We’re all familiar with feature creep, the adding of features to software until you’ve either bloated the program or significantly deviated from the original intent. Even this early in the process, I suddenly found myself recognizing this happening. While working on some new artwork as I begin adding terrain templates and costs, I realized I was targeting the wrong aesthetic.
First it was lighting. I was considering, as I worked with the art, the effects of torches and other motivated light sources. How was I going represent lighting in the world when, for example, the character is carrying a torch or lantern?
Second it was the miniature. I modeled a quick miniature and rigged it to a skeleton so that I could not only pose it, but do some simple animation.
Lastly, it was the materials. I was thinking in terms of real world materials: stone, marble and the like.
Then, I took a step back and remembered what the original intention was: to recreate the tabletop gaming experience with all the miniatures and cast resin walls and floors that most of us never had a chance to use. Off to the web to see how people are using miniatures in the real-world.
So here’s my current thinking:
- Lighting - Light assuming the pieces are on a gaming table, primarily ambient with some weak directional lighting. For visibility, have the pieces rendered on top of a battle mat with a grid and hide any pieces that are not “visible” by the character.
- Miniatures - Miniatures should be static, just like real world minis. This has two advantages: 1) I will be more likely to capture the look and feel of classic Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures if they are “sculpted” as a single mesh without concern for rigging and animation and 2) this will significantly reduce the workload required and allow me to make more miniatures.
- Materials - The target look will be painted and unpainted minis. Any representation of stone, or marble, or wood should look like faux-painted representation of the material.
Thoughts? Is it better to be immersed in the tabletop experience rather than in the dungeon itself?