On the 25th of September The Station in Karlshamn was graced by a visit from H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Photo: Kate Gabor, royalcourt.se Sweden
About a week or so before, when we first learned of the visit, we started thinking about how we could explain if even a fraction of how the games industry works, how games and all its little parts are made and what we could show in order to visualize any of this in the narrow window of opportunity that the visit offered.
At the Station the majority of our time is spent working on perhaps the most creative console franchise ever conceived – LittleBigPlanet™. Being but one company in the “family” of companies contributing to the LBP franchise our foremost responsibility lies in conjuring and creating costumes for the different titles as well as additional DLC content for all platforms.
So, the most natural thing for us we felt would be to show the process of creating a costume for Sackboy, from idea to concept and finally in-game model. With a limited amount of time, and knowing that the visit could possibly be blown off for a multitude of reasons (after all, it’s the Royal family we are talking about) we chose to focus on visualizing what an art pipeline can look like in game development.
“We know our Princesses”, I would boldly claim about a week later in my introduction, referring to the Disney Princesses pack created a couple years back, but at the time when we started planning for what we should show, that was our first problem. If we were gonna show how we created a costume from scratch it felt great if we could make something a little customized for the occasion, but there already were quite a few princesses and how could we capture something iconic from the Crown Princess of Sweden?
H.R.H Princess Madeleine, H.R.H. Princess Estelle, H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria, H.M. Queen Silvia
Photo: Maja Suslin/ SCANPIX
As with most of our work the Idea of the costume came fairly quickly as soon as the team started searching the internet for references.
There were many pictures with the Crown Princess in beautiful dresses, ranging from formal to ballroom, but the most iconic and recurring dress was without a doubt when H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria represented Sweden and/or Swedish customs or special holidays wearing a national dress (traditional costume).
Said and done. With reference images our Concept Artist Sofie quickly created a costume concept for Sackboy and in order to later explain the process we used capturing software to catch the concept workflow on the screen.
With a concept the torch was then passed to the 3D Artists who began the task of turning the 2D drawing into a 3D Model meeting all the art requirements to fit in the LittleBigPlanet universe and fitting for all technical aspects an ingame model demanded. This part of the process was also captured and later edited.
When H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden arrived we were prepared.
As representatives of the Royal Court had made clear that H.R.H. preferred to come out and meet companies and their staff under “normal real-life circumstances” we chose to hold our short presentation on the production floor of the studio which worked out great.
After an introduction to the games industry and its successful Swedish blockbuster companies like DICE and Massive Entertainment, its worldwide phenomenons like Mojang’s Minecraft (which was spectacularly acquired by Microsoft) and KING’s Candy Crush Saga, Indie sensations like Simogo and of course our own journey with first Tarsier Studios and now The Station it was time for what we in the presentation called “Game Art in 5 minutes – Case Study: A Swedish Princess”.
Sackboy in Swedish traditional costume in-game!
Presentation went great! We started out with a snappy introduction of our own Brief to ourselves and the first spontaneous laughter came when we showed our reference material and Crown Princess Victoria could see which way we were going with the costume. It all was pretty much smooth sailing from there.
We showed an edited capture from the concept stage showing the whole process in fast-forward at a total length of about a minute and a half, a capture of the 3D modelling at about the same length and finally the Princess received a printed final render of the in-game model. All to her great surprise and joyful laughter.
H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria & Sackboy in Swedish traditional costume at The Station.
Photo: Hans-Peter Bloom / Blekinge Bildreportage AB
Our day with H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was a great occasion for all involved. She took a great interest in everything we had to tell about the games industry, she happily walked around the studio to greet all in the staff personally and displayed a great sense of humour.
It was a very special day for us and hopefully the day with the games industry, LittleBigPlanet and The Station will also, at least for a time, be remembered by H.R.H. Victoria.
Our Swedish Princess.
/The Station Master