Here is a collection of covers for top-selling action games of the last couple years. Did I miss some secret meeting?
It’s not a random selection of course – but pretty close to representative, as easily two thirds of all action game titles with some subtitle/version fit the pattern of worn flat white text and red version letters. It’s not exhaustive either, just the popular games I could think of right now.
If anyone has insight (maybe as cover creators themselves), I would be curious to hear it. My bet is that Metal Gear Solid 2 which started it… and it’s also taking twist on version 4.
I noticed this when watching the latest installment of Feminist Frequency.
This detail has quite some parallels with the violence against woman tropes in games. There the question is a moral one “do I want to create and consume games that stereotype other people”. But it’s also one about quality and diversity. Is there something superior about flat white text with little cracks on it, that so many games have to use it? Does it not make the whole bunch look uncreative? Also, I would think in both cases (tropes about woman – and covers) it’s no intentional plot or secret agreement. It is driven by subconscious group-think, by lazy copying – and by the fear of the industry and gamers to change working formulas. A bit like Skinner’s experiment with superstitious pigeons – that do a one legged dance just because they happened to do it once when food was given to them.
There is a harmful automatism and lack of thoughtfulness in game art creation. It works so why stop?
Two more relatively quick artworks meant as dialog backgrounds of the fantasy game I posted some medieval maps and model sheets about before.
They don’t welcome folks like you around there!
A trader of mysterious items.
Another little animation I recently finished:
The nxt train never stops!
Ok, ok, the topic for this animation is a bit… eh… specific (NXT doubling Peercoin’s market cap). But I’m still learning, so I thought it doesn’t matter. I liked the materials that I could use in this one. Didn’t expect it ending up in sooo much work.
I have to simplify more. And would be curious about critique – especially input on how to get the flying tiles to work better.
Anyways was fun – slowly getting the hang of a good animation workflow. But I have to get faster.
Recently I’m drawing more from memory than from reference. It’s an interesting exercise to pull those images out of the mind – they’re in there, but resisting.
Strangely – one can always see when it went wrong. Here are some of the better ones: A drawing from an event some months earlier, and some animals.
Little get-together at the bonfire.
A couple of dogs
Various animals from memory. Not showing the Iguana here, failed even after two weeks trying.
I did some windows cursor animations long long ago. Still love them after looking at them for 15 years – very relaxing, so if you’re up for a change, download them and check them out…. together with some link fun.
They cursors are easy to use: Just save the ani files, and change to them in your mouse settings. Here are up-scaled previews:
Some links as promised. First off the video analysis of Space Oddysey 2001 by Rob Ager. Stanley Kubrick apparently thought very deep about every scene – to the most minute details. Putting subliminal messages here and there – kinda mind blowing, especially the hidden IBM logos are stunning.
Should be a good lesson to artists, and how they can work with symbols – then again, Kubrick borrowed a lot himself from artists like Magritte.
Kubrick is not the only one good at hiding warnings for society in symbols. Studio Ghibli’s mastermind Hayao Miyazaki for example created the animation movie “Spirited Away” as a subliminal tale about children in today’s sexualized society.
The ghost keeps offering money to Chihiro.
Anyways, I’ll round this all up by destroying your eyesight forever.
Two more artworks for a cancelled game playing in medieval times.
I already showed two character model sheets of “Quest’n’Goblins” earlier. Here is a little towns map – I tried to give it a medieval style by making a pencil version of it (tracing it on top of the monitor… good for your arm muscles).
The latter artwork is a scene from inside one of the infamous taverns of the village.
The town’s map.
It’s a pretty rotten place.
I don’t even know how to write an easily understandable headline, this is quite new territory. I’m excited to show the logo I’ve made for Lith, a Massive Multiplayer Role Playing Game that will be based on a Cryptocurrency – which is a mouthful anyway you put it! And that’s just the start.
The gameplay of Lith will be heavily based on an in-game economy – basically having it’s own currency and allowing players to trade freely. Behind that stands the cryptocoin NXT, a kind of modernized Bitcoin. So at the end it will mean there is real value behind your actions.
Now add to that their unique funding: They use the NXT asset exchange to allow anyone to buy shares of the developer called D.O.R.C.S. – so if you think this sounds great, you can put money into it. Compared to a simple Kickstarter though, it will give you a share of the earnings if it will become a real success. I mean, not like with Occulus Rift, where fans funded it with two million dollar, and some weeks later the creator just shipped it off to Facebook and stuffed two billion bucks under his mattress.
Now, let’s not forgot about the logo!
You can read more on the idea on the NXT-forum, and support them if you think this is a great idea. You can see the DORCS asset online too.
Check out two screenshots and little video of a very early prototype below.
For a looooong time I wanted to try a bit of animation work. Doing my first steps here – learning how to go about it in Photoshop. By now that program is actually becoming quite good for animating.
Luckily I could connect the fun stuff with the useful, since Caromble needed some animations for effects. For example when objects are hit:
A small hit.
And of course every game needs explosions. This animation will be played in an particle – so will be mixed and then combined with some more sparks and smoke particles.
Animation of a full blown explosion.
You can check out a screenshot of the explosion animation in Caromble. And find a bit more at my Caromble.com post about particles
If you want to give it a shot yourself, I can really recommend Alex Grigg’s Animation Tutorial. He did for example the absolutely fantastic “Phantom Limb” short movie in Photoshop. Another useful tool is AnimDessin2, which adds buttons to Photoshop, that will speed up the workflow.
And here a different simple animation. It’s really fun – so more to come.
Don’t miss the nxt train!
Since I posted the male model sheet earlier, I have to follow up with the female one.
First the final outcome in color. There is not much clothing and weapons – since this was supposed to by dynamic in the game, depending on what items you collect.
And here are some early pencil sketches, starting with offering different designs.
And then detailing the chosen one.
And here a bonus character artwork:
Mysterious! Who is it? Will we ever find out? … well no, the game was cancelled.
One more painting of my Kyoto Art-In-Residence that I didn’t post yet. It’s about time. This is the tallest and the one I spend most time planning – I’ll show some sketches here.
Only discovered this area in the last week of my stay. Some areas of Kyoto are crazy mazes – none of it can be seen on maps. Around every corner is something surprising. I tried to put my journey through one of those back-alley paths into the painting.
“Machiya: The Path”, oil on 50 by 60 cm linen canvas
I started the whole thing with getting impressions of different areas and angles, that I planed to combine.
The first sketches – getting an impression of the different parts of the path.
To show what I mean, I combined some photos of the whole way into an animation.
Animation of the positions I took for painting (still image).
It took quite some planning to figure out how to stitch the elements together. The path could have gone straight, or bend up or down. I’ve decided to use some dynamic progression to show movement.
More sketches …. and a little lunch-bag from the neighbors there.
Then I basically just had to haul my easel around from spot to spot and paint each part.
Here is an in-between step of my painting process (you can see more palettes I use for paintings, and work in progress steps in the tags).
The setup with an early version of the image and the colors I used for mixing.