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Iron Grip: Marauders Design Showcases

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The latest browser based game set in the Iron Grip universe is currently under development. Iron Grip: Marauders is a strategy game where players take on the roll of an airship pirate. It has turn based combat and visuals that combine text menus, images, and a RTS style user interface. The developers behind the game have released a series of design showcases that highlight the art style behind some of the units and buildings in Iron Grip: Marauders. Readers can check out the design showcases below.

Full Release:

Design Showcase – The Terror Walker

Meet The Artist

My name is Tony Indindoli. I have been working on Marauders as a 3D artist for vehicles. Additionally, I am a concept artist for vehicles and structures you see in the 3D part of the game. I came to game art from modding RTS games and from product design.

Creating The Terror Walker

The Marauders player faction has a conceptual direction that applies to the design of vehicles, aircraft and walkers. The goal is to create the look of antique technology specifically for the Marauders, who are using old black-market equipment from Kathos and improvising their own variations and upgrades. One visual characteristic is to expose the mechanics, so you can see functional parts without coverings or body styling. Gears, drive belts, steam pistons, large joints that look like they can bear extreme loads, and crude or heavy over-built cast metal parts all give more detail and character to the design.

Another IG Universe characteristic I used in this design is the helicopter-style cockpit. This cockpit detail is important since these are low-tech machines with human pilots, not robots. I used a round gunner’s window detail borrowed from the Russian Hind attack helicopter, since it looks like a cyclops eye when paired with arms and legs.

My original vision for this unit was a buffed aggressive hero unit, shooting from the hip to take on waves of enemies single-handed. To give the impression of massive firepower, I decided to go with dual over-sized Gatling canons. The gun’s drive mechanisms are belt linked to the engine. The engine is quite powerful and has over-sized details on the piston valves. Having all these details exposed isn’t really practical, but allows the moving parts to be animated so you see a buzz of clockwork parts, bringing the unit to life when it fires.

Design Showcase – The Legion Walker

Meet The Artist

My name is Tony Indindoli. I have been working on Marauders as a 3D artist for vehicles. Additionally I am a concept artist for vehicles and structures you see in the 3D part of the game. I came to game art from modding RTS games and from product design.

Creating The Legion Walker

Walking armored vehicles have a big military role in the Iron Grip world, so my starting inspiration was the walker units and concept art from Warlord (Iron Grip: Warlord). I wanted the look of old, overbuilt technology, using heavy slabs of steel armor and rough castings, and also the bare mechanical look of construction equipment. I had in mind the bulky shell and low-slung body of a crab, but also insects like crickets with powerful rear legs to bring in some lifelike character.

Necessity is the mother of invention, so I always try to have some logic behind why something looks the way it does, especially for the industrious Iron Grip civilizations. I wanted to think up a walker specifically for urban close combat, and imagined this unit crashing over barricades and climbing heaps of rubble in a war torn city. The center of gravity is deliberately low, and the stance spread out to avoid toppling under heavy fire. I like to over-think through the mechanical design such as how a leg would use hydraulics to move through its range of motion, and where the crew will enter the vehicle and sight the gun from, as a source of detailing ideas.

Every game asset needs to have a unique identity, so for this unit I found that the round turret body with three paired groups of legs emerged as the theme. I like to visualize things the way you see them in a strategy game, from a top perspective view, even though a ground level perspective might make a more dramatic concept drawing. Sketching from the ‘game camera’ point of view helps me find profiles that work well, and body proportions that remain recognizable at small scale.

Design Showcase – Torun Castle

Meet The Artist

Hi, I’m Tim van Geel, concept artist, composer and game-mechanics designer for Marauders. My specialty is designing buildings and architectural styles, which isn’t a surprise as I’m currently finishing my masters in Architecture. It wasn’t so hard for me to make the step from designing actual buildings to fictional ones in games.

Creating Torun Castle

The Castle is a well known universal archetype, a stronghold built in the past in order to gain control over the land and protect its rulers. This standard is still the same in the Iron Grip world, but the history, materials and even some physics aren’t. This presented me with a unique challenge; how can I design a typical Iron Grip castle that fits into the industrious theme, is unique, but still recognizable as the archetype “castle” we are so used to in our own world.

I already developed a certain style in the previous buildings I’ve designed for Iron Grip, where wood serves an important role. I imagined wood could be a much more durable material than in our world, maybe even as hard as steel, and experimented with a castle comprised of a stone foundation and the upper works in wood. The upper works would be comprised out of numerous balconies, galleries and catwalks that give defenders a good field of fire and cover.

I took a lot of my inspiration from early 17th and 18th century naval warships, whose fore and aft castles had a similar idea in mind. The building still had to be recognizable, so I used typical archetype elements such as the tower, the wall and the gatehouse. To keep the building in theme with the industrious nature of the world, I added a few typical industrial elements such as water pipes, heaters, iron tubes, kettles, chimneys, etc.

The nice thing when designing fictional buildings is that you are not impaired with realistic physics, construction laws, safety issues etc, but I am a firm believer that limitations help creativity. I always endeavor to try and create a certain sense of realism in my designs, with a subtle hint of fiction. Too much realism and a design becomes historical, often dull. Too much fiction and the building becomes something out of strange drunken man’s fairy tale. It’s a fine line to walk on, and I often have to draw many designs in order to get it right.

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