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Asset Style

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The assets of Shadowrun Awakened must conform to a certain uniform style that players and fans will recognize as being "Shadowrun". This article is intended to outline from sources and guidelines for elaborating Shadowrun as a style. At a high level, Shadowrun's art style seeks to be "low-fidelity realism" where we seek to emulate reality, but while trying to economize on detail given how large of a world we envision and how small our resources are.


Style Sources

Of course, cracking open a Shadowrun sourcebook is the best place to examine Shadowrun's style. If you don't know Shadowrun, then first port of call is the wikipedia article on Shadowrun. Another wiki, The Sixth World Wiki offers a more comprehensive look at Shadowrun. A good source for the atmosphere of the universe is the Shadowrun short movie "Shadowrun: One Night". It is available for streamed viewing on google video here.

Style Guidelines

  • Humanoids must have realistic proportions. This does not exclude a certain a tendency toward an ideal of the human form apparent in most art. Thus, human females may unrealistically trend toward looking like super models, all males as fit and athletic, all trolls as 2.5 meter tall Arnold Schwarzeneggers. However, at no time should these be "cartoon-like" in the extreme, such as a Warner Bros or Disney Cartoon
  • Pointed ears on non-humans is not canonically presented as being very large, but for the purpose of in-game illustration they may be as pointed as they are normally long (IE in the gallery, the elvish decker is technically a little too long, Angga's Ork Street Same is about perfect)
  • Orks and Trolls have more pronounced jaws than humans
  • Supernatural effects (magic or technomancy) are traditionally depicted as colored energy emanating from the hands (despite canonical support that most magical effects are invisible)
  • Most every character in SR4 has a commlink, no matter their skills set
  • Dwarves are traditionally proportioned a little top heavy (very barrel chested), males generally have beards, and they are about 60% the height of humans

Color Palette

While settings and characters in Shadowrun vary across all colors, there is a particular gravity to certain hues and shades that capture the world. Artists in SRA, from level designers placing lights to texture illustrators, must work together to present coherent presentation to the user.

There are many location in SRA that each tend toward their own colors. Presented below are several narrative examples and a breakdown of the colors they imply:

Shiny Corporate Evil

In the heart of Seattle, 2070, towering spires of glass and steel silently guard the riches within, penetrating the lingering smog of the morning traffic jams below. The eyes of commuting wage slaves are assaulted with ads for products in every lurid color. Those are contrasted and augmented by the imposing emblems of the mega-corportation who created each product. The brand spanking new clothes of the fashionably chromed denizens never stray far from an acceptable cut or color.

The main hues of the corporate world tends to center on the color blue (meaning evocative, reliability, and professionalism) and the related cool tones of blue that evoke the idea of steel, cement, glass, and glistening. It's a shallow, packaged, and sterile, yet calculated fashionable exterior dressing each of the mega-corp's buildings. The closest their color palette comes to being natural are the dull hues of reflected images seen on mirrored buildings, and the ever present pale-green shades of pollution, that always seems to drift but never completely away.

Second-Hand Future

Beyond the bright lights of downtown and the shallow veneer of civilization, are the dark and dank projected shadows that are inhabited by the forgotten and disenfranchised. Some are the working poor of 2070, struggling within neglected tenement buildings but otherwise live a wholesome lifestyle. Some are squatters, warming their filthy hands and faces by trash can fires, who eat whatever they can find or kill in the urban jungle -- like a skinny rat impaled by a dirty stick. Others squatters inhabit park benches and the surrounding forests, preferring natural scenery over the bleak man-made prison of the inner city.

Brown dirt, gray concrete, and black shadows are the ubiquitous neutrals of a dark palette. Scarce light glows cautiously, never the bright pure-white, and often in the form of flame. Color, if any, is de-saturated and worn away in the clothes, signs, and buildings. Green, either through vegetation struggling to reclaim urban ruins or the wilderness beyond the crumbling outskirts, is more prominent than in civilization. Red, a constant reminder of the end for every Shadowrunner, is uniquely vivid, yet never bright. Skies weeping rain offer the only blue; knives and guns the only shine.

Making concepts and models

Now that you have a overall feel for theShadowrun universe, time to focus on what we want and need for our project. There is a difference, from what we want in the game. We must concentrated our assets efforts toward concepts, designs, and models for version 1.0. Such as what is currently on the Asset Checklist .

With this in mind, take a look at the asset list. Then to get a feel for style check out our current work on our gallery, which can also be viewed here.