October 4, 2012 3:00 AM | Staff
It takes a few more steps than usual to get Derrick the Deathfin and his world flapping about on screen. Due for release on October 9 for PS3, the game features characters and models that look like papercraft -- and that's because, at one point, they were.
Every character in Derrick started off as sketches on paper by artist group Ronzo, who then turned the sketches into real papercraft models. Finally, photos of the models are sent to 3D modelling studio Ten24, who take everything they see and turn them into virtual models with full animations.
For the team at Different Tuna, the dev studio behind the game, it's then a simple case of importing the models into the Unity engine, and away Derrick goes.
"It's pretty essential really," says Different Tuna's Gordon Midwood of the process. "We wanted to make something genuinely unique and base it on real papercraft, so the building of paper characters and scenery was necessary to get it exactly right."
Building everything in papercraft first ensured that the team got the look and feel of the visual style spot on, says Midwood -- and it helped that they had fun playing around with it along the way.
"To us the main appeal of papercraft was that it hadn't been done before," he continues. "The style transferred really well into the models and then the game."
Of course, because it hadn't really been done before, it meant the team had a fair bit of trial and error to deal with. "Obviously it took a lot of experimenting with the texturing, modelling and so on but once we had the process down things worked nicely," notes Midwood.
He adds, "It's also not a very computationally expensive style in our implementation - low poly, basic animations and so on."
As for the game itself, Different Tuna has found itself cutting out and sticking back in (excuse the pun) many different elements since the original vision was devised.
"To me that is all part and parcel of making part of a parcel", says Midwood. "It's also what happens a lot in game development. Everything is up for change, refinement, or scrapping all the way up to the end of the project. In my opinion that's what makes game design documentation more or less a gigantic waste of time, it's just how games development works."
He finishes, "We always stuck to our original vision for what the project should be though, even if its contents shifted around a bit, and with each iteration and refinement the game got better and better of course, so it's a positive process."
[Mike Rose wrote this article, which originally appeared on Gamasutra.]