Total Mayhem Blog #3

Let’s talk about you and me. No… sorry, just kidding. I will just talk about art. Don’t worry.  As I told you before, our team used to consist of 15 students who all came from different studies. Our minor as a whole consisted of 45 students, and nearly half of those students were part of the Willem de Kooning Academy: an Art Academy located in the city centre of Rotterdam. It’s not unusual that the love for art was floating in the air during the minor.

Total Mayham Games (yes, you read that right… our original name was a pun) had the honor to have 4 artists in the team. The artists worked very well together and made sure the game had a very consistent and unique atmosphere. Even though the artists all had very different styles, they managed to make the player feel he or she went through one experience. In the gallery below I’ll show you some of the (concept) art of We Were Here.

Now, we are a few months further and working hard on the sequel We Were Here Too. There have been some major changes in the art style and visuals of the game since then. This decision was not only made because we wanted to lose the ‘student vibe’ and become more professional, but also due to the fact we have an all new and different 2D artist who joined our team! It is only logical that the visual style of the game changes when introducing a new artist. Since the arrival of our new artist and the motivation of our team to set a new vibe, not only the 2D art, but also the 3D art went through some changes. As below you can see quite a makeover with the muse of our game; the walkie talkie.


And along came jessica!

2D & texture artist.

So, Jessica. How did you become a new member of the Total Mayhem team?

With a background in graphic design and illustration and enough spare time (I just graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy myself), it was somehow a natural response to help out Total Mayhem Games. Since the first year of the academy Lucia and I are BFF’s (I know, cheesy right) and we already worked together a lot on various graphic design and branding commissions. We are a great team which apparently communicates via telepathy. That is – in fact – super convenient when working on a tight deadline. So when Lucia asked me if I could help with some texture art I said “YASSSS!” without even thinking about it. Wait….. Did you just say texture art…….? Yup, I did. Initially the team asked me to do the texture art.

Lucia: In the early stages of the production of We Were Here Too, when brainstorming about the new theme and concept, we decided that PBM (Physically Based Materials) fitted our new vision better. Not only did it feel more professional for us personally, also did we feel that we were able to communicate the ‘scary vibe’ more with a more realistic environment. It was a tough decision, it broke style completely with We Were Here, but we have zero regrets. It is of course a personal style, and some may find the new textures a pity (it was of course more unique) and others find it an upgrade. In the end we as a team decided to make this decision, we find that it fits our new and improved concept better.


Jessica: It was only a few weeks later we figured the team was in great need of a 2D artist. And since I can officially call myself a “professional” illustrator (who’s still figuring out how to adult) I took it as my personal task to deliver a new, fresh style and look for the menu and In-game 2D art.

Lucia: As told before, Jessica and I work together quite easily. So figuring out a new style for the 2D art of the game was actually easy as pie. We both have affection with the same art styles and era’s. The relaxed communication just speeded up the process enormously.

Can you tell us a little more about the new art of We Were Here Too?

So first things first. The key for great art is great inspiration and even greater reference material. As a test (to prove myself worthy to the great Total Mayhem Gods) I made an illustration of the player character in a new style. The character model already got an major update by our 3D character modeller Rik, so I started out making a 2D version of that character… Which was a real disaster and not worthy looking at since you would turn into stone the moment you lay eyes on it. I somehow wanted to keep the original style of WWH alive, and that just didn’t work, because it’s not the style I’m used to work in.

After talking about our concerns, Lucia gave me carte blanche. First we both searched for inspiration and references of art styles we really liked. We also did some research of what modern day explorers look like. We found these really awesome windproof face masks, which are used on explorations in cold atmospheres to protect the face from frostbite and eases breathing in low temperatures. AND THEY LOOK LIKE FREAKING DARTH VADER’S MASK… I mean… come on. We also found some really nice not-Inuit-like jackets which look like legit snow explorer coats. And hereby the new stylish wardrobe of our player character was bought… uh born.

The art style on the other hand was a bit harder. We got inspired by a dozen of different styles, including 16th century portraits, comic books and tarot cards. Eventually I chose to combine some of these styles to create the Art Deco inspired vector art we will be using for not only our new menu but also for the 2D-art throughout the whole game.

Not only the character had a makeover. Also the menu is redesigned.

Now that we decided on what the new art style should look like, I started making a new fresh look for the main menu.


We aimed for a menu that was clear for the players. It needs to have a clean layout, also because it will be used for both We Were Here and We Were Here Too. Apart from that, there must be a common theme between We Were Here and We Were Here Too. When redesigning the castle we were inspired by the architecture of medieval Dutch castles. We do have quite a few beauties in our small country, I must say.

We will soon give more updates about the visual changes of We Were Here Too! There is many more to show you.

Thank you so much for your time and effort Jessica!

What is your opinion on the new art style? If you would like to know more about the 2D and 3D art of We Were Here and We Were Here Too, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions!


Jessica & Lucia.


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