Who doesn’t love zombies?
That’s the question I asked when ajellebean and I were approached late last year to mock up some art and create some initial interaction design for a friend’s zombie game. I thought, “the whole zombie thing has been done,” which it has. Seriously. So, instead of using a modern day setting, I decided to take the players back in time – the black death times – and I set my characters against a background of Tudor nobility, fiefdom, poverty, and class struggle. About 1/3 of the entire population lived in dire poverty. A third. Talk about an opportunity for a rich backstory.
It would be the “Rise of the Tudor Zombies”.
While ajellebean worked on the interaction design, I set out to (playfully) render a few preliminary characters for the game. The requested style was to rely heavily on flat (non-graduated) colors and bold outlines. Illustrator was employed to keep the characters friendly to resizing.
Our hero, of course, would be little more than an able-bodied vagabond. I’d get to him and/or her later. But, the villains … isn’t it obvious? They would be infected nobility – Earls, Dukes, Lords.
The first color palette I produced helped define a uniform look to the zombie skin, eyes, mouth and the blood that would be used throughout the game. Creating this color palette early proved invaluable in the quick production of other, supporting zombie characters that looked and felt consistent.
Creating the first round of comps for “Rise of the Tudor Zombies” was good fun, and wholly collaborative. Which brings me to an awesome pro-tip: always start out with something good, then move into the “it would be nice if…” or “I think we should do this instead…” stuff. Designers and developers alike respond better to creative/constructive criticism if they think/know you’re not disrespecting them or their work, but trying to help make it even better.