The story of a tragic airplane crash in the South Pacific that leaves crew members stranded on an idyllic island is nothing new. The list of films and depicting this storyline is long but these are in the end only a re-hashing of the good old Robinson Crusoe story. The reoccurrence of this theme shows how popular this story still is when modern nuances are added.
Next to film and television, this type of island ballad has also made its way into the world of computer games and is now being heralded in the form of a browser game. The idea for Lagoonia, the title of the game, came from Innogames, a company that specializes in the development of browser games. The graphics studio Augenpulver was given the job of creating the graphics for the game based on Innogames’ game design. With a team of 2D and 3D graphics artists, Augenpulver set out to realize Innogames’ vision of Lagoonia.
The basic concept of the game is to make the player explore an unknown island world and survive using farming techniques and re-inventing various technical devices to ensure the survival of the steadily growing family group. First, the team at Augenpulver had to create a fitting landscape made up of graphic elements. Coastal elements had to be created, the ocean in various colorations to depict different depths, various fields and structures, vegetation, boulders, cliffs and other landscape features. Instead of a realistic look, the task was to create a colorful, cartoon-like set of graphics, which were created initially as renderings with Cinema 4D and then touched up in Photoshop.
After the landscape had been created it was time to create the characters. Like the landscape, these also had to have a cartoon-like look. The graphics for the landscape elements were static but each of the game's characters had to be animated. Since the game was viewed from an isometric angle, all characters had to be depicted accordingly and each respective animation also had to be depicted from 8 different points of view. There were 4 classes of characters, each with 19 possible styles of dress and accessories; 30 animations for each character, each in turn consisting of 35 frames were planned. Each animation and all assets had to be depicted in 8 different perspectives. If you put that into plain numbers, you’re talking about 638,400 frames!. On top of that, additional variations for the color of skin and clothing were made in post-production, which resulted in a couple of million frames – only for the human characters. This resulted in an exorbitant number of animation frames being created in total. After going through its to-do list and realizing the amount of work that lay in front of them, Augenpulver had to catch its breath. Fortunately, the team was working with Cinema 4D and was using its reliable NET Renderer. The team even continued to work on the project using the same computers on which the NET Renderer was running.
The tools to be used were Photoshop, After Effects and Cinema 4D - products with which the team had already worked in countless other projects. Cinema 4D in particular had been a constant in most projects for years and was known for its dependability. For the Lagoonia project, many of the render jobs were done using NET Render, whose reliability allowed the team at Augenpulver to plan their work very accurately. The team rendered the images in separate passes using Cinema 4D's Multi-Pass function and then composited them in Photoshop and After Effects making the fine-tuning and color adjustment phases child's play.
Thanks to good planning and dependable tools, it was possible to complete this logistic behemoth of a graphics project on time and to the customer's satisfaction. And this despite the art director's extraordinarily high demands, which meant sending everyone back to the drawing board more than once!
Lagoonia – A South Pacific Browser Game
Casual Games enthrall the masses and Cinema 4D supplies the graphics!