Wander

It’s a misty quiet Sunday and I have spent a good portion of time working on bits and pieces; chores, cooking, Calamity (our game), artwork, Japanese…

Calamity is being wrapped up at the moment – for the moment – we are hoping to get it to a playable demo state, we will release it and then see… if there is any interest in it or if we feel some more rush of motivation for it, we will build on it. There isn’t too much art to be done on it, except for tweaking here and there. I wanted to have different characters with different hairstyles and face textures running around, but that may be quite a bit of work for the coders, and it will turn out to be quite a lot of work for me too, so for now we will leave that. I have started working on the different hair styles however. I’ll post on here when Calamity is done, anyway!

Recently I set for myself the project of finishing up a few bits for my updated portfolio. I don’t have any aims for sending it out anywhere, but I did notice that it was quite outdated and I wanted it to reflect my more recent game-focused work. So that’s done; I definitely want to improve it, though, so I am working towards that from now onwards.

Another project of mine has been to do some visual development for a possible future project with the Dirty Casuals, our game group. I am doing game design and concept art for Wander, which is essentially a wizard dating simulator. I will reveal more about it when it has been developed a bit more! I just want to get all the basic art style, characters, story, etc. solidified before I actually write about the game full on. But, I can share these pictures I have been working on!

1 point 5

Initial sketches for Wander. During June there was a game jam called ilujam on itch.io, which was for romance themed games. So I worked on Wander designs for ilujam. I didn’t get as much as I wanted done and will continue working on it! These are some of the characters. They are awaiting further development!

2

Here’s some more work on one of the characters. Having listened to some concept artists talking about their work, and reading articles on the way items, characters, worlds, etc. are designed, I think I can keep pushing these characters further. For example, this is only an initial impression of Bruna. Some questions that have just surfaced in my mind – how does her belt work? At the moment it’s just a band of leather. And how does her chain fit around her waist and stay there? How does her hair work – does she shave the rest of her scalp apart from a small amount that she puts into pigtails? Or does her hair just not grow in certain places, because she is undead? Perhaps she actually just attaches some hair onto her head for aesthetic purposes.

Depending on the level of detail I want our game to be, perhaps these things will need to be further developed, or perhaps simply the original impression of Bruna will be enough for a relatively small game. If anyone has any thoughts, please let me know!

3

Here’s another character who I have been thinking about. In the top left corner is the original scribble in which I tried to identify the character. Bottom left corner is the second bit of work I did for him. But after having completed that sketch I realised that again I was kind of taking shortcuts like with Bruna’s design. So I tried to force myself to think about other avenues I could take the character, from what his horn shape would be like and his hairstyle. I also got feedback from my team mates about which bits they preferred. I have started working on his outfits in a separate photoshop file, and will test out a few different costumes for him. I also want to define how his face looks as well since in the iterative sketches, the base face I’ve used is a bit more youthful, I think, than the original sketch. Once those bits are cleared up I will start sketching for his character portrait. Since it’s a 2D visual novel, and quite a small game, I will probably just have 1 or 2 full paintings of him in game.

wands

Taking a little side step, here, to mix things up for myself I decided to think about what each wizard’s wand would look like. It was a nice and productive diversion to working on Billy (the character above). These are again just initial sketches. I will colour them in again and then probably work on each one’s design a little more extensively – again, it depends on the level of detail the game will take as to whether I should spend a load of time on these bits or not.

Where am I going next with this? Well, I’m going to continue to develop the characters, their props and the school to. I have also started to write some of the dialogue. If you’re interested in following the project, you can do so through my tagged posts on my tumblr or through the dirty casuals twitter feed.

This was a pretty useful post for me as I felt like I needed to write down some of my process and the questions arising from the character designs (especially Bruna). I hope that it can be of some interest to others. I am trying to push myself to thinking more about the DESIGN of things more as well as trying to improve my fundamentals, 3D work and so on. There’s a long way to go.

Anyway, thanks for reading xx

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Updates, Christmas, Artists to look at

Hi friends, as usual it’s been a while. I thought I’d share some updates on my projects, plus some sketches I did today, and a list of artists who were recommended by Audrey Kawasaki on some instagram account (an online art gallery? I can’t remember which) – I wanted to list them to share the awesomeness of these artists, but also I want to make sure I don’t lose their names!

Updates

  • CalamityNow that I have an OK level command of 3D modelling and texturing, I’m starting to go through the old models that I made while learning 3D, and I am remodelling and texturing them. I am also building up a test level as I go. We are hoping to apply to show our game at indie games development conventions so I will let you all know more as time progresses. I’m also updating our game’s redbubble shop with stickers and other bits.
  • Music: I finally picked up my saxophone after a long time (years) of not playing. I am going to attempt to be in a band. We had our first meeting yesterday, so I will need to work out pieces to play for each song, and I must get back up to speed with playing and sounding OK at least. More information about this as it develops!
  • Job: Work’s going well, we’re currently making a rally style racing game which will be released in March 2016!
  • Craft: I’m hoping to start crafting again. I would like to give my little shop a renewal at some point, so that I can get sewing again. I’m feeling really inspired by thebeastpeddler on tumblr, I have bought myself one of their plushies! Please check them out if you like cute, dark plushies.
  • Painting: In my spare time I have been trying to keep up with digital painting. I have been working on more finished pieces, as I usually end up just sketching stuff quickly so that I can post it faster. I must be more patient! You can see my latest painting below!

digitally created painting of a male character with 2 horns and purple skin, with a background of flowers (possibly carnations)

Christmas Sketches

I wasn’t going to send Christmas cards, but then I got a few, so I made these quick cards to give out. I made some spares in case, too 🙂

Artist List

CALAMITY

Hey friends,

As you may have already read, I’ve been wading through blender3D, learning how to make 3D models. I’m still a beginner of course, and if you want you can always follow my progress on tumblr 🙂

I started learning 3D both for my job and also because I wanted to work on an indie game dev project with my friends. Now, it’s underway! So I want to introduce you to Calamity. If I had to describe it shortly I would say something along these lines: Low poly 3d hide and seek multiplayer with monsters. Be the last one standing. It’s set in a boarding school and you play a student. We’re making it using the game engine called Unity, which is also what I use back at work.

Here's a little Calamity-related sketch that I made recently, just while I was thinking of what kind of 2D art I want to put in the game - e.g. for menus, logos, etc.

Here’s a little Calamity-related sketch that I made recently, just while I was thinking of what kind of 2D art I want to put in the game – e.g. for menus, logos, etc. I actually played with making a mini redbubble shop for stickers and fun Calamity related things.

I would say that we’re still in the early stages of development, but I thought I’d like to share with you all a few bits and pieces. I’m working on it with Boomer and Mikey. Boomer’s the programmer, Mikey’s our music man and I’m the artist. I’ll be dealing with all 3D stuff and 2D artwork too.

So far, I’ve made some sketches and a handful of 3D models to put in the game, e.g. a desk, chair, book, etc. which you can see below.

book

For some reason this book took me ages to work out. I just couldn’t think of a smart way to make a simple book object. I thought about it a lot overnight and then I realised how easy it would be after all. 

desk

A school desk for our students. Perhaps we should give the high school a name?

I’ve intentionally kept them simple, since I’m still learning! I’ve started the model for the player character, but of course it’s taking a little longer to do since it is more complex and will need to be animated in the future. I am using this tutorial series on youtube to learn how to do it.

Calamity Player Character Work in Progress

Our student protagonist – well, there will be a number of students to choose from hopefully – a base body, which I will next unwrap and texture. Then, we will have custom heads with different hairstyles, I hope ^_^

Not all of my models and bits have been implemented in the game, but I will still try get some videos and screenshots to share with you on my next Calamity related post!

I feel excited about it all and want to spend tons of time on it, even though I do find it difficult since I am learning so much new stuff… I’m trying to make sure however that I balance my free time well so that I don’t burn out since work’s pretty busy until March or beyond. My plan is to get lots of bits done that I can eventually improve when I know more.

I’ll keep working at it slowly but surely, and I hope to share my progress with you all. If anyone has any questions though feel free to ask!

Learning new things for game design

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of game design stuff. The poetry book has been mostly completed, and I have put it aside for the time being until I can arrange with Amy to meet her for a proper discussion of layout. Then I can finalise the images.

Anyway I thought I’d just write a little about the stuff I’ve been working on for the game. This week we have been considering what we want the story to be and what should be the driving purpose for the player to continue playing. We got stuck for a while, but thanks to some Skype meetings and now the addition of a writer it feels like we’re rolling again. So perhaps I should say… welcome Felix!

I can write a little bit about our plans… Originally it started out as a pet game and it has morphed into an adventure game… both are pretty exciting genres for me I think and I would still like to do a pet focused game in the future! I mentioned before about the game being about using different kinds of monsters to get about the world. We’re also trying to flesh out more of a background story as well to explain what’s going on.

Ooh, we might even have some humans involved in the story... draft design for initial animation tests.

Ooh, we might even have some humans involved in the story… draft design for initial animation tests.

Art-wise, it looks like I’m going to be both indoor and outdoor scenes for the game. My secret is that I’m someone who has avoided drawing backgrounds in personal art for a very long time. Now I’m just going to have to do it, and that means I will be working hard to learn a lot of new things. The outdoor scenes are probably going to be dominated by nature, so they are probably not too intimidating for me to work on. In particular I’ve been feeling pretty nervous about the indoor scenes, because I haven’t learned enough about perspective.

So, over the past week or so I have been trying to gain a better understanding of perspective in order to make some nice backgrounds. Our group really admire the mobile game The Silent Age, and the art is really nice in that too… since our game is probably going to have a similar viewpoint I did take some inspiration from their background setups.

The Silent Age

The Silent Age

To start off learning about perspective grids and such, I first looked at some Adobe Illustrator CS6 specific videos, which I’ll link below. There are a couple of good ones which explain perspective in a really simple way which helped me get a basic understanding of perspective… For example, learning that the horizon line = eye level.

I really like the lady’s voice in this video.

After looking at the CS6 tutorials I still didn’t have that much of a grounding in perspective, but I found a really handy link, it’s here. It’s like a mini ms paint style (although I don’t think it was going for a retro MS paint look – I have a feeling it was just made absolutely ages ago) tutorial which you can go through, showing how different objects were created in a one point perspective room. It can be a bit tedious but you can skip through it if you want. Just thought I would share it because it was really surprisingly helpful for me!

Anyway progress at the moment is… Since we haven’t got the entire story down, I’ve been spending my time making little mockups in Illustrator using a one point perspective grid. I won’t add much more to the rooms though until we know more!

This is the first proper practice I had while reading the one point perspective tutorial I just linked.

This is the first proper practice I had while reading the one point perspective tutorial I just linked. Might look a bit too 3D for our flat, 2D characters to wander around in however so we will need to find a more suitable background style.

I also wanted to make a wider room, but here the horizon line/eye level is a bit high. I think for the next go I’ll try to keep up with a wider room but see how it looks with a much lower eye level.

As you all may notice from my two above attempts, I am very much a newbie when it comes to interior backgrounds. I think I learned a lot just from the tutorials on simple perspective though, and will keep studying and practising more. I’ll probably share my progress and findings too, for other people who happen to be new to stuff like this too.

I tried to publish this post about 3 times, having lost paragraphs and segments each time! Finally, let’s hope this time will work out so I can finish with this task and go do actual game design related things!

projects update

Hi all,

I started to write a blog post on my phone while at work, but I lost all the text! So I’m rewriting this again. I can’t really remember all that I wrote however. Just an update. Usually while I’m at work at the takeaway, it’s quiet. So I end up reading books, studying Japanese and drawing in my sketchbook. It’s a good place to get things done, although not a job I would like to stay in forever. I’ve been applying for other jobs in art and less exciting places (supermarkets), but without too much success. I still need more experience to get a job in the arts… Maybe one day I will be able to just be an artist full time! I’d love for this game designing project that I’m working on to take off…

Anyway, as for my recent projects… I’ve been working more on the poetry book project. After stagnating for several weeks I decided I would get something more substantial done. I got some bigger, nicer paper and started working with an ink dip pen. I’ve done quite a lot of drawings now so I’m looking forward to sharing the images once I can. I’ll check with my poet friend!

My other big project is continuing with the game design work – along with 2 programmers and a sound guy (not sure what the actual term for a sound person would be). I spent several weeks drawing character sketches to try and work out what kind of monsters to include, and we had regular skype sessions as a group. Now we’re at the prototyping stage – I think – and this week I’m trying to make a full character with some animations so that we can test with it. Here’s a little sketch of a monster pet.

petI’m learning how to use adobe Illustrator at the same time as trying to create these characters… which makes me feel doubly out of my depth. I always feel out of my depth while working on these game design projects, but I guess that means that I am constantly learning new things. Regardless, I hope that I can feel a little bit more comfortable doing this stuff at some point.

Aside from those two main projects I am still studying driving theory and Japanese, and yesterday I sold a commissioned drawing – a reproduction of an old piece of art. Turns out the customer would also like to buy the original, so he’ll be buying that too tomorrow. This is all pretty good for me since I have been struggling for money this week.

I’m not sure which of these I prefer. I spent a lot of time on the original one, and spent less time drawing the second, because otherwise I would have had to charge a lot more. I’m glad that he loved both of them, though! I will have to draw another one however to give to my mother.

I’m going to stop writing now, because I am watching Ghost in the Shell anime, first season, and I have work again from 5-11pm. Hope that everyone had a good new year and ate lots of good food.

Elysia