Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Quest Maps!

Woah! So its been a loooong time since I last posted on the blog. Okay, so my excuse is that I've predominantly been working away on final revisions, fixes and missing art assets for the completion of the game, lots of stuff but nothing I really felt was 'postable'. That said two biggie's I do have, one of which I've just completed are the final two quest maps - 'Nameless Swamp' & 'Orc Citadel', so here they are...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Warlock Update!

Working on the spell VFX for the different characters got me thinking about 'Dark' magic as depicted in the fantasy genre and it typically using black and purple colours. As the Warlock uses this spell type I felt it followed that I should adjust the Warlocks black robe trim from red to match. 

While as I was there I tinkered slightly with his design converting his previously cradled skull into a staff, the pose looks better balanced this way and carrying a staff marks him out as a magic user like the others who also carry staffs (staves?) in the game. I also tore off his sleeves to expose more of his bone white arms and match his generally patchworked robes, it makes him look a little more unhinged and when you meet him he's wondering some pretty inhospitable he's not going to be looking at his best ;)

Oh, and by doing this I caused myself a bunch more work, I've also had to update the Skeleton Warlock (above right) the Orc Warlock and the equipment icons. Damn those VFX!

Check out for more information on the Warlock.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Calling All The Heroes

Thought I would put together an image that collects all of the Heroes of Pocket Titans into a single line-up.
Looking at it now I think they do a good job of fitting the brief we initially set (identifiable class 'colours' and distinguishable oversize class specific weaponry & outfit items). Still unsure of which is my favourite, the Healer is definitely up there, but the Mage being the first I created is also a contender :)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Aaargh! Hit it with a Slipper!

Cracking through the last of the characters now and that means working up some of the more deadly enemies. John has placed in the game a particularly nasty spider that makes quite an appearance later in the second chapter ensnaring hero and enemy alike.

I wanted the enemy to stand out against the blue/green spooky forest in which he hunts so gave him bright red markings, and to make him a bit more imposing applied a 'skull' like motif to his head and face, due to this I have have dubbed him a 'Red Skull Tarantula' :) I sharpened up his pedipalps (kinda like a spider version of arms - no really - I'm learning stuff as I draw!) to make him look a bit more vicious and applied a liberal amount of gooey venom - nice!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Every Dog has its Day

As I mentioned back in February when I posted up the 'Hunter' Hero design, the character has the ability to call upon a companion 'Wolfdog'. Like his master he's quite undomesticated but also highly loyal, in some ways a reflection of the hybrid that he is.

So with this in mind I set about creating the character (above left) I started with a very quick head sketch based upon a collection of imagery and then began rendering in vectors. I'd not gone far before I felt he was looking a little too iconographic, too 'ice hockey team logo' if you know what I mean... :) I reworked the proportions of the facial features to better match the style I'd been working with and later followed that with the comparative proportioning to the body - job done! I did at one point consider a little neckerchief (like mad max's dog - awesome! :)

So then a quick blue/grey respray and some 'pit of hell' style glowing eyes and boom, a 'DireWolf'.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Skeleton Pass

Huzzah, third quest map completed! two more to go... So in the time honoured tradition on this blog of waffling on I've added some 'words' to accompany the 'pictures'. Those of you (all 10 of you) that have been following my progress will know I've previously blogged about the thinking behind the quest maps - you can check that out here if you fancy a refresher ;)

So this map is for the area designated on the heroes quest as 'Skeleton Pass' an unstable and perilous part of the kingdom that bridges the gap between the equally unpleasant 'Spooky Forest' and 'Swamp of Doom' (tm). Again the map scrolls over two spans worth of the mobile device, and UI markers are placed to denote the 'event' locations and little dots joining the markers to show  the route our heroes take at each stage of their journey - these markers did inform some of the maps design, but honestly I did go little more nuts on this one for fun, and man did I enjoy painting it :)

Below is a work in progress screenshot from one of the Skeleton Pass quest event areas, as you can see the map serves its purpose by expanding upon the environment art, game play content (Undead Fire Mages & Fire Zones) and atmosphere of the in game battle arena giving the player a greater sense of 'place' within the game world. 
All in all its shaping up quite nicely. Right, enough chat, must crack on with those two last maps...

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Battle Cards

Spent some time putting together the 'battle cards' for the heroes and the enemies. The asset size (max 128x128) meant I made the choice to make the cards wider than the traditional playing card ratio to make best of the room available, the lines needed to be much thicker than I first created so be readable at that scale - the same being true of the bold easily identifiable shapes and iconography. I experimented with quite a few palette combinations for both cards but particularly on the enemy card -  red bordering green came up the best - particularly with Orcs in mind; at one stage I had metal bolts in the corners till I realised that it looked like an 'Etch-a-Sketch of Doom' :O

Monday, 18 March 2013

Zero to Hero

I'm in the final stretch on the art now and needed to create a 'Civilian' character for some of the game encounters that take place. 

I remembered the very first character sketch I did when working out the style -  at the time I developed this sketch into a basic template character on which to base all the other character classes to come and as I was trying to work out proportions it remains the only human character not to have a 'hat' of some description ;) So it seemed apt to use this guy (with some modification obviously) as the Civilian  (above right). Which got me thinking on where it all began, and as I've never posted him up before I thought I'd add the first character to created based on that initial sketch and template - the Mage (above left).

I managed to dig out that first sketch (below) which I scanned - well actually, I used my camera phone to photograph ;) you can also see the scribbles for the mages staff and his hand.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Heaven & Hell

It occurred to me that I never posted up the final Paladin Hero character. He's lived in the game build for quite some time now but every time he popped up on screen the problems surrounding his fitting into the 128x128 square nagged at me - he just never looked as comfortable as the other characters. So recently I pulled him to pieces, rescaled, simplified some of the complexity in components of his armour, adjusted some areas of high contrast which were moire'ing at scale and supplemented his tome (which although nice didn't read well at scale) for a kite shield - much better :)

Standing alongside him is the Undead Skeleton Paladin, I introduced some minor changes (tears, scratches, horned helm, icon swaps and cloak palette) to make him suitably different but readily readable as the Paladin class.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Bag of Holding

As mentioned before there's a bunch of UI elements that need creating which I've been working on in between other tasks, these are the character equipment set - most are extracted  from the characters, some are reworked whilst others needed creating from scratch.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wild Thing

Okay so its been a while since I posted to the blog...  I've been mainly working on tile sets, backgrounds and the ui, nothing that felt substantial enough to put up, but hey I may just pull together all the icons and tiles at some point and post em up just for the hell of it ;)

That said I did just recently work on the final Hero character class - not that he's the last hero character you meet on your adventure just that its the last one I got round to doing...

I've been chewing this guy over for a quite a while now, he's called the Hunter.

In game play terms he uses a ranged projectile weapon and is accompanied by his trusty companion Wolfdog, generally the dialogue broadly paints him as being a little 'wild and scary' and prone to eating anything he kills.

I really wanted him to look like he lived off the land, the kinda guy who could and had taken down a bear or worse. I pictured him as a mix of Viking, Grizzly Adams and the Bear Man from True Grit so worked that into his design. His weapon I wanted to match with the rest of the fantastical setting so converted a blunderbuss pistol into a chunky hunting rifle to match his proportions. Oh and I gave him an eyepatch, can't beat an eyepatch ;)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Here be Dragons

I've recently put some time into the quest map as this was a part of the game that had yet to be realised in anything other than its block-out form. The format John has down is pretty sweet -  an area map scrolling over two spans worth of the mobile device, markers to denote the 'event' locations and little dots joining the markers to show  the route our heroes take at each stage of their journey.

We both really liked the idea of an illustrated map, having the appearance of a piece of parchment that had been sketched/inked and then simply water coloured, one that condensed the adventure and locations described in the quest onto each area map.  Much like a medieval/fantastical maps the parchment is filled with an approximation of the most dominant landscape and landmarks, so in the first area it is a road from a habitation through a hillside woodland and across a river. 

Playing through the game I took note of  the notable events, game-play features and particularly any location descriptions in the narrative that could be used to give each event location a sense of place, for example the first event takes place at 'The Heroes Academy' the second is mentioned in passing as being 'near the tower'. Each of these events are marked by oversize landmark which follow the same visual design for the characters - exaggerated key features; the style and palette used on the landmarks and surround also matches that seen in the game.

The far right of the map shows a small section of the next area which helps to demonstrate how the areas would transition in the game world and gives the player gets a taster of where they will be journeying to next, the next area map then being a continuation of this location...

Some area maps provided an additional challenge in having additional off the beaten track 'optional' quests, trying to squeeze these in made for some creative landscaping :)

Theres a fair bit of information needed on the border of the map screen so it was important that I kept the event locations primarily to the horizontal spine of the map. Giving the border  a clean and consistent colour backdrop - feathering the line work and bleeding the colour fill off to parchment at the edge worked really well and made good sense in the context of the illustrated map.

Creating these has been really enjoyable :D

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Pocket Titans

If you cast your eye to the top right  you'll notice that the blog banner has been updated to include the swish new logo and title of our game 'POCKET TITANS' - ta-daaaa! (fanfare) :D 

We've been chasing around a title for our game since its inception, steadily over the development we managed to narrow it down and select a title that compliments the game, out of interest here is some of thinking behind the title:

  • Pocket - because the feature characters are of a diminutive 'chibi' style and the game is for portable devices so fits neatly into your 'pocket'.
  • Titans - because as the characters embark on great and epic adventures where they grow from small unknowns to huge, powerful heroes of legend - 'titans'

The title has a nice contradiction to it, 'Pocket' and 'Titan' being descriptive polar opposites.  Also, thinking ahead, the title is broad enough to allow us to use it when creating future games that potentially may chronicle the adventures of other heroes (or villains) in a number of different (or similar) settings.

So, before creating the logo, John and myself spent some time noting down a set of core values we felt best describe in words what our games logo should be :

  • Fun - the game has a cartoon style and a good sense of humour, it shouldn't take itself too seriously, the 'Pocket' of the title
  • Epic - the story is an epic heroic adventure, the 'Titans' of the title
  • Incorporated Iconography - iconography that represents the game built into the logo typeface itself (also has the potential to be extracted for icons/smaller button logos)
  • Fantasy - the setting is fantastical, the typeface and iconography should make the setting clear
  • Game Palette and Styling - the game has a particular palette and rendering treatment, the logo should reflect this 
  • Bold, Readable and Recognisable - instantly identifiable and readable at all scales, it needs to be dramatic, attention grabbing, our game isn't subtle.

I spent a little time collating a set of existing game logo's that in some way matched one or a number of the values, coupled with our list this effectively narrowed the potential for creative direction before sketching began.

Fast-forward to the end and here's the final logo below. I feel it pretty much ticks all the boxes we set out to achieve, I'm most happy with the iconographic sword that connects the two words of the title - the jewel set pommel for the 'O' and the hilt guard and blade for the 'T'.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Kindred Spirits

So Water and Shadow Spirits were up next and here they are. With all the Spirits I found it really useful to sketch them out first and then work them up as vector illustrations thereafter as its much easier to quickly get down those chaotic curves, erase and rinse-repeat until I'm happy. 

With the Water Spirit, realising the varying density of the liquid was a good challenge and forming a face within the swirl of water that looked 'natural' and at the same time threatening took a few attempts. The leg work done in creation, exporting it as an alpha layer graphic for game use was not as taxing as I thought it might be...phew.

I'd been chewing over the Shadow Spirit since beginning this set of characters, as although it sounded the coolest unlike the others it didn't offer up as many possible solutions. I liked the idea of hair-like tendrils of darkness writhing from a half seen skull so worked that up.

Twenty-five down, nine to go...  :D

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Spirit of Adventure

Here are two of the Spirit characters I've been creating for our game. The Spirits are natural elements that inhabit some of the more remote areas of the game world but they can also be conjured or summoned by the more magical classes to fight in their stead.

With these character designs we wanted to construct them from their element but present them as a swirling floating ethereal  essence rather than the more typical humanoid shaped 'Elementals'. The Spirits do have a certain amount of sentience though, therefore their essence is shaped around a crudely formed face

These two are the Earth and Fire Spirits, next up will be the Water and Shadow Spirits...