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Style and aesthetics in BAD - Celestial Games

When we set out to decide on an overall visual theme for for Battle Arena Drones, we considered various science fiction styles and inspirations. But every time we tried to look forwards, as the best science fiction is known to do, we found ourselves instead looking back. Those classic stories we grew up reading had taken root in our heads and were unshakeable. What we found most fascinating about classic SF is that it’s not just “old”, nor is it “futuristic” by our standards of technology, but rather it’s an old way of perceiving something new.

We looked back to the 1950s – the imagination they had, the styles and ideas they held for the future. The soft rounded edges to everything. The glossy, reflective surfaces. We love this idealistic view, in some ways (rather poetically) it reflects how we look back on the ’50s and consider it idealistically.

Whilst BAD is a first-person action game, we take great care in crafting the world it belongs to. It has its own history and issues to speak to. The dark undertones of the cyberpunk-styled world are illustrated by the harsh machinery under the hood of the the drones and environments. All of this is covered up by a glossy exterior that can easily be pulled off. In many ways, this too is a parallel to the idealistic view people hold of the ’50s era.


Why go to the trouble of building a connected world, a backstory, and rich environments when very little of this makes any difference to the players while they’re blowing each other up? Well, it’s important for us to frame our design choices and align them. This aides us in creating a cohesive experience and also tells us what to leave out of our designs. Whilst BAD is not a narrative game where we expect players to completely immerse themselves into a role, we still feel it’s just laziness not to create a world that lives and follows its own rules.

And too be frank, we can’t help but take pleasure in the design process, especially when we get to enjoy looking videos like this:


Right now we’re working on our our first battle arena, an asteroid mine owned by one a number of competing corporations in BAD – Manson-Gifford. This location is a small mining operation built directly onto an asteroid, which is being plundered of its valuable natural materials, leaving a gaping hole in its center. Around the exterior of the asteroid are a series of interconnected rooms of varying sizes, bolted to its surface. These act as sleeping quarters, ore processing facilities, shipping, and other functions. With a crew of just 12 running the 24-hour operations of the mine, this location makes for tight combat encounters in many of the narrow quarters and winding corridors, contrasted against the large, open interiors of its mined-out core and bio-dome on the surface.