Hey Mages! We hope you’re enjoying your summer so far.Let’s see what we did this week!

What’s up since last week?

Four main things. Playtesting Water (once again yep), creating artwork briefs, developing the lore and working on the game’s packaging.
Of course we’ll tell you about the end of creating artworks during this weekly update.

Playtesting Water

We’re still working on the Water element as we want to make sure it’s up to the high expectations we have for the game. For now Water is somewhat balanced, but it has a more hidden problem as it seems a bit tedious to use. Cards operate slowly, the whole element takes too much time to set up. In other words we would like to make Water more fluid (pun intended, we’re not sorry).

We’ve got some ideas where we can operate to make it better. It just means we’ll have to take more time changing cards and playtesting them yet again. Guess we have no other choice but to play Mage Noir even more. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Working on the game’s packaging

Since this is still something very new for us we’re taking time to do it. By taking time, we’re not saying we’re slow, we mean that we take long pauses between decisions on purpose to be sure not to rush this part.

Packaging is crucial for the game, it is the very first contact with the game for players that have never heard of us. It is also what you will receive if you back us on Kickstarter. There is no way we would accept this to be done quickly and without care. We want to make sure you can place the box proudly among your other board games.

So here is where we’re at, we have lots of possibilities, we’re just taking the time to make sure we’re choosing the best one.

Lore and worldbuilding

Can we technically talk about worldbuilding? Yes and no. We’re not making a world, as you know Mages live with us in the exact same world. But they do have their own rules, stories and ways to do things. We should probably call it culture building, but the word is less common in game creation.

However we did work on this part a lot more this week. Creating stories, legends, facts, opinions and conflicts. Getting to know some existing characters even more, meeting new people along the way, and understanding how they interact with each others.

We’re also discovering that even within elements, there are some very specific sigils serving different purposes. We’ll talk about them with you one day when we discover enough of them.

Preparing artwork briefs

We’ve also written a lot of artwork briefs with the method we presented you last week. This contributes greatly to our worldbuilding. Artworks depict events and characters, eventually getting linked to each others. Creating a whole culture and history of the world of Mages, bit by bit.

Creating artworks, when the artists take over

We’re getting to the most interesting (and also the part I understand the least) about creating artworks. This is the moment when the artist receives the brief and now know what we need and what we have in mind concerning a certain creation.

They have a clear definition of what should be depicted, what happens, where it happens and what it should feel like for the viewer.

At this point, the first thing we tell them is always the same:

“Is there anything you would like to change or suggest?”

Changing the brief:

We want to make sure artists are motivated by what they do. We’ve always had this feeling that working on an artwork that doesn’t make you vibrate will give some pretty average results. So we’re making sure that artists are 100% in with our briefs. This is the single most important part of creating artworks to us.

They may suggest anything, from small changes to fully different ideas. The feeling, composition, action or even characters may be completely ditched. We’ll still be listening actively to make sure we can both please the artists with what they would like to illustrate and get the informations we need on the card.

If their proposition can be fully implemented we tend to go towards what they proposed. If it’s a tiny bit off for any reason we try to find a way to keep the artist’s idea as much has possible while solving the problems it has.

But the suggestions can also be something like: “I’m sorry I just don’t like that brief, it doesn’t fit me.”. In those cases, we either give the brief to another artist to see if it fits his style more, or we just completely change it. It’s as simple as that.

Making quick iterations: Once we’re all on the same page with the brief and what we would like to see, the artists usually try a wide range of different ways to illustrate it. The key is that these tries are simple and quick to create. This is to ensure it didn’t take too much time, it’s quick to look at and it’s easy to compare to each other.

Sketches for Powerful swipe

These are the miniatures for the artwork “Powerful swipe” by Geoffrey Amesse. These are not finished artworks. As you can see we have a lot of different takes on the same subject. The key here is that he managed to do them very quickly to make sure he didn’t waste time on the ones we will not choose to develop further.

As you can see, they are numbered so that the team can communicate clearly and without confusion about them. We all discuss about the ones we prefer, from a composition, artistic and design point of view. We usually end up with two of them being tied. In this case, the choice is given to the artists as they will be the ones creating the final artwork.

Once the general composition is chosen, we also do some color tests to make sure we end up with the most beautiful, but also the most unambiguous artwork possible.(We wouldn’t want a fully red artwork for a water spell usually right?)

Colors for Powerful swipe

Then it’s up to the artists to clean, polish and develop the artwork and work their magic (And by magic we mean years of hard work and experience).

In the end we get some gorgeous art that always make us even prouder of what the game is becoming. On the other side, we hope those are artworks that make the artists proud of what they’ve created.

That’s all for today Mages!

“What!? But I wanted to see the final artwork!”
Oh you will, it will be posted tomorrow on our facebook page. So be sure to come and have a look at “Powerful swipe”.

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