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How  Thumper  uses striking visuals to complement gameplay at every turn

How Thumper uses striking visuals to complement gameplay at every turn

November 8, 2016 | By Alissa McAloon

November 8, 2016 | By Alissa McAloon
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More: Console/PC, Indie, Art, Design

“I think as an artist it’s easy to want to fill every available space on screen with something cool, but ultimately empty spaces are a necessary part of a good composition."

-Brian Gibson discusses one of the decisions that led to Thumper's practical but intense look.

Many of the visual elements that now seem natural for Thumper evolved out of a need to quickly communicate information to players amid its frantic and fast-paced gameplay. 

In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Brian Gibson of the two-man developer Drool discussed the considerations that went into designing everything from Thumper’s chrome beetle protagonist to the material of the winding path the little space bug scampers along in-game. 

Artistic elements, including some visual trickery, were vital to creating the fast-paced gameplay of Thumper. The developers tweaked the camera’s field of view to create space that felt deeper, and combined that feeling with camera shakes and motion blur to create a sense of immense speed. 

The environment passes by quickly in Thumper, so it was important for Drool to make sure players would be able to quickly pull visual cues from their surroundings.

“We use post-processing tricks to direct your eye to the specific the area in screenspace where the cues appear,” explained Gibson. “The closer anything is to that critical region, the brighter and higher-contrast it will become. There is also some radial blurring that literally makes that central region the most focused area in the game.”

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