Year: 2018 until now
Role: Art director and concept artist
Team: lead and character modeler – Sherida Halatoe (owner of tiger&squid)
Game design – Joep Aben
3D environment artist – Mike-bryan van der Waard
scrummaster and code – Jasper Saaltink
Trails of Life is a series of games in which each game is a chapter in a larger story that is told from a different perspective. We are currently working on the prologue of the series, where you play as Nyth, a girl from a small mountain village who has the power to travel through dreams. She works as a messenger for the villagers, taking messages with her in her dreams to deliver them to people in other villages, since traveling to other villages in the real world can be dangerous and takes a long time. During one of her routes something unexpected happens and it’s up to the player to decide how to solve it.
Aside from the bigger story, another red line in the Trails of Life series, is the making of decisions. The way you decide to handle situations and play the game has an impact on the character that you play. Your decisions influence the protagonists personality, which unlocks new possibilities to interact with characters or puzzles, and could also lock other possibilities. Starting from chapter 1, decisions you’ve made in previous chapters will be taken with you to the next chapter.
I’m working as an art director and concept artist for this project. In the first stage I’ve researched places in the world that we could take inspiration from. Like the Petra Caves in Jordan and the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela in Etheopia. And I’ve created several style targets for the game. We wanted to create an artstyle felt ageless, something that didn’t depend on the latest technology to look attractive and impactful, like realism. Also the style needs to be do-able for a small indie team. I’ve put a lot of my own ambition in this part of the process; it was my aim to create a style that instantly has people attracted.
In August 2018 Sherida posted the first 3D style version of our game on Twitter and it got a lot of engagement on social media. For me this felt as confirmation that we were on the right track. From there we went a couple of steps further with the style and we also invited Jonathan van Immerzeel (whom I’m also working with on Project Lake for Gamious) for a day to add some extra charm to our scenes.
The outcome were these three little gifs of Trails of Life:
After the twitter announcement, we’ve also been invited by Double Fine to show a demo of Trails of Life at Day of the Devs, which for us was a great milestone to work to. We’ve made a lot of progress since we decided to create a build for Day of the Devs and we were very proud to be invited!
If you want to stay up to date about this project,
please visit and subscribe at http://trails-of-life.com.