Hey Mages! We’re at it again for a new weekly update, let’s get right in!

What’s up since last week?

Lots of stuff, both on a practical and a creative level. In a nutshell, we’re working on the prototype packaging, while moving the location of where we work.

Moving location?

This might not be the first news you’d expect from the Mage Noir weekly update indeed. We’ll go pretty quickly over this. It’s just that the team has been working remote from each others most of the time. Now some of us can work consistently at the same place. It’s just a nice thing to know and we wanted to share our happiness with you.

Working on the prototype

As ususal, working on the prototype in general is what takes most of our time. It involves numerous subjects such as playtesting, artworks creation, playability and practical aspects.

One of those practical aspects is the packaging. It’s a pretty challenging work for us as we’ve never ever done something that is quite like that.

It thus creates a lot of questioning for us. Should we go for something that follows the line of what others do? Should we go for one amazing eye catching artwork? Or maybe we should go for something simpler, even if it might convey less information on the feel of the game.

Those are still unanswered questions. And we’re currently doing a huge brainstorm about that. We guess you’ll see the results once the box is out there. Knowing our love for well done jobs and the incredible resourcefullness of our artists, we’ve got the feeling that it’s going to be awesome.

Creating more artworks
This is pretty much our main focus currently concerning the game, so we’re still going on with this. Just like every week we’ve prepared what is necessary to get more and more artworks for the game.

How do you prepare artworks?

You might have thought we forgot right? We do know we promised you an insight on our general artwork creation process last week.

Same disclaimer as last week we’ll be presenting it from a designer’s point of view.

First things first, knowing what you need
Last week we talked about what an artwork should take into account, but all of this put aside the other question we have to ask ourselves is “What do we need to illustrate?”.
We know all of the things we need to illustrate of course, cards, lots of them, and spells. But wait is it that simple?

Well not exactly. The game is still shifting, and some cards might get reworked over time, if we rush in we might get artworks that will get deprecated in a week, and frankly we can’t even afford to get an artwork that gets deprecated at all. So we just plan ahead.

What cards do we use most? Which ones seem to be stable enough to be illustrated? What part of the lore are we sure we want to illustrate? What spells will be kept, at least as a concept?

Take the Rite of passage for instance:

Rite of passage artwork

We knew it was a core concept of the game. Becoming a Mage Noir is very important in the lore. Thus it was a card that we knew we had to make quickly. We also knew the effects of the card wouldn’t change. This is the kind of green flags that encourages us to go towards a card rather than an other.

Creating an artwork brief
Our artists are very familiar with the setting of Mage Noir. But the concepts of the arts initially come from the game designers. To make sure we are on the same page we start by creating an artwork brief for them.

Consider an artwork brief as a descriptive technical sheet containing ideas of what the artwork should show.

It usually contains the following fields:

  • Name: the name of the card or artwork.
  • Localisation: where (and sometimes when) the action is taking place.
  • Action: what is going on.
  • Focus: what is the main thing we want to see amongst this action
  • Notes: every info on the artwork that does not fit the previous fields (Note: it is I, the redactor, that creates briefs and I’m very talkative in those, sometimes for no reason. This field very often ends up being more filled than the others… Oh I guess I did it again right now huh?)
  • Mood: A very quick summary of what the artwork should feel like to the viewer.
  • References: images so that the artist has some visuals to refer to.

This ends up with a pretty substantial amount of info most of the time. Once they receive the brief, this is when the artists start taking over.

The artists’ opinion is very important to us and we think it’s important enough so that we dedicate another weekly update to this part. We don’t want to rush this part in here. So we’ll have to ask you to be patient again. We’ll tell you all about it next week.

That’s all for today Mages!

We’re going back to brainstorming about game boxes! We hope you’re having a great week.
You could have guessed but it’s been a while since the last time we said this. We are so impatient to get this game out you can’t even imagine.

Until then, as usual, stay safe and have fun!