Du Lac & Fey - Huge Background Dump & Process PART 1

For the past 2 years I've had the chance to design, model, paint backgrounds & implement them in Unity for a big passion project that's now completed! (Steam: http://bit.ly/2Iew5BN )

Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey is a narrative adventure game set in the Ripper's London, and I wish I could show how amazing the script, characters, music, and voice acting is here as well!
Here are some of the areas I worked on for the game, I'll post another dump of them at some point.
We are self-published, so any share of this or of the game is so much appreciated!

Olly lawson 1a day

The game is mostly set in Jack the Ripper's London, with point and click scrolling screens. This street still exists, but as big office buildings, so I had to create our own version based on the needs of: gameplay, story mood, and historical accuracy.

Olly lawson 1b night

I had so much fun researching in order to build an accurate but moody idea of this setting in history. We pored through films, rare books, old maps, hired an historian, and looked at contemporaneous paintings to nail the colours and lighting of the BGs.

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Closeup shots - these are pretty massive paintings. I had fun playing with painterly qualities that don't show up in the zoomed out images above.
I created the ground in Substance Designer before painting over, to get a fast crisp result in perspective.

Olly lawson norway silver
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Although it's mostly set in a sooty and noisy London, the game opens in an eerily picturesque Norway. The game features interiors too but I only worked on the external shots.

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Characters and horse not by me, and scene may look different in the final game.

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I researched period Norwegian architecture and their beautiful stave churches. Liberties were taking for sake of atmosphere, but the process and result was really fun. There are many incredibly underrated Norwegian landscape painters that inspired me!

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At the base is my 3d model with the painting projected in dollying camera screen-space
Over that in-game, FX like fog and DoF, then over that, 3d props and characters (not by me).

Olly lawson docks
Olly lawson 4a wide transition

This was a famous dockyard in Jack the Ripper's London, serving as an access point for goods and passengers from other countries, straight to the heart of London. Only a decade before, the steamship has overtaken sailboats in tonnage shipped.

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One of my early thumbnails for the docks. At the start, I began designing a full 'colour key' so that we could treat each scene in a connected cinematic way, and make sure the colours flowed between them.

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I went through a ton of research on these docks, most of which I could use to bring the setting to life.

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Both night and day scenes were required for story points.
The warehouses were protected by tall walls, a wide ditch, and a constant armed watch of around 200 officers, half of them armed with muskets, swords, and pistols.

Olly lawson station
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This station was used by the force investigating the Ripper case. It doesn't exist anymore, but a photo, maps, a plan, and some written evidence do.

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1: The only extant photo of the building used by the police investigating the Ripper case.
2: A photograph of a nearby building important to the setting. 3: The back of the station, the force posing with flowers(!)

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Not only were the plans of the building out there, but even reference to the brick type used to get the right colour. I took this scan and laid it out in Sketchup to elevate the building as it would have looked.

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1: Thumbnail mockups
2: I wanted daylit scenes to be authentically overcast, and soft diffuse lighting is subtle and slow to paint. Thankfully an AO pass from my model helped this. I painted with this slightly tweaked as a 'hard light' layer mode on top.

Olly lawson leman day
Olly lawson christchurch
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This pub and church encompass the most famous Jack the Ripper location which still stands today. The pub on the corner is the 'Ten Bells', one of the most frequented places in the area, and where some of his victims were last seen.

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As a still extant location, I could combine multiple maps from the 1880s along with modern photos we took on location to nail the scene. I used architectural plans to make sure the church was accurate, and modeled everything in Sketchup.

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Some early thumbnails, using (very) rough satellite data I grabbed with photogrammetry, and then simplified and painted over in Photoshop. The street on the left is in focus here because the far-left alley is an important location we visit in the game.

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Final thumbs. I compressed the far-left buildings to keep everything in one shot, with the 3 locations plus the streets and the side of the church visitable. Each letter is an exit to the scene, so their focus was considered from the very start.

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Entrance to the church. I love painting trees, and this was my one chance in the entire project!
I'm really happy with the angle. I had in mind another moment from an old childhood game - the pre-rendered Temple of Time shot from Zelda OoT on the N64.

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The side entrance to the crypt of the church. This kind of peaceful side area always enamoured me when found in games like the old Discworld adventure games, I tried to capture the feeling of sneaking somewhere you shouldn't be.

Olly lawson stepandside night

To help convert my day paints to night en masse, I created a stack of layers that would affect colours in the right way, eg a greenish atmosphere would mute reds. Luckily because of the overcast setting, there is already heavy AO and few cast shadows.

Olly lawson 10 spitalfields day
Olly lawson 11 spitalfields night
Olly lawson closeups

Thanks for scrolling this far, I hope you enjoyed it - part 2 is coming soon! Every like, comment, and share is wonderful and appreciated! Thank you!