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Sony Online Entertainment
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 04/28/09)  | Pub:Sony Online Entertainment
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Customization Q&A

Posted by Keith Cross on Mar 25, 2009  | Comments

Customization Q&A -'s Carolyn Koh recently had the chance to talk to Free Realms Art Director Rosie Rappaport and Associate Art Director Sebastian Stokowski about the character customization options in their MMO.

What was the inspiration for the art & graphical style of Free Realms? How much did consumer feedback and focus groups drive the direction of the art?

Free Realms:

We started the process by thinking up some words to describe the Free Realms style. Our words were “whimsical”, “organic”, “vibrant” and “playful”. The concept artists used those words as inspiration and started to play with painted scenes to establish the forms and color palette styles for the different regions of the world. The artists and designers collaborated quite a bit on this to make sure that the feel was exactly what we were looking for. The feel itself could get pretty complex, for example Briarwood forest was meant to be menacing yet whimsical, and Merryvale was intended to be creepy in a happy way. It was pretty important to get this all done in concept as much as possible so that when it came time to start building in 3D we had a clear vision and not waste time making changes at that point. Even through all of that, we decided several months into production to do a major overhaul to the 3D art and simplify the silhouettes and textures!

Focus tests held throughout development proved to be extremely helpful for fine tuning and getting a feel for what attracted kids. We were a little nervous at that first test but it was a big relief when the kids loved the art! After that it was helpful to show them different characters and clothing styles to see what they responded to best.

Read the Customization Q&A