Behind the Scenes: Elf Patrol

 

We always knew that we wanted to create a classic Christmas adventure this year for the holiday season and what could be more festive than elves on a mission to save Christmas?!

If you haven't played the map and want to find out more, click the button below to visit the creation page and learn about the features of the map. Stay on this page for behind the scenes treats but take care, there may be spoilers ahead!

The original concept for the story of Elf Patrol was taken from a short story about a secret elf police force that was written by Shronky, Noxcrew's lead writer. We took the idea of an Elf police force and applied it to a fun holiday setting; the elf police force evolved into a team of agents tasked with keeping Christmas festive, the twist being that one of the elves in charge of making Christmas great has gone rogue and is trying to ruin everything! Complex, eh?

The kitchen during the build

Bedroom number one work in progress

The bathroom under construction

These screenshots are courtesy of one of our builders, TheMCFarmer (Harry Ward-Smith). During planning our builders Markus and Jake built several small scale houses with differing layouts to help plan for the large build. Once the design of the house was chosen the build was up-scaled. When working on the interior, as with any build, we started first with the main focal points of each room, gradually adding more and more decoration and furniture while paying close attention to the entry and exit points.

As you can see from these screenshots, the ceiling is made out of glass. Keep reading to find out why!

 

Day vs. night

Behind the Scenes: Creating Natural Light

One really interesting technique that we used in this map has to do with the use of lighting. We wanted to make sure that the lamps and bulbs were positioned naturally but also that each room was well lit; putting torches everywhere wouldn't have been particularly realistic! The solution was to build the ceilings out of glass and which we later re-textured to look like wood. Because of the properties of the glass block, it still lets light through but with the additional texture it creates a realistic looking ceiling. Pretty cool!

 

Voice Acting: Three Jazz Mice

Andrej, Lola and Stefan Panić during a voice acting session

If you follow us on Instagram you might have seen our post half way through November showing Shronky, Noxite and their sister Lola voice acting for one of our upcoming projects. Well it was for Elf Patrol! The three siblings star in this adventure as the three jazz mice and worked together to create the hilarious trio.

For this particular project we decided that the mice needed to not only be full of character, but have super-shrill voices to suit their cartoon-like appearance. Hit the play button below to hear the voices before they were edited!

We do the vast majority of our voice acting in-house, meaning that if you play a lot of our maps you might begin to recognise some voices. Shronky (pictured left) is our lead writer, working mostly on designing the game play flow of our maps as well as all of our scripts. Noxite (pictured right) is our man in charge and often takes a lead voice acting role in our projects. He also helps to coach our voice actors through their lines and does all of the editing to make sure people sound just right.

Music Production: Isaac Wilkins

Isaac Wilkins, otherwise know as EpicLandlord, works with us to produce custom music for our maps. We spoke to him about the Elf Patrol soundtrack and where he found his influences for the tracks. Click below to check out the "Upper Floor" track from Elf Patrol, first in the early stages and then the final product.

"With this map in particular the themes and general style were established fairly early on so we already had a good idea of how the tracks were going to sound even before we started concepting the build and gameplay. For "Upper Floor" we were originally working with a more relaxed beat but it wasn't feeling quite right. Andrej (Shronky) tried a more energetic rhythm and gave the hi-hats a steady pulse to maintain rhythm to make it easier to listen to while playing and the track really started to take shape from there."

"Overall the soundtrack took approximately 2 weeks of work which is much less time than usual. I'm familiar with the style and was able to use pre-sampled organic sounds (bass, piano) rather than creating sounds through synthesizers which helped to speed up the process, as did the help from Andrej."

The soundtrack was inspired by bands such as GoGo Pengiun and The Comet Is Coming as well as the classic crime/comedy, The Pink Panther. Isaac put together a playlist of his favourite pieces for you, click here to listen!

First drawings of the mice and rat

Concept drawings of the toy soldiers and Tina

Behind the Scenes: Rodents & Toys

We spoke to Shronky about the game play for Elf Patrol and where he found inspiration; "the game play was inspired by a combination of old Spyro games, and how in each level you would interact with the people who populated that area before beginning that zone. Most notably Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon. We loved the humour in the game and how it didn't take itself so seriously, and we tried to take a similar approach with Elf Patrol."

"Big Mean Cat"

Original concept for the marketplace artwork

 

The artwork that you can see now on the marketplace was not the first version of artwork for this map. Although the cat in the Anderson's kitchen is an enlarged black and white tamed ocelot, Skyao wanted to bring him to life a little more and built a more blocky version of "Big Mean Cat" for the keyart. Notice that he has no back legs or tail! Poor cat.

In the end we switched back over to the standard ocelot model in order to show off some of the other characters in the map and give it a slightly more festive feel.

 
 
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