Saturday 14 September 2013

Visuals that make ideas much more awesome

A couple of days ago we announced that if our Kickstarter campaign would reach $290,000, we would add a fourth character to the Starstorm expansion for Awesomenauts. Today I would like to talk about the kind of art that came with that announcement. We posted these concept sketches, by Ronimo artist Olivier:

This looks fun, and it is also a nice example of the kind of sketching that works really well to communicate ideas. This kind of concept art does a lot more than just show something: it makes others enthusiastic about the ideas. In a company like Ronimo, where all team members are involved in the core concepts, convincing others that your ideas are good is almost as important as having good ideas in the first place. Several of the devs at Ronimo are masters at this, so today I would like to show you some examples of how art can be used to communicate ideas. (I am really bad at this myself, by the way: my concept sketches for Proun are completely incomprehensible for anyone but me...) Most of these concepts didn't actually make it, but the way they were drawn makes me instantly like them.

The first is Wozzle, drawn by Olivier. This character was actually prototyped in the game, but for some reason wasn't deemed interesting enough to become a full Awesomenaut. I still hear his name echoing through the office occasionally, so maybe in the far future this could still become a real Awesomenauts character, who knows? Wozzle has a bunch of creatures walking along with him to do combat, and he can scream so loud that enemies are stunned.

This one, called Squeedo, is downright eerie: this is an octopus with a hookshot, just like Swiggins. Except that Squeedo was drawn months before the contest that lead to Swiggins! We had totally forgotten about Squeedo and only bumped into him again after Swiggins had been selected by the community. The coincidence at how similar Swiggins and Squeedo are is just baffling...

I don't think this next character was ever even prototyped in gameplay, but that second skill is actually pretty interesting. He grabs an enemy with his beam and stuns him, but the enemy is only stunned as long as he stands still himself and keeps holding him. So you basically stun an enemy by stunning yourself as well. This Naut would very much be a team-player since he cannot use this to kill directly, while it could be mightily powerful with good team-play! The other skill is a rocket barrage, which in terms of gameplay might be a bit boring (just plain damage in a really big area), but could make for some pretty spectacular special effects.

The final character I would like to show today looks very familiar: Gnaw. Here he was still called Groblok, and this Naut turned out almost exactly as Olivier first sketched him. This is how he was first posted on our internal forum:



After # successfull base attacks, Groblok can spit out a Grobling, which latches onto the ground and attacks nearby enemies.

Reverse Photosynthesis Cells (item) Each living grobling gives you # solar per minute.


Groblok vomits a stream of acid in a direction, slowing by #% and increasing damage taken by those hit by #%. Hold down (Y) to spray longer.

Regurgition Glands (item) Groblok gains # health per second while spitting.

All of the art above is by Olivier, but he is not the only dev at Ronimo who can work magic like that. For example, Ralph is also really good at this, as you can see in the two images below. These are drawings from a storyboard for our Kickstarter video. We chose a different concept for the video, so this storyboard didn't make it into the final video, but looking at it, I can only imagine something that is awesome fun to watch! This is also slightly deceptive, by the way: if two real persons are filmed for this storyboard, much of the fun is gone, unless those two persons are really good comedians instead of game developers...

Next week I'll show some more example of early character concepts, of some characters who changed a lot in the period between first concepts and launch. Also, I still need to post the third and final part of my stats series at some point, but I wanted to post this first. See you next week!

By the way, our Kickstarter campaign still runs until Wednesday, be sure to pledge to make the game grow further and to scoop up some awesome rewards!


  1. This is really interesting!

    Its weird how Squeedo and Swiggins came out so similar despite being picked by different groups and designed at different times.

    Do you know if Gnaw was in any way inspired by a Felhunter from WoW? ( I've always thought the two had similar traits and wondered if there was any link there.

    1. I always think "Zergling." The felhunter even looks like a damn zergling.

    2. The Zerg are always on our mind, but I don't think the Felhunter was a particular inspiration for Gnaw. Not sure though!

  2. This was an awesome post: I'm particularly fond of Wozzle :3 Although, he kind of reminds me of a Surinam toad. And those are terrible.

    I really wish I could draw like that. It's so awesome and fun looking :3

  3. Foxy should be a girl! It would make people happy. Can't wait for part two of this.

  4. Stun character, stun character, stun character and Gnaw. There is already more than enough CC in Awesomenauts. Gank teams completely dominated the last APL, I can't even imagine what it would have been with a specifically gank-centered character like the third.

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  6. Squeedo seems like a Swiggins with Vinnie's Spike Dive

  7. I would also like another female character!! I's really funny! :'D <3

  8. First concept art picture:
    Fox, fox, fox, muppet.
    That must be a joke, you can tell by it's silly looks.
    Then again, all 'nauts look silly in their own cool way. :)

  9. Squeedo skin for swiggins and Groblok skin for gnaw please.
    Also for 5th starstorm naut (if added) That stunner or wozzle (if big muppet picked, add wozzles abilities as well as the gun as the AA) please

  10. I like the unnamed stun character with rockets, but I'm afraid he would just camp behind the turret and stun everyone from there without risking (in case there isn't Coco in the other team)