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The life and times of a Concept Artist at an indie game studio


The life and times of a Concept Artist at an indie game studio based in London.

The effort that goes into video games is tremendous. Years of love, labour and sweat are poured into a game. Ever wondered what it was like in the perspective of an artist?

Warning: This demanding but all the more rewarding life isn’t for the faint hearted, this isn’t for you if you lack patience or suffer from commitment issues.

The key ingredients I found essential for success is a certain level of naivety and blind faith in yourself and the product you’re working on. Without it, you’ll dry up faster than Ghandi’s flip flops after a rainy day. In a small studio, if you’re fresh out of college like I was the first thing you’d notice is the genuine camaraderie within the team, like they say, there’s no I in teamwork.

Meet McNulty, the Caped Koala Studios Mascot!

You’d be working on a game for very long hours, endless nights, many days of the year, through holidays and with barely any social life but hey, you’re not alone!

As the artist, a normal but busy days consists of coming to work, doodle, laugh with my mouth full, doodle some more and go home at ungodly hours of the day.

More specifically, one would have to wear more hats. What kind of hats you’re wondering? Roles! If you’re an animator like I was trained to be, you’re expected to do the art, from concepting to environments to user interface and back to animation. It’s a small team so everyone does as much as possible.

Working on a children’s mass-multiplayer online 3d educational game means inspiring kids to want to learn and also have fun. Pora Ora, is a free 3d game on a grand scale, an mmorpg for 6-12 year olds if you will. The game boasts 2 massive worlds, plethora of mini-games and side-quests and not only that but also more worlds in the making. Children can interact with other avatars, play with their designated pets we call ‘Pora Pals’ and pimp out their pads. Min-games are education oriented, from Math to science, English Geography and many more. There’s even non-educational mini games they could play from racing to solving elaborate puzzles and my favourite one which is to be included in the near future, Pora Pall battles.

As a child, my siblings, and me, all seven of them, learned English and Dutch by simply playing games like Banjo Kazooie, Zelda and the likes, which was, to be frank, dialogue-reliant. So I can’t help but be reminiscent when we receive drawing from children across the country asking for their Pora Pals designs to be modelled and featured in the game.

Children even play fashion designers and send us their ideas of clothing, which leaves me rather worried I might be out of a job soon at this rate.

As my first foray into the games industry, I’ve learnt that with persistence, and tenacity, combined with hard work comes results, just got to have faith.

Our free-to-play game, Pora Ora has finally reached a level where your support can really give us the extra oomph to make the game that much more spectacular!

Help us change the way education is taught!

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About Ali Sedone of us since 1:27 PM on 09.08.2011

Animator and Game Designer