RimWorld Modding Resources

A community-collated hub for all things RimWorld Modding.

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Officially unofficial guide to RimWorld’s Artstyle

A lot of the information in here is taken/paraphrased from a talk held by Tynan at the 2017 Game Developers Conference. @ 12:00.

RimWorld’s approach to game visuals is different from your typical AAA game

Considering the emphasis of the game lies on story generating graphics take a backseat to imagination. RimWorld’s graphic don’t attempt to look realistic or detailed, they are abstracted icons that force players to tell the story in their mind and create emotion from there. They aren’t too flashy or draw too much attention to themselves, they are used as a means to an end.

The design philosophy behind RimWorld is to do that which brings the most benefit for the least amount of effort.

“RimWorld has graphics like a novel has a typeface.”

The following style criteria are for RimWorld. They might not 100% apply to your mod, but they are important to keep in mind. Following them will tremendously help blend in your art with that of RimWorld. The criteria for graphics in RimWorld are as follows:

If it’s painful to look at, or looks awful, you’re not going to sell many games. Reach a threshold of beauty that you can look at without psychic suffering.

Visual characteristics have to easily identify what they represent. You need to recognise what’s happening.

Making the graphics really simple reduces the noise in the image. That reduces the cognitive load to read the image. An image with a lot of detail everywhere might be beautiful but a game like RimWorld can have hundreds of objects on the screen. Scanning what matters becomes harder and harder.

This helps people determine visually what is important and what is not. It’s a hierarchy of visual intensity. Story-relevant things need to be eye catching, and the eye needs to slide over things that matter less.

The hierarchy is often established by the outline. As a simple example, Pawns have a thicker outline than items. Buildings and items in the game have a solid black outline, but plants have a dark green outline or no outline at all. This means that plants tend to blend into the background slightly. In a big field of trees the character really pop out while the plants sort of smear together.

Skip details in favour of more content. Add as many details as you need to enrich the story and cut the rest.

There’s still debate over which side of the storage shelf is up, and the open interpretation of the Scyther has led to some great fanart.

Art tips on how to adopt the RimWorld style

Animal art tutorial

Ask in the Discord about the A18 art assets.