My groups two words for our game theme this semester is “Renaissance” and “Library” that has to work in a point and click styled game. While the immediate thought with these two words would be to invoke imagery of yellow candles, old books, lots of wood varnish and old men with scruff grey beards I would suggest taking a more contemporary look at it.
For our game I would like to look at “renaissance” as new things growing, or coming with the old and library simply as a collection of interesting objects, things or places which is why I would like to take inspiration from the environments and tone of the cartoon series “Steven Universe” as a jumping off point.
Some of the environmental art from the cartoon series “Steven Universe”.
A game with those colours, whimsical blues, green, reds and pinks seems far more interesting than that of stuffy old papers, grim sic-fi or rusty medieval armours. Considering the 100,000 poly limit on our level, and 10,000 on character, while not necessarily low, I think we would benefit from a stylised approach, one with colour and a sense of wonder and beauty not seen often in our industry. If nothing else a attempt to achieve this look would certainly be a interesting challenge that could offer some interesting opportunities to look more in depth for other uses for shaders or particle effects as mass and objects(maybe, could be cool to have particle hair, just saying).
Other possible references that fit this feel Studio Ghibli FIlms, “Zelda Wind Waker”, “Okami”, “Cradle”, “Fez” and so on.
The game theme itself could possibly focus around the idea of the new growing on top of the old, the level could be some kind of library of body parts and the player some evolving robot, humanoid plant or cyborg that adds small parts onto themselves(transforming?) to get through the level.
Bottom line, my vote is for whimsy, something fantastic and striving for beauty with luscious colours and a pastel like feel to the mass as seen in the images above, at least for the art direction, to be something nice, pleasant and magical.
P.S. This is just a personal preference but I would be quite fond of something contemporary/modern, there’s enough medieval fantasy in this bucket, go for something timeless!