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Pre-production

Type Turning Point takes place in an alternate history in which the British Prime minister Winston Churchill dies eight years before the start of World War II. This presented the possibility of what could have happened to Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world without his leadership. In the unfolding events United Kingdom is subdued by Nazi Germany in 1940, and the rest of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union fall soon afterwards. The United States, infected with anti-war sentiment, does not get involved overseas.

The game takes place in the midst of German invasion and occupation of the east coast of the United States of America in 1953. The US is not involved in WWII conflict and the economic boom of 1950s is not taking place. In the game, the country still feels severe effects of 1930s Great Depression. The general mood is somber.



Matt Hall

Jonathan Bach

Ko Simon

Research

Given the atmosphere and the storyline we started the pre-production by researching the 1930-1940 art period. We looked at architecture, props, and vehicles. We got lots of books and watched many period movies. A small team (including me) went to Washington DC and New York to collect visual information on locations. We shoot thousands of photos. We found the paintings of Edward Hopper and George Bellows to accurately represent the mood we were trying to create.

We also looked at the classic film Noir period (1950-1960) with its low-key lighting and deep shadows. We loved the drama created by high contrast lighting, dark storyline, and cinematic innovations.

Color and Mood

The next step was to establish specific color palette for each individual mission. I created guides for each level that included key colors to represent season, weather conditions, mood, type of game play, etc. For example, first mission takes place in New York in the fall. It is early morning and the sun is rising on the horizon. The color palette is warm and light is defused. The protagonist, who works top of high-rise construction site, is unaware and unprepared for what will come next. This way the slightly positive atmosphere created surprising contrast to the brutal and dark Nazi invasion. The next step was to establish specific color palette for each individual mission. I created guides for each level that included key colors to represent season, weather conditions, mood, type of game play, etc. For example, first mission takes place in New York in the fall. It is early morning and the sun is rising on the horizon. The color palette is warm and light is defused. The protagonist, who works top of high-rise construction site, is unaware and unprepared for what will come next. This way the slightly positive atmosphere created surprising contrast to the brutal and dark Nazi invasion.

Sketching and Blocking out

As the pre-production process continued our concept artists started with making quick thumbnail sketches to visualize various locations. This helped the designers to visualize space and game play. Based on the loose drawings the design team was able to start block out some of the environments in Unreal Editor (using simple brush blocks).

Sketches often included game play path. This helped 3D artists to put more details and props in areas traveled by the player. While designers were blocking out the layouts the art team was creating more detailed sketches.

At this point concept artists started working with the designers a bit closer. The concept art department began to include basic props, value, and lighting information.

Based on the color palette, sketches were colorized to test color harmony and visual continuity. We also started to visualize key locations.

Turning Point was Spark's original idea. In order to get Codemasters on board we created series of images that could convey the story and the mood. We asked Matt Hall to help us with the task. Matt worked with most of us at DreamWorks Interactive; he is an amazing artist and a good friend.

Early Concept Art

Matt Hall

© All images are property by Codemasters

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