We get an inside look at the influences behind Teslagrad and the progress it’s making towards a finished product. Oh, and there’s a crazy puppet theatre trailer thingy.
Character animation is one of the features that they’ve designed to jump out at you when playing Teslagrad, their designs shying away from the clean, modern look typical of today’s animation. The developers wanted hand-animated characters, doing most of the character animations in a 12 frames per second format – they did this both to allow them a larger move set without eating up all of the texture space, and as an ode to the early days of animation (which tended towards 12fps as a standard). Choosing a visual style inspired by that period made it easier for the animators to work around the limitations of hand-drawing and space.
“… having three different artists on the team for a “small” game ensures that there are different influences along the way. And no less important, the game’s art is a core element of Teslagrad, as we rely on visuals to build a silent story.”
They also wanted the players to get enjoyment in the game from simply exploring the world of Teslagrad, and their concept artist Petter notes that they tried to make the game world a place that “feels alive”.
With a background mainly in concept art and illustration, Petter found it liberating not to worry about perspective in the same way, however felt that it put a higher emphasis on shape and unique design elements. From his point of view it felt like there was a surprising amount of effort put into the simple “boring” stuff – like the walls and the floor – which aren’t really the things that stick with you.
Another visual element that’s prominent in the game is the mechanical puppet theater. The lead animator on the project, Aslak’s experience working as a puppeteer actually influences all of Teslagrad’s animation work, permeating through the entirety of the game. Aslak found that making the puppet move properly is important, but without the emotion behind the movement the performance will fall flat.
In that regard, the team felt that a lot of computer animation seems soulless because people let the computer fill in too much of the blanks, and instead they attempted to put that soul back into the game through hand-drawn artwork. The flexibility of hand-drawn games is why they chose it as a medium, and they even prefer to do most computer assisted animation manually instead of letting “the machine” fill in all the frames.
With a unique approach to animation, Teslagrad is sure to be a stand out visually if not in gameplay. While we have no release date information at this time you can be sure we’ll be letting you know when we get some, so stay tuned to TVL and we’ll keep you covered.
Before you go, check out the crazy puppet theatre trailer I mentioned earlier in the new below;