I loved so much this article about the making of Dead Cells that I had the urge to try the same 3D pipeline to achieve fast and fluid pixel art.
And I did:
This is a top-down, action game mainly inspired by the NieR series, set in a crumbling city, rampaged with demons.
My goal was to demonstrate that the Dead Cells technique is a viable one, and man, it truly is.
Altought the game is programmed in Unity, the main artistic work is done in Blender.
The process to create the characters is a mix of 3D and 2D workflow. I use plain colours and hard shadows to give a cell-shading look that, after animating the model with low fps, I proceed to render in a 512x512 resolution, achieving the crispy look of old-fashioned pixel art.
After rendering all the frames, I worked with them in Unity as a traditional 2D animation.
This process saved me an insane amount of time. Reusing the same model for all the animations (even the same animation for different perspectives), and working with keyframes and interpolations instead of frame-by-frame, was an eye-opener to me.Thanks to this workflow, I did six characters with around 60 animations in total within eight months, while doing the level design, programming, sound desing, fx, finishing a degree and working part-time.
The only thing to mind is the detail loss that happens in the rendering. If you are working with few animations per character, or want intrincate shapes, maybe you should do the art by hand. But if you are looking to do a fast-paced game or need to create content in record time, I absolutely recommend this workflow.
This year was a rollecoaster, and I can’t be more happy to release the game to the world.
Mind this is a short experience, as I was the only developer and I priorized quality over content.
I don’t have plans to make a full game in the near future, but I would like to make the jump to a proper indie release some day.
Meanwhile, I will answer any question regarding the development of Demon Overdrive.