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March 3, 2021

Spellbenders: “How Ülo was created”

Here at Codeglue, we’re thrilled to reveal a character of one of our original titles currently in development, Spellbenders! Spellbenders is an Arena Game in which you use collectible spell cards to create your very own character class. In addition, you also get the choice to play as any character that you want. One of these playable characters is Ülo, a young Celestial. While working on Ülo, we decided that he had to be someone that stands for curiosity, liveliness, and pure joy. In this blog post you will learn more about who Ülo is, and we will elaborate on the design process of making this cheerful jester!

Character Set-up

The world of Spellbenders is home to a variety of species and creatures. The characters are set-up in a way so that each of them represents their homeland. Every character of Spellbenders looks different from the next. At their core, they contrast each other in every way possible. But by using a set of predetermined ground rules, as a whole, they still form a cohesive look. This is how the characters are brought to life.

Workflow Character Design

Ülo had to be a bubbly and joyful guy. He is a part of the Celestials. The Celestials are believed to be a nation that came down from the skies. They chose the world of Spellbenders as their home. The elder Celestials are known to be reserved. They live their lives in solitude. However, the youngsters are quite the opposite. Outgoing and full of life! They are even known to cause some mischief here and there. But it’s all in good fun.

When creating Ülo, we wanted to use this curiosity, youth, and mischief as our main focus points. He had to resemble a child while still embodying the mystery and elegance of the Celestials. So, during the process of thumbnailing, we were searching for a silhouette that displayed these elements. Some of the early thumbnails felt a bit too mature for Ülo, while others felt too mean. But once the mischievous big grin was added in combination with some explosive poses, we started to get a feel of how the character had to look.

The chosen thumbnail sparked a new set of ideas during the process of making the detailed sketches. We were searching for a look that showcased his otherworldliness even more. We wanted the sketches to contain his joyful and childlike self while adding the delicate and graceful feel that space has. 

Character design in-game

In the last stages of the design process, our main focus was to encompass all of Ülo’s traits while still creating a readable design. Who he was and what he was about should be easily communicated to the player. With Spellbenders being a fast-paced MOBA game, it was crucial that the final design was neat and clean. One of the methods that we used to make sure that his personality and background still shined through in-game was to highlight his key visual elements, by applying high contrast in his final sketches. These elements are his horns, his fiery hair, and his jester pants.

As for his color scheme, we wanted to use bright colors that complimented his personality and his connection to space. Aside from these points, during this whole design process we also had another demand for his design. Ülo had to create an interesting dynamic with one of our previously designed characters, named Brynhildr the warrior. In personality, shape language, and colors, Ülo would be the complete opposite of Brynhildr. This was one of the main influences for choosing his final color scheme.

Lastly, we needed to create his weapon of choice. Even though Ülo’s weapon had to have a familiar feel to MOBA players, it also had to fit the whimsical and  innocent personality of Ülo. So, we brainstormed over what kinds of toys we used to play with as kids. Or perhaps how we imagined we could fight evil with the toys we used when we were young. A paper plane fits Ülo the best. Adding all of this together, Ülo was born. 

Conclusion

It was a fun and challenging experience to work on Ülo. With every new design phase, we got to discover more about him. The biggest challenge was to create a design that displayed the entire story of Ülo and wrap it up in a compact and clean package for the game. But we loved working on this character. And we’re happy that Ülo has joined the world of Spellbenders!

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