Ludum Dare.

Here are some of the graphics I made for the last Ludum Dare competition with my friend Dennis from Amsterdam. Our project ended up taking a more interactive awareness route than a ‘game’ as such, but Dennis always has great and unique ideas and it was refreshing to try something different. Our project concentrated on raising awareness about domestic abuse and how to detect early signs of possible volatile relationships.

Bride

I had to tread carefully with the artistic style for this project because we were tackling a serious subject but I’m really happy with the way these turned out. We scored pretty high on the graphics, beating 85% of the other entries and overall came 299 out of 2064 games. Not bad for a last minute jam together with the Atlantic Ocean between us! (:

Characters

To see all the vector art I made for Ludum Dare, please visit the ‘Vector Art’ page at the top of my blog.

 

 

Manchester Game Jam!

So I thought I’d finally get myself involved in one of these wonderful game jams! I’ve seen friends take part in the past and watched them take place on various scales all over the world but always felt a little shy and scared to walk into one of these things and go HEY! WHO NEEDS AN ARTIST?!

But last week, that’s exactly what I did.

Now this jam was a one day event, which was actually great because I think we were all quite surprised at just how much you can achieve in such a short space of time. The themes we were given were cows, mutation, fire, submarines and trading. It was awesome to see that almost all the games shown at the end of the day involved cows somewhere. I guess everyone loves cows, right! :D

I partnered up with two immensely talented dudes. Sound Designer, Jey and Indie Developer, Phi. Our different areas of expertise just bounced off one another’s straight away and it was a great experience of working with new people and a super successful first jam for me. (Please check out Phi’s amazing upcoming Indie title at http://tinykeep.com and Jey’s audio wizardry at http://www.jeykaziaudio.co.uk.)

I’ll try to keep the waffling to a minimum now so here is a collection of some of the artwork I made throughout the day. I was mainly responsible for UI and splash pages etc. I also did the UV texturing for the environment and cows.

Here’s a little demo of Mootation Arena.  It makes a great multiplayer and we had some ace power up ideas and lots of thoughts on how we could have developed it further if it had been a longer jam. Who knows, maybe it’s a project we could return to at a later date!

If you’ve been thinking about coming down to one of these game jams but find the prospect a little daunting (much like myself), I’d say take a deep breath and get yourself down! In the space of just eight hours, I made some great new friends and learnt a whole bunch of new approaches and skills in game development.

A painting a day.

This is one of those weeks where I just need to throw myself into my painting. So! I’m gonna do a painting a day. (Well, a painting every day I’m not in a green apron making coffee.) My subject is ‘happy places.’ This is my first one. I still think it needs some tweaks, but this exercise needs to be a little more about speed…let’s see how I do!

Tuesday

So here’s my next one. As I’m keeping with the concept ‘happy places,’ this is perhaps my geeky sci-fi happy place. I think I’m either completely lost in a film and I’ve been transported from the sofa into the fantasy dimension itself, or these worlds actually do exist. Either way, this was where I wanted to be today.

happy place

Wednesday

I’ve always wanted a big library in my house. Full of books and maps and moving ladders and armchairs and bankers lamps! I didn’t quite get to finish this so that it looked exactly how I pictured it in my head, but I think this is one I’d like to go back to and work into with some more details and lighting.

happy place

Thursday

I was reminiscing about when I visited Hawaii and some of the breathtaking sunsets that I was able to see on the island, Ohau. So I think I wanted to try and re create one of those memories. I couldn’t spend too long on this, as social times were waiting in the form of Grand Theft Auto and a tub of ice cream. Hey, at least I’m honest! :p

happy place

Friday

Gaming with friends is always happy, right! I’ve also been listening to an amazing band called Deaf Havana all week and I find their lyrics really resonate with me. So I went for more of a graphic design feel with this piece.

happy place

Saturday

Sometimes I find the inexplainable happy. You look through a telescope and in an instant, life seems so much more than you could ever really imagine. I like the feeling of knowing there is just an infinite space around our tiny Earth bubble. As humans, we have a tendancy to only believe what is proven or only what we can physically see. The more I think about what COULD be real, the more I find life actually pretty bloody cool. :p All my brush strokes in this painting make it look like some sort of Harry Potter magic. But all this is out there. Somewhere.

Sunday

I’m returning to the Big Apple in December and this definitely has to be a happy place, especially around Christmas time. It’s like being in a magical winter wonderland and I CAN’T WAIT. I guess this is more of an impression of New York rather than an exact representation. I just painted a bunch of blocks in the hope that it would eventually resemble Times Square! (:

Oh princess, let down your luscious locks of….purple hair.

Here is a little something (or should I say someone) I’m working on. I’ve accidentally built quite a story around her. It was all just unfolding out of my brain, like a little reverse paper aeroplane, as I was drawing her up. This happens from time to time with character design and I’ve gotta say, I just love it. I feel reassured that this is a character I should push a little further than just a concept idea. Watch this space. :)

I’m making a game!

I’ve been kinda busy lately, because…. I’M MAKING A GAME! (I love saying those words :p)

I say making a game… I’m really just creating the pretties for it. All the programming and coding malarky is down to the lovely guys at Drop Dead Interactive. It’s almost there really. I just have the UI assets to finish and then some tweaking here and there. There may be a few modifications being made to the main character from the image shown below. The further I get into the design process, the more I feel I can improve my original concepts. It’s the most fabulous viscious circle I’ve ever been in!

early concept

I’ll be uploading more info on the game once it’s complete and available for all you wonderful people to download onto your beloved iOS and Android devices. But for now, I best get my head down and finish it!

You should check out the dudes at DDI though. They have a few exciting games coming up soon!

DDI Cover photo

UI Practice

UI Design is always something I’ve enjoyed. It’s fun making stats for my own characters, giving them a greater sense of purpose and being able to visualise them in a game.

I’ve had a little dabble on the latest Tomb Raider and that really inspired me to work on my own UI designs. I love the bold, new take on such an established character. I’ve not completed the game as of yet but as far as UI goes, I think they’ve nailed it. My first thought was “damn, this looks cool.”

“A good UI tells you what you need to know, and then gets out of the way.” 

It is argued that UI design needs a logical approach more so than artistic flair. I guess I’d have to agree but if you can achieve both, you’re onto a winner really.

It’s important to know your user and to empower your user. Immersion is everything with a game and I feel a large factor in this is the fluidity of the gamer’s user experience. It can pretty much make or break a game.

Here are some deigns I came up with last week. I still feel like I’ve maybe taken a greater interest in presentation, rather than thinking purely about what information needs to be on screen. I’m still quite pleased with these though. I’ve found a new interest in taking note of how information is presented and how I feel about it when in gameplay. Sometimes I tend to forget about this aspect of game development and it was playing Tomb Raider the other week that slapped me in the face with it’s importance. In a good way, of course!

muck about

UI2