29 January 2013

Dweller Roguelike

Last Update: May 2014
Whats all this about? Cover, story and various other art for the indie rogue-like game, Dweller 
Developed By - Björn Ritzl

- Feb 13 - Added monster sprites and some more pics into the "tiles and other artwork" section

- Apr 13 - Added a few ui concepts and a soundtrack cover to the "tiles and other artwork" section

- Aug 13 - Added couple more ui concepts that got scrapped in the process. Added the full soundtrack

- May 14 - Added a new pixel UI (fixing placement and performance issues on some devices)

Dweller is a fantasy roguelike/rpg made specifically for hand held devices. 
Android version can be found here

Players take the role of a hero who travels deep into the mountains to seek revenge and slay the evil Goblin King whose minions have destroyed the heroes village. I did few different cover pics, story art and some other misc screens for this game.
 

Dweller Roguelike logo


Dweller Roguelike logo concepts

Various logo concepts for Dweller. The first one had a classic dungeon tile feel, then decided to experiment with the Goblin King's face and but the face had too much detail that sunk the letters making things bit stressful for the eye. Blue one had a bit of heroic, legendary feel and was my second choice but the Goblin King's Silhouette beneath the crown seems more like a cat and the logo itself started to resemble a beer logo. Cat piss - best premium beer kind of vibe. Finally decided to settle with the red logo with horns which works better with the palette and has a much more savage feel that suits the Goblin King better.

Dweller Roguelike game over screen

Björn wanted a single game over scene to be used for all heroes so i did a tombstone with an item from each hero. May have overused shadows there, bit too dark but still a game over screen with a tombstone is meant to be depressive :) There was an alternate version that had an iron gate above the tombstone. The gate had a statue of the Goblin King and the statue was meant to change depending on the main story so if the player plays the Goblin King scenario then the statue was to be a goblin head. There was only one main story - goblin king - the time i made these. 

Dweller Roguelike Goblin King Concepts

Various Goblin King concepts for Dweller. In-game sprites for goblins are somewhat cute so my Goblin King started out as mischievous, aged goblin with long beard but Björn wanted something more brutish resembling a mix between Goblin and Troll or Ogre (and no beard) so the Goblin King ended as a badass savage which resembles more of an orc.


Story Slides

I'm also responsible for the story art of Dweller. The game does not emphasize on a story (though it would have been better if it actually had a deep and involving story or lore.) but makes do with a generic one. At first it was meant to be a few page story in the form of a comic book but there wasn't enough material to focus on.  

Dweller Roguelike - story concepts

  
Hand drawn stuff was ok but it was somewhat disconnected from a sprite based game. I wanted something more similar to the actual game sprites. After spending some time looking at in game tiles and sprites i noticed how the crude looking sprites resembled 14th century shields and church paintings so i decided to experiment with different, more symbolic styles.


Finally the intro story of Dweller transformed into an animated slide show as pictures fade in and out while sliding towards the top of the page and text appears below to describe each pic. This style suited the mobile game concept much better then the comic book stuff.


Dweller Roguelike story pages 1,2,3

Dweller Roguelike story pages 4,5

Dweller Roguelike story pages 6,7,8

Dweller Roguelike story pages 9


There is also an ending slide show where i used slightly lighter colours compared to the grim and dark intro. So things start to lighten up after the defeat of the goblin king. Until something goes wrong and everything begins to turn dark again.



Anything can be tied to the story like a new episode involving a new necromancer boss, various undead versions of the previous creatures and the new resurrected goblin king as a side boss. Giving undead properties to previous units and changing few pixels on the way they look can be an easy way of creating additional content.

Even without extra content, this type of ending can give a somewhat reasonable explanation to restart and kill the poor old kingy again for a second time.


Tiles and Other Artwork

Currently Dweller uses 24x24 sprites as map tiles (meaning it has real tiny tiles, best suited for pixel art) I decided to have a go at hand made map tiles but i highly doubt they will be used in the game due to tile size limit. The problem with hand painted stuff is that the smallest resolution they can go is around 40x40. It is possible to shrink them smaller but they wont look as good as they were meant to look. (or at least that's what i think).

dweller roguelike map tiles
Recently I've made some custom sprites to suit the story visuals. Unlike my usual stuff these sprites are pixel based so they can be implemented to the game without any size restrictions or anything but it will be up to Björn to do or not. Bit rusty on pixel side since i don't practice it that often. 

Later on I learned that the sprites used in Dweller were from a generic sprite pack made by some guy named Oryx. I thought the sprites were made specially for Dweller so I had modified some of the sprites instead of making them from scratch. If I knew they were generic I would have made otherwise...


Complete set of 24x monster sprites

dweller roguelike sprites
 and the larger 48x versions of the same sprites.
dweller roguelike sprites

Someone in the dweller community forums posted an idea about changing the way heroes look by wearing different sets of armour. It did sound like a fun idea so i decided do some drafts on how heroes and monsters could change looks depending on their armour types. But again i got clogged by the size and the limitation of the sprites.

It is possible to have different looking armour sets consisting of helmets, boots, body armours and weapons for each humanoid race (human, goblin, troll, orc...) and it is possible to make them wear bits and parts of each different set but because the sprites are so small it is almost impossible to make a good variety of different looking body armour other than the helmets and head gear. At least some different sets of weapons seem to look acceptable.

dweller armour parts

Below are a couple of UI concepts I did for the user interface.
Björn wanted it to have a more "gamely" feel. Its mostly fun stuff about visual decoration but the troublesome part was the screen size for low res devices as he wanted the menu to look the same for both low and hi res screens where there is so limited space for eye candy. The default UI felt rather clumsy for me so I decided to pen out some alternatives, one that can be placed on the single side of the screen while the other one can cover the very bottom. Experience indicator is shown via the purple circle around the hero and inventory can be accessed via clicking on the hero portrait.

Dweller UI concepts

I liked the single side menu but it lacked most features and looked ugly when the quick slots were added to a single side and Björn liked the second one with the radial in the centre (the one that covered the bottom part of the screen) so we decided to focus on that one.

Dweller roguelike hero screen




Hero screen will have a "dress up doll" kind of inventory. Which is standard in every rpg game nowadays aint it? Anyway these concepts will be the ones that will make it to the game. (probably with minor changes)

Dweller UI concepts 2

Some more alternative menus that got scrapped. The one with the Goblin King's crown was one of my favourites and would have looked awesome on high res screens but it killed half of the screen on low res devices so had to abandon it. The one next to it had the menu activated by pressing on the hero icon but Björn was concerned about hiding commands that the user uses often.

Dweller UI concepts 3

Another batch of UI concepts that got scrapped. 

Dweller UI concepts 4

Dweller UI concepts 5

And below is the 2014 UI

Dweller UI concepts 6



Björn was planning to add perks to the game so i did some artwork to be used with the new skills. First concepts had a part that showed class restriction on top of them but then i decided to scrap the idea due to the fact it wasn't compatible with new additions to heroes. There was space for a single new hero class and also i would have to add the new hero images to every old perk that was for "all" hero classes. Problem with these tiny details is that they can turn into pain in the ass after some time so i decided to let go of the class restriction descriptors. When i look back i still like how the colourful circles look... oh well, whatever...

dweller roguelike perks

Dweller has a lovely 30 minute ost made by Jimmy Mike (J. Michael St. Clair) If you enjoy music from Might and Magic or Kings Bounty games I'm pretty sure you'll love this wicked stuff too. My favourite track is the over-world forest but crypt and labyrinth are pretty solid as well.

dweller original sountrack cover


Dweller Roguelike victory