Halloween Design Bible Update – New PDF Download + New Artwork

Posting this 3 days early for our Insane Children. The rest of the world can open it on Halloween! Happy Halloween, Insane Children!  -American

Hi everyone,
Wishing you all the spookiest Halloween!

Alex here with another big update on all movement on the Alice pre-production project.

Lots to get through in this one, heavy spoilers inbound. Let’s go!

First up:

Design Bible – New PDF WIP Update

A new PDF Download for the Alice Asylum Design Bible is available on this post (download link at the bottom of the page).

To download it, scroll to the bottom of this Patreon post, find the underlined text, and hit download. The PDF is best viewed on a desktop computer.

Let’s talk about the Design Bible progress.

1. The ENTIRE story is available in the current PDF download.

You can experience the vision the team has created for Alice’s third adventure in Asylum from start to finish, alongside all the gorgeous artwork and design notes we have created.

2. Almost all the Enemy Outlines have been added and populated, so you can now understand how the enemies will behave in Asylum. More work is needed on this aspect, (I’ll talk more about that in a future post) but it’s a big step in fleshing out the intended experience for the Design Bible.

3. Almost ALL the artwork for the Narrative Portion has been completed. The team and I are still working on slotting in the last pieces of the puzzle, and you’ll note the grey boxes dotted throughout that act as placeholders for work to come.

Here are some new spreads from the current WIP of the Design Bible.

So, what’s next for the Design Bible and Alice?

Recently, American, Adam (our tech guy) and I sat in on a high-level meeting with a potential development partner and all of their heads of department to talk about the scope and budgeting to create the Alice: Asylum game from a development perspective.

We can’t say much, but this development team is as professional and capable as they get.

AAA all the way. You’d already know the games they’ve worked on.

In their own words, we now know the Design Bible and the Game Design Spreadsheets we supplied to this team are “…efficient for directions and estimation for budget/schedules.”

And, their team is “…studying the content…” with the mind to supply us with a “…definite budget and schedule.” The first pass is slated to arrive in our inboxes sometime in November.

So, with that, we wait and see.

With the narrative portion nearing 100% completion, my work (and by extension the team’s) will shift focus to rounding out the intended Game Design aspects of Alice Asylum until we release the completed Design Bible.

I believe the logical approach is to keep all the information available for Asylum in one place so that it can all be readily accessed, referenced, enjoyed, and evaluated by all parties interested in the project. (Fans, development partners, investors, etc.).

We intend to get as much information, art, and design notes in the final DB as possible.

I expect we’ll hit a 90%-95% complete DB by the end of the year, with a bit of time in early 2023 to polish or refine points we’ve missed in the first pass.

We’re looking good.

We’ll keep the momentum.


Art & Design Updates

Let’s talk about Guilt. Adam and I have been working on bringing Alice’s Guilt to life and putting blades in its hands.

The image at the top of the post is Adam Narozanski’s refined pass, and the above are the initial sketches I completed.

Here’s a snippet of the design brief;

“The “bad-guy” and what Alice faces here is a manifestation of her guilt. Something that is inside the heart of the Shadow, and a driving force in what created “Shadow Alice.

Alice’s guilt has many faces, so it would be natural that at some point in the fight, this boss would have Bumby’s face or appearance, perhaps Lizzies, perhaps even Alice’s face throughout the fight.

The fight was intended to be against a hollow, sharp and lethal shape-shifter, popping in and out of the “water” around the arena. Made of the liquid in the arena.

Here’s a concept I came up with today (Pictured Above), inspired by the Last Boss of AMA (2000) and the aesthetic of the Shadow. I imagine Bumby’s face or features would appear in the “Hollow” of the head, or, as a mask, that would float, and swap into the head.”

Spooky? I can’t wait to fight that thing.

Next up, Ice Wands and Ice Bows.

Beautiful art from Joey, of Hatter gifting Alice the ice wand in a key story moment.

In designing the weapons for Asylum, American and I wanted to establish familiar tropes and then build on them in new ways that fit.

In the need to satisfy a “long-range precision weapon” for Asylum, (and the desire to have Alice wield a wonderland-Esque bow) here’s how I saw that taking shape.

The ice cracking, then reforming into the concept above by switching the Ice Wand weapon between firing modes so Alice can get her Hawkeye/Katniss on.

There is more work to visualize the attacks and freezing mechanics (to come soon), but I think this new addition fits well and satisfies a “precision long-range sniper” weapon in Wonderland.

Level Design

More from Adam Narozanski, who is talented at making his concept art look like a screencap from the game itself.

Adam’s penchant for making the game “come to life” in his concept art is a valuable asset to the project, and I can’t help but get excited every time I see his artwork of this nature.

More to come!

SPOILERS! Alice’s Family – Reunited by Memory

Omri is working through the penultimate chapter artwork, featuring the reveal of Alice’s Mother and Father and the roles they play in this story.

In writing the narrative for Asylum, one of the biggest core themes American and I created as co-writers was gently following the path of bringing Alice’s story and journey back to her family, her past, and her loss.

The resolution and understanding of her trauma are key for her future.

Despite the bracken exterior and wonder of the game themes, and the tragic darkness of the story, I believe bringing it all back to a real human and emotional anchor is all part of the magic of Alice.

These scenes are beautiful. They are also sad but fit in confronting the realities of loss. I hope the story we’ve crafted, and the artwork represent the care and effort we’ve all put into this.

I can’t wait to see more of these scenes as Omri continues his work.

Lastly, a question of Health

At time of writing, Joey, Omri and Myself are discussing the right choice for Health Pick-ups in Alice Asylum.Joey supplied these “Potion Bottle” concepts last night. I think these are cool, but don’t believe they are the best possible choice.My feedback was;

I think from a design perspective the right choice for recognisable “health” pickups amongst all the other pickups is still up for debate.

I personally think “meta essence” is the best choice for the current gameplay style we’ve mapped out, (recognisable, retro, heart shaped and iconic) but health vials like these are cool too.

With bottles like this, I think it would be hard for a player to distinguish “amounts of health” from the same size bottle with different amounts of liquid.

I’d say full bottles of red liquid, but different sizes and shapes of bottles would be clearer in-game.

More health = bigger bottle.
All bottles, full of red liquid.

This is great o include in the DB Joey, but if you want to have another pass, some different full bottles of health would be perfect. (Small, medium, Large, and Full health variants).”

Joey is now working on some bottle concepts of varying sizes.

Omri suggested “syringes” or “toys” but we discussed the implications of Alice as a child using syringes is problematic for drug-use purposes, and toys are already weapons and ammo, so it clouds the item identification a tad.

So, what do you think?

Here’s the original “Meta-Essence” artwork from AMA. I’d say variants of this design are the right choice for restoring Alice’s health.

And, we are already using “roses” from Madness Returns as 1-hit protection shields in Asylum.

I’d like to see a combo of the previous games Health Pickups return for Asylum, but is this the right choice? Are we missing something obvious here? Are there any other options that fit?

Please let us know what you think in the comments.

Hoo boy, that’s a big post!

Thank you as always for your continued support of the Alice project. If you have any feedback, please drop your thoughts in the comments.

Exciting times are ahead, and there’s still some great work from the team inbound.

Did someone say… weapon skins? Stay tuned.

Happy Halloween everyone, we’ll catch you next time in the design discussions as we near completion on the Alice Asylum Design Bible!

Stay safe. Stay spooky.

A new PDF Download for the Alice Asylum Design Bible is available on this post (download link at the bottom of the page).

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

– Alex

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