Posts in ‘Art’ Category:
While the rest of the studio is in Austin this week for the 2009 Austin GDC, I’m hanging back doing art experiments that might inspire upcoming games. I’ll also be listening to sweet game soundtracks, watching assorted Godzilla movies, and if you play your cards right; performing various high speed dances. All on the webcam! So go the webcam page where it will be pointed at my screens for the week and watch the game art manifest.
I don’t have a whole lot of specific ideas in my head at the moment, so I’ll be perusing this really cool thread on the forums about game ideas that some of you guys want to see on Blurst.
Also, I’ll be making some Jetpack Brontosaurus wallpapers later this week. If there’s wallpaper from another game you really want, drop into the webcam chat and let me know. I’ve also got a really cool Blurst-related project I’ll be rocking out at some point, so stay tuned. As if all of this wasn’t enough, I might have a guest at some point as well…this week is going to be really fun! *sick high five*
This is what happens when you have amazing people help you with your amazing projects. One Mr. Cory Robinson, a local game artist, good personal friend of ours, and all-around-super-talented-guy helped us out with some illustration work. In order to make the Time Donkey menu scene come to life I needed some promotional nonsense (product photos, discount alerts, beverage list) to surround the functional menu elements (game logo, the “play game” button, the “change username” button) and Cory delivered. While it ended up completely appropriate in the context of the title scene you don’t see it very well when it’s all said and done so here it is in detail.
Keep in mind that when I tasked him with this my instructions were very vague; crappy fast food menu with ridiculous products on it. He reached into the swirling neon vortex of his brain and created all of these products and their names, going off of Flashbang’s “Num Nums Raptor Taco” inside joke from back in the day and nothing else. When we looked at it for the first time we all cried from the laughter, and also from Matthew hitting us with a car antenna. Enjoy!
Blush has come a long way from its humble beginnings at TIGJam to the game we drop on you later this week. It’s been pretty interesting wrapping something beautiful around an entirely monochromatic and overly simplistic prototype and I thought I’d share some snapshots of the process.
This was what it looked like at TIGJam when it was called Squiddy. It was very functional and the stark contrast put emphasis on the flowing motion of the tentacles, which was essentially the heart of the prototype.
When we began tossing the idea around of making an official Blurt game out of it my instinct was to push the black and white aspect of the look. This was my first mock.
After looking at for a while we all became concerned that if we were to continue in this direction it might overly resemble Flow. So when we inevitably decided to use color, I threw out a bunch of ideas to see what would resonate with everyone else.*
You can see in the lower right hand corner of the image what the general idea of each concept was. I personally expanded upon idea 2 as I saw bioluminscence as exciting territory. I wanted the team to be into the idea of a glowy, bloomy, see-through squid so I hit that first.
Once I placed it into an environment that was also glowy and bloomy I think everyone was feeling it.
The timing on these last few bits was perfect, as our initial part of the 8 week phase (pre-production) was wrapping up. I had developed a vision for the game by this part of the project that I wanted to communicate to the rest of the team. This image was created not only to showcase what I though would be a viable environment, but also to serve a production list. Hence the numbers and the corresponding key to the right of the image.
At some point during a game play mechanic discussion we were tossing around the idea of different abilities that affected your movement through space. In my eternal love of visual effects I made an image showing off different ways we could enhance the character.* One of these was actually implemented (but has changed since it’s initial incarnation), one is used heavily, and one was implemented but not actually used for anything. The rest were scrapped, but that’s okay! It was a useful source of visual inspiration.
At this point the game was called Blush and the aesthetic was falling into place. I created this image one day out of screenshots we were preparing for OffWorld not too long ago. This is NOT the logo or the menu for the actual game, it was just an image I made so I could personally experiment with text and colors.
This is about as much as I can show you before I’m basically showing off screenshots…WHICH I’LL DO LATER THIS WEEK! For your own information, this game has come quite a long way since even that image…
More information in the following days!
*For all you professional artists out there…one of the best things you can is formally sharing what you do best…CREATING! Spill your brain into a form others can perceive! Your ideas aren’t useful while they’re floating around inside your skull. When you put a bunch of ideas in front of the people you work with (even if you feel they aren’t neccessarily good) you are expanding the creative potential of whatever you’re working on by providing tangible options for your team members. Besides, when you let others pick and choose from elements you’ve created, you’re still the artist yet other feel as if they have had some say! So spill it, chumps. All of it. For better or for worse.
Whenever I encounter something(s) that is visually compelling in a game I’m going to quickly talk about it and how it applies to the development of games here at Flashbang. I’m going to kick it off with the new Prince Of Persia on Xbox 360/PC.
Anyone who has seen the game either in screenshots or in motion know that it is extremely stylized. While I think they achieved something really cool, what really struck me was their use of plain old pretty traditional art, specifically on the title screen, menu screen, and in this promotional movie. If you look closely at the elements involved in both the menus and that movie, you’ll notice that they didn’t actually use any 3d models. Instead they used flat conceptual paintings in 3d space to communicate vivid and complex scenes like one does in storyboards, or in constructing environments for stage and traditional theater.
I think this is clever because they achieved beauty with 3d depth without taking the oodles of time it takes to create character models and animation. Not that there is anything at all wrong or uneffective about creating these kind of assets for your title and/or menu scenes, it’s just that the time it takes to do so isn’t appropriate for our self-imposed 8 week development cycle. With 3d assets you are creating the model itself, a texture, and possibly a rig and animations for it as well. With this technique you are just essentially just making textures and then applying more fundamental animations to them in real time. Bending, swaying, deforming, rotating…these are things that the objects in Prince Of Persia’s title and menu scenes appear to do. They also employed a neat post processing effect which overlays a texture over everything, and they also created a particle system which generates those mystical blue ashes. This exact particle system is common throughout the game, which introduces some aesthetic unity and tightens up the game as an aesthetic package. A delicious art package. For your brain mouth. :)
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