Getting ideas from Thronebreaker

If you take a look at Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, you might think that we mostly used this game as a reference for our art style. But none of that would be true. Thronebreaker was released at the end of 2018, By that time we already had conceptualized the style for Tribal graphics and all the similarities are a coincidence. In the first half of 2019 we had finally discovered Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales and we really liked their implementation of this toonish style, which made us even more confident about our own style. The main similarity is that we both use hand-drawn, toonish art style but what are the differences? Most importantly, in Tribal, both 3D models and sprites are dynamically lit. This must be taken into account when creating sprites for the environment. Our 2D artist has to be quite subtle when drawing lighting within the sprites. On the other hand, in Thronebreaker, lighting and shading are not applied to sprites. They’re unlit and their 2D artists can draw sprites in the usual way by “baking” lighting / shading into the sprite itself. They also don’t cast shadows. We have demonstrated the concept of lighting in our project in the past. In videos below, you can see dynamic shadows and lighting both for sprites and 3D characters when the light source is moved.

Another system that we liked in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, – is their interesting solution for character animations within dialogues. Note that their postures are kept still, but they wobble a little, move some body parts and blink occasionally when they are idle. And when it’s their turn to speak, the tilt of the head and the direction of their gaze change and mouth opening is animated with the help of several different frames. Dialogues in Tribal will look slightly different, as the characters will be shown in the form of portraits starting from their shoulders. Our goal is to make the head sway while idling, flutter the hair in the wind, use multiple frames for the mouth and, of course, change the direction of the gaze from time to time. This is not our top priority at the moment, but we would really like to work out these elements to achieve greater immersion.

Thronebreaker also has a rather caricatured, toonish scaling of characters – they sometimes look much larger than other objects on the map. We’ll probably also use an unrealistic scale and we’re having an active discussion on this topic at this very moment. Some of our team members think that characters are too small in their current state and players will not be able to see important details of equipment on enemy characters. Do you think we should make the characters bigger?

Date : 23 07 2021 Tribal development team