Age of Wonders 4 Developer Diary #11 - Art Design

If you'd like to learn more about the art of Age of Wonders 4, you should check out the latest developer diary where the game's art director tells us how the latest entry in the Age of Wonders series will give its players a wide array of tools to express their creativity, how its world and combat maps were designed and what inspired them, and showcases a bunch of concept art and creature designs.

Since the article is mostly visual in nature, here are just the opening paragraphs, and you take it from there:

Greetings travellers, Art Director Rich here, join me by the campfire as I share a brief glimpse into what the artisans of Triumph have been crafting as I touch upon 3 main topics;
  • Your Creations (Creativity & Evolution)
  • Your Realms (The setting, World & Combat Maps)
  • Your Inhabitants (Wildlife)
Everything you see in this Dev Diary has been created by a small core group of around 9 artists; 1 animator, 2 environment artists, 2 character artists, 3 2D artists, 1 tech artist, and 1 PFX Artist with over 3.5 years of development. We hope you enjoy the toolbox we have made for you, and as a treat we’ve attached some downloadable Wallpapers at the end!

Your Creations

Let your creativity loose

You are the core of Age of Wonders 4 as we give you the tools to create your own original fantasy races. This is key, and a truly unique feature; Stellaris does it to an extent with their 2D portraits, however we challenged ourselves to have a fully 3D customizable unit lineup, not just your leader but your race, and on top of that to enhance and transform them through the game. When this was first pitched it was considered high risk and a bit crazy, we weren't even sure it was possible! With lots of prototyping and tech I’m happy to say we are proud of what we achieved, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on it! You are handed different visual ingredients to mix and match to arrive at something fresh, or recreate your favourite characters from popular media with friends by making your own multiplayer fellowship.

We spent a lot of time on making interesting character components; pieces that would fit together well to tell a story, as well as pushing the visual distinction and fidelity - we didn’t want Dwarves to be just scaled down humans, but really push their proportions with bigger noses and exaggerated features and slight expressions.The texturing is painterly, colourful and gritty without being too cartoony. This stylized realism creates an almost caricature-like effect that helps them come to life. You can play as a standard fantasy race like High Elves with golden armour and unicorns, or try your hand at some really fun combinations, and more importantly, evolutions! Your starting race can be very different from your ending race as you unlock Enchantments, Transformations and gain access to new racial and monstrous units…

With 10 starting Forms, 6 Cultures and Wizard Kings, there are an incredible number of customization options; hair and beard styles, helmets, tattoos, scars, mount types and colours to pick from. These are a few screenshots from in-game showing off the huge variety of leaders you can create.. We can’t wait for you to unleash your creativity and see what you make!