On Friday the team met to discuss the art design and direction for our 4X Space Strategy Game Distant Star.

Let’s put things in perspective. We showed early concept imagery for Distant Star when we announced the project a month ago but our Art Department, ably run by Richard Firth and assisted by Paul Scott Canavan have taken Richard’s initial concepts and breathed fire into those embers.

Richard has brought something new to the studio, not only coming from a more technical artistic field, outside the direct world of videogames, but also adding new perspective and inspiration to design. Something fresh compared to the more traditional structures and images you would associate with most 4X Space Strategy Games, yet still understanding the needs of the genre.

This leaves Paul to realise some of these ships and locations, taking input, discussing and working closely with Richard to provide Distant Star’s backdrop, units for the game as well as creating some gorgeous conceptual art

And through open development the whole team at Blazing Griffin are involved in the chat. Richard taking us through some of the basic design theory surrounding the Orthani ship template, starting with the initial scale and grandeur the race exhibits, and combining that with elements found in classic designs from Earth; like the work of Mario Botta and his conceptual architectural designs.

Each of the ships, indeed every element of Distant Star’s art, follows the same process. Only a month on, we know how quickly the team can work, conceptualise, discuss and debate design and still produce stunning images which you can find throughout this blog.

With all this a clarity of purpose must exist too. Ships must be easily distinguished against the star map of the game. Units must be identifiable and this is where the team really kicks in, discussing their thoughts and feelings, with Richard and Paul eagerly ready to hear these aspects.

Lead Designer KitKat (Stephen Hewitt) and I (Phil Harris) add a selection of comments, based on the work we have done on the background history of Distant Star: Adding explanation as to why some of these designs exist and what each branch of humanity brings to the game.

And throughout this we talk about other aspects of the gameplay, programming and how certain things are going to be realised to make Distant Star excitingly original, yet warmly familiar to players of 4X Space Strategy games.

Next: We’ll be looking at the game design and following this we’ll be talking to the programming team, keeping you in the loop about how we’re sailing ever closer to that Distant Star. 

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