My design process is closely related to my previous career as a product designer. The process always goes through the same, following steps.
First up I need to find out what is needed and what the ‘brief’ really is. The brief is the question you are tying to answer, the better the brief the better the end result as it gets all the stakeholders on the same page as to what you need to create.
Now that we’ve all agreed on the basics the first job is too get reference images that will inspire the design. This particular example is from Duke Nukem Begins, an unpublished game, and is a weapon created by Dukes robotic friend, the aesthetic of which is a high tech but kit bashed and home made affair.
Above is the combined reference which I shared with the team and garnered opinions, taking the feedback I started on the basic ideation using the brief and reference.
Above is the first quick round of ideation, simple small sketches that convey enough information to get the core design across. We were a very small and tight team so I could get feedback very quickly. After seeing what resonated with the team I combined certain elements and came up with a couple of tighter designs seen below.
And so we had the 2 fleshed concepts, again I sent them out to the team and gauged the reactions to what they liked, didn’t like, hated, loved and moved on with the final design. Here is the final design, not shown were the sketches and detailing that went into the final design and render.
And there we have it, Dukes freeze gun, in keeping with Dukes personality I came up with an ice cream name and logo as the final touch.
As an art director or concept artist this isn’t the end of the process, you need to provide as much information as possible to the person or company that’s going to make the final game asset. I usually include a rough 3d block model for scale and proportions, all the relevant naming conventions, texture maps needed, the final concept art, reference images and a callout sheet like the one below that points out specific and important details such as material types.
And there we have it, a quick example of my own concept art process.