Oct 052013
 
Sully Preview

To say I have gone too long without posting new content would be a far-too-polite gesture. It must have been years by now! But with good reason – I’ve been busily working away on a handful of game projects and everything pretty much dominated my focus for months on end.

Star Command

Star Command, which I made a whole bunch of alien animations for, was recently released by Warballoon Games for iPhone and Android devices with a souped-up PC version coming in the future, and made its official debut alongside the latest Humble Bundle! That’s right, you get to pay what you want to get it along with a bunch of other great Android titles, you feel nice for helping charities and indie studios, and my pixel spritework gets to haunt you while you manage a crew of ragtag space cadets who must juggle blasting lazers at invading battle cruisers, struggle with keeping shields operational, and flail around keeping everyone alive while staving off ants-on-steroids and green people that beam aboard looking for blood all the while. Sounds too good to be true, really. At the time of this writing, there’s a little over 4 and a half days left to take advantage of the bundle deal, so hop aboard if any of that sounds like a relaxing way to kill some time with your mobile device.


Small sample of some of the animations I made for Star Command from their pre-existing, non-animated character art.

Something to note that I felt worth mentioning about Star Command is that the gameplay became too simple on the Easy and Normal difficulty settings to the point where you really barely get to see any of the work I contributed to the game at all, due to your shields never taking enough damage to allow their beamed-down boarding parties to pass through. I think this is due to feedback from early testers on the iPhone release saying that the difficulty was too high in the beginning, which resulted in some tweaks that resulted in the difficulty becoming too low after trying to balance the issue out in time for the Android release. The animations I put into this were all focused on the things you would see invading the interior of your ship after sustaining a certain percentage of damage from the enemy ship’s cannonfire, but since your shields recharge faster than the damage being dealt can stack up on Easy and Normal, you only see it in action during a zombie battle that’s scripted to happen. That said, after coming back to it on the Heavy difficulty setting the excitement and challenge felt good, and plenty of critters were phasing in during battles and my animations were pleasantly in attendance. I have faith that Warballoon will get it all balanced nicely for the easier settings with patch updates in the future, but the more difficult settings are where you’ll find all the action in the meantime.

But do be sure to check out that Humble Bundle before it’s over!

Sully

Another title still being developed that I have been a part of is a hilarious game with tongue-in-cheek snarkiness called Sully: A Very Serious RPG. Created by Ben Grue over at Breadbros Games, it harkens back to the SNES era of roleplaying and follows the story of a young boy, his girlfiend, and cohorts as they spend their last summer together on a resort island before they must inevitably part ways for college. A chance encounter with a magical clam leads them on a quest for glory and hope for a future where girlfriends don’t have to leave, and there is much to fight and see in-between.

 

A glimpse at some of over 100 battle graphics created for Sully.

The game’s graphics feature simpler 16-bit graphics that you see in the overworld and exploration parts of the game mixed with higher res, 32-bit visuals for the more detailed battle sequences, which is where all my work on the spell casting and particle effects are found. Sully aims to be released this year, targeting the Playstation Vita and PC platforms.

Freedom Planet

And while I’m on the subject of platforms, a platforming adventure in the style of classic Sonic the Hedgehog, titled Freedom Planet by GalaxyTrail Games, was another project I had the pleasure of working on this year. Focusing on letting you explore rich environments filled with hidden areas, spiky traps and spikier enemies, and epic boss and miniboss encounters, Freedom Planet expands on the Sonic-like game genre in lots of pleasant ways. There is a story mode that you can play through all the levels on, five player characters who all navigate and experience each level differently from one another, bonus challenge levels, and more which I couldn’t morally justify mentioning without further abuse of my comma privileges (which I’m surely in danger of having revoked if the grammar police ever catch wind of this blog).

 

  

Original sprite artwork with the enhanced comparison.

My role was to take the pixel art graphics and animations for main characters with hundreds of frames each, dozens of monsters, bosses, items and props,  that were initially created by the project lead, Stephen “Strife” DiDuro, and updating them with high quality shading and detail overhauls.

Rice is Nice

Pretty busy year, all-in-all. It’s past time I’ve update the portfolio gallery and resume with newer works and cleaned out clutter.

But in an effort to wrap this post up, I just want to mention that Mike Scott, the uncanny drumming animator from South Africa that I’ve collaborated on three music videos with, is once starting on some ambitious shenanigans. Can he be stopped? Many have tried, but all who try ultimately give up and resign to take defeated naps while he just keeps bouncing away. What could this mean for the fate of the free world?! Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion or for the defeated naps, folks!

 October 5, 2013  Posted by at 12:28 am Animation, Articles, Artwork, Pixel Art Tagged with: , , , , , ,  1 Response »
Dec 272012
 
wrapup2012thumb

The year has come and gone like a bandit. A bandit that made out like a bandit, as I can honestly say I never would have expected to get the opportunity to do some of the things I’ve done this year in any of my weirdest dreams. Adventures in artwork included drawing and animating for a few games, a few music videos, upgrading all of my workstations, and getting to employ my skills in numerous mediums like 3D, Pixel Art, Vector, and digipaint all mashed together. Continue reading »

 December 27, 2012  Posted by at 5:59 pm 3D, Animation, Articles, Artwork, Digipaint, Personal, Pixel Art, Vector Tagged with: , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Apr 102012
 
saxfeatured

Short of the time required to do it, adjusting the weight of vertex influences for each bone went down rather painlessly. I was expecting to need to readjust some of the mesh to play more nicely with the bones to make the deformation around, say, elbows and joints operate with less distortion. But it all just kind of worked, and the suspenders even rest/stretch as they ought to!

I could have spent a few more hours creating another rig just for the face, but I opted to just control it with shape keys. Shape keys let you move vertices around all you like for things like eyelids blinking, mouth shape stretching and squashing to form lipsynching cues, etc, then transition between the keys you created and the default pose that was in place. For example, my face had shape keys to open and close the eyes, open and close the mouth, raise and lower the teeth/cheeks for smiling and such, and lift or lower each eyebrow separately. Was a fun process to learn and use! Continue reading »

 April 10, 2012  Posted by at 8:16 am 3D, Articles, Artwork, Personal Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 222012
 
part-4-preview

First you make it simple, then you make it complex, then you make it ridiculously complex, then you make it super simple and tape a picture of the ridiculously complex version of it and hope nobody notices. Getting light sources to highlight and shade portions of the model as if it were still in high poly and let the computer create the textures for you are the whole point of why the sculpting took place. I’ve done a few passes of baking those features from the high poly to the low and wound up with a result that is good enough for me.

Next time I make a character, I will definitely try to do it with way fewer poly count than this. Was expecting to pull off making this guy closer to N64 or Nintendo DS game poly levels, but it’s probably closer to the poly count of PS2/xbox phat assets. I think he’s even creepier with features…

For the record, I really don’t like what this guy looks like compared to the concept image. He doesn’t deserve those Dr. Teeth teeth. But, I shall press on! Continue reading »

 March 22, 2012  Posted by at 3:09 pm 3D, Articles, Artwork, Personal Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  2 Responses »
Mar 152012
 
detective-WIP-7-featured

From here I’m just focusing on sculpting details that will pop nicely when baking the textures onto the Low Poly mesh, things that will react to lighting shifts and make it look like a piece of clothing instead of just skin-tight-spandex with pom-poms at the wrists and ankles. Because I do want this to remain simplistic for ease as well as style consistency, it will mostly includes pockets, buttons, fabric seams, and some less intense wrinkling.

While making the pockets, the method I ended up being successful with worked pretty well, so I included a slow frame shifting GIF highlighting the steps used on the pants for the world to maybe learn from. Continue reading »

 March 15, 2012  Posted by at 1:45 pm 3D, Articles, Artwork, Personal Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 142012
 
Detective WIP 5

Here is a mini update from the first post, Low Poly Game Character Creation Pt. 1,  to follow up on some feedback given over on the Pixelation forums. The initial progress pushed the arms and legs toward being awkwardly lanky. So I took a couple steps backward in order to proceed with what I feel wool be a better model in the end.

New adaptions include teeth, hair and eyebrows, belt, suspenders, eyelids, legs and arms reverted to pre-sculpt shape and shortened up. I felt the sculpting on the pants and shirt was too wildly wrinkly anyway, so if I go back to give them any kind of skulpting detail, it will be minimal to keep a smooth and toony look to it. I also reversed the direction the cuffs on the shirt was facing. Continue reading »

 March 14, 2012  Posted by at 6:17 pm 3D, Articles, Artwork, Personal Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »
Mar 112012
 
Closeup sculpted face.

I’ve worked with 3D sporadically in the recent years, but the work that comes my way is mostly 2D or pixel art, so I have yet to really dig my teeth into the next dimension. Recently, I picked up a DVD through Blender covering Low Poly Game Character Creation by CG Cookie.com. It will cover the creation of a humanoid model, sculpting it all at high poly, then baking those sculpted details onto a low poly mesh, rig and animate it, and finally how to import it into Unity 3D.

Throughout the creation process, updates will be added at the more significant milestones for any who wish to tag along for the journey. Could be fast, could be slow, all depends on when there’s an opening between work and parental obligations.

Continue reading »

 March 11, 2012  Posted by at 12:31 pm 3D, Articles, Personal Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  No Responses »