Expeditions are one of SuperCity’s most important events. They have evolved into large interesting stories that have been distinct from one another since their first inception. Each has its own vibe thanks to the art team.
– Why is this necessary?
– It’s very important to give players a fresh impression every time and immerse them as much as possible in the history of the expedition, says Elena, the art director. — The sense of being “there” on expeditions is also due to the emphasis placed on sight. Over time, we’ve built up a wide array of methods for immersing the player in fantastical worlds.
– So many things we’ve had already — Sveta, the artist, chuckles and starts bending her fingers. — Humid jungles with mysterious temples, sparkling snow with lacy cracked ice, sunny beaches with sea surf, swampy forests shrouded in mystical fog. Even entire cities and settlements.
(Examples of maps from past expeditions)
– Tell us about the Halloween expedition. It’s no secret that Halloween is one of the most unusual holidays.
– The most out-of-the-ordinary tales are indeed crafted by the narrative team, especially for this event, says Sveta. — The border between our world and the other world is a fertile ground for fantastical happenings of all kinds. Because of this, we can employ daring colors and design weird characters. This time, it’s a tale of ghosts and candies.
– And whereas ghosts already existed in the game, Elena adds, the world of the ghosts, their home, had yet to be created.
(This year’s expedition characters)
– Pumpkins, treats, and spooky things are universally associated with Halloween. The challenge is how to put a fresh spin on an old idea.
– There are a number of techniques, and Elena shares the secret. — Attempting to incorporate an unrelated element is one of them. We aimed to portray the uniqueness of Halloween by using a unique color scheme of magenta, blue, and lilac. Results are usually excellent even at the preliminary drawing stage. The oddness level can then be modified.
This time around, the ghosts we encounter have a peculiar taste in candy. And since candies are supernatural in nature, they should have a supernatural appearance.
– How do you create an original idea? How do you even know where to begin?
– We use helper pictures, explains Elena. — These are called references. We choose pictures for each building, item, or object of the expedition, so that the artists know where to begin. These pictures make sure that the artists are all on the same page.
To ensure a unified aesthetic, we assemble a single “mood board,” or collection of visual cues that sum up the expedition’s overarching emotional tone. This mood board serves as inspiration to all of the artists working on the project. The lead designer is responsible for overseeing the work of all concept artists, providing feedback, and making adjustments as necessary.
(References for supernatural candies)
This is how the image of unusual candies and the characters themselves set the main theme for the entire expedition. On the one hand, we are a classic SuperCity expedition, where we explore the territory and remove obstacles. However, this area was previously home to a city of ghosts, so although the sights and sounds may be familiar, it is not the same.
(References for the atmosphere and mood)
– After tallying up all the references, we saw that we hit the mark, Sveta says with a smile. — I think we’ve found the perfect vibe.
Even the vegetation here is a strange lilac colour, as a mysterious twilight has settled over the City of Ghosts. There’s a bit of glimmer and shine from just about every angle. And there are abandoned homes around the area.
– Lilac grass? Wow, that’s out of the ordinary indeed!
– In fact, making lilac grass has been a long-standing dream of both artists and game designers since the first launches of expeditions, admits Elena. — And then the pieces fell into place: a mystical city, ghosts, twilight, Halloween… It was then that we realized the time had come.
(This is what the entire location map looks like; the size of the map is comparable to the map of the central location of SuperCity)
– There was a danger that it would be necessary to remake a lot of objects to match this shade and lighting, Sveta elaborates. — The contrast between the lilac foreground and the scarlet and mahogany trees was striking. And the lush greenery of the bushes and fir trees was brought into sharper focus. Many things, however, including stairs, gates, and houses in various stages of construction, still needed color adjustments.
It was crucial to strike a balance here. On a map of this sort, objects shouldn’t compete for attention. As a result, there were times when we needed softer colors. After all, the point of the expedition is to allow players to find the required resources and explore the location.
– SuperCity is, at its core, a game about urban life. How did you design the unique buildings for expedition rewards?
– In search of ideas about what kind of houses our ghosts could live in, Sveta recalls, we found many houses with pointed roofs, a jumble of floors and shapes, but at the same time still cozy. It was crucial that they blend in with the setting of the player’s city.
(References for houses that served as inspiration)
– Well, the world of ghosts couldn’t be all pastels and violet without some vibrant highlights, Elena explains. — Trees topped with cotton candy served as these highlights. Can you imagine? Tree-form cotton candy! That’s the stuff of every candy lover’s dreams!
(References and objects inspired by them)
A group of six concept artists, five 3D artists, and animators create each expedition.
For every building, a number of sketches are produced. They are used to create a concept. After that, a 3D model is made and enhanced with original animations. This is what you ultimately see in the game.
An expedition typically takes one and a half months to develop. During this time, the art team creates a complete set of rewards, a sizable map, interactive map items, and obstacles. Additionally, original pictures and characters can be included.
Well, when all this comes together, you get the very expedition that you play.
(Expedition buildings, items, and trophies)
We sincerely hope that completing the expedition will bring you as much joy as we had working on it.