Creating the Graphics
We began the graphic design by familiarizing
ourselves with the first part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy,
titled “Inferno”. It’s the main source of inspiration
for the story of the game, as well as for many visual ideas for the monsters
and the levels of Hell. Five levels are included in the game, themed with
fire, blood, city, swamp and ice.
The Layers of Hell
The game graphics is constructed of four separate
layers: the colored backdrop (“the sky”), the background
structure, the midground elements and the foreground. The midground elements
include clusters of flames and other details that add depth to the graphics
and separate the background and the foreground more clearly from each
The four layers of graphics combined
form the final look of the game environment (click to enlarge).
The creation of the level graphics began by first sketching them on
paper. Later these sketches evolved to detailed map drawings of the levels,
which were used as the guide for building the final layouts.
The evolution of the level graphics
from a Photoshop mockup to the final game through a sketch on
paper (click to enlarge).
Collecting the Garbage
We started building the levels out of modeling clay, but as the visual
identity of the game developed, garbage and construction waste took over
as the main ingredients. We took a visit at the waste land behind the
UIAH building and gathered anything that looked remotely interesting,
such as rusty iron scrap, thorny twigs, weird rock formations and shards
of porcelain and glass.
The junk was arranged on a long tray and photographed with a digital
camera against a blue screen. The different pieces of scrap were shot
both individually and in piles, and these photos were assembled into collages
for both background and foreground images. This technique provided flexibility
for the visual layout composition, as the elements were easy to move around
even in the later stages of the production.
Some pieces of our junk collection (click
All of the image editing, including the heavy lighting effects, were
made in Photoshop. Each final background/foreground image was a single
large bitmap that was imported into Director to be used in the game.
Playing with Fire
The monsters started also out as sketches on paper, which were developed
into clay models supported with iron wire. Some of the monsters breathe
real fire, which was created by playing with hairspray and matches.
The monster models were photographed for animation frames, using a setup
with a blue screen and three dedo lights. AfterEffects was used to key
out the blue screen and adjust the colors. The animations were imported
into Macromedia Flash, where they were equipped with scripts handling
the different kinds of movements, such as crawling in different directions
Three generations of monsters:
the first sketch, the spiked-up version and a frame from the
final animations (click to enlarge).