July 1, 2011
Since we just released some DLC and Spacechem is also being offered up as one of the prizes in Steam’s Summer Camp sale, I thought this would be an opportune time to talk about some of the concept art that went into Spacechem, Now I know what you’re thinking, Spacechem isn’t exactly a graphical masterpiece, so why would it need concept art? Well the truth is that one of the things that drew me to spacechem originally was the story, and the opportunity to design a world and characters around that story, which was intended to have a more central role in earlier versions of Spacechem than it did in the final product. For example, the story was going to have conversations between characters with avatars, similar to a standard JRPG. Zach wanted an aesthetic that was different and eye-catching. I’m not sure who suggested it, but I eventually went to early/mid twentieth century sci-fi as my peg for the universe. Stuff like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, etc. I was also influenced by a book on arms and armor in the metropolitan museum, and tried to meld that into the scifi world. Below you can see some of my helmet designs. None of these actually made it to the final game, but there is an echo of design #1 in of of the panels we used to help tell the story in the middle of missions.
While none of these actually made it to the final game, but there is an echo of design #1 in of of the panels we used to help tell the story in the middle of missions. Here investigators are looking into Spacechem documents. I wanted to make the investigators look a little more mysterious, so I enclosed their faces in helmets.
Zach also liked to say that he wanted to make the players feel heroic when they played the game, and so I designed Spacesuits for them that made Reactor Engineers look more like spacefaring heroes in the mold of Han Solo. I took lots of inspiration from all sort of places like Star Wars and even old diving suits, but I think I borrowed most heavily from the design for Captain Harlock.
I liked design# 2 best here, and that image ultimately wound its way into the Story Panels as Bruce Novak’s signature outfit. Below you can see him hacking at foliage in a jungle planet and entering his massive spaceship to embark on an adventure into parts unkown.
While a lot of the concept work behind Spacechem was left out of the game due to time and budget constraints, I think it still helped to flesh out an interesting world (which is part of what attracted me to the game in the first place) that I would love to return to some day.
June 21, 2011
Exhausted. Posting this picture precisely because it’s something I can’t talk about yet, but it will suffice to fill my twice weekly posts. I hope to have something more substantial on Thursday, but not making and promises.
September 14, 2010
Finally, a new art related post! I think a two day marriage seminar in which I wasn’t allowed to work really lit a fire under my ass yesterday, and got me working on all sorts of things. I resurrected a piece i’d started about a month ago which I’d hoped to give as a gift to my fiancée. With luck, I’ll have it finished and framed by Friday, our third anniversary. I did want to go over some of the mistakes I make while making it.
The image above shows the original state of the artwork when I got back to it. After a month or so its much easier to spot things that weren’t working very well. One of the bigger mistakes I made was to make the gun look two dimensional. I did this knowingly, because trying to draw the gun in perspective was a bit of a hassle that I didn’t want to have to deal with at the time. Why is this a mistake? If your goal as an artist is to create on a 2d plane a 3d representation of an object, then it should follow that you use every means at your disposal to heighten the illusion of three dimensions (with the caveat that there are styles that specifically want to look 2d).
Having fixed that issue, I noticed another problem, this mouse’s paws were too big! Obviously we’re working in the realm of fantasy where mice have thumbs and carry muskets, but in the original drawing I gave no thought to the size of the mouse’s paws, making them roughly human-size (with regards to proportion). That’s fine and all, but even as a fantastical piece, I wanted to bring it as close to reality as a mouseketeer could feasibly get, so I made his paws much smaller to more simulate the actual size of a mouse’s paw. This necessitated having to redraw the mouse’s sword and lower body as well.
Fingers crossed that I’ll have time to work on the final image and post it here soon!
July 12, 2010
I really liked the monk sketch I did yesterday and thought it deserved to be brought to life as a finished product. I’ve always held fascination for art that mixes genres, eras, etc., because I love how two seemingly incompatible things can work together harmoniously. In this artwork, I’m mixing what is essentially a Japanese Buddhist monk (taking many artistic liberties) with Stupas from Borobudur, imagining that this monk is fulfilling his obligatory pilgrimage through (insert mythological country here). I’ve also added technological components to the artwork, such as a radio/mp3 player integrated into the monk’s hat (where he presumably listens to mantras or waves crashing on the seashore) as well as a GPS unit built into the stupa so that the monks can record their journey and check their emails.
Just about finished the line art and I’ll hopefully be adding more detail and coloring it in over the week.
December 16, 2009
So a few months ago I submitted a design for the Palit Frobot contest. Ondoy happened in between, and I never did manage to post my final design here. In rush of work both paid and volunteer I’d forgotten to check on Palit’s website to see if they’d chosen the finalists, until today. First off, let me inform the reader who does not have a close relationship with me that I’m not a proud man. I know my artwork is not the best, and I have learned to deal with being average when it comes to many things. But for fuck’s sake I know my entry is better than this, this and this. This one wasn’t even a frog! Palit, why do you bother writing down rules and regulations when you don’t even bother to enforce them? Where is the environmental awareness through the use of a frog’s anatomy and green coloured elements as well as the technological superiority using high-tech, industrial or futuristic design elements present in any of these images? I wouldn’t be so mad if I hadn’t actually put time and effort into researching for this piece, only to be outdone by a 6 year old with his first bamboo™ tablet.
Update: Thanks to willie, I also found out that one of the designs was a blatant ripoff of a Tekken character. I have notified Palit of this in a very petty email, which does not deserve to be reprinted.
December 5, 2008
It’s dawned on me that in nearly 3 years of making games, I have yet to see a copy of a game I worked on released (except some horrible game and watch ports and certain ABS-CBN properties that I’d rather forget) until now. Well, it’s not quite released yet, but my bit is done, and it should be rolling out before the end of the year. Sure it’s not a triple A game, but the fact that it’ll be out there for people to download and play does give me a sense of accomplishment. And it’s a new portfolio section too, so hooray!
November 23, 2008
This is for another contest at gameartisans, which is becoming my most frequented site for concept art inspiration. I’m using a new workflow I’ve found which I like very much, as it allows or more speed and flexibility in coming up with concepts. It’s also the first time I’ve actually considered making a tutorial of the process, jsut because I’ve saved up a lot of the images of the work under construction.
Not quite finished yet, and I know I definitely need to study up on armor and the like, because my armor design is pretty generic looking right now.
Edit: This wsa my final entry. It’s still not perfect but it’s going as far as it’s gonna go. Some mostly cosmetic changes wth the armor, basicllay adding more detail, and totally changing the sword. Overall I’m happy, bt the quality of artists that this comp brought out makes me almost certain I’m nowhere near close to winning this.
October 4, 2008
Done in practice for crowd scenes. This was mostly to get over the fear of drawing such large, crowded scenes. It’s very unpolished right now, but think of it as a first draft. 6-7 hours over 3 days.
August 18, 2008
I wanted to finish this to get it out of the way and work on some new things. Definitely needs a lot more polish, the colors I chose were kind of shit, and the basic drawing has some flaws in its posture. Still, it’s time to move on. Original drawing here.
January 11, 2008
Made for some friends, none of whom have received them yet.