The Ember Conflict Illustration
The Ember Conflict Illustration

Making of The Ember Conflict

We’re happy to present a sneak peek behind the scenes of The Ember Conflict with Co-Founder and Art Director of Substantial Games, Daniel Arnold-Mist

Substantial Games set out with one purpose in mind; to prove to gamers that in a world watered down by casual experiences, hardcore games are possible on mobile devices. Their first game, a competitive multiplayer RTS (Real Time Strategy) game titled The Ember Conflict, is coming to IOS this fall. Here is a look behind the scenes.

Introduction to the world:

The Ember Conflict is a world drenched in war. Set in a distant future, the technology that was once the pinnacle of evolution is now crumbled and forgotten. From the ashes of a dead world rises a new civilization, giving new hope to the lost souls of Ember.


When creating the IP for The Ember Conflict, we knew it would be set in the future. However we wanted to avoid the cliché sci-fi worlds that are so prominent in games today. We wanted to create a world with deep history, a believable past, and above all something totally unique. Early concepts hinted at ancient civilizations buried beneath the game’s world, which were later implemented in to our final designs.

The world revolves around “Ember”, a unique resource that gives our characters their abilities. Ember is believed to be a mystical material with magical properties. No one knows where it comes from, what it is or why it bestows such power. But Ember is now depleting, and our game revolves around the conflict surrounding this limited resource. The story behind Ember’s true origin is a mystery we use to drive the plot forward.

Early in the concept stage we brought on two highly skilled concept artists, Diego Candia and Jason Boesch. Both had their own style and ideas that helped to give our world and characters a unique feel. It was a pleasure to watch a world slowly evolve over time.

Character Development:

As with all games, the world which you create needs to be populated. Each of the characters in our game has a history and origin. In order to start the character creation process, I first created a world map to pinpoint the geographical location of each culture. Research was done to make sure the map was as realistic as possible, taking into consideration the rise and fall of oceans forming new land masses over 10,000 years. We gave each of our characters from these locations a unique history. The Floic Doctors had a very tribal feel coming from tropical jungle locations, while the characters from the Ember Isles had an imperial and patriotic design.

All of our characters and maps were created in full 3D. Though we were aiming for tablet systems, no corners were cut in the 3D process. We wanted the characters to be as rich and detailed as possible, hinting at the sci-fi origins of the world, while maintaining the feel of a newly developed civilization. Characters had to be diverse enough to create a sprawling world, but at the same time be instantly recognizable to the player. Unique animation was also needed to really push the characters emotion and origin, our animator Kenneth Greenblatt made sure that no two characters acted the same, especially the insane Puglings!

What’s to come:

We plan to build a massive world. The Ember Conflict has countless story opportunities for the player. Who built the spires? What caused the ancient civilization to fall? And why are pugs so prevalent in our game world?! All of these questions and more will be answered in the future, more characters will be added and the ancient technology will be a huge part of gameplay.

The Ember Conflict comes to IOS and Android this fall. Keep an eye out for updates and be sure to sign up for the newsletter for early access in May!


Ember Conflict
Substancial Game
Follow on Twitter
Follow on Facebook

Early alpha gameplay footage

[youtube width=”800″ height=”400″][/youtube]

Spread the love
GET 50% ON IAMC25 Supporter Tickets - Offer Ends in :