Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BN4.5 Logo: A Brief History

The topic came up, so here it is.

Development of the MegaMan Battle Network 4.5 translation logo was no easy task. Prof. 9 set high standards to meet and logo concepts were passed around back and forth many times before the final design was settled. I have a few old concepts I'd like to share, though it isn't much.

First, we decided what kind of logo it should be. Should it be based on the BN4 logo with the huge 3D extrude? Should it be based on the BN 1-3 look? Should it be influenced by the Japanese logo?
And of course, there were things the logo MUST have: the emblem and the chips.

Here is the first black and white concept I made which just placed the unstylized vector elements in their place to decide if the placement is correct. I designed a pattern and wrapped it around a circle which was then distorted in perspective for the emblem. It's not exactly identical to the original Japanese one, but it's okay.
This concept attempted to create more visual interest by aligning the two subtitles at an angle.
The second concept simply moved the subtitles around. It didn't quite feel right since the logos all seemed to do it arbitrarily and they weren't all very well designed to begin with.
This concept placed the subtitles more like BN6's logo which locked up the 4.5 really well.
The second concept was chosen and so I further developed it. Of course, at this point I already had to take care of the most difficult part: the Battle Chip illustrations. Simply put, there was no easy way out of that part. It's not like I had official sketches or even specs of the chips that were created for the logo to work off of. All I had were low-res pictures of the Japanese logo. Even without reference, the chips scale well, which is a good excuse to hide slight imperfections due to lack of source detail. The gradients are matched as closely to the original as possible.
To keep the coloring consistent, I decided to color the subtitles in that peach color.
Due to the bland peach look, the "BATTLE NETWORK" part was made gold to match the English logo. The background emblem was made more dynamic to match the original better.
Yet again, the second concept one. It started looking much better once I realized I was using the wrong version of the "MEGAMAN" logo. The balance is just right. The 4.5 is nice and large. The chips and emblem well-created and placed. The subtitles, acceptable. I have flat versions of these two logos because I set the shapes in Illustrator then apply the necessary effects in Photoshop for maximum consistency and quality.

Finally, a background had to be chosen. Just like with the logo, there was no real source materials to work with so even understanding what the original background was became a challenge in itself.

The "bubbles" background looks even worse at a higher resolution.
So the original background ended up looking horrible, which led me to create a background using stock textures and subtle bursts to create a fitting, non-detracting background.
Using the same color palette, the new background seems like a believable accommodation.
The logo just kept getting better and better. However, it needed one more thing to complete in-game: animation. Of course, I'd never done animation at that point. But looking at the official logo, it was rudimentary at best and completely doable by me.
A simple 3-frame glow was generated for the game's title.
To create more optimized tiles for the game, I first had to shrink down the logo to the GBA's screen resolution of 240x160, which is really small. With a pixel brush, I carefully fixed up details and improved some of the contrast in the logo to make it appear sharper. At GBA size, I isolated and created 3 frames of the emblem filler to simulate the glowing animation present in the Japanese version. Keeping under tile and color limits, the animating logo worked just fine.

Now, as you know, the complete, animating logo can be seen in the game's title if you boot up the game with the translation patch. I applaud Prof. 9 for the high standards because it was something we could both agree on. We were both very passionate about creating a quality work to become the face of such an ambitious project. I think it is safe to say we both like the final outcome.


Prof. 9 said...

Hah, I didn't think you would write up a whole blog post! But it's well written. In the end, the logo took the most ideas from BN5 (and BN6), not BN4, which is probably a good thing.

There's also a ton of tiny changes you can see from the 4th pic to the 5th pic. :P

Youfan said...

I'm waiting for this translation project. Keep up your good works guys.

Anonymous said...

YES. Keep it up! :D

Spikeman said...

Wow, fantastic work. I'm very impressed guys.

Lewis N. Clark said...
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