Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Howdy gang! I'm in the process of finally getting some game art online, and I wanted to start with some work from Singularity. This was my first job in games, and it was a hell of an experience. I've been crazy lucky to work with such amazing creatives- oh please note- a version of this article was originally posted as a Raven developer diary.

Developing the Element 99 symbol:

Element 99 is the driving force behind the narrative. It is a highly unusual element that can bend and pervert time, and it is responsible for the Soviet Union’s dramatic rise to power. Our goal was to create a simple, interesting “E-99 Hazard” symbol that we could showcase both in-world, and in the game’s branding.
As we worked through many designs, a few tenets emerged:
  • It couldn't be too overtly scary or aggressive, the radiation symbol is scary because radiation is scary, not the triangles or palette itself.
  • It couldn't look contemporary, meaning we did not want the mark to feel like it was designed last year. It needed to have some period-appropriate wonkiness to ground it in our reality.
  • It should be simple, iconic, and of course relate to time.
Here is a sample of the various iterations we tried when designing the symbol. In 1, we played with an arrow (of science!) piercing a barrier- it had nice movement but was too abstract. Notice in 2, we were looking at the literal definition of a Singularity- “A point in space-time at which gravitational forces cause matter to have infinite density and infinitesimal volume, and space and time to become infinitely distorted”. We looked at an abstract horizon, where one couldn't see what lie beyond. Also, the shape created a kind of torch, which relates to Prometheus and his fire- nice, but again, too abstract. 3 is the result of critique and revision.

We liked this mark best, because it relates to time (the hourglass), time irregularity (the infinity loop) and science (electron orbiting the nucleus of an abstract atom).

Placing the mark into the world:: Once satisfied with the mark, we made a few comps of how to make it into believable, in-world signage.

I really love looking back at this stuff. I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to develop this mark while still an associate artist. Singularity was developed by Raven Software, published by Activision. 

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