Who is Super Edco? Since back from the retro days of yore, anytime a game would let you create a character and name it yourself, I've been using EDCO. It came about as an amalgam of my own names and the fact that an unusual number of games in those days only let you use four characters.
Videogames are a big part of my life. I've been playing and making videogames just about since there was such a thing to be done. My favorite games are RPGs and action adventures, and the rest of that list is a long one indeed.
So here's a peek into how I went about creating a title screen for an iPhone game that my company launched recently. Note I do not presume any one methodology is better than another. In fact some graphic artists may find this example to be a little overcomplicated. Anyways I thought the D-toid community would enjoy a look at the process.
Ace Yeti Trapper is in fact an older mobile game that was to be overhauled for iPhone. A lot of that task falls on the art direction and new focal image to represent the updated version of the game. All that was available were assets from the mobile game (really tiny art) and a drawing some unknown artist created several years ago.
First step was to get comfortable with the main characters, hero Jack Bivouac and the titular Yeti. The game's designer (my boss) had very specific details he wanted to keep on them, and while there wasn't total freedom for a re-design I do think I was able to streamline and modernize them a bit.
Trying to keep the feel of the original, I sketched out a pencil drawing. My goal was to have fun and showcase the characters, with some slightly better composition.
Once happy with the initial layout and having the ever-important "approvals," I was still feeling a bit romantic for the pen-and-paper approach and inked the final linework on art board. But from here on out it's all digital. As an artist I have certainly moved neck-deep into the digital creation process over the years, tho I do find myself still working things out on paper when suited.
Coloring is done in Photoshop, in stages. After the linework was scanned in and cleaned up, a "flats" layer is completed to isolate the distinct areas of detail and get an overall feel for the palette. This is also to great benefit when color changes are needed. Next is the rendering stage, which can go a hundred different ways depending on personal tastes and abilities. The overall aim was a colorful, high-contrast image with some decent rendering detail, but holding onto the animated/comic book style that matched the art and attitude of the game.
Next came the logo. Sorry to skip over it so abruptly, but that process is easily a post all its own!
Finally it was time to composite all the assets together with the UI work I was doing concurrently. The background was kept as a textured piece to not compete with all the other junk they kept asking to cram on the title screen (OMG facebook), which now also acted as the main menu. And well, there you go.
I'd be remiss if I didn't add a little shameless promotional plug at this point, if you'll forgive me. The game itself is an action puzzle game with shades of and Dig-Dug and Bomberman. And it's also got sprites! Maybe I'll follow up with a 2D sprite postů
I've been playing Demon's Souls since it came out last year. And I'm still on Level 1.
I can't beat the Tower Knight yet. When I can get to him.
Granted, I do not get to play as often as I like, it takes me a notoriously long time to finish games due to other obligations (sometimes referred to as "life"). Hell, half the time I get distracted by another game altogether! (I'm talking to you, Dragon Age) But sometimes you get hooked into a game and it just lingers in the back of your mind, "Aw jeeze, I really should sit down and play some Demon's Souls... If I can only get past that next part..."
When I read initial reports of the game's difficulty, I thought, "Really? I'm no slouch, how hard can it be?" And my thoughts were that a game so difficult as noted could not possibly be fun. But like so many others, I found much enjoyment in tiptoeing my way through the introduction of Demon's Souls, and an immense-- almost profound-- sense of accomplishment for meeting milestones within the game. Hours of play seemingly honed my level traipsing to near perfection, and yet I would regularly die and curse at the top of my lungs. I would boil with rage after losing a healthy wallet of souls, only to die 30 seconds after re-animation and losing them for good. Grrrrr!
Did I mention I haven't finished level 1 yet? I'm not even halfway.
Look, man, the game is brutal. What amazes me most is that I have barely scratched the surface of what the Demon's Souls world has to offer. I really do enjoy playing it, but I fear it will take years for me to finish it. I mean, that game is like a job-- serious dedication is required! I keep thinking to myself why in the world would I even want to invest that amount of time into it? And I remember the sense of elation I felt when I beat that first Phalanx boss. I remember the awe and outright fear of trying to run the castle gauntlet when the dragon flew over and torched the path (that scared the shit out of me). Basically, it is a rare, rare game -- especially after my long gaming history-- that can still elicit those kinds of emotions.
Yikes! I'm still a daly dtoid reader, but I haven't c-blogged in ages! Let's try and fix that :-)
Over the holidays I was able to spend some quality time with a backlogs of games I've been wanting to play or complete. Tho that effort was almost totally derailed by my luck in getting into the Mod Nation Racers Beta. I love a good cart acer, and this seemed to offer me more than I could have hoped for, even in beta stage.
I did race quite a bit, and earned a fair number of points in the online contests. The game was far from tuned, and I fear glitches in the game lead me to win a race or two under less than noble circumstances. But the racing was alot of fun and it was fascinating how quickly you can learn what other racers' styles of play were. I anticipate a strong community following for this game's eventual release.
Wat really got me? The Mod Shop. I could customize cars for hours in this thing (and I did!). The tools were really intuitive and the cart-proportions of the cars were quite manageable and not overwhelming considering the level of detail you were able to employ in the games beta stage. What killed me was all the locked content that I couldn't make use of, which I'me sure is all part of the shippable game's career mode, and no doubt linked to some online component. How I longed for the different car bodies and parts, all the extra decals and do-dads... I love this kind of stuff! Even with the limited custom sets I think I was able to pull off some cool cars:
Sadly I spent so much time on cars that I hardly got to play with the track editor. That is where some real creativity is set to be unleashed. From what I did mess around with, I was pretty amazed, and judging from the tracks that did get on line, the sky's the limit (literally in some of those insane designs). Based on the beta, I will be first in line to get this game in its final form. I hope a bunch of you all got to check it out, too!
Continuing the fine tradition of shockingly bad print advertising for videogames here in the states, Street Fighter 4 presents us with this shockingly magenta quandry:
"To Hadouken or not to Hadouken?"
It's got an over-airbrushed Ryu and... E. Honda? Wha-? Cause the first fighter I think about in Street Fighter is E. Honda. Plus a really tiny logo and even tinier screenshots. What is that, a law or something? This ad is running in the currently shelved comic books of our fair nation, and probably a gaming mag or two.
Now for fun, let us compare to the print ads featured in Japan-- which a keen friend from the land of all things awesome was kind enough to forward me after I regained my eyesight and sought redemption. These are ads you'll find in Famitsu, at trade shows, subway platforms, etc.:
"Screenshots? We don't need no stinking screenshots! We have art!" Now lastly is the coolest one, abstractly, perhaps. My friend explains it as "All the special moves written as if from a class studying calligraphy, marked up by the teacher."
Any yet we get to Hadouken or not to Hadouken. How about a Spinning Star Kick to the gonads, pinky.
Not long ago it was D-Toid that pointed me towards the amazing chip tuner Doctor Octoroc and his x-mas tunes under the guise of "8-bit Jesus."
Um, it's kind of awesome. Real awesome. Any season of the year.
At his site you can donate to get a physical CD. How could I NOT support such a thing?! But the Doctor also noted he was way behind on getting some more CD's pressed and shipped out, and to be a little patient. That patience paid off as the other day I got my CD's in the mail (I just had to share with friends). Just as amazing as the music itself was the super slick foldout-retro-messiah packaging in all its pixelly goodness.