 people worked on Myst, all in one small building. Robyn Miller did the concept art, as well as some 3D modelling, texturing, animation, plus composing the music so he could work on that stuff all by himself. If it was something he wasn't working on, he could just easily go across the hall to Chuck Carter, Richard Watson, Rand Miller, or whoever and answer questions about what pattern Sirrus' rug should be, where the sun in Mechanical is, or whatever.

Even though Riven had a larger team, it was still the case that they were in one building with a relatively small team (less than 50, IIRC). People were still also doing multiple roles, so it would be easy enough for the 3D modeller/animator to talk with the concept artist/texturer and figure out how things should look.

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