Insider 4-6-2012

Most people who know me would tell you I have truly terrible taste in music. No, really; I mean just awful. I’m not ashamed to admit it. All of my musical taste is in my mouth, so to speak. I can’t carry a tune or even keep time with a song easily. That’s why the part of my job where I have to talk about design “beats” and “rhythms” amuses me to no end.

When I use those terms, I am thankfully not talking about music; instead, I’m talking about the recurring design elements that help to reinforce the world and faction that a new model “lives” in. By maintaining these elements, we give clues to the viewer that allows him to instinctually identify what game and faction a model belongs to. While individual models vary wildly in specific design, maintaining design beats and rhythms common to a group allows us to create cohesive overall looks for each game.

Let’s use these three Cryx helljacks and bonejacks as an example. Looking at them, you can tell they are all radically different in body design, yet they carry over details from one another that give them a sense of continuity. They all share elements of sharpened contours, rib-like venting structures, and perforated vents that place them firmly in the Cryx faction. However, despite these common elements, each helljack or bonejack maintains its own unique individuality. There is no mistaking to which group they belong.

Every faction in any game we produce has these types of design beats that help a viewer quickly recognize the context of a model—whether it’s the heavy sloped armor of Khador or the graceful industrial curves of Cygnar. Maintaining these design ideas helps create a stable “reality” for the worlds we create at Privateer Press. It’s something I have to keep at the forefront of my mind every day.

I’ll leave choosing quality music to others, though.