Category Archives: art

Stress sketches.

stainandhawk
I’ve always sketched on my notebooks. Ever since I can remember. It actually helped me, when I was on classes, to remember what they gave in class even if I didn’t take any notes.

When at work however It takes an interesting form. I start gradually taking shots at the paper sometimes one line at a time or one detail at a time. Eventually some of the “random” shapes start taking interesting aspects.

It occurred to me some time ago to actually keep all the notebooks from my previous works in case I came upon some creative block so that I could channel or re-visit the creativity encased in those “random” sketches.

As a result I have amassed several notebooks with tons of sketches and doodles trapped between the notes and textual content of whatever I was doing that day.

Some of the sketches got pretty creative. I have one doodle that was stained by coffee and I decided to finish the job and color the drawing with the coffee and do some line work on it. Note most of these drawings are not measured or planned works of art. Just some overworked randomness.

Here are some of the sketches I managed to “rescue” for future consideration:

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After writing part of this article I actually checked some online articles with similar theme:

There are many other articles dealing with this trough the internet just search for art therapy or stress and art and/or drawing.

It is my personal belief that sketching inside and around your notes will help relieve stress and in my case it has the added benefit of helping me remember the actual notes I took… I’m guessing it has to do with memory somewhere too so try and apply it to your work and see what you can gain from it. You may be surprised of the end results either way.


Experiences on game making

Here are some of my character design sketches while working on the concept. I later took the best ones and made a clean version on illustrator.

Here are some of my character design sketches while working on the concept for FFB. I later took the best ones and made a clean version on illustrator.

 

I have always been an avid video game enthusiast. When I was little I used to play video games and my first programming experience was with an old Tandy TRS 80 model computer… in BASIC(no, not visual Basic the original Basic BASIC). I was really into it too. I had loads of papers with my designs. I still keep some of the raw concepts and sketches.

I went to art school and in the meantime I purchased Klik & Play (from MAXIS which had some evolutions since ’94) one of the first event oriented game programming engines I’ve been exposed to. It was exciting to see my creations move and walk and fight with little coding and lots of animating. I made fighting games, mega man style games, castlevania style games and plenty others but never one fully finished. I did keep all the sketches for later though.

As soon as I graduated I went to programming courses in the local college… however at the time they were more focused on accounting than gaming so I took all I could learn and went somewhere else to focus more on art and mix as much I could with computers.

It wasn’t until recently with the help of Construct 2 and loads of patience, forum diving, and luck that I’ve been able to fully publish a game. Getting players to log in and leaderboards to work was a pain for me. As soon as that was working I considered it a great victory. What I didn’t get into my variables however was the concept of making ads work in the app, and to me the actual interface and concept of making ads work is very much alien. It took me days to make the ads work and I still don’t fully understand them. This leaves me with some homework for next apps and games to come.

However this list may help someone else achieve their goals and they will serve as a reminder for me to follow on the next games I make.

  • Start small: Get the main idea on paper and focus on how it’s going to work.
  • Shut people up but do listen: Ok maybe not in the violent sense more like in the sense of keeping the purity of the concept. Many people will have many ideas and will feel they have to share them with you to “help you”. Good intentions pave the road to hell. Keep them in mind but try to keep the main concept clear and specific. Otherwise you’ll change the game more times than needed before you realize.
  • Write things down: Keep a record of what you are doing. A sketch, a doodle, a note… do try to keep them in writing and make a log or even an excel file with all the changes, fixes, modifications, updates, goals and victories so you remember.
  • Keep track of time: Important! Keep in your log hoe much time it took you to complete one given task so that when you have to do something similar again you have an idea of how long it will take. This also helps you keep track of “costs” in term of man hours spent and effort. Trust me in the end it will be worth knowing how much actual effort you put into things.
  • Do forum dive: If it wasn’t for the gamer/developer/forum communities most of us wouldn’t get to our goals. Sometimes other people have insight and solutions to problems you will probably not think of on your own. Do go, socialize and forum dive. Some people will have the golden cog that will make the machinery of your game work better than you thought.
  • Get information about that part you didn’t know you needed: Sometimes as developers we overlook certain details that have to be in your game/app to work.  It may be communication with “app store of your choice”, ad monetization, marketing and promotions, a fan base, the ability to make a plush toy out of your main character or some other gimmick, you have to take into account all you can and be ready to invest time/money in the tools, technologies or services you need.
  • Looks are NOT as important as mechanics: It may look awesome but if it doesn’t work it’s worth nothing to players/users. Make sure you get the mechanics working all the time. Looks can always be improved in the long run.
  • Work on fanbase before release!!! I was to keep the game hush hush before release which immensely lowers the impact on release. I know that from previous experiences but its good to keep it in mind. It helps keep people excited, it drives downloads and helps promote it beforehand. Facebook people … go get it!!!

Anyhow. Just a few thoughts. Try an d keep producing and making and creating stuff and don’t forget to have fun in the process. If it isn’t  fun it’s more work than it should be.


Freefall Bird – My first published game

FreeFall Bird Icon

FreeFall Bird is the first mobile game I’ve fully published with music by Jesús M. Cruz  and published by Solutions By Design. As of today it just hit the Google Play Store.

You can also find the game fanpage in facebook we’ll be adding updates images and more information there as well.

I hope it goes well and I’ll be working on keeping it up to date as best I can and fixing any issues that arise along the way.


The Baiden Region intro animation campaign

Working on this animation

Working on this animation

I finally decided on try my luck out and use the indiegogo service to fund the completion of the intro animation. As soon as that intro animation is made I can focus on other aspects of the project such as creating an app for the campaign setting and make even more animations in the process.

You can find the campaign here.

With everyone’s help hopefully we can get a cool product out there. I’ll be adding links to the Blender site as I’m actually using Blender as my 3d animation software.

My original model was made in poser but playing around with Blender made me decide I should just make my own so that it would be completely original which also lets me make it look a bit more like the drawing when It’s done than an actual “poser model”. I’ll be refining it a bit more before the final product, however shes just one of several models I have to work on.


Spriter animation software

Spriter icon

Spriter Is a very affordable, utility that can help many users of Construct 2 or any other game making, animation making, fun loving, person, create the animation sprites they need. The program Itself is fairly strightforward to use, its well documented and has several trainings available for people to dig into.

Be sure to give it a try. One of the features I personally like is the ability to set up bone structures which you can then animate and swap elements as needed which is great when making “skins” for your characters or pre-fab animations for your production process.


Goatsukah Game update 2 with features.

Finally took a little night time to deal with some issues I had with the game and how it’s going to be.
At the moment this is a platform/action game that takes some inspiration from games like Castlevania(Konami) and Megaman(Capcom) among many others that I’ve been playing over the years.

I’ll be posting some features that i’m implementing to make things easier and or more challenging for the hero depending on what they do during the game.

Gather Nourishment aura:

The invisible aura that gathers nurishment for the hero.

The invisible aura that gathers nourishment for the hero.

The Gather Nourishment Aura(GNA) is an invisible force around our hero that works like a magnet for blood specks around him.

as he goes close the blood follows him

as he goes close the blood follows him

The thing about the GNA is that is not precise the blood specks will move to the location where you were originally when the aura got close enough to “incite” them which will be an interesting mechanic to later play with as you could potentially gather a whole bunch into a place and then just take them. That not only looks kinda cool when moving they also may help in certain boss battles.

The idea is that eventually as the game progresses you get larger radius for the GNA and maybe be able to use it in your favor with other items, this is still a bit experimental.

As an aesthetic feature I also added a particle generator based “puffer” to the feet of our hero so when he lands it creates a neat effect. I was also able to use the same (or rather similar) concept for the “boss fight” wall closing down on you. I guess I could use that for falling blocks, and stuff like that too I’m still in the highly experimental stage of development so Ideas are just starting to tie in together.

The main idea is to get as many working features as I can together in one stage so I can implement them in different ways in the next stages to come. I have my stages already planned in terms of where the story will take you, what animation clips I want in between stages, what the bosses will be and how you will be progressing through the game. The little details and some mechanics are still being worked on with great success so far.

I also made what the basic interface will look like.

basic HUD/interface so far

basic HUD/interface so far

I hope to have much more updated and finished later so that it’s actually playable other than just walking/jumping and navigating around. Maybe some enemies to fight and some traps on the way who knows.


GoatSukah Game update

Screenshot of the progress of the GoatSukah Game.

Screenshot of the progress of the GoatSukah Game.

I’ve managed to put a few more minutes into it and now the game has actual graphics.

You can check the progress at the “Playground and Samples” area of this blog here and then.

Today’s update is located here.

What’s new since last version.

  • Decided to scrap the HUGE single map for smaller more manageable map. This lets me add a bit more quality per stage and makes it easier on portable devices.
  • Did a full overhaul of the stage graphics.
  • I’m integrating parallax into the background. I’ll be fine tuning that soon.
  • Still undecided if the hero should be that small or make it a bit bigger.
  • Finally added the ship to the background with some cool lighting effect.
  • Decided to make use of the actual stage look/feel so I hid most of the floor and wall tiles.
  • Added a “Castlevania like” camera. Still needs a little fine tuning.
  • Now the screen zooms to the size needed for the device.

There’s a ton of work to be done and I’m doing it just for fun.
The game is being made using Construct 2 
I hope you all like it. Soon I’ll get down and start doing the “scene” animations in-between parts of the stages but I’d like to get at least a few stages actually finished before that.