Devil's in the details
Hellboy: Web of Wyrd gives us a brand-new adventure to follow Hellboy on, and this one takes things back to the comic origins rather than mimicking what’s been seen in the movies over the years. Not surprisingly, capturing that look and feel of the comics proved to be a rather difficult project.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, Upstream Arcade co-founder Adam Langridge talked at length about the tricks and tactics used to adapt comic creator Mike Mignola’s unmistakable style for a videogame. Of course, the original comics and style are used as a base, but a lot of digital smoke and mirrors are in place as well to lock in that strong visual approach.
So, we cheat. We cheat as much as we possibly can, basically. So from the graphics, this is partly a graphics and a lighting question, so that’s my angle on it. It’s probably worth noting that the way that normal computer graphics deal with lights has been completely changed in this game. In our game, lights don’t accumulate because they don’t really accumulate in the comics. It’s either black or lit. So we’ve got our hands into the codes and changed how the lighting is calculated in terms of all the rendering, which means that there’s essentially dark shadows, pure black, and then, or it’s kind of lit, one or the other. And then the other thing we do is we ended up with quite a big period of development where it looked pretty gray about a third of the time, and the other times it was just shadow and you see little bits of rim lighting or whatever, and it just wasn’t enough.
So the solutions that we came across were things to do with, we would have lighting that was specific to the scene and your classic main light, your uplighting or whatever. And then what we also ended up doing was for Hellboy and all the living things, there’d be a special light that would follow the camera around essentially and make sure it was the correct and the camera, which meant that it only really came into play when the camera was in a bad angle essentially. But when that did happen, there was this emergency lights that always kept Hellboy in relief against the background and also anything else living essentially as well. So yeah, there’s a handful of fun little trips like that we ended up having to apply to make sure that we capture the comics all the way through every single frame of gameplay from every angle. And we felt we could get most of the way there quite early on. But some of these solutions came in over halfway through development once we were really into it. So it was quite a challenge, and I think we had lots of input from lots of different parts of the studio to get these solutions.