Monday, March 31, 2014

Game I Worked On - Jetpack Cat

A couple months ago I worked on a mobile game called Jetpack Cat for Make or Break Games.  Make or Break Games was founded and is led by Mike Leach who I taught with a couple summers back at ID Tech Camps.  It was a great experience to be able to work with Mike again and to be able to contribute to a mobile game.  Jetpack Cat is an arcade-style shooter that uses your phone's accelerometer to tilt the player side-to-side to avoid incoming enemy missiles.  It's a game anyone can get into and it has a lot of nice upgrades to get.

For the game, I worked on some sprite animations, effects, icons, buttons and the store interface.  Owen McRory created and designed Jetpack Cat along with the enemies and painted the beautiful illustrations that you fly past while playing the game in addition to creating icons and effects for the game.

You can download the game for Android now, for free, with no ads until the first major update, from the Google Play store link below.  iOS version is coming soon.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Art Contest - VG Remix - Mirror's Edge

A few months back, over the summer, I participated in an art contest sponsored by Polycount, my cg forum of choice, and Sketchfab.  From their website, "Sketchfab is a web service to publish, share and embed interactive 3D models online in real-time without plugin."  The contest was called VG Remix and the theme was to recreate or remix a favorite video game, build it very low poly, use small resolution textures and place it into Sketchfab in order to show off the capabilities of the website.  Since the website allows you to move around in 3D space to view a model just like you would in a 3D application, the scene is built or designed like a three-dimensional diorama.  I didn't place in the contest, but I enjoyed participating in it and I was flattered to be linked to in a PC Gamer article about the contest.  Next time I will try and spend less time modeling and laying out assets and more time on texturing.

If you click the cube icon in the first image above you can see Sketchfab in action and view my entry in the competition.  I definitely recommend viewing it in Full Screen.  If you would like to see some of the creation process in action you can view it on my Twitch stream here or on my Polycount thread for the competition.

Last but not least, my entry is based off of the game Mirror's Edge by Dice and published by EA.  I am a big fan of the art style and direction in the game.  The lighting, colors and textures are all really well done.  Dice has some world class artists and I am looking forward to checking out the sequel.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Game Jam Game I Worked On - Gravity Battle

This past Christmas I was lucky enough to be able to get an Oculus Rift and I have been doing some developing with it since then.  Once you try on the Rift it is truly an experience like none other and I definitely believe it will be "the next big thing".  John Carmack has something interesting things to say about it here in relation to the Oculus versus the next iteration of consoles and where he sees the Oculus going in the future. He puts things in perspective nicely.

So I had to take the Rift to the Global Game Jam.  It wasn't even a question for me.  The GGJ site I went to was at Montgomery County Community College where I teach and I got to work on the game above, Gravity Battle, with two of my former students, Mark Black and Daniel Andre who I thought did a great job on the game.  The Montco site all around was fantastic and Jason Wertz should be thanked for setting it up and taking care of everything.  One of the coolest parts of the weekend for me, there were many, was being able to introduce the Rift to so many people, 20-30, for the first time and getting to see their reaction to it. One woman felt compelled to bring in her husband to try on the Rift and I think the experience impacted Jason enough to look into getting a few Rifts for the Montco Computer Science Department.

As far as the game, it was a great learning experience for me in getting a player controller setup with certain physics or controller options and having it work with the Oculus.  I also got to design and try out an art style that has been in my head a bit since getting the Rift.  One of the issues with the Rift is that sometimes, if you focus, you can see the individual pixels on the screen.  Michael Abrash has a lot of interesting information on resolution and latency here.  What I attempted to do was to see if I couldn't help correct that problem by using a setting, space, where it would be fairly dark anyway and that way the image would come across cleaner and hopefully cause less motion sickness, which can be an issue when first starting out with the Oculus.  Hopefully, the attempt at zero gravity also helps ease new users into the virtual reality experience since you move very slowly in the game.  As a side bonus, the space setting fit in nicely with the GGJ theme, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

You can download and try out the game here.

You can leave some feedback on the game here or in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Bad Doctors Burning City and Re-Animate

I recently did some graphic design work for the band The Bad Doctors.  They have an album coming out on FDH Records called Burning City and they recently released an EP called Re-Animate, which features a couple of songs off of their upcoming album along with a few previously unreleased tracks.  You can check out a description and review of their EP over at WXPN's The Key, a Philly radio station.  You can also hear their music at the bottom of that review or on their Bandcamp site and you can follow them via Facebook.

The top two images on the post were possible album covers I did for them for their upcoming album.  The third image is for a cassette version of the EP and the last image is for a digital download version of the EP. The city skyline/EKG line was drawn by Logan Neubauer.  Hopefully people will like the images and if you check out their music I recommend "AC" on Re-Animate or "The Death of Lycidas" on Distractions.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Character Work

In the 3D Modeling class I teach at Montgomery County Community College I have my students model a character for their mid-term and they go on to create an environment in Unity for their final.  This is a bit of an example of what I would have them model for their mid-term minus the high poly sculpt, normal map and spec map.  I made this in about a week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Somewhat recently I've discovered the beauty and ease of 8 Monkey Labs' Marmoset Toolbag, which is a great real-time rendering engine for artists.  You can't really make a game out of the engine, but you can take high resolution, real-time screenshots of your game art for your portfolio with all the trimmings and post process effects that you would expect and hope for in a AAA quality game engine.  Playing with Marmoset has prompted me to do some cleanup, improvements and updates on the bike I made.  As you can see, I've also swapped out the base color in my texture for some other colors and made wallpaper sized images out of them.  Right now, the wallpapers would work best on monitors that have a screen resolution of 1680 x 1050, but I have made them large enough, 3360 x 2100, so that hopefully everyone will be able to use them, should they choose to, on monitors with different screen resolutions.  What color(s) do you like the best?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Game I Worked On - DreamSpanner

Dreamspanner is a game I worked on in college at Full Sail University as part of my Final Project.  I was Art Lead for our team and worked on the level design, the level layout and environment props and textures along with helping out wherever else that I could.  I thought that, overall, it might not be good enough for my portfolio anymore, but I am still very proud of the game, the work I did on it and what we were able to accomplish.  So, I thought I would post it here instead.  Plus, it is still totally playable.  You can see a video on it and download it here.  Below is a description about the game.
Dreamspanner features a young female artist in an oil-painted dream world of her own making.  She must navigate her world by drawing platforms and cubes to manipulate objects such as crashing boulders, treacherous scales, and endless pits of paint-dissolving turpentine.  The game also features turpentine-born enemies for her to combat with her two shapes, as well as a boss that will push the limits of her dream and any players' ability to solve puzzles while under attack.