As game designers we are always hugely inspired by the visions and skills of artists to create inspiring works of art.
Without fantastic art, our games would be nothing more than an idea with mechanics attached. The artists and graphical designers provide the form to our function. And as dancers will tell you, form is everything!
Often the unique artwork of a talented artist jumps out at us and instantly we find ourselves thinking of possibilities; where is this gorgeous landscape? why is this person running away? What is that creature shadowed in the background? and these ideas immediately start spinning ideas that could become intriguing games.
In the words of the rock band Placebo – Without you I’m nothing
Our first game Elemenz is a case in point.
Jason our designer already had a fairly strong idea of what the four alien shamans should look like and after seeing the work of Ascary Lazos, knew that he would do a great job.
We are not in the habit of dictating our own vision to an artist – to straightjacket them into churning out our rendition of how the game art should look! Instead we think it is vitally important to let the ideas and subsequent work organically evolve by allowing the artist as much free reign as possible and bouncing ideas back and forth with the designer(s). In this way very often, new ideas will spring out into the mix and lead to a more exciting result than we could have otherwise hoped for. Including how the game itself will change to accommodate the artists vision.
A good example of this is with the Energy Totems in Elemenz (see image below). We were pretty vague with what we wanted on purpose except that the outlines should be of the four main alien races in the game and they should be translucent. What Ascary produced on his own was stunning (with the threads of energy passing through the semi-corporeal bodies) and we could never have come up with something so good without him. A few tweaks to highlight things from us and the work was done with awesome result!
Because of our ongoing relationship with the artist, we already have plans to revisit the world of these creatures for a new game Exogenesis in the next couple of years. Watch this space…
Another great example of the synergy between designer, artist and publisher is with our second game Gladiatores: Blood for Roses. The brief we gave our artist Anja was a combat scene in an arena that showcased some of the gladiator types used in the game. We were blown away by the complex action-movie-in-an-image result that she has produced but we will let her explain more about it in her own interview. For now we leave you with just a clip (perhaps 10% of the artwork) in sketch form.
So in the following series of blog posts we will interview the artists that help so much to make our games a reality and highlight how they have added to the concept narrative behind each one. We will ask each artist where their own art style comes from, who else has inspired them to create such wonderful pieces and dig a little bit into the character behind these amazing works of art.Blood on the Sand – BadCatGames takes on UKGE2018
This year was our 3rd UKGamesExpo at Birmingham NEC and the best by far. Every year the BadCatGames stand grows (but perhaps not proportionally) as the event itself grows. This year unconfirmed reports put Expo 2018 as the 3rd or 4th largest show in the world, behind Essen, Cannes and GenCon with 21k+ individuals attending. Hall 1 is almost stretching at the seams now and we love the use of the second section up the stairs – not just for the photo ops!
The elusive designer Jason was there along with 2/3rds of the BadCat team (Chris and Cheryl) supported by our demoers Giles and Rob and some of the younger BadCatTribe (Laureline, Anna and Elliot) who did a sterling job converting dice game fans into fans and buyers of Elemenz. For some of the younger team it was their first gamecon and they had a blast by all accounts; even making friends with rivals – looking at you ITB team! (only kidding) + they got to sneak in a few quick games before the con started (yes we have the tribe signed up already for a repeat next year !). It was lovely to get compliments from gamers about how enthusiastic, competent and dedicated our demo team was, especially Elliot who managed to sell a copy of Elemenz to everyone sitting around the table at one point!
Our 10sqm plot at UKGamesExpo was still not enough space to handle the numbers of eager gamers keen on trying their chances on the arena sand in Gladiatores: Blood for Roses or summoning their energy dice to do battle in Elemenz. Our location down from the main entrance seems to have a lot better footfall as we are close to the Esdevium gaming area and our stand is a natural corner point for folk to change direction and head into the twisty confusing labyrinthine alleyways of central Hall 1!
The new location is also ideal to set up and dismantle (yes we have dibs on it for future years so back off exhibitors) as we are close to one of the rear exit doors, so it’s just a quick upload/ offload to get all our gear moved from transport to con. Also because of the corner position and close to the Esdevium stand we felt there was much more room for gamers to hang around and see what was going on (pausing for drink or scrutinising the increasingly complex Hall1 map).
Expo is definitely getting better every year and hats off to the organisers (Richard Denning and team) for the huge effort they make each year to create an all inclusive 3 days of gaming extravaganza. UKGamesExpo should indeed lock itself into the top 3 position from now on.
We really enjoyed chatting to all the excited gamers and an array of cosplayers throughout the 3 day UKGE event. This kept us busy and in the end we didn’t get to record the podcasts, live feeds from our demo tables and videos we would have loved to have shared online. We spent a lot of quality time just talking with folk; backers, industry professionals and reviewers who stopped by to talk about our games.
Gladiatores seemed to be a hit with everyone, from families to septuagenerians, to those just looking to spill the blood of their gladiator opponents on the sands of the colosseum. For a change the BatCatTribe actually did well and survived a few bouts, impressing the crowds. A lot of this has to do with knowing the hidden tactics of card combos or matching certain cards with the unique abilities of the Gladiators. The gamers who tried the game (young or old) got the hang of it quickly and we estimated that even as a completely new player – a single fight lasted only about 15mins/player – which is our normal time estimate and pretty reasonable for a card game designed to be quick and intense ! Some great ideas came out of these sessions, with great suggestions on how players would like to see an element of overarching campaign and progression. Watch this space folks !
UKGamesExpo 2018 was again a complete blast for the team and we want to give a huge thanks to all the gamers who came by to say hi, chat with us and try out one of our games. We meet new faces each year and make more and more friends who we get to see at each expo. For us, that is what makes UKGE special and therefore consider yourselves all as honorary members of the BadCat Tribe. Now we have settled in to the site in Hall 1, we have big plans for how to kit out our stand in the future for the retail launch of Gladiatores: Blood for Roses. See you there in 2019 !