Claws Out

“Knives Out”, but it’s cats.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

👀 Overview: Cats & a quick breakdown of my role

🔍 Clue Design: Clues leading to the c(at)prit

🎨 Art: Cat emotions, moodboard, environment style

🌅 Conclusion: working remotely & final thoughts

🎮 Play Claws Out

Overview

Claws Out is a narrative whodunnunit game that you play as a detective in the midst of the gruesome murder of one of the most powerful matriarchs in Victorian London, England.

 This game was made in three weeks for a game jam. As well as designing the clues, I created character and environment art and our logo.

Given we had two narrative designers on board and our programmer had to unfortunately leave the project after the first week, we refocused our initial game idea to be more narration-led, since the narration system was already set up. Due to this change, I had to be flexible, taking on the role of the artist more than gameplay designer (as originally intended). I was able to adapt quickly, and support the team to be able to release our game within the game jam deadline.

Here’s a quick breakdown of my role:

  • Worked in a remote team of four (then three after first week)
  • Using Discord for team communication and sharing regular updates
  • 2D Character art (including expressions, environment and game logo)
  • Designing clues and how it would fit within storyline
  • Designed moodboard
  • Created itch.io page
  • Playtesting

clue design

I collaborated with our narrative designers to incorporate clues leading the the culprit, as well as props to throw the player off track, within the storyline. Although we didn’t want to make it too obvious, I was keen for the player to be able to conclude who the killer was based on tiny differences between the storyline and testimonies given by each suspect. 

I also placed specific clues in different rooms within the mansion, in line with the storyline.

Art

Logo & itch.io game icon: 

Character expressions:

I used Affinity Designer to create different emotions (resting, serious, sad, happy) for each character in Claws Out. I referred to the storyline and character traits portrayed by each cat. For example, one of the cats was portrayed to be someone who lives life on the edge and  a party lover, so I decided to give them star-shaped glasses.

I had a lot of fun making the matriarch‘s art, both living and dead. She was intended to be considerably different to her other family members, giving the allure of wealth and power. I used gold highlights for her face, emerald-coloured eyes, added a ruby bead down her forehead. The murdered version of her had subtle changes made to her face to distinguish her from her alive face, such as cat scratches, a missing eye ball (perhaps not so subtle 😅) and displaced ruby beads on her forehead.

Moodboard:

conclusion

Overall, I am pleased with how the character art turned out and each cat had range of emotions that could be used based on narration. The clue ideas that I imagined were also implemented and blended well within the Claws Out universe.

This was also my first time participating in a game jam within a remote team. In order to stay on track, we were proactive in sharing updates via Discord so everyone was aware of changes made to the project. 

In fact, we were the only team that managed to release a game within the game jam deadline…so I guess we won? 😁