A great game is the combined result of many elements that work seamlessly together – the story, the music and of course – the characters. After the first Jelly Wars, the simple, little bouncy warriors needed an upgrade to match the gorgeous new Jelly Wars 2.0. Jaakko Mehtälä was the man with the mission to do so: “I’ve now been working here for a year, and the first thing they gave me when I got here was this paper with two simple prints – the red and blue Jellys. Star Arcade gave me completely free hands to play with the characters, and that’s exactly what I did”. The picture above is the earliest sketch Jaakko did at Star Arcade, of which the one in the low middle is the closest to what the characters look like today. Well we are certainly glad that Jellys don’t have those wiggly legs, but what’s new, you say? Continue reading and see for yourself!
The new Jelly Wars 2.0 took the familiar lovable characters and remade them to better match the more interactive style of the new game – not only does the back story of the game hold more unique characters besides the blue and red clans familiar from the first Jelly Wars, a player can also customize their own characters to match their likings. When battling against 7 other players, it is only natural to make your Jelly unique, and who knows, maybe after playing a while you start to recognize your opponents by their Jellys instead of their names! Below you can see the sketch that is closer to where we stand currently (This is the part where you go “Wooah, that’s awesome!”):
According to Jaakko, designing characters that needed to look unique yet easily differentiable even on small screens was more fun than it was challenging. “When you look at some of the designs, they make no sense – we have characters with vests, with armholes, with no arms – it looks good but it’s hilarious at the same time!”
After Jaakko has done the groundwork with his digital drawing board Juha Takabe breathes the life into them. Juha, our animator, uses a 3D-program called Modo in the process. “The first few characters that I animate always bring the most joy – the sketches already looked so real, that it’s nice to be the one to bring them alive, and figure out the characters way of movements and so on, the little things that add to what’s already there. After the first ones I tend to get a bit overcritical and start to think that the characters’ movements repeat one another, but the magic is there, especially in the beginning”.
Juha shared an awesome screenshot from his worktable that demonstrates well how the characters get the spark of life: he creates different layers (like in a digital paper doll, if you will), that compile up to form the characters.
But who’s this character and what’s his doing in the game you say? Find it out in the next blog post, where we reveal a bit more about this fabulous Jelly and the features linked to him!
PS: Here’s a good sample of how the different layers work out – say hello to our Bomb Factory Boss!