Daily Drawing Week 2

Art

Here is the collection of daily drawings I did this past week. As I mentioned in the previous post my goal this week was to try out a creativity exercise I had read about that sounded like an interesting challenge. The basic idea was to draw five random starting lines and then see how many original drawings I could create each day given those same lines. It ended up being a lot of fun for me. I’m always amazed how wrapping something inside constraints can provide a unique direction or focus. I found I was really looking forward to each day’s drawing and seeing what I’d come up with. By the end of the week I was quite familiar with the lines. I think my favorite from the series is “Hold On Tight”.

I also created an animation of the five drawings called “Five From Five” as an interesting way to present how all the drawings relate to each other:

You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Five Random Lines
Here are the starting lines
Yellow Dog
“Yellow Dog” – Oct 10th, 2011
Southwest
“Southwest” – Oct 11th, 2011
Horncordion
“Horncordion” – Oct 12th, 2011
Hold On Tight
“Hold On Tight” – Oct 13th, 2011
Just Keep Swimming
“Just Keep Swimming” – Oct 14th, 2011 
Fall
“Fall” – Oct 15th, 2011
Eggplant
“Eggplant” – Oct 16th, 2011 

For Saturday and Sunday I decided that five days of using the same lines was enough and just drew whatever I wanted. I’m trying to experiment a bit more with light and color as demonstrated in “Eggplant” above and I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I’ve spent so many years mainly drawing in black and white pen or pencil that I’m really excited to finally be pushing my color skills and learning.

Not sure what this week holds for the daily drawings. It was really nice to have some constraints or guidelines so I may have to think of something to provide a bit of structure. We’ll see!

Daily Drawing Week 1

Art

This past week I spent about an hour each morning doing a different drawing. I had read a tutorial by Marcus Hadlock that provided some good tips on how to draw in Flash and was further inspired by encountering his Daily Doodle project where he made a different drawing each day for a year. I thought this sounded like an interesting idea and while I may not do it every single day I do want to try it for a while and see how it goes.

Now I do use a Wacom tablet and I normally do all of my drawing in Photoshop because for whatever reason I’ve never really enjoyed drawing in Flash. I felt I spent most of my time fighting with it in fact. Well it turns out a lot of the problem was just some basic misunderstandings of the brush tool along with also learning some nice simple coloring, shading, and highlighting tricks using a few basic layers.

I corresponded a bit with Marcus over G+ to ask him some further questions about things I saw in his tutorials but then it was time to put my learning into action!

Below are the results of my first week. Six drawings in total since I started on Tuesday. I figure I’ll post the montage once a week on Sunday with the week’s drawings. I do post the daily drawings over on Twitter and G+ though.

You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Banjo Farmer
“Banjo Farmer” – Oct 4th, 2011
Loquacious Mime
“Loquacious Mime” – Oct 5th, 2011
Focused Frog
“Focused Frog” – Oct 6th, 2011
Red Robot
“Red Robot” – Oct 7th, 2011
The Loneliest Puppeteer
“The Loneliest Puppeteer” – Oct 8th, 2011
Tree Beast
“Tree Beast” – Oct 9th, 2011 

Some of these drawings just came from my subconscious when I sat down with my coffee in the morning and tried to imagine something to draw. A few of them though came from friends when I asked on Facebook for some random character prompts to do some improv. My friends suggested both “Loquacious Mime” and “The Loneliest Puppeteer” and I’m pretty happy with how they came out.  The other interesting fact is that “Banjo Farmer” came from a creativity exercise that Marcus posted about where you draw a random squiggly line and attempt to build a face out of it.

There was another creativity exercise Marcus posted a few days ago where you draw five squiggly lines and attempt to build an entire composition using them. I think as a challenge this week I will be using the same squiggly lines all week long but drawing a different drawing from the same lines each day. I’m excited about this challenge and we’ll see how it turns out!

New Game Progress

Games

I’ve been cranking along on one of my biggest games and I recently finished a complete graphics overhaul!  The game had lasted a long time in the prototype art stage and it is really fun to have it finally in a highly polished state.

This game is my most ambitious so far containing 40 levels arranged into 4 different difficulty groups.  This is also the first level design I’ve done for a game as most of my previous games have been more on the procedural or arcade side of things where game variables just sort of change over time to introduce new enemies or difficulties but there aren’t distinct levels. The gameplay combines aspects of puzzles, agility, and time trials.

I wanted to post some composite before/after screenshots I made of the new graphics overhaul:

Level 2-5

Level 2-8

Level 3-6

Level 4-3

I’m now getting into the “last 10%” stage of this game. There are still many miscellaneous tasks for me to complete like sound effects, music soundtrack, social features, menu features, further testing and polish.  It is getting close though to the point where I’ll be able to present it to sponsors. Always an exciting stage for a game to be at. I can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel on this game and I can’t wait for the day when I can let the players in!

 

The Results Are In

Art Game Business Games

AVOIDAL Concept Art IllustrationThe results for Ludum Dare 18 were posted last night and I’m excited to report that my latest Flash game AVOIDAL was in the top 20!

AVOIDAL placed 14th out of the 172 game entries submitted to the the competition.

Ludum Dare is a solo game making event where participants have 48 hours to create an entire game with all content from scratch after the theme is announced. This time the theme was “Enemies As Weapons.”

I wrote up a detailed post mortem about my experience creating AVOIDAL and created a timelapse video of the entire process.

This was my most successful Ludum Dare yet and I am happy to continue to meet my goals when I participate as I try to raise my personal bar for success with each event I enter. I wanted to get a top 10% finish again and I was able to get top 8% so my goal was met.

I’ve been able to predict pretty well how my games will place each time which I think is a good exercise in trying to be self-aware about your game and the potential audience for it. This can matter when you are trying to make a Flash game that you want to stand a chance of being enjoyed by millions of players rather than thousands.

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What Games Mean To Me

Art Games Life

What Games Mean To Me

Before I can really talk about what games mean to me I think it is important to provide a brief amount of background on where I am coming from on this personal subject.

I began developing a love for both drawing and programming as a young child and have spent countless enjoyable and priceless hours on those activities over the years. I caught the art bug bad in the late 70s after encountering Speed Racer on TV and the first Star Wars movie.

I filled page after page in my father’s art journals with little car race and space battle scenes. I remember him taking a lot of time showing me how to draw and even how to do flip book animations on the corners of the journal pages.

Even before we had a home computer my parents started sending me to Radio Shack computer camps at age six for programming in LOGO where I would get very familiar with that friendly drawing turtle and pen up and pen down. Then when I was about eight years old my parents got our first home computer. It was a TRS-80 but we only had it for one night–the salesman from Radio Shack called back to say they had received something better and wanted to know if my father wanted to upgrade.

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