What inspired the Art Direction for Agni Prime
Agni Prime was initially conceived as a dark, fire-blasted landscape, very different in tone and feel to the sands of Valaka. Over time we moved more towards a more lush, tropical volcano-look. This allows us to play with a lot of previously unseen combinations, such as how the bugs would look against a jungle backdrop. Thematically the tone shifted from an apocalyptic wasteland towards a prehistoric Earth vibe, which we thought was far more interesting and gave us more room for visual exploration.
At this juncture, our decision was to imbue Agni with a distinct ambiance, diverging from the aesthetic approach employed in Valaka. My intent was to explore the notion of allowing players to traverse two or three markedly different environments within the same planetary setting. One of these regions presents an arid, infernal landscape, characterized by the violent expulsion of lava from the ground and rocks, creating an otherworldly scene. The second region, in stark contrast, boasts a vibrant and lush jungle-like setting, adorned with colossal crystal formations piercing through the rocks, evoking a sense of saturation and vitality. The final area is a subtle amalgamation of elements, with lava coexisting with flourishing vegetation, enveloping the remnants of a previous Federation expedition.
As the Art Director for Agni, my primary objective was to evoke a profound sense of grandeur. The cliffs and mountains dominate the skyline, not mere rock walls but colossal megaliths that render even the most seasoned Federation trooper feeling diminutive. Despite the expansive and level terrain of our play area, players should experience a palpable sense of scale, immersing them in a vast and imposing world
Early Lighting and Mood concept images.
After careful consideration, we opted to pursue the visual direction outlined in 1b and 2a. While the nighttime atmospheres of 1a and 3a presented a striking and dramatic aesthetic, the challenges of lighting saturated reds in a 3D environment, particularly in 3D modeling, led us to veer away from those options. Regarding the morning ambiance, I was particularly drawn to the image of the sun just beginning to crest over the volcano. This not only enhances the visual impact but also effectively accentuates the volcanic lava as it becomes backlit.
In refining the chosen direction, I conducted some swift adjustments in a paintover for 1b, introducing heightened contrast and specular highlights. Although the result is still high in value range especially in the shadows. It serves as a promising initial iteration, laying the foundation for further enhancements.
In Game Images
From those beginnings and many months of work we bring you Agni Prime:
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Starship Troopers: Extermination Development Team