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The Art Of Braid: Creating A Visual Identity For An Unusual Game
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The Art Of Braid: Creating A Visual Identity For An Unusual Game

August 5, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next

Some of these early pieces were on the big side, or overly specialized, and therefore not super flexible. Those steps, for example, were made for a certain place in 2-1, and didn't really fit anywhere else.

Some wall and corner pieces.

Since it would be kind of boring to see nothing but grass and rocks, I drew some flowers. (By the way, at this point the prototype character sprites were getting replaced by Edmund McMillen's designs. These, too, have been replaced for the final game.)

And a door for coming and going. And a ladder, although we didn't stick with this design.

And a tree. I had this idea to make the tree really useful with these Swiss Army Knife-like appendages. The extensions were separate pieces, so they were all optional. As it turned out, there wasn't much use for them at all! The tree is still in the game, but without the branches.

Click image for full size.

Here you can see how those pieces fit together into a level layout. This is still just a Photoshop mockup, though. The grass, rocks and flowers are in a foreground layer, and I was painting the vista in a background layer. It was important to work with the foreground right there, to ensure all parts would relate properly, just like different elements of a painting.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next

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Haig James Toutikian
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Great great article! I really liked how it shows the progress of the art direction from the beginning to end with comments under the images :D I hope to see more articles like this one

Jeff McArthur
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Wow great article, thanks for describing (and visually showing) us the iterative process of creating this game. Love the art style, I'm definitely going to have to buy a copy of this game, even if my main point to do so is just enjoying the great art!

robert toone
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Excellent article. I really enjoyed experiencing the experimental development of the art style, for such an art style game. The game looks great and goes along with it's play style.

I look forward to such articles in the future.

Tom Newman
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Great article! Looking forward to any future articles laid out like this!

Gopalakrishna Palem
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Good Article, great principles.

Ensuring aesthetics do not dominate the player's perception of the world, highlights the game design philosophy.

Would love to play this one.

Rikard Peterson
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This article was a bit different than most. Love it!

Jeff Zugale
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This is good stuff, both the artwork and the complex thought process and care behind it. I'll be buying and playing this game to see the rest of it. Thanks for sharing!

Anders Hojsted
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It's interesting how he can tell about these things because he isn't bound by an NDA. There's too little knowledge-sharing like this in the games industry because of all the secrecy.


Christopher Waite
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That was a really insightful article. Actually, it's convinced me to purchase the full game. The effort and passion that has gone into the various iterations of the design, really makes you feel that you are playing something special.

Arthur Times
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This may seem like a dumb question but I'll ask it anyway.

What language did you program the game in. I know XNA Creators Club really focuses on C#, but does XBLA allow C++?


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Being a student of game animation and creation, I absolutely loved this article. Look forward to more like this. It was aa great teaching tool. I am going to put it on our forum in class. Thanks.

Jason Bakker
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Any aspiring game developers want to hazard a guess as to why, on the collision screenshot, there are two different tiles used? (The brick one, and the grey one.)

Aaron Murray
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Thanks for posting this article. As a dev, I love reading about how others attack the issues we face. At the same time, it is helpful for outsiders to see how much work goes into the finished product, and how beneficial constant iteration is...

Jason Bakker
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I guess not ;) If anyone is wondering, it's because in game engines you often flag wall and floor as different collision types, so that the engine knows to collide with each differently (walls tend to be a lot more "slippery" than floors).

If there were screenshots of, for instance, one of the spike floors in the game, that would probably be a different collision type again (so that the engine knows that when you collide with it, you're supposed to die).

The more you know!

Dax Hawkins
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Regarding Arther Times post above:

XBLA to some extent is language agnostic. Most of the games up there are C/C++ but there is one game in C# (Schizoid).

Xbox Live Community games, on the other hand, must be built with XNA Game Studio and written in C#.