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Frequently Asked Questions About The Aztez Art Style
by Ben Ruiz on 07/09/14 08:53:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Hi! This is Ben Ruiz, artist and combat designer at Team Colorblind, developers of Aztez.

We've had Aztez on the promotional tour for some time now, and we get these questions a LOT and I wanted to take a chance to answer them:


  1. Is Aztez 2d or 3d?
  2. How do you outline your assets in black?
  3. What shader are you using to create your look?
  4. Why make a game in this style?

1. Is Aztez 2d or 3d?

Aztez is indeed fully 3d! That's why it works with the Oculus. Our characters are skinned skeletal meshes with 3d animations. The only 2d assets we use are in effects.


2. How Do You Outline Your Assets In Black?


So unless you've told your game engine to render both sides of faces, then the object will look outlined regardless of what angle you look at them from. This is a primitive solution and any object with an outline of this kind is going to have some bad angles. But it ultimately comes down to the style of your game. And for whatever it's worth, it's substantially less intensive a solution than post processing shaders, since it's just a couple more faces.


3. What Shader Are You Using To Create Your Look?

As for our shader, it simply self illuminates everything 100%, but also allows me to adjust the black parts of a texture from black to grey to white. This shader powers 95% of our game's objects, and I simply adjust the grayness per environment layer by duplicating the shader, adjusting the greyness, and naming it appropriately. So all objects in the foreground use "Structural Swatch - Foreground", and all objects in background layer 1 use "Structural Swatch - Background", and etc. This way, there is consistency, and anytime I adjust the material, it cascades to all objects in that layer.


4. Why Make A Game In This Style? 

First and foremost, it's because I think it's cool. Production sucks unless you're making something you actually like producing. But it grants us a massive advantage, which I have outlined in this image. Click the image for a larger version!


That's it for now! I hope this was insightful and useful. I will keep adding to this list over at the Aztez devblog as I remember more frequently asked art questions.

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George Menhal III
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Can't wait to play this. Looks fun in the hack n slash sort of way.

Ben Ruiz
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Hey thanks a lot!

Nick McKergow
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The outline technique is pretty clever. The style overall is really striking, great job!

Ben Ruiz
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Thanks! It's totally old school and I love it. Our precursors knew what they were doin'.

Viktor Eisenmann
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Outstanding! It look's fantastic!
Very clever way to fade to white background objects!

Good job!

Ben Ruiz
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It took a lot of iteration to make it look okay, but it was worth it! It makes sense to the eyeballs and is ultra cost-efficient.


Ron Dippold
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'4. Why Make A Game In This Style? '

What a strange question. I appreciate that you went into more detail on this, but 'Why not? It's COOL.' would be acceptable as a FAQ answer.

Ben Ruiz
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It's so strange! I get it all the time. And just saying "Cuz I think it's cool" is always met with a "Okay yeah that makes sense" response. Haha! I elaborate cuz it revs people up.

Andreas Ahlborn
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Sin City meets 300. Love it.
Any Chance you are a Miller fanboy like me?