From sketches to final results

How we designed the dioramas for Street Soccer

Welcome to the Checkmate Chronicles, our devlog where we share the creative and technical behind-the-scenes of Chessarama!

In our inaugural post, we will unravel the artistic conception behind the dioramas of Street Soccer. 

Are you ready to dive into the vibrant aesthetic of street soccer? ⚽

This diorama showcases the typical Açaí place at sunset.

Street Soccer Diorama - Bringing the Brazilian flair to chess

When we think of chess and street soccer, the combination might seem unconventional, but in the universe of Chessarama, anything is possible!

Our latest challenge was to craft a diorama inspired by street soccer that evoked the charm of Rio de Janeiro. Our goal was to depict a lively, colorful representation that conveyed the dynamic spirit of the streets of the Marvelous City.

That’s why we used some of the city’s iconic elements as a reference to create unique scenarios – and allowed ourselves to have some creative freedom as well to bring even more joy to the dioramas!

Space restrictions as a creative challenge

With the diorama having a size of 16×16 units in total and the gameplay area already set at 9×8 units, there was a pertinent question: how to encapsulate the beauty of Rio in such a limited area?

Our solution was inspired by the hills of Rio. Despite these limitations, the artistic team endeavored to include both the hill idea and elements of the beach. The stacked houses, typical of Rio’s communities, were also a key reference.

We composed a scene that mixes human construction and natural structures in order to translate the verticality and flow of the urban scene of Rio.

Influences and design approach

We aimed to portray a more colorful, joyful, and idealized Rio de Janeiro. We captured the city’s essence by focusing on vibrant colors and a sense of community. Our depiction showcases toys on the beach, urban life, and lush tropical vegetation.

Our art’s stylization was heavily influenced by Pixar. Within the Chessarama universe, objects such as houses and cars have proportions that diverge from reality. They’re simplified and accentuated in their primary features. Details are kept minimal and exaggerated in size to ensure they’re easily identifiable in the in-game camera.

This in-game camera perspective was pivotal for our design decisions. It was crucial that diorama elements were both recognizable and captivating to players, especially from a top-down view.

That’s why we particularly focused on the rooftops, as they are prominently displayed during gameplay.

We added some details to set dress the diorama to suggest the idea that people actually live in this neighborhood.

Urbanity and dynamism

The Street Soccer diorama had a unique trait: its predominant use of concrete, giving it a more urban and squared look.

To tackle the challenge of instilling dynamism and preventing a too “rigid” scene, we turned our attention to floor plans.

Using floor plans is the best strategy to tackle complex environments and to plan them out before exploring them in perspective.

Using the floor plans as a guide, we could better grasp the flow and distribution of urban spaces, aiding us in crafting a more fluid and less orthogonal layout.

Rio, inherently, is a city that grew organically, winding and climbing its hills. This organic growth was integrated into the diorama, resulting in a chaotic yet stunning and dynamic urban depiction.

Brazil's traits

Beyond the backdrop, iconic elements of the city, like açaí, bakeries, corner bars, and street vendors, were incorporated. The tropical vegetation, emblematic of Brazil and especially Rio, was also meticulously depicted, reinforcing the diorama’s authentic character.

These props were created to try and capture some of the peculiarities of Brazilian day-to-day culture.

We hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into the creative process behind the Street Soccer dioramas!

It has been a journey of learning and passion, and we are eager to share more stories with you in our upcoming posts. 💙

And don’t forget to add Chessarama to your Wishlist!

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