Mobile Game Design: Monument Valley

Monument Valley won the Apple Design Award for 2014

For Project 1.3, I have drawn inspiration from a mobile game called Monument Valley. Many people found this game to be beautifully designed, and that intrigued me to buy the game years ago. To this day, I always remember this game to be a model for how I want my art designs to be like. I decided to read this article detailing the design process behind Monument Valley to better implement design features of it into my Project 1.3.

Photo from “The concept evolved from a desire to design a game where architecture was the central theme”

Monument Valley was created by a team at ustwogames, and the team’s lead designer wanted to a create a game based on architecture. Inspiration of the game is the art of MC Esher, minimalist 3D design, and Japanese prints. MC Esher’s art and Monument Valley features impossible objects, 2D optical illusion that people try to imagine in 3D but realize are in reality impossible. A good example of this is the Penrose Stairs

This is a gif of MC Esher’s illustration: “Ascending and Descending “

The team used Blender to create the 3D models and animation and used Photoshop combined with Texturepacker to create the textures. To create the color palette, the designers drafted prints of all the game’s levels and posted them on a wall to see where modifications can be made This allowed them to make the color palette organically. They then created the lighting by shading objects directly without the need of creating a lighting system within the game.

I always found there color palettes to be aesthetically pleasing

Because Monument Valley is a mobile game, the developers had to focus on designing visual elements that made the touch-inputs intuitive and feel responsive. They completed the game design with a soundtrack that harmonized with the games visual aesthetics to create a please in-game ambience.

From reading about Monument Valley’s design process, I learned that it is important to start off with a central theme and then build upon it piece-by-piece. I am surprised that the designers were not very methodical about the color palette, but I do see how being flexible with the color palette will create a product that is unexplainably aesthetic. I do hope that I can emulate the same visual aesthetics in my Project 1.3.

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