In this little post about art direction, I'll be talking about one of my favourite looking games Dofus. Dofus is a Flash based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Ankama Games. I first started playing this game maybe at age 14 or so, back then I was looking for a new MMORPG game to occupy my time (as naturally I'd grown too old for Runescape) and what drew me to Dofus was the style in which the characters and world were drawn. This style continues to inspire me now.
The character's and creatures in Dofus are vibrant, with a lot of variation and life in them, something you didn't really see in MMORPG games at the time. Besides maybe World of Warcraft it was mainly the set warrior. mage, rouge class. with the basic races of elf, human and dwarf. After going through a tone of these games I got bored as one elf from a MMO would look pretty much the same as and elf from another. With the only massive variations lying in the clothes and armour given to the players.
Games customisation has come a long way since then, but beforehand these mainstream types of characters were extremely limited in variation in terms of faces, bodies, age and race, which was a bit detaching as the style was trying to be realistic. I found I didn't have as much of a problem with this as the style of character was cartoony, as it wasn't trying to be as close to reality (well as close as a sword wielding elf could be), so I guess I didn't judge them as harshly as other games. I also noticed more desaturated and darker colours were used in the worlds of other games and the worlds which again really didn't grab me as much as Dofus did.
Though at the time I didn't exactly have a high end computer that could display high end graphics, however with dofus it was made to translate well into a less graphic intensive format. The concept and promotional images make used of a limited colour pallet in that there are 2 or 3 main colours and shapes that cover large areas of a character forming the basic silhouette.This use of colour and shape lets this style covey itself in both promotional images and in game sprites without becoming unrecognisable.
|In game menu|
This vibrant cartoon style was present throughout the game, from the characters creatures to the levels to the assets. The game style is uniform, again with minimal colour pallets for levels and at the time was maybe suited more for animation, or now would be associated more with mobile and tablet games. (Ironically Dofus have been made into a mobile version and a cartoon series after the success of them game.)
Despite the initial draw of the vibrant saturated colours of this game the drawing style still works well with darker colours whilst still keeping the style uniform With promo art still not being far from in game assets.Even in the darker pallets purples are used to being warmth into the level rather than blues or greys. All the levels characters and assets in Dofus have the underlying warmth in there pallets. The combination of the cartoon style art warm pallets make it a friendly game ideal for young and old audiences alike.