Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Uncommon Scents

Uncommon Scents (Episodes 2 and 3) is about the strangest game I've ever worked on. It's an adventure game that takes place in the future but the purpose of the game is to teach prevention of huffing paint and the effects it has on your body if you do choose to do so. It's a very strange mix of things but despite how bizarre the project was, I managed to have fun on it and find little touches to add. It was all Illustrator work and I was to sort of fit a style going on in the game, since I was brought on for episode 2 and then further more in episode 3. I tried to push away from the initial flatter style and give the vector art a feeling of more depth.

 So the game consisted of a lot of rooms, like this panoramic lab where you do tests and minigames to find out the specific effects many of these chemicals have on your brain. A lot of the things in this room I brought into Flash and gave them many specific animations and transition scenes:

 Here's another room of the lab which holds a lab rat that I ended up doing many animations for a minigame in which you have to shock him (!):
Another background I made that I like is the bedroom of this paint addict where she has this cocky roomba and a floating mattress for a bed:
Besides some of the background most of the work entailed making a lot of random UI, Icons, objects, and other various assets for the minigames. Here's a few:

Yes, a talking glial cell.

If you are truly interested in playing these, they are on the Rice University site for them. You can't save though, and I only worked on some parts of Episodes 2 and 3 (Some of which is already here :)).

Sunday, April 21, 2013


So there's this children's flash game called Pyramid Pile Up that I worked on sometime in 2009. I created and animated the main character, which is a strange squirrel type monster that thwarts your attempts to balance your daily food pyramid with healthy things. It's part of the Playnormous branding where the company goal was the usual edutainment where games were made to get children to have the notion of health but not being hit over the head with it, so what you end up with on Pyramid Pile Up is just a fun puzzle game. I feel like it was pretty successful and for sure it's one of the projects I'm most proud about since I started working in video games.

Unfortunately the game has become somewhat irrelevant because the USDA changed from a Pyramid altogether to a strange plate set up for proportions, but it's still up there for play at any time!

So one thing that made this project a great challenge for me was the push of an art style I was not used to by my art director McKee Frazior. He generally has a very good iconic graphical sense that floats towards a more minimalist nature. Everything I had been working on with him before had been somewhat of a push in that direction on my part, but Pyramid Pile Up was very much a game where he was the lead in everyway: he did all the sounds and music, the majority if not all of the game design, and had this great idea for an art style with a paper cut out feel.

So he set me out to work to start concepting the monster:

It's pretty crazy, but I basically went from stranger concepts that were too detailed or silly for the look of the game to a more iconic and rounded character that would fit the detail needed for the size on the screen and not feel out of place in the game. I was way out of my comfort zone, but it was fun. McKee then me start with finals in Illustrator as we did vector for most things in the Playnormous universe, then exporting it all into PNG to get the shadows and not bog down Flash with vector and filter information. Here's some color passes I found lying around:

Oh yeah, his name is Chompy. At some point someone dubbed him that during a meeting but I don't necessarily recall who. Here's a test swf I have for all of the animations I did for him in game:

So this has been a very wordy post since I loved this project. But it reminds me why I love working as an artist. Also I ended up doing some unique animations for some of the Playnormous monsters where they move across the header of the website in various ways. So I'm going to end with an awesome swf of Chompy sneezing:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Monster Island IV Yet Again Intro

One of the major contributions I made to Syfy Monster Island were the boss intro screens. The boss battles lacked any kind of notification for a while and I suggested a flashy intro to create excitement upon landing on a boss. So I designed a sort of template that had could rotate palette depending on the boss and then have a snippet of animation of the boss before doing that slow motion thing. Here's one with Megacroc (A Drew version of the Syfy creature):

It echos a sort of 60/70s horror film look with kind of rough paint splotches but since it's for a Facebook game, it retained an amount of color and cheeriness. Here's my test image using Pterodactyl:

And speaking of Pterodactyl, I think the animations I did for him are one of my favorites in game.

Pterodactyl was more Drew Johnson art, so on that note, here's another one of Drew's characaters I animated, the disgusting Corpsewalker:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dark Scavenger Characters

Here are some characters I created for the indie game Dark Scavenger dating back to about 2010/2011. I worked on the project when I could for about 9 months contributing characters and backgrounds. The game is a little rough looking in general because there were many artists besides myself who were contributing in different art styles, but it was pretty amazing to see some artwork I did appear on the front page of Destructoid one morning.

These are a few of my favorite characters that I have cleaned up recently for blog consumption. They were originally meant to be half size for in game.

First we have an escella, which is sort of an androgynous alien race:

Then we have Fayne and Gualdi, who are part of this clan of lizard ninjas:

And last we have Gevvis, who I think was an evil shaman of some sorts. I sort of forgot his role in game:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monster Island Returns

       Reposting a few more of my animations for Monster Island. I did not draw or create any of these characters but I did some redrawing and touch up work on Mandrake, who I think is from one of those Syfy monster movies before Sharktopus.
       Next boss for the game is SS3, who I think was originally supposed to be SS Doomtrooper from another Syfy movie, but we didn't have the rights to make that character exactly. Later SS Doomtrooper appeared anyway, but I like SS3 better somewhat, with his tiny third arm and all, which I put a little bit of subtle animation on.
       Then we have Bio Octopus. There were three Octopus designs, including just standard Octopus, but this one with it's six eyes and strange gills has to be my favorite, so I'm putting this one up. I made him floating because we had no underwater level. Art by Alicia Andrew.
       And last we have for this post another piece of character work by the outsourcer who shall not be named. He's not particularly interesting, but I was told around the office that the shoot and reload animation I created for him was amazing. I suppose it is? I don't see it, but it goes here for good measure.