Ever wondered how a game like Arkheim - Realms at War is made? What is the journey of an idea before it makes it to the game? How are bugs being fixed? Who creates the beautiful images? How do we keep players entertained? And - who are the human beings behind this project? The Arkheim - Realms at War Team invites you to take a peek behind the scenes. Today we want you to meet Game Artist Simon!
1. Hi Simon. First of all, tell us something about yourself. What is your background and how did you end up in the Arkheim Team?
I am the token Brit on the team. My first career as a young man was in theatre. I wanted to act on stage and, despite getting a handful of roles, I did more work backstage on sets, props and theatre posters. I began working in games in 1997, first for the Playstation and PC. A friend of mine came to work at Travian, which is how I was introduced and came to Munich. Arkheim is my first browser game and I’m really enjoying it.
2. How would you describe your role in the Arkheim Team?
I was on the team from the beginning, when there were just six people. I’m responsible for the in-game artwork, but Mario is the UI wizard. I try to deliver our team’s vision using pictures, 3D models, visual effects and animation. I take the ideas from our design team, and the rest of the team, and visualise them using 2D and 3D artwork, following through eventually to final in-game art.
3. How did you first come up with the unique Arkheim Art Style?
I’m very pleased to hear you think it is unique. That was indeed our aim. We saw that the biggest challenge we faced for a high fantasy game was to make it visually unique. Everyone has seen Elves and Dwarfs over and over again. So, how to tread the tightrope of delivering familiar fantasy elements without simply repeating what has gone before? We decided to not reference other games, or even other media, but instead we looked for inspiration in art movements. To put it simply we referenced Art Deco for Dwarven design and architecture, and Art Nouveau for the Elves. We also put a lot of thought into how they produce their buildings and technology. Dwarfs are alchemical masters and Elves are flora and fauna charmers, able to bend nature to their will with bioengineering.
4. Inspiration and creativity are essential for every artist. From where do you get your inspiration when creating new Arkheim assets?
As I explained in my previous answer, one of the routes to inspiration is through problems and restrictions. A blank sheet of paper is often the worst starting point. Having a visual problem to solve is a great starting point. The problem we set ourselves for the architecture was ‘If our fantasy races do not build houses with bricks and cut stone then how do they build them?’ Our answer is that Dwarfs carve their buildings from solid rock and Elves force grow theirs from trees and plants.
5. What is your favorite piece of art in Arkheim - Realms at War so far?
We all fell in love with the Dwarf citadel. How can you not love a building made from a volcano?
6. And lastly, do you have a message for our readers out there?
Go easy on the Goblins. One day they will rise and they will remember.
Do you have any more question for Simon? Let us know in the comments below!