w/ Fernando Flores

Every team at Visionary Realms is hard at work on Project Faerthale, and while everyone’s contributions are equally important, the visual fireworks that our animation team are pumping out are among the most crowd pleasing. This month we sat down with Fernando Flores to talk about what he’s been up to recently, and we even pried a video away from him for your enjoyment.

Q: Welcome back, Fernando! Seems like you’ve been busy in the couple of months since we last spoke. What have you brought us today?

A: Hi! I have been working on some abilities for the Cleric and Shaman.

Awesome. Given the Shaman and Cleric are very different types of healers, how does that play when creating a visual vocabulary for each class?

A: Each class has its own unique look. So far we have been using magic types as base. So for example, in this case the Cleric uses Divine Magic, which has a predominant semi transparent golden look. Shaman, on the other hand, uses Nature Magic, which has a more chaotic, irregular look but still retains different elements and color palettes when using different elements like fire, wind, etc.

Q: On that same note, some of these effects are offensive abilities and some defensive. How does that play into the look?

A: For the Shaman, Lands it is not that influencing because the look is more driven by the element type, which will have its own unique effect. However, for the Cleric there is a distinction for offensive and defensive abilities, such as in the case of the defense buff, which is a shield, in contrast with the Direct Damage spell, which is a beam of light striking down the target.

Q: What about color? How does that play into things? Since color blindness affects a lot of people, is that something that is considered?

A: Right now we are trying to get abilities in game and get a more locked down aesthetic for each class so we can come back and continue to expand respectively. As for the color blindness, I suspect we can get this done as a post processing FX later down the line.

Q: What's the most difficult part of first approaching an ability arsenal for a new class?

A: I feel like the most challenging part is to get an original motion. The Shaman went through a couple of iterations before getting to where it is right now. It is an essential experimental period that sometimes takes longer than expected, and sometimes you just get it on the first day.

Q: How much thought is put into making sure the screen doesn’t appear too cluttered when many people are casting spells on screen at the same time?

A: It is very important. When starting off a new effect, I always have a chat with Chris Perkins, and we do talk about cool-downs, resource costs, and if it is a high level ability or not. Normally these factors will dictate the scale of the ability as well as timings.

Q: Is the effect scaled at all for different character models? For example a Halfling vs. an Ogre. Or even NPC character models that might be very large?

A: So far there hasn't been any discussion about changing the scale of the abilities on my end. However, this might change in the future through the abilities system that takes care of spawning them.

Q: Can you talk at all about what effects you are working on other than class specific ones?

A: I have been working on an environmental effect the last couple of days. Not sure I can talk about any specifics, but you will see it soon.

Q: Environmental eh? Bean drop! How many animations can be reused for multiple abilities, or does each ability have to have its own unique animation?

A: I believe Ross Armstrong is currently working on multiple animations that will definitely improve the visual fidelity of the game in general, and once we get a more concrete group of abilities and animations we will take some time to mix and match the best fit for each ability.

Q: How do you differentiate Cleric effects from, say, Paladin effects that may have similar aesthetics?

A: So far I haven't done any Paladin effects, but I already have some key notes that will distinguish them from the Cleric abilities. Right now it is too early to say, but what I have planned is to integrate a secondary complementing tint.

Thanks for showing off what you’re working on. Can’t wait to see the next batch!