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Dev Diary #49 - Graphic Overview

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Hey everyone! I’m Max, Art Director of Victoria 3, here to go over the different visual elements of the game and give you some insight into our process. The games’ visual pillars center around Elegance, Hopefulness and some of the older visual elements of the Victorian era, this will be present within each visual category and discipline. To start off, a lot of things have happened visually over the last year, even in these last few weeks a lot of tweaks and improvements have been made thanks to the team! To go over some of these improvements I’ll be giving a brief overview, starting with: Interface The lead of the 2D art team, Kenneth Lim, talked a lot about our interface visuals in Dev Diary #30 so make sure to check that out! The components of the interface have not changed drastically since then, but have rather been refined and more illustrations have been incorporated into menus that are very text heavy or where a bit more flavor helps. In general the interface direction wants to provide visuals that are elegant and ornate but not too heavy, with a palette that compliments the visuals of the map and illustrations, making icons and button interactions pop out from it. Working closely with the UX designers we aim to put the visual emphasis and focus where your important decisions can be made, ensuring that interactable objectives and buttons are clear and have an order of importance.

Interface for the politics, showing various different elements


Buildings and lots of icons


Outliner for the market UI


Illustrations As illustrations are being incorporated more frequently in the game we want to ensure they have a consistent style, a style that is something of a mix between modern digital art and some older 19th century style and technique with clear brush strokes. We also try to ensure that they all have a hopeful (though some quite grim) feel to them that gives flavor to your decisions and the Events that do occur while still not discouraging you. The illustrations for Events are quite vast, and with so many different possible events occurring one thing we have tried to ensure is that all different cultures of the game are represented within Events. The downside of this decision is that some of our events will look pretty specific to a culture while applicable to almost everyone, this is something we will look to improve in the future!

Event Illustration within the interface


Character background illustrations


Illustrations for the different Institutions  ​


Map The map of the world is something we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure looks both very interesting yet soothing enough not to compete in complexity with the interface and the actions you take, steering clear of too much clutter and maintaining the visual pillars that gives the player satisfaction of seeing their course of the world progress. We also try to ensure a visual hierarchy of what is important to look at by balancing the complexity of assets as well as their scale. During next week’s’ DD I’ll be talking more about the elements that help make the map feel alive and how we visually change the world as the game progresses. But aside from that the papermap, the zoomed out version of the 3d map, also has a lot of visual detail put into it, lots of small illustrations and details that make it more interesting to look at alongside the scene with the table and objects surrounding it to contextualize that this is you overlooking the world as a whole. Other elements present on the map are the buildings of different cultures that make up the Hubs that range from small farms to huge monuments, in addition there’s also a vast assortment of military 3d units that appear when battles take place. Trade in the Dardanelles Strait

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Rome and the Vatican


Asian building set


Papermap and the surrounding scene


Characters The characters of Victoria 3 aim to be visually representative not only of the stratas they inhabit but also of their profession and its characteristics. Butchers sporting cleavers, farmers have pitchforks and servicemen have rifles, all this in combination with various different appearances for different cultures, a large age spectrum as well as a plethora of different outfits ranging from farmer rags to exquisite dresses gives a really varied appearance of the game's characters. While our visual pillars still stand even for the characters, ensuring that their appearance is a bit softer and filled with a bit of hope, they also show when they are not doing well, giving starving Pops altered idle animations where they look displeased and hunched forward. We are still finding new ways of increasing the personalities of characters and their overall visuals and look forward to giving them even more life in the future!

Farmers in Burma


French heir


Now that’s a fancy outfit


Aristocrats in Harar


VFX The visual effects that we have in game range from emphasizing certain button presses to atmospheric weather effects like rain, sand and snowstorms but where it’s most prevalent is through wars and battles where units fire devastating cannon shots or even flamethrowers, really emphasizing the situation! The game’s VFX also helps provide a sense of what’s happening on the map, visualizing things like buildings being built and completed, turmoil, revolutions and celebrations among many.

It does snow a lot between Sweden and Norway


Sandstorms can be daunting




Technical Solutions For a lot of the neat details and dynamic elements of the game we have Technical Art providing smart solutions to things like waves around shorelines, the clouds that provide depth and fog of war to the map as well as how country borders and occupied territories look.

Smart shader work makes waves not take up too much performance


Clouds and Contested Territories


That should give you some insight into how we work on the visual side of Victoria 3! As mentioned before, next week will have another Developer Diary from yours truly with a more in-depth look at the Living Map and how things change through the course of the game. We are still making a lot of nifty changes to things and can’t wait for you all to experience Victoria 3 in all its glory!

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