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!

Two Thousand Ten and Beyond!

Game Business Games Life

Sitting here on the first day of 2011 I found it rewarding to revisit what I was able to accomplish this past year. A year is such a long time that I often forget all the projects that I’ve worked on. As the year winds down I tend to find myself wishing that I had managed to finish more games so I was happy to discover that I had published more titles than I thought!

5 Games Published in 2010

Robot Reaction released for iPhone

Robot Reaction was one of my Flash games from 2009 that I completely rewrote to work with the Flash CS5 Beta program. I was able to use the iPhone Packager for CS5 to get my first game into the Apple App Store.  It was a great learning experience in old school optimization techniques like bitmap blitting as well as a sobering business look at how hard it can be to make any money in the App Store vs the Flash business space I was familiar with.

Play Robot Reaction!

Mouth Full of Happy

While I was out at the Flash Gaming Summit and the Game Developers Conference I got to meet up with the fine folks over at the Kongregate office in San Francisco to hatch out plans for an advergame for Cheetos and Frito Lay. It was my first foray into contract advergame work and I had a great time working to create this game.  It was based off of my Orange You Glad game that people at Cheetos had spotted over on Kongregate and wanted me to create a custom version with the Cheetos theme.

Play Mouth Full of Happy!

Contentric

Feeling a lot of inspiration after my return from the Indie Gaming Summit at the Game Developers Conference I wanted to get more involved in some of the online game competitions that were run monthly over at the Experimental Gameplay Project. Contentric was created in a week for the EGP theme of You Only Have 10 Seconds and I was quite happy with the result. I was even more pleased when Armor Games decided to sponsor it!

Play Contentric!

For The Twin

Next on my hit list was the desire to finally participate in one of the competitions over at the TIGSource forums. There was a new month long competition being run with the theme of A Game By It’s Cover that had a fascinating concept to me. We were to pick a fake game cartridge whose art inspired us to think up an actual game based on the fake art. For The Twin was what I managed to come up with by using this case art.  Besides creating a lot of creepy cute art and backgrounds for the game I also composed seven faux chiptune loops in Reason for the game that came out quite well. The game ended up being sponsored by Spil Games and was played over one million times in the first month alone–a new milestone for me!

Play For The Twin!

AVOIDAL

The last game I published in 2010 was initially created for the 18th Ludum Dare 48hr game competition theme of Enemies as Weapons and polished up for the Experimental Gameplay Project theme of Zero Buttons. I went with a retro look and classic arcade gameplay for this challenging avoider collector mouse skills game. I then spent the month of October working on a final version of the game for the Ludum Dare October Challenge to sell a game in a month. Newgrounds ended up sponsoring AVOIDAL and I got to create a bunch of medal achievements that were pretty fun to try and win.

Play AVOIDAL!

Failure To Launch

I also found it insightful to take a look at all the games I worked on yet did not manage to publish for one reason or another. Many of these games are still on my todo list for 2011 and will see the light of day eventually.  Digging through my directories I discovered that I had worked on a total of 12 games this year while only publishing 5. I’m not sure if that is good or bad but it is worth keeping on eye on since I do believe in trying to finish games in order to get the most experience and value from them.

I had attempted to learn an early version of Flash Punk and I found it to be a really great Flash game framework. My efforts stalled out though with this untitled retro dodge game and I still have to learn the newest version.

I made a game in two hours for one of the crazy Glorious Trainwrecks Klik of the Month Klub #35 events called Wizards vs Ghosts which I find amusing.  Creating a game in only two hours is truly mind breaking!

I”m still actively working on a final expanded version of my 2009 Ludum Dare game called Angry Caverns and a 2009 Ludum Dare game called Fleedom. I’m still developing a pixel art arcade game called Bomb Diver as well as collaborating with another game designer/artist on a ridiculous game about pooping pigeons and bicycles.

Fun Goals And Milestones

A few of the random things I am happy about from 2010 include finally getting to go to my first Game Developers Conference as well as attending the Flash Gaming Summit the Sunday before GDC. It was a truly inspiring week spent in San Francisco and I met so many awesome game developers and Flash publishers. I am really looking forward to returning again this year.

Another great milestone was getting a New Hampshire LLC for Hybrid Mind Studios so it is all official and everything.

On the competition side of things I managed to host my first Mini Ludum Dare event around the theme of Constraints which I felt had a great turnout of submitted games and was fairly well received by the community. My game Alien Flight Academy – Graduation Day was the result of that competition. A bizarre experiment in alternate keyboard controls.

As I mentioned previously I finally had a Flash game break the one million views mark. It was a simple milestone I had looked forward to finally achieving.  2010 marks my second full year releasing Flash games and it is so amazing to look back at my first Flash game TurnStyle which was released in Feb of 2009 and only ever got about 150k plays total and compare that to my more recent games that reach millions. That fact just continues to floor me. I never dreamed that I might be able to reach such a large audience with my games, art, and music! The Flash game space offers game designers an amazing distribution opportunity that I find very inspiring, humbling, and flattering all at the same time. I look forward to trying to reach more and more people as I improve my craft.

Determined to get more involved in the local game development community around Boston I started attending monthly Boston Indies meetups and the local Boston Game Loop conference. I even started up a weekly game development co-work meetup down in Cambridge, MA at Sprout for three months to help myself meet other area game developers. It’s been great getting to know so many fine people in my neck of the woods.

Along the same lines as getting involved more locally–near the end of 2010 I had the good opportunity to take part in my first team game jam too! I was at a Boston Game Jam event called Lunar Jam and I helped out primarily as the artist doing many black and white illustrations for a choose your own adventure type visual novel game called Perchance to Dream that is still in development.

I’ve managed to work with great portals like Armor Games, Big Fish Games, Newgrounds, Kongregate, King, Spil, Addicting Games and many others. Each new relationship I establish helps me to feel more comfortable that I’ll be able to continue doing independent game development full time–my childhood dream!

Moving Forward

Looking at what I have planned for 2011 is pretty exciting to me. There are many games I’ve been working on that are nearing completion that I can’t wait to publish to see what the players think. I also want to collaborate more with other game designers, artists, musicians, and programmers. I plan to keep attending conferences like the Flash Gaming Summit and the Game Developers Conference as well as other regional and local events. I hope to keep learning new technologies, skills, and game design techniques. I look forward to building my relationships with other game developers. I have so many game ideas that the lists are growing out of control. I hope I can manage to stay focused and driven enough to get even a tenth of these new ideas out. I can’t wait to see what 2011 holds for myself as well as the other game developers out there.

Bring on the games!

Robot Reaction now available on iPhone

Games

My Flash game Robot Reaction is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

You can play the free Flash version of the iPhone game at robotreaction.com and buy the game for 99 cents in the App Store. I worked on the iPhone version in collaboration with One App At A Time.

The goal is to try and blow up as many robots as you can in ten fast paced rounds. There are six different robot types which all explode in different ways.

Here is a gameplay video of the iPhone version in action:

Robot Reaction – New Flash Game Released

Games

screenshot1

Spent the past three days cooking up this fun little robot-themed chain reaction game.  I’ve wanted to do a chain reaction game for quite some time and I really wanted to do a side perspective version that explored some fun and quick game play mechanics.  I spent a week or two mulling ideas over in my head before beginning development.  I’m rather happy how this turned out all things considered.

Play it here.