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, 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!
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.
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!