Next up in our Dev Blog series is Ted Terranova, an Art Director here at Sparkypants. Ted offers up a behind the scenes look at how we go about creating our Dropzone pilot designs.
Ted’s major focus on Dropzone, our first game which is an RTS/MOBA hybrid, was the creation of our rigs and pilots. Each pilot has their own special rig that can be customized with different pieces of gear.
“The first kind of pilots we imagined were more conservative, militaristic, flight suit kind of people. The kind you imagine flying an F15 or a helicopter. We took those flight suits into the future.” states Ted. You can see this sort of design with pilots such as Vanguard and Vise, both who have military style appearances and background stories.
Ted goes on to describe the Summoners which are pilots that heavily inspire him. “We decided to get more character out of our designs and we had to venture off to get more interesting more wacky characters that we could push the boundaries with. Especially the summoners that were this off planet contingency. All those pilots are a little more interesting. Since then we’ve been having a lot more fun with it and it’s been really good for the project. It provides more interesting VO and backgrounds too.”
Ted’s favorite pilot is Plutus. He says, “Some of his lines are so crazy and kind of weird… he’s this dark all in black and dark greys...you can’t see his head and he’s got this square helmet. HIs personality comes through in his design.” Plutus is one of our more unique pilots, in VO, lore and his design. According to lore, “the true origins of Plutus are a mystery. One day he simply “appeared” in the crowds of Exile refugees in orbit around Europa declaring himself one of the leaders of a new (some would say strange) religious movement calling itself the Paradigm”.
There's a lot more to the creation process than following a traditional pattern. Ted discusses how some ideas may seem too strange but worked out great. “I think I’ve found that the ideas that seem the craziest or get the most push back early on tend to resonate the most. They seem a little too whacky but they stand out and are more memorable. Cortex was a fun one and wasn’t planned in a traditional way.”
Are we done creating Dropzone’s pilots? Of course not! “We’re pushing ourselves, what are we doing next? What’s more exciting then the last pilot? We have to keep pushing ourselves to one up what we’ve done before. Looking back I say, ‘man we can do so much more’. The quality and excitement in our pilots has improved a lot more over the course of our project.”