Development of the Shop Process

Step One – Using Primary Research and Secondary Research to Design Assets

Since our trips to the Lyndhurst shops and Treadwell’s bookstore, I have been grabbing aspects which we’ve felt suited the game and our themes which could influence the design process of the Shop environment and the Crafting environment. These are a select few scans from my sketchbook of such things:

This has helped me to get into the design process and come up with some new, fresh concepts and designs to create our Shop in Ephara. I have taken inspiration from books that I took out from the library such as Art Nouveau Architecture by Frank Russell, Art Nouveaux by Tim Benton, and Art Deco Architecture in New York 1920-1940 by Don Vlack as these are styles often used within High Fantasy and so to help get across our Fantasy theme, I have been combining such styles along with the research images that we took in Lyndhurst and London to create different and yet still Fantastical outcomes. Having this range of resources to work with has definitely helped to inform my design decisions throughout this process which has improved the look of the asset creation. 

Step 2 – Mashing Everything Together To Make Stuff

Once I had a load of different iterations and concepts of potential assets that could be in the environment, I then began to compile them into several layouts of what the Shop could look like. By doing this, it will allow me to try out a variety of layouts and designs which I will then improve upon once I’ve gotten feedback from in-house testing with our target audience. I’m hoping this feedback will improve the aesthetics of Twilleir and create visually striking environments that the Players will want to be in and feel like they should be in. This way I can figure out if there is anything that doesn’t fit in with the aesthetic we’re going for.
Below are the five concepts that I’ve developed using the previous assets created:

Step 3 – Get Some Feedback and Crit

Once I had designed these five layouts, I then moved on to in-house testing. I asked roughly 10-15 people what they liked, what they didn’t like, what suited the Twilleir ‘vibe’ – so was it cute, charming, homely? In order to record this, I photocopied copies of the layouts and got people to scrawl all over them. This helped as some individuals embraced this and wrote all over highlighting specific aspects they liked meaning it feels like I got some good, solid feedback from this exercise. From this feedback, I will be able to start planning some final designs which I am intending to then put out again to in-house testing to see which is the favourite; this will then be the Shop environment complete and ready to paint for the game! 😀
Below is the scans of the feedback that I received from our target audience:

As well as useful for me, it was intriguing to see that some people responded to other people’s feedback that had already been written before them. This does, however, make it harder for me to figure out which feedback to go forward with as there are some conflicting feedback. In order to combat this, I have outlined with the Team that our keywords for the Shop are Cosy, Homely with a hint of Professionalism (as you are supposed to be upkeeping a business!). From here, I will be deciphering the feedback by picking out elements that support these keywords in order to create a Final Shop Environment Design that adheres to ‘cosy’, ‘homely’ and ‘hint of professionalism’.
This will be part of the fourth and final step – make the thing! I will be updating this blog post with it once it is complete.

Feedback in list form (easier to read):

Layout 1:

  • Till looks too modern ( a few agreed)
  •  Preferred curved desk like in other designs
  • The moon symbols should go on all bookcases
  • Walls are too cluttered with bookcases – paintings etc would be nice
  • Arch shape of bookcases is good
  • Prefer curved shapes of doors to angular
  • Doors should have similar pattern

Layout 2:

  • Like the wooden walls (others agreed)
  • The Chair had some conflict – some liked it there, some didn’t
  • Open book on desk = feels potion-like (fantasy)
  • People liked the curvy desk
  • Inconsistent doors
  • Too symmetrical – doesn’t feel real ( a few agreed)
  • Add a rug to make it feel more ‘homely’
  • Don’t like the floor tiles
  • A lot of people liked the door being at a different angle
  • Shelves are too ordered – add shelves and cabinets together? ( a lot of people agreed)
  • Put the door to Crafting Room behind the desk

Layout 3:

  • Like the wooden door and walls
  • Turn desk 180
  • A few people liked the disorderly shelves
  • Liked the variation in size of cabinets and shelves for potions
  • A lot of people liked the floor and the rug
  • Too many doors in a row – confusing

Layout 4:

  • Don’t like bricks/do like bricks ( a lot of conflict here)
  • Shape of the room is great ( a lot of people agree)
  • Like the door shape (few agree)
  • Patterns on the cabinets should match
  • Some like and dislike the tiling on floor
  • Bit too much going on in the corner of the shop with the Garden door and Store Room
  • Don’t like the chair
  • Like the look of the shop – Harry Potter/fantasy 

Layout 5:

  • Too many doors together
  • More plants needed
  • Floor is distracting
  • More disorganised books and plants
  • Don’t like window behind desk
  • Layout feels claustrophobic (many agreed)
  • Feels empty ( a few agreed)

Overall, this process hasn’t been too time-consuming as it has taken me roughly two weeks to work on this. Now that I have an idea of how to go about creating these assets and testing them, I hope to improve the speed of environment production to at least 1 week – 1.5 weeks to complete a room. Millie has been working on concepts for the Dungeons/Caves currently, so this has helped to speed the environment process along. With this continued partnership with Millie, I hope for the environments to be at a fully designed stage within 5 weeks time. Once they are designed and completed, I will then be taking the time to paint them, where I shall be learning from Youtube tutorials, books, as well as peer-based learning from Millie so that we keep the painting style consistent across the game.

So far so good, right?

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