Making Of: How The Box Art Came Together

Now that we’re 99% complete with the game (Yes, any day now!) it’s time to start finalizing the art and marketing assets.  I’ve been banging my head on the desk for a week trying to figure out what would pop off the page on the store and let people know at a glance that Apollo4X is a space game with dragons in it.

I like to browse around in Google image search, hoping to stumble on some inspiration.  Here’s what I found:

Ah, this has been on many a D&D nerd's coffee table.  We can work with this.  We've got space dragons, right?  Make that planet Apollo and we're golden!

Ah, this has been on many a D&D nerd’s coffee table. We can work with this. We’ve got space dragons, right? Make that planet Apollo and we’re golden!

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2005 War of the Worlds poster. I thought it would be a nice wink and nod to Sci-Fi fans if I took that cool dragon claw and gave it a planet to squeeze.


Concept sketch #1.  I showed Noelle the picture with the dragon claw holding a crystal ball and we discussed how that might inspire some artwork.


Concept sketch #2 – That’s more the look I want… space dragon claws grasping for Apollo. Less of “possession” and more tension building “mid-strike”. Let’s roll with that.

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Colored in. Looks like it’ll compose well. Noelle freehands all this stuff on her Wacom tablet.  Also, she’s FAST, so I had all this within an hour.  The background was inspired by a NASA photo, but I think the actual photo is just too beautiful to not use it.


Photo is swapped in. Drop shadow under the title. Shadowed the planet’s edge to pop it out some. I’m still not in love with our freighters though. Might have to resort to drastic measures there. Also, there’s so much blue/orange going on that the title gets lost in it. Have to ponder how to fix that.


Zach gave me the right idea — Time to get out Maya. I loaded up our in-game assets for the ships and rendered one a few times until I got the angle right. The planet, similarly is the real Apollo asset from the game. I ran some oil paint filters on them so they mesh well with Noelle’s artwork on the hand. I think that came together pretty nicely.


Desktop wallpaper: 1920×1080 without title.


Desktop Wallpaper 1920×1080 with Apollo4X title.

The two images above are 1080p desktop wallpaper.  Enjoy.

Thanks to Noelle Hebert for her art talents, and Zach Helms for his sound advice.

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