I am building a digital board game inspired by WWI trench warfare. It is like Risk but with two players, faster pacing, quick decision-making and no luck. The game will use dynamic lighting, so it needs real 3D models for its game pieces and board (will be implemented as 2D graphics with normal maps).
My functional goals for the graphics are that they are:
- Readable. The player can tell at a glance what's important, what she can interact with, etc.
- Self-explanatory. Every image's appearance should imply what it does.
My aesthetic goals for the graphics are that they are:
- Tactile. This game targets touchscreen devices and is inspired by board games. The graphics should make the player want to reach out and touch it.
- Iconographic. A single soldier on the game board represents a battalion. Every piece should feel like it is a representation of a larger whole.
- Grounded in the real world. The game will actually look like a board game, with a physical board for the playing field and pieces standing on top of it. The pieces and terrains should represent something from the real world, but also look like they are built from real world materials. So soldiers look like they are made of plastic, mountains are made from mounds of sand and dirt, etc.
Payment negotiable, but it will be <$1000; I am just a student with ambition and free time. You get paid in stages, for each piece, not at an hourly rate. In any case let me know what I can do to inspire your confidence.
What follows is a description of literally everything you would be doing for this project. I didn't want to leave out anything important!
There are two players in any game and each have their own primary color. Right now those colors are orange and blue, but this may change (it won't make any difference to the normal maps so it's an easy fix for me). Every pieces is cast in that primary color but is not necessarily monochromatic or a silhouette. Still, much of the visual information for the different pieces should come from their shape.
The game is played on a small grid, think like 12x6 (but the final number isn't decided yet and is irrelevant for now). Each piece is the size of one grid space unless otherwise stated. Each piece travels in four cardinal directions so any animations will need to be rendered for all four of these and be recognizable from all these angles. Pieces are an amalgamation of board-game pieces and the real world objects they represent. So a soldier might be standing on a circular base like a board-game piece, but his feet are actually moving and lifting off the ground. You have a good amount of creative freedom to figure out any other details.
- Soldier. The basic building block of any army. Generic SMG-toting, helmet-wearing soldier like you see in lots of board games. e.g.: Has several animations: walking, walking while wounded, digging a trench with a shovel, firing, and falling over dead.
- Spy. This game is anachronistic but styled after World War I, so this spy should recall early spy films, propaganda, etc. I hope you know what I mean but if you don't I can find some examples. Honestly there is probably not a lot of room for detail on the piece that would make it easily recognizable so this one may be a challenge. Only animations are walking and standing.
- Supply truck. A camouflaged cargo truck carrying supplies, represented by wooden crates. The truck and crates are rendered separately as each crate disappears one by one. No animations except for basic movement.
- Engineer. Looks like a mechanic or engineer out of the 1920s. Animations are of him walking, and of him planting an object in the ground (object not shown in model).
- Planes. Planes fly above the board and are not restricted to the grid. I recommend looking at lots of photo references of planes from WWI and II, they have very distinctive looks. Suggest a model plane you'd like to use as a reference. There are two types of planes: bombers and gunners.
- Tanks. Tanks actually take up 2x2 grid spaces. The turret on top of the tank rotates 360 degrees independently from the base. Think like this: Grungy, cheap and Soviet, with huge treads and a long gun extending from the top. The only animation is of it moving.
- Mines. The kind of mine-design you might see in a cartoon- but of course, they actually existed. Dark and spherical with long feelers extending out in all directions. This is the only piece not cast in either player's color. The mine needs to be rendered in various stages of being buried in the ground; no other animation is necessary (I'll do the explosion with particle effects).
Some of the terrain need normal maps as well. Mountains should actually extend out of the board, and rendering some imperfections in the wood of the board itself may add that extra bit of realism (I'm not certain though, we can do some mockups and see if a flat 2D rect is enough for the board). Each of these terrains is rendered as an individual tile, with as many variations as necessary to break up any visual monotony (should not need many). Terrain should provide visual information but not distract from the pieces moving around on top of it. Know your color theory, etc.
- Mountains. Dry, desert mountains. Primary color brown. Dusty, evokes the Middle East.
- Grassland. Has no special properties so it isn't visually important. Just plains, but maybe rolling hills are enough to justify a normal map? Hard to say without mockups.
- Wasteland. Indicates land that cannot be fortified. Two types: desert (either sand or cracked, dry earth) and tundra.
- Farmhouse. These tiles produce resources and are highly desirable. They represent abundance and production. So, farms? Factories? Share your ideas with me.
- Trenches. Player fortifications are an extremely important part of the game. Trenches have several stages of completion as they are being dug, represented by how deep they are. Trenches are made up of dark earth and dirt and should look grimy and makeshift.
That's everything, I think! Thanks for reading all this. Here's my email again for your convenience: