A thesis in Visual Development
TALE is a body of work created for my senior thesis in visual studies. Coming from a game art background I wanted to create a concept for a hypothetical video game and focus heavily on aspects of visual development for that game. The story of TALE is one of self identity and self discovery. Tilly is a young squirrel who has lost her tail and with it her sense of self. She must go on a quest to retrieve it and avoid dangers and overcome obstacles along the way. She must learn what it is that makes her who she is.
The concept for Tilly began as a young mouse who lost her tail in an effort to prove herself and become a little mouse knight. Deeply inspired by Redwall, I wanted to emulate the feeling of small animals going on dangerous quests and doing unexpected and extraordinary things. Through a series of trial and error it was clear that this idea lacked emotional interest and that there was just something about it that just wasn't working.
And so, after a few more visits to the drawing board, Tilly the Squirrel was born. Her narrative was overhauled, and the story became one that was more introspective and personal. This version of TALE was well received and was given the green light.
I also wanted to ensure that other characters that appeared in Tilly's world fit in with her aesthetically and that thier designs remained cohesive.
The enemies in TALE are not active aggressive obstacles you must fight your way through, but rather puzzles you must solve or enemies you must strategically avoid and navigate around. You have means of defending yourself but in some cases it's better to just avoid those who may wish to eat you for lunch.
Originally I wanted to create a world in miniature. In the Redwall stories the characters inhabit structures that appear mechanically constructed and man-made and this is the aesthetic I wanted to pursue. But as the story of TALE changed, I knew I needed to update my ideas about the world the characters were inhabiting. I needed something more natural and organic. I aimed to play with different shapes and a combination of natural and found objects.
ENVIRONMENT AND MOOD
Color and light are extremely important in establishing mood and tone. I wanted to focus heavily on environmental storytelling and allow the color palettes and environments to really drive the mood of the game. I want the world to feel expansive and bright.