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Aether & Iron Blog - Casinos & Mugshots

Dev Update

Let’s take some time to delve a little more into what we’ve been doing recently.

  • Our artists have been working on vignettes that are designed to give the player a sense of life within the city through the small stuff, like plazas, fruit carts, and neon signs. First passes of concept art like this one have been made as we prepare to render these objects in 3D and place them around the maps as decoration.

  • The team has divided the Garage into the Workshop and Motor Pool, which have different functions. The Workshop is where you will outfit your vehicles with weapons, armor, etc between missions, while the Motor Pool is where you’ll be able to assign your crew to their vehicles and make adjustments to them right before a mission starts. We’ll provide pictures for both of these locations when their art is finalized.

  • The gameplay is also shaping up! Our talented programmers and designers have been working hard on making the weapons feel fun and easy to understand, often by adding new tooltips, UI elements, effects, etc.

Now, Let’s talk about the Twitter posts from the past 2 weeks.


So, we’ve been stating for a while now that in the world of Aether & Iron, most of New York is flying. Well, probably not “flying” as much as floating, and that’s what these are for! Buildings and pedestrians have to have some form of solid ground to stand upon, and Aether-powered platforms like these will be used to do just that. Like most things in the Uppers, these particular platforms have an Art Deco approach and are large and solid enough for buildings, people, vendors, garages, and everything else that New York needs to function.


New York is ruled by a collection of Barons, ranging from mob bosses to industrial tycoons, and they’ve all got their own take on how to rule their section of the city. In this case, the casinos of New York are run by a currently-unnamed faction, which will eventually be a group that you’ll have to deal with through some means.

Likewise, we’ll have to deal with them, too, as they’re going to need a name, a consistent aesthetic, and decals like the one shown here. These decals and symbols help us conceptualize where we’d like the design to go; for instance, since they run all of New York’s casinos, the dice are representative of gambling and the rabbit for luck. Thanks to this simple decal, you can expect this faction to end up with a very glamourous look that utilizes the flashiness of the 1930s to its fullest! We thought it’d be fun to show you where we start in the design process for a faction, and this is the first bit of art we’ve got for this particular one!


In stark contrast to our gambling-focused Barony that we just discussed, one particularly ruthless Barony in the Uppers is that of the Black Tails, a group of bloodthirsty gangsters known for their penchant for carnage and savagery. Always willing to pick a fight, the Black Tails are a powerful force in the Uppers, and their brutality helps keep the other Barons in check and the civilians in a constant state of fear.

But now about the picture, itself, headshots like these are useful for helping design the aesthetics of the members of a faction and provide us some perspective on how they should “feel,” much like the rabbit and dice decal. Unlike the casino faction, the Black Tails have been in design for a little longer, and we’ve already gotten a few in-progress designs of their decal to work off of, which you might have noticed on the pictures of their cars that we released a few weeks ago. The scars, expressions, and clothing on these figures help evoke a feeling of danger, yet some level of sophistication, which is how we want the Black Tails to feel in the game. Being a gang that resides in the Uppers, they have to feel like they mean dirty business, despite the ritz and glam of the neon lights of 1930s New York.


To help immerse you into the world of Aether & Iron, images like these have been made to precede the missions you’ll undertake. Framed as intel by your various informants, we’ll be using these photos to help set the stage for the mission as you prepare your squad for whatever is to come.

The images, themselves, are made by blocking in our 3D art assets, such as these cars, onto 2D images of the figures and setting, with enough added film grain to blend the two seamlessly into a cohesive picture. We hope you’ll get to see all of these as you work your way through the game!


Thank you for joining us for this update! We’ll show more in 2 weeks!


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