Fate is an interesting project to concept for because it’s already an existing tabletop game. This means that there are already styles and designs that players are familiar with and associate with Fate of the Elder Gods, so that’s something I keep in mind and use when creating new concepts and generating ideas.
Campfire is a small, close-knit team, so we often discuss what things should look like together. This is especially so for assets that could potentially change how gameplay works.
When I’m coming up with an idea for something, I typically start with very rough sketches based on what we as a team have talked about and/or what I know of the tabletop game. It doesn’t have to look amazing so long as other people can understand what it is. From here I can sift through which ones work the best – judging them by things like how well they fit the chosen shape language, will the player’s eye be led where it needs to go and does it fit the overall mood?
Cthulu has a very iconic design and I had already worked out how he would look whilst making the first promo art so in this case there weren’t many iterations of his design.
After this I’ll usually do some more in-depth research and reference gathering to push the concepts further and come up with more nuanced ideas. This can include discussion with the rest of the team as well – often they’ll be able to point things out that I haven’t thought of (especially technical aspects) because of their different backgrounds and this helps guide the concept into a final stage where it not only looks good but will work in-game as well.
Cthulhu’s model sheet.
Once a final design is decided upon, I’ll take it and draw up a simple model sheet that our 3D guys can work from. These have to be neat, show the scale and colour of the object and also be annotated with small notes and reference images so we can all head in the same direction.
Oftentimes it doesn’t work as neatly as this though – there’s a lot of back and forth and changing fundamental elements, because what might have worked previously doesn’t anymore.