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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week Project Tally and Debriefing

Hi folks!
Just thought I would tally up my current progress on projects. This week has had 3 points of focus so far:

Castaway 2 TD [flash game]

Definitely not the prettiest of sketches, but I was using this image to finalize the number of "worlds" within the the game [The answer is 5 worlds, we'll be using 5 tilesets from Castaway2: Beach, Forest, Marsh, Snow, Lava. Each has a unique colour palette and object set so that helps].
Each world will have 6 levels, although I designed some paths to bifurcate, mainly so that a player can reach the next world within 4 levels [2 are left for general exp boosting and exploration]. There's a slightly different level pattern for each area [well, as much variation as 6 levels can provide], with the last level being the exception since you have to cross all 6 in a linear fashion... and because we are bastards.
All the in game towers and upgrades are complete for this game. Next week involves finishing the world map, and interface representations[icons] for the towers and traps.
Estimated game release is still mid-July.

Sky Expedition [iPhone app]

Stephen has been extra patient with me on this project so I really have to thank him. I now have the ship moving and behaving properly [want to have it travel nice and slow, uncovering areas slowly, to give a sense of distance/size]. The particles are behaving properly and definitely augment the appeal of refuelling the airship. By the time the game is ready for v1.0, I would like people to have a positive pavlovian response towards teal energy glows:P Salivation will be optional.

All the in game towers and upgrades are complete for this game. Next week involves finishing the world map, and interface representations[icons] for the towers and traps.
Estimated game release is still mid-July.

Sky Expedition [iPhone app]

For this small project I'm redesigning/skinning an existing game for a colleague over in France. A variation of the match 3 type, I'm just helping prepare the graphics for retina display and to design things look "shinier". Shining is currently in progress.

Estimated contract end is next week.

Cheers bros and gals,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Castaway 2 Necromancy: Tower Defence

In between small upgrades to project Sky Expedition, I've also been helping my buddy Mike over at Likwidgames. Castaway 2 was a satisfying and well received flash game since we learnt a lot from it's predecessor and applied the feedback. However, since we don't want to jump into another large development cycle, Mike had proposed a project that would use Castaway 2's art assets. A game "sibling" if you will as opposed to a descendant. A tower defence mechanic was chosen and this is the current result :D

We are predicting a mid-July release for this baby. In essence, we're exchanging art development time for game design and spending most of our efforts on making the game functionally different from it's sister. This has also given me the opportunity to further practice on structures/buildings, and not worry too much about the other visual aspects.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sky Expedition: Start Project

Now that the skies have cleared a little bit project wise, I was finally able to sit down with my friend Stephen Gazzard from Broken Kings. He had recently released an experimental iphone game called "Dirt" a few months ago, and ever since I had been exposed to that game, I hounded him to bring his expertise to a project I had dubbed "Sky Expedition". The project is still in its infancy, Stephen having just built an svn repository along with basic tiles. That being said, we seem to have a clear enough idea of the variables and assets involved, so we hope to have game iterations relatively often and early.

To give you folks a heads up, the game is essentially a tile based exploration and cartographic game. The player takes command of a storm stricken airship that has to find it's way to port and recover crew members along the way as well as potential artifacts. Currently that is the scope, but I will be keeping you guys updated as this project progresses :D

Here's a possible logo:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Castway II released on flash :D

Hi folks! Finally this game is seeing the light of day and not a moment too soon. It was an interesting experiment in design and project goals. Not too bad for 2 -3 person team game if I say so myself. Next time round I would like to invest more heavily on actual story but that is a minor gripe over all. Please give her a go and tell me what you guys think. No worries, it's free :3

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Of Design Docs and Sketches.

The past 2 weeks I've been burying my head into design documents, trying to distill the distinct fragrances and facets of a game prototype. It's very hard to nail down what is essentially a definitive document for a loose game concept ["Definitive" being relative to the duration of that project cycle]. By the end of this week I'm hoping to have a rather simplified yet concise document that can be deciphered to make a game concept within a 2 week cycle *crosses fingers*.

In the meantime, I threw together a piece depicting Mandy's character Julian for the Paperchain Project. There's still some more good work needed to go into this piece but I am quite content with the layout. Just need to create a more apparent urban middle ground between the building and the exterior. Enjoy :D

Monday, April 25, 2011

Studio Move

"A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."
-Benjamin Franklin

An apt quote for the times seeing as I will be spending the next few weeks slowly moving into a new space for the studio.  My brother has given me access to an entire basement equipped with all needed facilities, so a newer and more elaborate workplace is in the works.  Most importantly, our bedroom and home studio will be once again separated.  No TVs or computers in the bedroom, only in the studio.  I'm going to be quite adamant about that.  Hopefully this should help further develop a proper workplace mentality and professional vibe. 

Oh, and today's transit sketch for the peeps:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Upcoming Game on the Flash Platform.

Heya folks!

Just spreading the news that a simple Action-RPG I've been working on will be released in the next week or two.  It's quite a rush job [due to me miscalculating the necessary documentation to make this project feasbable] but it's also a labour of love... plus it will be free to play anyhow :B.  I'll make sure to post a link to the game once it's officially available. 

The game is a continuation of the first Castaway and uses pretty much re-engineered backgrounds.  The sprite handling system along with battling, however, is completely new.  What's most interesting was our decision to "regress" from an isometric view to a simple cartesian grid [x,y].  Although I think isometirc views can be more visually interesting from a game point of view, you still run into collision and depth sorting issues.  Since we were a skeleton crew of 2 people, with some help from :thumbazreet911:, we were willing to use a simpler tiling system.  This was in hopes to include some battle elements we discovered in Diesel Valkyrie, but also to really change up the core experience from the first game.

Enough banter, onto the screenshots:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Comfort Zone and Art.

"Comfort makes cowards of us all."
~Michael E. Gerber

I do realize taking only the last line out of a paragraph can erode the strength of a quote. In this case however, the lack of context can allow for a much wider interpretation and can make the short snippet even more poignant. I have recently finished reading Michael E. Gerber's book, The E-Myth Revisited, and i would have to say it's a recommended read for any of you embarking on a journey of starting a business, and the eventual self-discovery that will come about.

At this point however, I'm not here to discuss the book, just this juicy little tidbit he threw in near the end. Under a broad scope, this quote pretty much echoes what most entrepreneurial war cries try to get across: If you are not challenging yourself daily [ie. breaking your comfort zone], then you aren't getting better. A good concept, but one that I only recently internalized on an emotional level, as opposed to just nodding my head towards what I read.

Breaking one's comfort zone really does sound as uncomfortable as it should be. The fear of not-completion, the fear of ridicule, or worst of all, the fear of falling short of one's own expectations, intangible as they may be. All of these should be experienced in some form towards your craft on a daily basis. The more obvious examples would be challenging ones self on an artistic level: Experiment with media, poses, themes, studies etc. Good advice as always but I find it is only a part of the discipline as a whole. Breaking one's comfort zone in art also implies shaking one's social and organizational structures: Randomly initiating contact with folks, Getting used to rejection or indifference [it does tend to be less painful each time], learning how to register/run a business, delegating tasks without stepping on other peoples toes [at least not too heavily], etc.. The list varies for each individual and can probably go on indefinitely, but the key point is that this list is much larger in scope than one would expect. Everyday doesn't have to involve some form of artistic challenge, but having a self-appointed challenge nonetheless is important. Just remember, it's perfectly natural, and in fact healthy, to feel a sense of unease when performing a challenge for the first time. That sense of unfamiliarity can be a bigger sign of impeding progress than you may realize.

On a side note, transit sketch:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some simple logo variants.

Here is what I would call a "Second Stage" set of logo variations, submitted for final approval to a literary services company.  At this point the core shape and design is already there, but now I needed to provide the final iconic graphic within.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sketches and Pimping Commissions

Hello folks, another quick series of sketches for today.

Most importantly however, I would like to bring an important matter to you're attention, yes, you wonderfully awesome dozen who watch my journal. My dear fiancee Mandy is in a financial pickle and is offering sketches for $25 a pop. I know I cannot shift masses of people to other sites like Mandy and her friends, but I thought I'd at least try to send her my trickle of folks, in whatever capacity I can muster. Maybe I need more Tiger Blood... Anyhow, at least drop by and say Hi or pass the word along the ever ascending internet grapevine :D

Set your Warp Drives to destination  :iconpainted-bees: !!!


Oh wait! Sketch:

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Month, End of Projects

Everything is coming down to this week to get the current projects out the door.  Once that is done I can spend more time elaborating on my own and lavishing them with the attention I have withheld so cruelly for so long.  Stay tuned folks :D