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Exclusive: Disney Unveils New Art Update For ‘Star Wars: Commander’

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Disney Interactive's mobile game Star Wars: Commander has continued to evolve since it first launched back in 2014. At its core, the strategy game remains the same, with the developers adding new features along the way to further enhance the story and gameplay.

These include things like the Night Raid mode which adds 24-hour cycles to planets, as well the recent release of Squad Wars which allows squads to go head-to-head in large battles on the planet Sullust to get new Supply Crates. Squad Wars also features a new combat mode called "Factory Outposts" that gives squads advantages when captured and offensive and defensive gameplay.

The team behind Star Wars: Commander has done a good job and continuing to release new additions to the game to keep mobile gamers coming back for more. And now it is unveiling its biggest update yet.

Disney Interactive released a new update for its Star Wars strategy game on Thursday, June 23, that includes a revamp of the visuals of the game.

This art update includes a cleaner and more modern looking user interface, as well as a refresh of visuals for Troop Units which further highlights the new and improved art detail.

"For the user interface, we wanted to create a clean, modern aesthetic that will help guide your eye and support the organization of information," Tim Spangler, Art Director for Star Wars: Commander told Tech Times. "To accomplish this, we evaluated our layouts and made adjustments in both the graphics and the display of information."

Spangler revealed that the team set goals they wanted to see on the UI for this update. "From these goals, we did a series of initial explorations on shape language, icon style, and typefaces," he added. "As part of this process, we also collaborated across the company to get fresh perspectives and challenge ourselves to work towards the best solution for our players."

The art team then decided to make visual improvements to troops.

"As we did this, we recognized an opportunity for us to really leverage the wide range of personalities, species, and troops that the Star Wars Brand is known for," he said. So, we challenged ourselves to do an update to our troop units so that they could really shine in this context as well as our gameplay camera."

The team did a lineup of every single unit created and broke down each one visually in areas such as body silhouette, weapon scale, brand accuracy, and texture clarity and fidelity, Spangler said. They found that many of the game's troop units needed upgrades in both their 3D models and their textures.

The reboot of the art work includes improvement to characters like the "Destroyer" class character Han Solo, Princess Leia, the "Bruiser" Chewbacca Wookiee warrior for the Rebel side, and a Stormtrooper from the Empire side, which often appear as holograms when players receive orders and which can be recruited in special hero units.

Fans of the franchise will be able to immediately notice how much the new Han Solo looks like Harrison Ford, and all these characters have a much more realistic look to them. Female Star Wars fans may also be pleased to see Princess Leia going lighter on the makeup and sporting a more healthy looking frame.

"We've gone extra lengths to ensure that we extend the existing art style that Commander is known for. We rely on strong silhouettes that are complimented by simplified graphic shapes," Spangler said. "From the beginning, we took this approach so that our product had its own look and so that our players could easily identify what was happening in gameplay from the smallest device to the largest."

Within the barracks and troop upgrade screens, the camera moved closer to the characters to show off the improved detail.

The more modern look to the user interface and units goes to show how important it is for the developers of the game to provide users with impressive graphics—especially as smartphones become more advanced.

"Mobile technology has advanced significantly since our initial launch. From smartphones and tablets to 'phablets,' we are seeing a wide range with which our player base is engaging with our game. The advancement in smartphone technology alongside consumer expectations within the marketplace were the catalyst for our latest release," Spangler said.

But good graphics and art means nothing if it doesn't work well with the gameplay, and this is something that Star Wars: Commander does well.

"As an art team, we understand that the visuals have to complement the gameplay," Spangler said. "For example, we recently did a Night Raids event that featured multiple rancors. Our design team wanted each type of rancor to have their own abilities and strengths. With this in mind, we started exploring areas like color and scale. To further build upon distinction of rancors, we gave each type of rancor their own custom animations that would allow them to showcase their unique abilities."

Gamers will surely appreciate the improvements to the art of Star Wars: Commander that better showcases characters and the various gameplay features across platforms.

Star Wars: Commander is available to download for free for iOS and Android.

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