Decorating Environments in Herald

Hello Tumblr! My name is Sarah Schroeder and I am the 3D artist intern at Wispfire. With this post I wanted to give a quick insight on how we decorate environments for Herald. For this example we’re going to decorate the saloon; the dining area for the first class passengers.


In the above example the room is still empty with no lights. To create an idea of what I want, I start off by taking some screenshots and opening them in an image editor. I turn the opacity down to 50% and sketch any assets that I‘ll want to model and decorate the room with. For inspiration I first do a lot of research and look at photos we took ourselves when we visited real clipper ships like the Cutty Sark and De Stad Amsterdam.


When I have a rough idea of all the assets I want to add I get to modeling the actual objects. We use the 3D modelling software Blender to create the new models, but some assets have already been made so I can just reuse those as well. For instance the saloon lamp had already been created by someone else, so I just made some adjustments to make it look fancier.


This area is for the first class passengers, so it has to be all about luxury and needs to be very stately and clean; it needs to tell you that it’s for the rich, and for the rich only.

Because this area has to look high class I can’t just put in simple generic assets, I have to make lots of adjustments to the pre-existing models. An important thing I need to keep in mind is that when the player enters a room, the environment has to be able to tell a story by itself.


To save time and memory usage for the game, we also have to make clever use of our assets. In the above example you can see that all the china looks very similar; that’s because they’ve got the same texture. 😉


I painted and used these Delftware textures on two types of flower pots, dishes, a can, cups and a dining plate. The blue color gives it a distinctive *Dutch* touch. 

Another thing I need to consider when I’m making objects and textures for this room is the variety of colors. The room already has a lot of dark brown colors, I need to use colors that stand out against all the wood.


To make all the assets in the environment “fit” together and not look like separate random items I tend to reuse lots of the generic textures. With the gold details the dinnerware looks more luxurious and like they belong together.


After making all the assets it’s time to place them in the space itself in Unity. For this space to stay realistic, I must always keep in mind that everything needs to look tidy. I also did the lighting. The examples of which you can see below!


VALUE Streaming the Past is now LIVE on TWITCH!

Join us and VALUE for a Live let’s play of Herald’s demo and Sid Meier’s Colonization with a discussion about the history of colonialism and how it is presented in both games. Our creative director Bart Heijltjes and our writer Roy van der Schilden will be present to discuss this topic!

3D Character Proportions test!

Hey guys, Aïda the Art Director for Herald here.

When we launched our Kickstarter and Greenlight, we got some really good and honest feedback on the look of our game. One point of feedback was the proportions of our 3D character models. We had made the decision early on in the development of Herald to let our character models function as avatars, and make the main focus for interaction and emotions be the 2D portraits. We were inspired by how the Persona games combine the 2D and 3D aspects of their game world in much the same way. With this decision came the somewhat stylized proportions. 

But along the development process, the textures and world became much more detailed then we originally envisioned, and thus perhaps some of the stylisation no longer meshes well with how the game currently looks.

After some testing [mostly to see if it would not take too long to adjust, considering production planning] I want to present you with two tests I made of subtly adjusted proportions, matching more with the 2D models you see during dialogues.

We’d love your feedback on this! Which style do you prefer?

Hey everyone! We’re 52% on Kickstarter! Thank you all so much for pledging and sharing Herald. Keep at it and we can make our goal!

Our Greenlight campaign could still really use some voters. It would be great to be greenlit during our Kickstarter!

If you can’t afford to pledge but would still really like to help the project, please head over to Steam and Vote for us on Greenlight!

A short demo of Herald was part of the Indie Prize Showcase at Casual Connect Europe 2015. Demo’s are a great way to set a hard deadline for production, and it was good for us to push for a polished and manageable final product. Aside from an earlier demo we showed at an internal networking meeting, this was the first time we showcased our game to other developers. It was quite exciting considering we haven’t released much of our game’s final look yet, but we got a lot of positive reactions. We also got some great feedback to work with and we thank everyone for playing our demo!

To top it all off, at the end of the event, Herald was nominated for Best Art and won the award for Best Narrative! Those are our two big focus points for Herald so we must be doing something right. So all in all it was a very rewarding experience and gave us a huge boost in going forward with development!