Concept Series: How Monster Cards are Created - Lizardman Trooper Edition
Kingdom Conquest II is known for some of the most electrifying and gorgeous card art ever seen in a collectible-card, real-time strategy game. The talented KC dev team works passionately to bring you visually stunning elements from initial concept to final rendering of fantasy creatures to the game experience. With that said, we are thrilled to dive into the process of producing one of the most highly sought after cards, the Lizardman Trooper L SR Card.
1. Monster Creation Prerequisites
When creating new monsters, the following questions come to the designer’s mind:
- Which Races have less monsters compared to other Races?
- Which Races are not used frequently by players? (Such as weak, unpopular, difficult to use, etc.)
- Will this new Monster be used for upcoming events or campaigns?
- Timing - As a general rule, it takes around 3 - 6 months to create a new Monster from start to finish.
2. Contracting the Artwork
Once the initial questions have been addressed, requirements and additional details are provided to the KCII team of artists. Their first goal is to produce the concept images needed to kick off the development process.
The initial details for the Lizardman Trooper L SR Card were:
- Draw it like "a lizard humanoid riding a lizard".
- The mounted Lizardman should wield a spear and shield while wearing armor.
- The lizard he's riding on should not be on all four legs. Its front legs are raised up and its back two legs should be used to run, like a raptor with armor.
These specific instructions are given to the team to produce the first piece of visual concepts.
3. Rough Planning
The KCII Card Designer based out of SEGA of China provided 3 concept pieces based on the initial requirements.
With these in hand, the KCII Development Team had additional comments in order to progress the new Lizardman Trooper card.
- In regards to the middle and bottom concepts, there's too much empty space for an L Size Monster. So, those will not be used.
- The top one looks the best in relation to size. However…
- The legs do not make it look like a fast Monster. The Monster needs to look fast as the SPD stat will be significant.
- The concept looks like the large lizard mount can be used to attack instead of the Lizardman himself. The Lizardman rider should be the one attacking.
- The lizard mount is really intended to be like a horse that has speed, but with no real combat capabilities.
- Since a lot of Beasts and Cryptids are featured with 4 legs, please provide a rough sketch with the lizard mount utilizing 2 legs.
Of course, the KC Dev Team would never want to stifle the artist's motivation. They are always careful with how they present feedback as they know the artist takes pride in every piece of work they do. Comments like, "You can feel the movement in the art,” and additional instructions to address certain parts are written out with carefully chosen words, and sprinkled with traces of praise. The artists are the life force behind KCII’s Monster Cards!
4. Rough Artwork
With Rough Planning comments incorporated, it's time to decide upon the composition and silhouette details.
The concept art aligned to the previous changes is provided. This is looking pretty good!
As you can see, additional work is needed to address the Lizardman’s legs being too small for the card, and the empty negative space on the top-left for L Size Monsters.
Using Dullahan for comparison, the composition is missing a little bit of something…
Additional comments intended at resolving some of these concerns:
- Using the artwork from Dullahan as a reference, Lizardman’s waist should point toward the player so it looks like he’s riding sideways. This will make it look much cooler!
- Lizardman’s legs need to be longer so his feet reach the stirrups.
- Please add a tail to Lizardman.
Comments on the lizard mount continued as well:
- Make the head bigger in order to fill some of the negative white space.
- The lizard's back legs look a bit flimsy. The image itself looks structurally awkward.
- Let's make the front legs weaker looking and its fingers more rounded.
- Also, add some spikes near the tail end to give it some size.
This set of feedback is then sent back along with a rough image illustrating the changes.
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[CONTINUED FROM ABOVE]
5. Fixed Rough Artwork
The Card Designer then sends back a revised version of the concept.
The art is looking much better. However, some fine tuning adjustments are needed:
- The Lizardman’s foot size, the armor's perspective, and his arms look a bit warped.
- There is some imbalance in the front and back of the spear where it is being held at the fulcrum point.
- The lizard mount's running legs still look too small.
The feedback and another illustrative revision are sent back to the Card Designer.
6. Colored Rough Artwork
The Card Designer then implements the changes and returns with a colored rough draft to progress development to a more final stage.
In this example, the color scheme looks good, but the artist needs to make sure that there's not too much black or it won’t translate to the screen very well.
7. Colored Artwork
Additional revisions are requested and the artist then provides a more finalized color version.
In this example, the colors are still blacked out, and the metallic shine is hard to see.
The Dev Team finishes working with the artists at SEGA of China at this point and thanks them for their hard work. From this point, the KCII Dev Team makes additional adjustments for public release.
The metallic shine of the spear, shield, armor, and the lizard mount's scales were adjusted. In addition, a fix was implemented to the tip of the spear as it was distorted. Finally, the coloring was fine tuned. Bringing it to the final art!
Overall, the KCII Development Team always keeps several things in mind when creating new Monsters:
- The art should symbolize a true Dark Fantasy theme that Western users would be pleased with.
- The card's 'feel' should always match that of other cards.
- The card’s composition has to look great without a background, but should convey movement and atmosphere.
As you can see, the Dev Team cannot simply hire a famous designer and "let them do their thing." A lot of back and forth communication and guidance is involved before the final artwork reaches the user.
Many card games require spending long hours combining cards to find the best skill combinations. The KCII Development Team recognizes this and works diligently to produce some of the most captivating cards to look at while assembling devastatingly powerful units.
We hope that KCII’s Monster and Commander art can truly stand the test of time. As a matter of fact, we hope that players become attached to these cards as they continue in their goal to Awaken each one!
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I like this. How about info on how monsters are skilled and statted?
I like this series. Good info. I must say Lizzy is much better looking card than the mentioned Dully; it's scarier! Dully looks like a Halloween card and doesn't look that intelligent eventhough dully has the highest INT.
Concept Series How Monster Cards are Created Lizardman Trooper Ed
Is there a way to tell how many cannon are in an artillery unit? Is it the number listed on artillery units the cannon or the troops? Do bigger artillery units shoot more cannonballs or do more damage?