Arden Style Guide and Technical Manual – Outline

April 15th, 2007 by Rory

I’ve been working on a style guide and technical manual for Arden that will be used by future Lead Artists on the project. The purpose of this guide is not only to give some artistic direction for the world, but to also provide some helpful tutorials for Maya, Multiverse, and Photoshop — basically any technical, back-end stuff that can be frustrating. The outline for this guide is posted after the break.

Part 1 – Technical Manual

I. Introduction (overview, current Multiverse build info, index, etc.)

II. Technical Background
    A. Pre-requisites
        1. Skills needed
        2. Resources required (relevant software, hardware, etc.)
    B. Multiverse software overview
        1. Model Viewer
        2. Asset Importer / Packager
        3. Mosaic Creator / Terrain Editor
        4. World Builder

III. Technical Information
    A. Model specifications and pre-import preparation
        1. Textures (resolution, format)
            a. Diffuse textures
            b. Normal/Specular map generation
        2. Poly-count and polygon distribution
        3. UV layout considerations
        4. All about submeshes
        5. Animated meshes
        6. Particle/emitter effects
        7. Naming conventions
    B. Exporting to COLLADA
        1. Installing the COLLADA plug-in
        2. Required files
        3. Export dialog
    C. Importing into Multiverse
        1. ConversionTool.exe
        2. Material files (more info later in the document)
        3. Viewing the mesh in the Model Viewer
        4. Using the Asset Importer
        5. Implementation in the World Builder
    D. 2D Artwork (interface graphics, decals)
        1. Layout information, recommendations
        2. Resolution
        3. XML framesets
            a. Syntax
            b. Sample file
    E. Skyboxes
        1. Methods for creation (software, technique)
        2. Saving
    F. Terrain and terrain textures
        1. Heightmap generation
        2. Using textures on terrain maps
    G. Storage considerations
        1. Media
        2. Back-up information

Part 2 – Style Guide

I. Style overview
    A. Time period
    B. Setting, topographical information about Somerset circa 15th century
        1. Plants
        2. Animals
        3. Art and architecture
        4. Sources of additional information

II. Color palettes
    A. Interior (by building type)
    B. Exterior (by region)

III. Landscape
    A. Terrain
    B. Flora
    C. Trees / Forests
    D. Concepts

IV. Architecture
    A. Housing sizes overview (A class, B class, etc.)
    B. Types of buildings and their purpose
    C. Style considerations, thumbnails of ideas
    D. Concepts

V. People (NPCs and PCs)
    A. Clothing
    B. Colors
    C. Style considerations
    D. Concepts

VI. Additional objects
    A. Crafting models
    B. Weapons
    C. Scenery
    D. Concepts (where appropriate)

VII. Decoration
    A. Crests, emblems, etc.
    B. Interface graphics (including palettes)

Part 3 – Existing Assets

I. Existing interface artwork
II. Meshes
III. Textures

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