Dev Blog #12 – Exploring Lake Ridden’s Environments

Hello guys! Things are coming along fine with Lake Ridden and it’s time to share some progress with you. The Art team have dedicated the last two weeks to crafting a lot of unique items; plants, pots, branches etc. As usual everything you’ll see is work in progress, expect the game to look very different once it’s released in 2017.

All the items in the game, may it be grass, branches, monuments or houses serve mainly two purposes; giving gameplay to the game and enhancing the atmosphere/feeling of the world we’re building. That’s an important distinction between these two groups of objects that make up the in-game environments the player will experience. Togheter these two work to tell a story we want to share with you. Let’s look at the garden setting on the screenshots below. The important piece of interactive gameplay is the puzzle in the middle of the scene. This monument is something the player interacts with to solve a mystery and progress in the game and story. On the other hand we have all the vegetation, the water lillies, the ivy crawling up the walls. These objects have a different purpose; they enhance the feeling, atmosphere and mood in the scene. They help build the world and set the puzzles into context.

Before: the Garden in Lake Ridden. We started with the bare minimum of art to white box the environment. This was done to test the main idea for the puzzle. When we had the puzzle set it was time to breath life into the scene with real art and music.


After: a big puzzle in the Garden. The gameplay and environment design both work together to make Lake Ridden an exciting experience. Leafs, water, grass and light set the mood.

As you can tell we first did the white boxing where we designed the very core puzzles of the Garden. This is done with very rough art, mostly boxes and crude shapes. When we had the puzzle in place we sat down and talked about the feel and atmosphere of the Garden. What do we want the player to feel in the Garden? In this process the art team did a lot of research and tried out a lot of ideas for different looks and moods regarding architecture and vegetation. When we had decided on the basics of this we 3D-modeled leafs, branches and stones. These objects were placed out in small areas of the Garden to see what it looked like. A lot of tweaking later we went into nitty gritty details, really nailing down the details and personality of the Garden.

Details such as these water lillies help bring life to the game world. It’s still very much work in progress, but we’re getting there!

The Garden in Lake Ridden. This is work in progress. The lights help tell the story in the game, as well as guide the player.

A path into the forest. After mapping out the path on a 3D plane and running it over and over to test the pacing and speed of the character it was time to place out trees and start tweaking the light.

After the main gameplay interactions are decided, implemented and tested the art team started to research what kind of vegetation would fit the story of the game. In this phase there’s a lot of testing and tweaking before you find the perfect items and objects to populate the game world with.

Details like this old, worn down flight of stairs needs to help reinforce and amplify the story in the game, since Lake Ridden a very story-driven experience.

Since Lake Ridden is a very story-driven game we need the environments and music to help tell the story. The Forest, the Garden and Root Cellar should follow the game’s internal logic and help bring it to life. We need to make sure the gameplay is fun, understandable and smooth. The art should empower this and tie it all together into a neat package : )

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Sara & The Team