A place to lay down my thoughts and crafts, so that I may spare the rest of the world.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mice vs Dogs

The end of the month is upon us and despite some set backs I really look forward to finishing playing this game.   This week and the next will probably be most intense, with tweaking and fixes.  All in all, a great learning experience especially in how to manage folks and build a team.  My heart felt thanks to the art girls who helped this project, Cil and Rachel.  Their patience with me will always be appreciated!  Alright, what's mainly left now is to buckle down and get some puppet units moving around :D !

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cats vs Mice !

I will make a showdown image for each encounter [Cat VS Mice, Cat VS Dogs, Mice VS Dogs]. 
Currently I'm finishing up the backgrounds for the HD version along with a titlescreen. I do hope to get an iPhone 4 so that I can appreciate the higher res graphics once I get my dev station up and running :3

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quickie Tutorial

Work has been hectic, but I would really like to keep up with semi-regular posting.  Here's a quick tutorial done for some friends.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Increasingly Furious Tactics

Alright, time for me to chime in and show what I've been up to :D
Diesel Valkyrie is waiting to be put into the vast interwebs.  I will make sure to do a post when it is officially online along with some image/art on the project.  In the meantime, I will bug you with art from an iphone/ipad project currently in development by my company [Bella Machina Studios Inc.], Broken Kings and Big Stack Studios.  Thank you for your feedback folks, it was a close one but we decided to go with animal based units.  It'll be fun.
Not all the portraits are complete, but I will show you what we have so far.  We're starting with a simple contingent of  7 animal units [excluding the mobile base/fortress]:
Our staple units for the mice [from left to right]:
I also want to take this opportunity to show the portrait system with other planned units.  Let's introduce a feline counterpart for the footsoldier:

[feline portraits provided by fellow artist and partner in crime, Cil Cheung]

Please stay tuned for more info coming this week :] !

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Aesop versus Classic Fantasy

I'd like to open this journal with a question.  For those of you who are tactical rpg fans, if you were presented with two possible themes, which would currently catch your fancy? [Bear in mind that the game itself will have a relatively serious story regardless].

1.] A "traditional" feel with knights/mages et al.


2.] "Aesop's Fables" style in which the characters are represented by animals.

I look forward to your comments :D [Probably not on this blog, but on devart]!

On a side note, I have some piled up sketches  need to get off my chest:

Friday, July 30, 2010

Personal Work - Soothsayer

Nothing like non-work related art to pass the time.  This one has been sitting in the archives for a month so it is about time that I start completing the rendering.  I'm fairly happy with the upper torso, but need to work on the legs, background and pretty much everything else.

On the personal side of things: Justin [my roommate]'s parents have been staying over at our house and I have been spoiled by all manners of Indonesian cuisine.  I'm eating so many chillies my gastrointestinal tract is crying bloody murder... but it's soooo good to have proper home cooked cuisine from across the Pacific ; w;  Beef Rendang, Babi Hong, Chap Chai... my mouth is watering again.

Nothing like non-work related art to pass the time. This one has been sitting in the archives for a month so it is about time that I start completing the rendering. I'm fairly happy with the upper torso, but need to work on the legs, background and pretty much everything else.

On the personal side of things: Justin [my roommate]'s parents have been staying over at our house and I have been spoiled by all manners of Indonesian cuisine. I'm eating so many chillies my gastrointestinal tract is crying bloody murder... but it's soooo good to have proper home cooked cuisine from across the Pacific ; w; Beef Rendang, Babi Hong, Chap Chai... my mouth is watering again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vocation versus Avocation

It is one thing to study war
and another to live the warrior's life.
-Telamon of Arcadia, mercenary 5th century BC

No, I am not equating the life of an artist to that of an ancient warrior, but rather mentioning the analogous concept brought forward from the quote:  Practicing/doing art is not the same as being an artist.  Let me clear the air and state that the study of ones craft and having a profession aren't mutually exclusive, but the act of improving a craft alone does not make it your profession by default.  A "student of art" practices when they want to [or when they're told to], an "artist" does art whether they feel like it or not, rain or shine, day in - day out.  Not that artists practice every single hour of every single day, but they have established a routine in which they hone their craft, regardless of whether they have the whimsy or drive to do so.  They just do.

The reason I bring this up is that this is the path that I am facing.  Art started off as a hobby, an avocation I would amuse myself with during boring lectures and long weekends.  Becoming an artist at a game studio changed that.  Now a vocation, art was no longer a fun activity, but a necessary task that had to be performed at least five days a week in order to place bread on the table.  It was a change, but one I was more than willing to make.

When I set upon the world of art production on my own, the daily structure of practice had eroded to an activity I would do when I mustered enough energy to plug in my wacom tablet and fire up the computer.  In short, it had taken a backseat to TV, games, and whatever activity caught my mind's fancy.  It is therefore imperative that I get back into more regular artist training, treating it more like a boxer who performs a daily set routine of cardio exercises.  A professional boxer doesn't see the point in asking himself every morning if he "feels" like running a few K before hitting the gym, he just does it regardless of his disposition.  I didn't feel like writing this post and submitting my art a few minutes ago, but now I'm glad I did.  Here's hoping to more drawing and posting in the days to come.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art of Art Mastication

Also see, "Biting off more than one could chew".  I'd like that to be the reason why I haven't posted at all during the last few weeks, but it doesn't help much to scapegoat when one is the only person in the chain of command.  I've come to the conclusion that in order to push myself, I have to be the most demanding when it comes to discipline.  The real culprit lies in the fact that I haven't truly paced myself, not because I have taken on too much work.

On the sunny side, this means the situation can be remedied.  I am my own boss, have been for the past 9 months, but I must be an unrelenting one.  Not to the point of driving myself to an early stress inundated grave, but to a level of productivity that is tough albeit sustainable.  Much like how an athlete reaches a state of zen/flow when entranced in their sport, I need to establish a pace where I am constantly trying to catch my breath and yet feel compelled to do more.  A "Goldilocks" pace would be an apt [albeit cliche] name, and so far I feel that I am closer to attaining it.

As for transit sketches :D ~

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fountain pens suck on this paper.

Actually, I'm just being pissy, the paper is fine for watercolour in particular.  I just lack the patience to have the pen deposit it's sweet carbon filled liquid in a timely manner.  The bouncing on the bus doesn't help too, but it really does force me to wait and pay more attention to what I actually want to put down [waiting at traffic lights falls under the classification: "Golden Sketching Zone"]

I actually swapped around with a few pens/pencils for the top sketches since I had lots of stationary time... ooh, that would have made an awesome pun.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Project Valkyrie 004

Time to get the updates rolling.  Last week caught me by surprise in terms of project timing.  So far I've gotten all the non-moving angles for Brunhilde prepared:
Rotate Baby!

I had to fix her angles a bit, since it seems like I forgot what a 45 degree angle is supposed to look like.  The shots weren't lining up with the gun barrel and so I tweaked them.  There's still some rough patches in the rotation but I'll sand those down once I get back to actually making her walk.

Also got the retinue of basic enemies here:

I'll be tossing in sergeant zombies along with a Boss Zombie as well.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Project Valkyrie 003

The game play itself is developing at a brisk pace.  Granted the game play is relatively straightforward and derived from existing examples, but it definitely helps keep a fire under my ass when the co-designer is spearheading the production.  I need to hurry up and get all 8 directions [5 unique directions, 3 are mirrored] for Brunhilde, our heroine.
Apart from an evident colour change [Mike much prefered camo-based colours, I was on the fence, but eventually agreed that it will work out best], I've redesigned the guns.  In particular, I made sure the guns cast a strong silhouette, in this case, a shape reminiscent of certain tank turrets.  I have to bear in mind that the character will remain small ingame and so focusing on minor details yields little results in the long run [no pun intended, honest].  Only large shapes and patterns are recognizable once the character is shrunk onto a game screen.

In other news, more sketches :D !

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Project Valkyrie 002

Refined the protagonist concept a little bit [her name is Brunhilde by the way ;3 ] and decided on a potential colour scheme.  I threw in a quick colour and texture for the background, something desaturated and med-high value, since that will be the predominant setting for backgrounds.  In contrast to that, I purposely chose the baby blue and yellow as Brunhilde's colours because it forces her to "pop" on top of the play screen.  Plus, it's a "regal" colour set and will help differentiate her from the primarily green-brown-ish zombies.  The last thing people need is loosing track of the player piece during gameplay.  The blue-yellow combo may not be her final colour set, but the high saturation will remain.

Also, once the image is shrunk to the in game size of 48x64, one can notice the guns disappearing into the background.  This is something I will have to fix since seeing the guns recoil and animate is essential for visual feedback and general sense of kick-ass-ness.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Project Valkyrie 001-Quick Character Concepts

It occurred to me that I might as well be a little more transparent in regards to my game development process, seeing as I have not bound myself to an NDA [Non-Disclosure Agreement].  It would be very hard to sue myself ...although I'm sure with enough legal hoops and lawyer creativity, such a precedent would be possible.

Hypothetical musings aside, Project Valkyrie is a simple top down, move and shoot game.  We plan on having some fun with the weapons, but the game play itself will be pretty standard.  Here's a quick sketch of our heroine, Brunhilde, here with weapons and what seems to be oddly rendered wheels: [Note to self:  Draw angled ellipses more often].

Wojcik, my co-developer and cohort at Likwidgames, mentioned that wheeled legs gave a "Rosie", of Jetson's fame, -type feel.  I was inclined to agree with him and so I experimented with a pair of petite sexy legs:
It'll make the animations a little tougher but I think having her sashay around the screen with two huge gun-arms makes for fun visualization.

As for the enemies, we'll be going with undead WWII soldiers, primarily nazis... mmm, Nazi Zombies.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Cud Chewing

I can be surprisingly superstitious, something I attribute heavily to the Thai end of my upbringing.  It has served me well in some cases, by making me cautious, but the neuroticism that accompanies superstition can be stifling. In particular, it applies to me when it comes to mentioning good fortune.  I am incredibly uncomfortable when it comes to admitting that all dominos did indeed fall as planned.  Almost to the point that it feels shameful and an outright tempting of fate, to mention that I have been experiencing good fortune.  That being said, internally I am fully aware when the winds of good fortune strike my sails, and I am fully grateful towards the universe and the powers that be... it's just rare that I would mention it or if I do, I will downplay it to a minor stroke of luck.  Anyhow, it's a habit I'm tweaking, and so far, dare I say it, my freelance business is finally showing some signs of life...
*knocks on wood*

On a side note, I have used and abused my first pocket sketchbook of the year, here's the last page:

On the digital painting side of things:

Those of you who are fans of my dear Mana's work may potentially recognize this scamp >;3

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back in the saddle.

Despite my own best efforts at thwarting my posts [self-criticism can be a bitch], I will keep on going.  Still need to up frequency of posts big time though since I do have a lot to say, I just need to sit myself down and articulate it in writing.  Always simple to say, harder to do.  

Important news first:
The flash game Castaway has come out.  
I worked on this game with my friend/colleague Wojcik over at Likwidgames.  I did all the backgrounds along with the main character.  The game itself is relatively simply, and we've already got a giant list of ideas and concerns we will need to address in its eventual sequel.  

This in turn marks the beginning of our newest project.  Our main goal with this game is to hopefully narrow the scope down enough for a two man team to get a playable game out within a 1-2 month timeframe. For the time being I will refer to the project as "Valkyrie" [How inventive, I know.] , but hopefully have a finalized name soon enough.  Here are concept sketches of the main character/unit.

On a side note, I also need to get a finished painting of Strauss done.  Who is Strauss you say?  You folks will find out soon enough >:3 [Pssst, there's a sketch of him on the bottom.]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sally's Studio is out!

Actually, the game was released a little earlier this week, but I decided to bunch up the scans into one post.  I promise I will not make a huge habit of this, I much prefer piece meal updates overall.  Anyhow, back on topic, the last game I helped work on at GamesCafe, Sally's Studio, is finally out.  This release brackets my first half year of going freelance and starting my own company, and is to me a formal swan song to my career and all the good times spent over at GamesCafe/Orbital Media.  Knowing that this was the last project I worked on for them really gives me a sense of completion, and this flows well with the changes that I've been swimming in for the past week.  A comfortable letting go of the past if you will.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Refining and absorbing advice.

Today was incredibly uplifting, not just that I got started on a few small contracts here and there, but I also got the chance to catch up with some old friends/colleagues over at Ph03nix New Media.  Nothing like hashing ideas over with folks and getting back feedback to further trim the project.  I find the more I document, the more material I actually end up removing or simplifying, in an attempt to keep things from growing out of proportion.

This is tougher than it sounds.  When you get a room full of people with differing ideas about one destination, the conversation becomes a distillation process of the ideas that are ejected forth.  The key is to try to lump as many ideas into cohesive bite size chunks, without having others feel like you are ignoring their points.  I cannot accommodate everyone's thoughts, but I can sure as hell try to get a little tidbit of everyone's brainchild into the mix.  The key is ending up with a cohesive love child of a game, as opposed to a Frankenstein abomination, barely holding together at the seams.

Tomorrow should be even more interesting.

In the meantime, some bus sketches along with some sprite work samples for an upcoming browser game :D !

Last but not least, the game's main protagonist undergoes a beating depending upon his HP. An homage to early fps's like Doom and Wolfenstein.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Month and focus

May started off with a lurch, one of those kinds that launches you forward but then you hit some solid patches of friction along the way... and it's only been 4 days. Following the performance at the Calgary Expo, I've had a chance to really sit down and hash out what I would deem at least a feasable path for my small company, Bella Machina Studios. Having had a heart to heart with our current team, it seems like trying to build a facebook community for our project, Empires of the Mist, followed by an app, would be the path of least resistance.
At this point though the plans are still rather amorphous, although the end product is more clearly defined. I will be spending the next month talking to peers and mentors, picking at their brains to refine and streamline what has to be done on my end.

On a side note, I'm coming close to finishing a small sprite based flash game with an old colleague of mine over at Likwidgames. I did all the art for the background and character sprites [not the enemies/monsters though, I only tweaked a few of the latter animations]. For today, I will post some tasty tidbits of the backgrounds that are to be found. Next time I will show off the main character's sprite/weapons and armour :D

Friday, April 30, 2010

Comic Con Recap

Worry not I have been actually maintaining daily sketches... albeit I have been rather lazy when it comes to posting the images. I'm working on being able to rein in my over reaching powers of procrastination. The Calgary Comic Con was a blast. Didn't sell as much as I had hoped, but after holding a con postmortem, I think we were able to figure out why: Stand out more. Be more up front with your intent and product.

After some reflection, this point holds true to me as an individual as well. I need to start posting more, making more statements, showing more projects, sharing my thoughts [Within reason. There's some places in my head that a sane mind should be spared the trip.] Nothing earth shattering really, just a good solid realization for me to focus on for the next few months. Anyhow, onto the sketches:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2 more days

Comic Expo draws near, and the first print run of the comics, postcards and bookmarks have come in. This will be a very exciting and educational event :]

First and foremost, the daily sketches for the past two days:

Also added one more postcard depicting the capital of third culture, the Julians:

I also forgot to show this the last update, but it's the cover for the first issue of the story "Strauss":

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Catch Up Time!

Past weekend has been incredibly busy, trying to get things in order for next week's Comic Expo. Unfortunately I misjudged workload for both myself and other people so I'm caught with my pants down at the moment... art wise. Spent a good chunk of the last 2 days trying to learn how to do basic matte/speed painting. Haven't quite reached the "speedy" part yet but it's getting there :]