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Peridot

Niantic, 2018-2022

Art Director

Niantic entrusted the design of its 2nd original IP to me and it was a pleasure to create this colorful, trippy & happy world of Peridots with my team. I had the opportunity to hire and guide a wonderful team of designers on a project where the human world and the Peridot world overlapped in fun and sometimes unexpected ways.  We had the honor of   creating the world of the "Dots"- from the creatures to foods and items, all the way to the UI, Marketing, trailers, swag & even dot Plushies!

Creature Design

The creatures in Peridot are required to carry quite a heavy load.   Not only do the creatures need to be lovable enough for a tomagatchi and unique enough to be instantly recognizable as a new IP, but the creatures also needed to support a procedural generation system.  With these things in mind, we went through many rounds of creature concept variations until finding the exact right balance of graphical abstraction with soft lines. The result was a unique and magical creature with infinite procedural possibilities.

creatureVariation_Vanilla_01.png

...lovable enough for a tomagatchi...

Design Process ...

floofy_01
floof
jellybean2
rock
jellybean3
jellybean_4
jellybean_5

We lived in the land of napkin sketches for a while as we tried to figure out what kind of creature we wanted for this new IP: biped vs quadraped, floating vs flying vs walking vs hopping, detail vs simplicity and most importantly, STORY.

Technical limitations were also something we were needing to consider as we were dreaming up our world, so
as we went through various designs, we were measuring them up against the technical considerations and goalposts.

...PS. Have fun moving, scaling and rotating the below images... :)



 

Abstract Pattern 7

Initial Creature Design...

After many many iterations and rough prototypes, we concluded that, as with many things, the simpler, the better.  When dealing with AR on mobile, we found that more important than technical accuracy, is the"feeling" of the experience.  As long as the creatures and gameplay are engaging and joyous, technical inaccuracy can be somewhat overlooked by the players. As we moved toward graphical simplicity, we found people had a stronger positive reaction and it gave us the opportunity to establish a look that could be remarkable as a new IP.

Below are the first few concept variations of the initial Dot design.  It was clear with this design that
the simple flowing shape of the body, the small feet, the face mask, and the 2 sets of ears, were going to be defining characteristics of this creature species:

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Creature Variation...

Materials, Patterns and Gradients

In order. to get an idea of what variation could mean, I started to set up a range of potential genetic variation concepts to sell the idea of one globally used base mesh, with procedural face masks,  ears, eyes, plumage, tails and horns, materials, textures and stacking patterns. Here are some variation explorations:

 

Nudibranchs were the original source of inspiration for us, in terms of shape and proportion differentiation. The base shapes of Nudibranchs are generally similar, but the "plumage", color and patterns they display can vary dramatically. We wanted this to be the foundation of our designs.  Limiting the base shapes and allowing the variation/procedural generation to be found in the plumage, colors, patterns, materials, horns, ears and face shapes let us have unlimited variation but with quality that we could somewhat control.
 

nudibranchs.jpg

Shape Differentiation

Nudibranchs... similar base, varying characteristics

Archetypes

With the building blocks of the creature shapes and characteristics planned out, we were able to start building archetypes around these rules. In order to sell the idea for how we wanted the procedural generation to work, as well as how building the brand of this IP would ultimately play out, I created a set of concepts that illustrated our ultimate goal.

...Dot Foods 

We went through several ideas for food for the Peridots.  We initially settled on simple creatures that closer resembled micro-organisms than other animals. It didn't feel right to the dev team that the Dots ate other animals, so our initial designs resembled things like insects, mitochondria or flowers.