The perfect omelette: Putting a narrative together -PART 1-

This is it. We're telling you all about our process to design our game's narrative, our fantastic world of Eggorias. We talked to Nicolás Álvarez, Creative Director and Lead Animator, who gave us all the details of our journey.

In the beginning, it was all about a little kid who used his imagination across his house. Parting from here, his interactions with different spaces of the house (the kitchen, the study room, the living room, the entrance, etc) and its objects were designed as a recreation of the games the boy imagined in his head. The team started with the kitchen, recreating fights with four eggs inside the fridge, escalating through the shelves. These fights resembled the concept used in Smash Bros. "At that time we never thought of victory conditions, we didn't think of how they died, we didn't think of anything", says Nicolás "it was just about eggs beating each other until they broke". At the center of the fridge was a dead chicken who ran around, and kicking the eggs whenever they came close to it.

The whole team was adding their own ideas to the game; what each of them wanted, Mateo Robayo and Juliana Montes weren't part the team at that time. Powers during this game idea were all over the place because of this, there was a bacteria that infected you and there was a time for you to die, but you could infect and kill others in the mean time. Another power with a poisonous fruit that cursed you and allowed you to kill others with a game mechanic called " you're it". There were some mechanics that allowed you to change size, one kawaii ray made you little, you had less damage but moved faster. The one that made you larger, gave you more damage but moved much slower, this was something like an old "King of the Hill" game mode. These abilities allowed you to kill the person at the center of the map, or to remain in the center. We explain more about the initial concept of these eggs in a previous post on character design.

There wasn't really a time for our game. What limits the weapons used? What limits the context?  There was no defined color palette, we were jumping in our decision making, there were even 3D animations for a 2D game. The game was all over the place, basically. Nicolás hadn't taken his "narratives" class at the university, so many concepts were missing, Sandra was on the team, and Mateo joined at the end of that stage. We had our very first prototype, and we had put a whole year of effort only to the level of the fridge. The team wasn't as compromised with the development of our game, so the production was very inconsistent. We didn't have a musician, and Sandra was very busy during the second half of 2015. Then, Jesús Sebastián López and Juan Sebastián Baracaldo graduated from their university and changes began to take part in the process. Mateo joined us at the end of 2015, Sandra was back and ready to work at the beginning of 2016, as well as Juliana, and Mónica during that year's summer vacation. Mateo, Juliana, Sandra and Nicolás (the art department) got together to design the narrative, summoned by Juliana's request to talk about her concern for the lack of concept, no color palette, no style, etc, so she suggested they had to stop. Nicolás wasn't a graphic designer at that time, which is why he didn't know how they could manage to have a specific and well defined style. Juliana helped us realized what was happening, since we needed to have a concept unification and we had to define where the game took place.

We acknowledged it was chaos... so what do we do now?

Air Heads' Medallion

Here's when we started to plan out a concept. We knew we wanted something that had to do with eggs, so we tried to follow the childish line, with a steampunk concept of futuristic eggs, we wanted to keep the fantasy, so we thought of a kingdom of eggs. Like Humpty Dumpty, we thought of an egg that falls and breaks, as in Game of Thrones, we thought of different houses, and as in Avatar, 4 elements. Since it's a virtual world, we wanted to have something at the center, and inverting north and south, making this last one, the cold one. Volcanic mountains were sent to the east, and the jungle to the west, to the upper side we've got the air and the floating mountains. Now we had to solve this: what characterizes the houses? What defines each element? We took Archivald, our first egg, and began its transformation. Nicolás started to write a biography about him, he was a general, a veteran that had fought many battles, and his house was a military society. Meanwhile, it came to our minds that these eggs are different bird types, so we thought, what if their gods are birds? The eggs come from them, so now we can use a different bird to differentiate each house.

Ice Breakers' Ancient Crystal

We began to think of each house's characteristics. The ones in the jungle were very smart and a little "high", which related to owls, since they're the representation of wise birds. For the ice house, we thought of penguins, and an icy desert, were a Khal Drogo-type of tribe resided. These eggs don't think too much, they're rather tribal, grumpy and like to break ice, they would break a door if they had to get out of somewhere, rather than just open it. The ones in the air, where Archivald lives, are a far more advanced nation in terms of technology and military techniques, in contrast to the jungle, whose progress is slow because of their idea of nature conservation, intelligence and balance. The ice tribe's more into faith and strength, the air nation believes in agility and discipline, which is an irony if taken from Avatar, were the fire nation's the military above the others. The air nation's more focused on the speed of their aircraft, technology, tanks and machines, this s because they live among floating mountains, so they must know the best way to pass through them. At this point, we were left with luck, so the east nation's and extremely lucky civilization, they live surrounded by volcanoes, and they're so lucky that none of them has erupted, and if one does, they wouldn't be harmed. So why would they be worried? What would they worry about then? All they care about is the aesthetics of everything, they want things to look good, they're hot stuff, the most fabulous. This is why they were called Hot Chicks (just as the movie). So now Juliana gave them all their weird names, Ice Breakers comes from the candies, which was assigned to the ice tribe, Smartyplants, the jungle folks, had their name from the expression "smartypants", and the most self-assured and "elevated", who have lots of air in their heads, were called Air Heads.

Smartyplants' Toxic Herb

Going back to the gods, we've got viking penguin warriors for the Ice Breakers, a bright owl with disorbitated eyes for all the knowledge he holds and his distraction with the herbs in the jungle for the Smartyplants, and a hawk as a fast and cool bird for the Air Heads. We were left searching for the Hot Chicks' bird god, which at first was the fabulous peacock. It made sense, but it was missing the fire, we had the glamour, but not the sass, so we kept looking and found a rare bird, called Bone-eating Bearded Vulture, which reunites both characteristics and has a sharp look to it. The Hot Chicks are actually ugly, but they're so lucky that they can make everything look pretty, they strongly believe that beauty and luck rule it all. They're convinced they're gorgeous, but everybody else knows they're ugly.

Hot Chicks' Golden Fruit

Because of these changes in the narrative, the initial objects (yeah, the ones in the fridge) were morphed into something else. The curse evolved, but it hasn't been used in the game just yet. The laser became a crystal that makes you grow in size, which is empowering, gives you tenacity, and comes from an ice mine, assigned to the Ice Breakers. About the item that made you smaller, we designed a medallion, assigned to the Air Heads, which also helps to move faster, since they're the only nation capable of using metal. The Smartyplats have a toxic herb that allows you to spread the disease to others, it comes from the depths of the jungle, they manage traps, so it's more like a cauldron with poison and an ancient scroll in it. The Hot Chicks have a fruit that gives you an electric aura, because of the very pointy and fabulous bird that represents them.

The game's tournaments are held in the temples, in the main citadel, putting together the elements of each nation, and these are rituals in honor of the gods, who then return their favor with the items. But we will learn more of this in the next part of this post.

We finally presented all of this to the rest of the team, a main citadel, 4 nations, 4 gods, each with their own objects, and a tournament to become the next king. We had to stop all of our production for one month in order to make everything fit together and start programming again. We would only think about game design, and with a defined concept and art style, we would present it all again to the rest of the team.

Final in-game Golden Fruit