NOTICE: This wiki is read-only. Rebuild 3's design phase is over and it's now released. Thank you for all your help!
What will Rebuild 3 look like?
- I've hired Adam Meyer of Steamroller Studios to create the art for Rebuild 3
- the style will be halfway between Rebuild 1 (my clean vector art and stick men) and Rebuild 2 (EvilKris's realistic survivors and gory scenes).
- low visual gruesomeness level (plenty still in the text though)
- characters will have mix & match faces and more body choices
- events will have accompanying illustrations
- Here's a very early mockup of how the game will look:
See this blog post for more info and character sketches.
Loqman (talk) : rebuild two had realistic faces, all audience aren't anime lovers many like reality more . i suppose last one was much better however faces sometimes weren't match and cool but it was real and i loved that
Woolfe (talk) I liked the Realistic faces, even when they were a bit... odd... However honestly it was the gameplay that kept me coming back, and will in the future. About the only time I really took notice of the people was the 5 I took to the next city. I always used to try and get a team of one of each character type(even tho they were all the same stats) and generally all better looking females. Not sure what that says about me, but the main reason was that I would recognise my 5 main characters at a glance better if they were better looking females. The New Style looks fine to me. The lack of realistic models I can live with. The loss of those awful cut scene images is great. Just make sure you can clearly identify individuals that you want easily at a glance. --Woolfe (talk) 00:52, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Axethrower23 (talk)I think its okay for them to look a bit animated, but it would be better if they actually look like survivors of a zombie apocalypse. They should look a bit starved, dirty, and unshaven, wearing ripped and worn-out clothes, weilding weapons that have obviously been used a lot killing zombies.
BigRebuildFan (talkI have to be honest, I am not a fan of this art style. Rebuild 2 had it done perfectly-- gory and realistic. True to the zombie genre. This seems like a bit of a cop out to me, and makes things look way too "toony."
Most importantly, I'd like a coherent style between the GUI, the buildings, the survivors/zombies and still shots. Rebuild 2 still had a lot of my clumsy vector art from the first game, and though I think EvilKris and I made it work, the styles sometimes clash.
Miguelinileugim (talk) Did you plan to make multiple skins for the game? I'm of the opinion that that would be an unnecessary hassle, but what do you think about it? Sarahnorthway (talk) As in making two versions of every art asset in the game so players can choose their preferred style? No.
Maybe you should implement an easy way for people to make their own game skins. That way, people who wanted their style to be more gory can download one that the community made, and people that want it like the concept art can keep the normal game design.
Make unfortified buildings look destroyed, less saturated and dead. Fortified buildings should be brighter, look fixed up and in use. If different art assets proves too time/memory consuming, at least use saturation filter in addition to brightness.
Maybe a way to make the roads less gridlike: lay roads over the building bases, and leave some roads out so that building bases run right into eachother.
We Are The META (talk) Maybe you could have little fires, or excess rubble near buildings that haven't been claimed. I like the idea of them looking different of course and them looking more destroyed than the fortified buildings would have a good look.
Also, maybe their could be like a little signal to remind, or to show the player what can be found there and it should be able to be seen without scouting. Like grocery bags if there is a lot of food there. Or maybe a car or form of transportation in front of buildings that have survivors there, or military vehicles if there is equipment in that building.
Don't make a lot of buildings the same size and shape. For example , maybe I reclaimed a small hospital , "Hospital A" , and then later in the game , I reclaim a different and bigger hospital , "Hospital B"Theking (talk)
I'd like to have little pictures for some/most of the event results. I liked the survivor portraits in polaroid w/ paper clip from Rebuild 2, but I want to expand these to include pictures representing random events that don't have to do with a specific survivor. Examples:
- Dying grain when the harvest goes bad
- Angry dogs during an animal attack
- The riffs' npc faction leader when you trade with them
- Drooling zombies when someone is injured during a scavenging mission
- Building on fire when a fire breaks out during zombie attack
- A machine gun that was found while scavenging
- People in lab coats doing science while researching a cure for zombieism
- Scene of a bar fight for a warning of low morale and violence
- The new survivor you recruited, against an appropriate background
- The survivor who just died of starvation (with appropriate background / hunger icon / blood to indicate death)
I figure we'd try to reuse these and build some dynamically using existing assets like the survivor portraits and items. Probably will need around a hundred of these to cover most important events.
Sarahnorthway (talk) Keep the mix & match. There are 38 (faces) x 9 (hair) x 11 (accessories) x 5 (clothes) = ~19,000 unique male characters in Rebuild 2, and another ~10k female. I'd like to continue using real life people's faces for the characters via a tool like FaceGen if it's possible to make them gel a little more with the bodies and equipment. I had some trouble getting the hair to fit right, a common complaint. Maybe there's some tool that can make more vector-y characters out of real photographs? It would be a great Kickstarter reward.
In Rebuild 1 all the scientists looked the same, and all the soldiers, etc. In Rebuild 2 new survivors appear wearing the clothing of their class, but keep them for the rest of the game, and I relied more heavily on icons to show skills. This was because it became more important that you be able to pick out a specific guy than that you could grab any soldier quickly, and I think Rebuild 3 will be the same way.
On the map
I'd like to add survivors and zombies and npc faction units to the map. I imagine them like board game pieces with round bases that can change to indicate what kind of mission they're on or what type of unit they are. Not sure that we could get them to look like they fit in to the buildings so they'll probably sit over top.
Ideally they'll be animated, at least with walking animations so they can stroll back to the fort when a mission completes. Pie-in-the-sky we could also have animation loops for each mission: shooting zombies, scavenging, etc. There's probably no way we'll get them detailed enough to be individually recognizable (skin color, hair, equipment), but at least we should be able to show profession by the clothes they wear.
Make it so you can customize general aspects of your survivor individually (ie. skin tone, hair style/color, head gear, etc.) constantly clicking to find the best combination in the Rebuild 2 was a bit annoying.
Kneller (talk) Everybody looked a little weird in R2. I really didn't mind the art from R1. I do understand the value of customization, but eventually you get/lose so many survivors, they all tend to be pretty faceless to me. I personally think you should be able to customize every character that comes through. Also, i think (if possible) that everyone should have there own personality. I love R1 and R2, but R3 should have the clean-cut R1 graphics. I didnt like the music either...
Bender: Absolutely agree. The faces in R2 scrape the bottom of the Uncanny Valley, and it doesn't help that it's mix-and-match. I do see where you're coming from with the easy-to-recognize aspect, though. What if you went in a more graphic novel style? Something like how Dark Horse draws? Gritty and imperfect. FoeHammer: I loved the art and music of R2 and think you should go the same way in R3.the people did look weird and I think you should be able to totally customize your own character and only the others if you want to.
Doodles: The only survivor I would worry about customizing is my main character. Kneller is right about the others come and go so much they become faceless.
I think that your time would be better spent elsewhere, people don't see their character faces, they either see their names and personality or their strategic value, but faces? I don't think players give a damn about them.
In the other hand, I would have really liked if there were random seeds for your characters, so if I created an ideal character, I would only have to copy his seed and paste it whenever I wanted to start a new game. I prefer to copy a 5k23h6j code every time I play than to spend 5 minutes looking for the "perfect" face, even if later I don't care about his appearance at all.
I don't know, guys. I liked the faces in R2. Well... Maybe not all of them, but I liked having a fort of Clint Eastwoods with just different skin tones. And before you ask, yes, I evicted every single survivor who did not have the Eastwood face.
In all seriousness though, i did enjoy having faces to associate with names. I don't know why, but it helped immerse me, no matter how creepy it looked sometimes.
Promos / Main Menu / Splash / Icon
Sarahnorthway (talk) Rebuild 1 and 2 had a single, centered, ugly dude on the main menu who I kind of thought of as the mascot. Maybe something easier to look at for Rebuild 3? A cute lady zombie or kid zombie maybe? Something that I could hopefully put in promo ads without triggering Apple's censors. The moon and city thing is pretty cool and I think should stay in for consistency, although people do like looking at faces in their iPhone app logos.
(DragoonIII) Well you could put a guy with his hand on his son's shoulder watching his group rebuild with a decyed city in front of them.
(Grimm) I reccomend using a sort of zombie family; A nice gritty, bloody, yet somehow still cute zombie family might appeal to a nice range of people...the dark humor is kinda fun too :D
Axethrower23 (talk) I like DragoonIII's idea. Maybe something like that suits the game better. A few years back, I remember seeing the rebuild 1 game icon in armorgames. I didn't even consider playing rebuild at that time because I thought that it would be your standard zombie shooting game. Something that would give the player an idea on what kind of game he/she's gonna play would be better.
I agree with axethrower23, your game is to the typical zombie-shooting games what the Mona Lisa is to graffiti, if you want it to shine there must be something to distinguish it.
If the first image that appeared in your game were, let's say... an image of a fort with a couple of arrows saying "the zombies", "your base", "the Riffs" etc. Then the players would get a way more accurate idea of what the game is.
Though I don't have any better idea of the first image than the one I've said, try it and see if it fits :) The icon of the game should be a man inside a broken house killing a zombie , and another man inside the house , rebuilding it...Theking (talk)
Bitmaps vs vectors
Sarahnorthway (talk) There are two approaches to designing games for multiple screen sizes: make very large bitmap (PNG) versions of the art in photoshop/whatever then scale them down to the right size when the game starts, or turn the art into vectors (where curves and areas are defined instead of pixels - this is how may Flash games get their distinctive cartoony style).
Advantages of vectors over bitmaps:
- Much smaller filesize (eg 5mb instead of 200mb)
- Faster load time (bitmap scaling is slow)
- Less loss of definition when scaled
- Easier to recolor
- Look cleaner and more legible on small res screens
Advantages of bitmaps:
- Supports a wider range of art styles
- More artists prefer to work with bitmaps
- Can look grittier and more realistic
Usually vector games look clean and bright and simple like Angry Birds, but they don't have to. I worked on a game called Incredipede that layered gradients and a few tiling bitmaps over vectors to get a pretty rich and grimy looking world (screenshot). The Incredipede graphics were first drawn as bitmaps (eg in photoshop), then converted to vectors. It'd be cool to try something like this for Rebuild 3.
I would like to see how many players bought Rebuild in the mobile version nor how much money you racketed from them, but I'll suppose it's worth the hassle.
I think that being graphics so important, and being vectors so extremely limiting for graphic issues, it would be far better to use bitmaps, even if you had to draw a different one for the mobile version.
For a physics game like fantastic contraption there's no problem with vectors, but this game has something called immersion, which requires well-designed graphics, which requires bitmaps.
Sarahnorthway (talk) If we go the bitmap route (instead of vectors), we might create some of the art in 3d then render large 2d bitmaps of it at various angles. The survivor faces in Rebuild 2 were done this way. It might be easier to design realistic looking buildings like this, if realism is what we're going for. And I believe EvilKris used this technique for the survivors and zombies on the zombie attack screens, so it might be a good idea to use it for the units on the map.
Miguelinileugim (talk) Buildings are OK, but don't abuse units, having to take care of a city is complicated enough, having to take care of every single unit is a nightmare of micromanagement, better don't show any unit in the map that way.
Sarahnorthway (talk) According to early survey results, people want the game to be more gritty and realistic if anything, and are less interested in me making it cleaner and cuter like Rebuild 1 or, say, Plants vs Zombies. I'm still personally on the fence since cuter, more approachable graphics could bring the game to a wider audience, and get me better support from gatekeepers. For example, to get the game on the Barnes & Noble Nook I had to take the top "blood bar" out of the game's screenshots, and now they want me to change the game's age rating from 13+ to 19+. I feel like this wouldn't be such a problem if there wasn't a gross zombie dude on the main menu.
Twan : Actually I think it would be a very bad idea to make the game look more realistic, which would reduce a lot rebuild graphic style originality. I prefer by far the graphisms of Rebuild 1, with their colored cute look very original for a zombie game over the "realistic" (I'd rather say dark) attemps of rebuild 2 (like the awful combat screen) which has lost its personnality to look like any other zombi game (it's not like there aren't already some tens of thousands zombi games playing the dark and realistic card).
Churchgrim (talk) Is there any way to add a sort of filter to the game to change between 13+ and 16+ depending on who plays? Sarahnorthway (talk) There is a harsh language filter in Rebuild Mobile and it defaults to kiddie mode, but if the adult content in the game at all you'll get slapped with an age restriction. It doesn't even need to be in the game per se - remember the Hot Coffee mod? I'm just lucky the censors haven't played long enough to find the gambling and child prostitution events in R2. Prooobably going to take those out. :/
MarmaladeKitten (talk) I think a survivor in gear with a rifle in hand with two zombie shadows behind them could work well. It shows the zombies but doesn't show the gore of the zombies and it wouldn't trip up the censors. If guns were a problem, you could get rid of the gun and just show them looking all tough. I liked the drawing designs (like if you lose someone or when you write up a constitution). However, the characters (from the design screen) looked a little... strange. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I really liked the drawings better than I did the character sheet designs. It also kinda removed me a little because their faces (profiles) weren't in the same style as the drawings. I'd prefer drawings in a similar style to the death pictures for our character designs. Sort of a realistic comic/cartoon look.
(Grimm) If anyone's played Caravaneer, have combat similar to its top down turn based strategy during the battles, except it's in real time. As for when you're roaming about looking at your city, I reccomend the use of both cartoony and gritty art styles. If at all possible, go ahead and add a "filter" like you had with language in the first two Rebuilds, and let users choose their art style.
(blueskied) I think the grpahics were the weakest point in the rebuild series. not that it bothered me much, but there's def room for improvement. A cute look with bright colours would probably go well with the iPad owning crowd of super casual/pre-teen gamers but probably not so well with more hardcore gamers. My opinion is to take the middle road - maybe something clean and stylized without being too gory or too cartoony. It also depends on what kind of mood your writing sets.. is it going to be tongue-in-cheek/light humour/dark humour/totally sombre?
(Wizzid) Personally, I think that the look is fine. From graphics to the sound. Makes people have to imagine more. I would change the create a survivor around a bit. Give better options for how you create them to look.
(Anthiena) I also like the style and feel of the current Rebuild two, though I would like to see something a bit more animated/clear on the zombie attacks? Perhaps have a little skippable animation that, like R2, reflects who is there roughly and what's equipped?
(DragoonIII) I think it should be awesomely more ralistic I know it would be hard but if this game ever becomes like big (its big now but like halo or starcraft 2 or sims big) it would be awesome to see high res/real time animeated and see the survivors fighting the zombies or when you send them on missions and hit the end day button you can look around and see them work or just skip it all (by the way look around I mean moving not click on current day missions) I mean how epic would it look to see people walking in your base that arent working or seeing guards at the station moving and looking around while you see someone scout or scavange etc?
(EagleHawker) Make the style more realistic: I really like Rebuild series, but I always felt that it would be better with more serious and grim art.
I second what JB said but the art style is kind of weird in Rebuild 2. It looks like you took cutouts from a comic book and stuck them into an animated world. I would say an animated art style from a far away perspective would be interesting, that way you could potentially have little people roaming around the city.
(JCPhoenix) I actually think the art on the "board" itself in Rebuild (iOS version) is pretty cool overall. I think detail in the drawings is about the right level but more animations (as long as they don't interfere with the playing time) would be nice. I had bigger issues with the look of the interface with the inconsistencies in styles and clashes in the different fonts used (from the 'End of Day" font to the handwriting font to the title fonts for each category). All the fonts used felt unpolished to me and gave the game a bit of a sloppy look. Also, the interface didn't have the same kind of style at all to the board (board style yay, interface style nay) which took away from the art as a whole. I like clean but that doesn't mean simple. An example of an art style and interface I really like on iOS is something along the lines of Kingdom Rush. That game just feels super-polished on an art level in contrast to its competitor Fieldrunners, which I'd compare to Rebuild as far as having great gameplay but an uneasy mix of art styles and bad fonts.
(Doodles) I don't think loosing the bad language would hurt the game at all. I would like more comic book style and less of the realistic gore. The cut scenes from R2 looked like they were from a completely different game.
Tester (talk) The buildings,scenery and almost everything are fine, but i suggest if you want to make the characters cartoonish and less realistic maybe you can game more audiences because of the cuter graphics. If you can make it anime then go for it. Wasted colony is an example, but the characters are 4bit :D Link:http://www.kongregate.com/games/smallfarm/wasted-colony
So, you want a game with excellent immersion and cool graphics but that will be for everyone? Let's be analytical on how to do this:
- No gore and no violence
- Forget about the zombie dude, that only scares players (I really got scared by him the first time I played)
- Little things like having an eye removed or purple are too violent, what instead just kill them or leave them intact?
- Blood is not necessary for immersion, forget about it
- Try to make the zombies more human, that way players will feel pity instead of fear, that adds a lot to the plot and the beauty of the game
- Drama>Fear, ideally your players would feel fear, hope and sadness. If you could make a game that scared, excited and made cry your players that would make gore unnecessary
- No horror
- Make the horror psychological, not visual. In amnesia 90% of the fear is psychological, only 10% of it has to do with nightmarish creatures
- Don't frighten the player suddenly, make it continuous, overwhelming, but without any sudden scary monster appearing from nowhere
- No sex (or references to it)
- Zombie games may require the use of the expression "make love" as part of the plot, but nothing else, even if you wanted to deepen in the romanticism part (which is not a good idea for a zombie game of this kind) at least forget the +18 scenes
- Prostitution is too polemical and a cultural taboo, maybe you should forget about including it, it's not like the plot will suffer too much from it
- No drugs
- Alcohol and tobacco, as a minor part of the plot is fine, but don't focus on it. Using them as currency is a good idea anyway
- Drugs in general should be ignored, mentioning a single time cannabis may throw your game into the +18 bin, better don't risk it all
- No profanities
- Keep the "turn off profanities" option on by default, but ask players if they want to disable it before they start playing, once
Strongly disagree with Miguelinileugim, it's a game for adults don't you gentlemen, not for children, thus why people during the apocalypse should behave like girls from the church choir (well at least most of them).
- No gore and no violence, No horror... - hey, it's a zombie game! Zombies - alive walking rotten corpses, hungry for human flesh - it's not very psychological. Psychological fear and dramas aren't bad even in Rebuild, but - again it's a zombie strategy game not a thriller like Silent hill or Alone in the Dark.
- No sex (or references to it), no drugs, alcohol and tobacco, no profanities...
This is Apocalypse on the streets. People gone mad. And souls of many of those men and women who was lucky enough to survive are so twisted that their'e become even more horrible than dead ones (like Governor from The Walking Dead comics). Thus people are always need alcohol, tobacco, drugs, women, especcialy when the world at last go nuts. Even this game is about restoring order (Yay) it's impssible to throw a words from the song (and mature gamers may think "No chaos and sins of men in zombie apocalypse? Nah, I don't believe.").
Achaix (talk) Seriously, Cowardly Chaplain? It seems as though you're trying to come across as cultured and educated. "Thus" doesn't turn you into an English gentleman. Anyway, I think the game doesn't necessarily need mature themes (Although, realistically, the apocalypse won't be something for the faint of heart). The realistic graphics in R2 weren't too shabby, but the mix n' match character looks were... unnerving (Not to mention the zombie without a mouth that freaked me out a little when I first started the game).
- it's easier to read the gui and tell buildings and survivors apart
- acceptance (of both players and gatekeepers) on mobile platforms where most games are cute and iconic
- it softens the blow and provides a contrast to the horrible things that will happen in the game (sex, drugs, violence, moral ambiguity = all yes)
- vectors ftw
Axethrower23 (talk) I get where Miguelinileugim is coming from. In the past, The icon of rebuild 1 scared me from playing the game (I know that it wasn't really that scary, give me a break). But after a long time, a huge amount of boredom stuck me, and together with a lot of guts, I opened the game. When I played it though, it wasn't that bad. I actually had fun playing and the unique and enjoyable experience made me play the second game. So I think its okay for the game to have lots of horror and gore. I think the violence, sex, drugs, and other similar substances are welcome in the game, as long as it isn't too influential to the players, especially the younger ones. Also, making harsh language as optional like in rebuild 2 would be nice. having no or minimal gore and horror + no violence, sex, drugs, and other substances does not make a zombie game (or at least not a successful one)
Sarahnorthway (talk) Thanks for sharing Axethrower23 about your fear of the R1 icon (I *was* trying to make it scary, I'm just not a great artist!) There are lots of people who still haven't given the game a chance because of the gruesome old graphics. I plan to hook them in with pictures of friendly zombies, then disturb them with horrible moral dilemmas that have no right answer. Muahaha.
DominateEye (talk) "...cuter, more approachable graphics could bring the game to a wider audience..." I personally feel that the Rebuild series is not intended for younger audiences. Not because of the art style, or profanity, or the more mature events in the game, but the concept of a zombie apocalypse in itself. I think this is what you mean by a "wider audience." I feel that a grittier art style would help in separating people of the proper age and maturity who should play the game from those who aren't old or mature enough to handle it. Of course, I'm 15, and found these games when I was 13. I've been interested in the possibility of a zombie apocalypse since I was 12, so "not old or mature enough" to me is those 9 and younger.
Dynamic visual stats
Miguelinileugim (talk) In Civilization 2 there was an image of your throne that evolved according to your popularity and that let you see visually how well you were doing. My idea is similar, making a personal office that evolved according to your progress, but with a little difference: It would evolve according to your preferences, not only your progress. For example, after being a merciless zombie-killer your office would be full of guns, bloodstains and ammo, after being a human and caring leader your office would be full of children's toys and pictures etc. This might even be the background when you read the daily events, just to give a little more spice to the events, specially if you want to make more events and make the players spend more and more time there.
Sarahnorthway (talk) Cool idea. A good/evil meter would be the simplest to display, assuming I could figure out which decisions are "good" and which ones "evil". The percent of buildings reclaimed should be the other axis to represent. Alternatively I could construct a scene or pepper the interface with objects representing specific achievements in the given city, like eating your first human or killing 1000 zombies.
Gameplay vs appearance
For hardcore players 90% of a game is its gameplay, no graphics are bad enough to ruin a game with good gameplay.
For casual players 90% of a game is its appearance, no gameplay is bad enough to ruin a game with good appearance.
For the a normal player 50% of the game is its appearance.
Hardcore players are good for spreading the word and contributing to this wiki, normal and casual players are the bulk of the players. If you want to make a good game, though it's hardly how I would like it to be, graphics come first, gameplay must adapt.
So, if I'm in position of giving advice, I want to advice you to think first in the immersion of the player in a game like this, in an apocalyptic world full of fear and hope, and then try to see how would the gameplay adapt to it.
I really hope that your new artist is good enough.
Cute vs Grim toggle option
If you made 2 skins, one rated PG and another R you would attract a broader audience.
The R skin would have a little more gameplay too, as some missions would be R-rated.
Essay: Sorry what?
Wait... Wasn't the concept art, well, a little of gameplay and those things, was it actually... well, real concept art?
I mean, it's just too cartoonish, do you plan to scare players and cause drama... with that? I mean, your artist will have quite a hard job to zombify that art to fit the style of the series.
Though, to be fair, it's perfect for the ESRB and is not really bad for gameplay, but I don't think I can immerse in a zombie game with clean and bright graphics, can't you make it, even if only as a toggleable option, well, way more bloody and dark, more zombie-like?
Though, you might change the graphics at any moment right? Tell your artist to work in that art while in some other more immersive and bloody like Rebuild 2 and then compare for the final version.
- As it is
- Bright (good for casual)
- Clean (slightly less confusing)
- Happy (kills immersion and fear, good for casual)
- ESRBish (+8)
- More like Rebuild 2
- Dark (perfect for hardcore and immersion)
- Bloodier (bad for ESRB, great for immersion)
- Scary (may allow a deeper storyline)
- Not ESRBish (+16 or more)
Well, it's up to you to decide, but at least let players compare both graphics in beta, a zombie game must make players feel fear, sadness, desperation, all sort of feelings. A bright and happy setting is everything but that, can't you make players cry? My take on this