Thursday, December 12, 2013

2D Art - Fall 2013

Ugh, has it really been 2 months since my last post? (This isn't going to become the common theme of my blog, I swear!) This year is really flying by! I've just been so busy working on things that I keep forgetting to post them on here. Since I've got so many new things to share, get ready for a lengthy post!

The biggest news is that we finally finished our first project at Hyrax Games. The Amazing Jungle Rescue has finished testing and it's now ready to go. We're currently exploring various distribution options, so it should be available for download very shortly. Here's a promotional trailer. Don't forget to check out the website for more info!

The Amazing Jungle Rescue - Official Trailer from Hyrax Games on Vimeo.

In the meantime, I've continued working on improving my portfolio. I've been bouncing back and forth between 2D and 3D, so I think I'll separate those into two different posts. This one will focus on 2D and next week I'll share some of my recent 3D work.

First up is a sprite animation I did a while back. This is Shaw from a series that Michelle and I created called The Nays. I'd like to expand this into a lengthier pixel-animated scene with backgrounds and other characters, but it's not really one of my top priorities right now.

Another thing I've been working on is User Interfaces. I feel like I do UI-related work all the time, but for some reason that section on my portfolio was looking embarrassingly bare. So I decided it would be fun to make a mockup UI for a game concept that I created back in college called Freedom Disc Extreme. It's a medieval themed ultimate frisbee game that I'd love to turn into a reality someday if I ever had the technical know-how to make it work. So below is a sample of the UI that would appear in game, with a short animation explaining what everything is and how it would animate.

Freedom Disc Extreme - UI Mockup from Steve Rakar on Vimeo.

Recently I went on a reference pose downloading spree, adding about 200 new pictures to my collection. I've been trying to force myself to do some gesture drawings, since improving anatomy is always a good idea. This isn't the kind of thing I normally share with people, but if you like seeing unfinished work and ugly process sketches, then check it out! The bottom right one I'm planning to turn into a full-fledged painting, but it's still very far from completion right now so I won't even bother posting it just yet.

And lastly, here is some rough concept art from a new game project that I'm starting up. With the new Unity 4.3 update, I've become very interested in creating a 2D platformer in the engine. I've had a pretty cool idea brewing around in my head for a while now, but I won't go into too much of the details. Just know it's going to have a very Toe Jam & Earl vibe. This is the planned design for the main character.

And that pretty much sums up my 2D work for the past month or two. Stay tuned next week for a sample of my recent 3D art!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Improvement Month

Well, so much for posting on a regular basis. It's already been over a month since my first post! I kept thinking "Hey, I should post something... but I don't have enough new stuff to talk about." Well, I took care of that concern. This has been the most productive month I've had all year! I have so much new stuff to post that I think I might split it into 2 different posts.

A few weeks ago, I officially bought a new webhost. I had been using a free one for a long time, and it seemed to do the job alright. What I didn't know however was that because of the free host, my website had apparently been littered with obnoxious advertisements! (I have adblock so I had no idea) If you visited my website in the past and got bombarded with a flashing "Your virus scanning program is out of date" message, I apologize profusely (also shame on you for not telling me that my site was a giant billboard). Anyways, part of the new webhost process meant re-uploading everything. And as I was going through the files in my images folder, I had a revelation that I'm sure most fellow artists can relate to - I hate a lot of my old artwork! Some of the old stuff still had some potential, so I set out on a quest to fix up all of the art I was dissatisfied with. So for this first post, I'll be focusing on "improvement."

Comparison images are always fun, so let's look at some of the new pictures side by side with their old versions.

I learned a couple of new rendering techniques, so I decided to fix some old environments to give them a better mood. This was the spaceship bar from our senior project, Aliens in Eden.

This is an office in my UDK game, Corporate Ladder. Why I originally posted a UDK screenshot instead of an actual render, I have no idea. Still might need to fix the lighting a bit on this, but I think the room looks a lot better now.

This is the public bathroom in the same UDK game. I made the textures way back then but never got around to creating any of the actual assets. And now for my favorite...

I'm really proud of this one! I initially thought I'd make some quick, 15-minute tweaks and ended up spending a good 6 hours on this. Here's an image with the two of them overlayed on top of each other:

Crazy how much my digital painting skills have improved in the past year. Well I think that's a long enough second post. I've got a lot of new stuff I've been working on too, so hopefully I'll be able to share that very soon. Until next time!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

And So It Begins...

Well, after months of Michelle Rakar trying to convince me to start blogging, I finally gave in and made one. I'm not sure if I have much to say that people will be interested in reading, but I guess it's a good way to keep track of what I'm working on. I'll try to post on a somewhat regular basis... but no promises!

I suppose I should start by talking about a few things I've been doing lately. I just got done with my summer job at iD Tech Camps in Lake Forest, IL. I spent the summer instructing kids who are interested in pursing a career in game design. I taught FPS design with UDK, intro to game design with Multimedia Fusion, and my personal favorite, roleplaying game design with RPG Maker VX Ace. It ended up being a really fun experience, and I got to meet a lot of great people, both staff members and campers alike. The hours were pretty demanding at times, but at the end of the day it was really rewarding to have such a positive impact on these kids' lives. 

Unfortunately that didn't leave me much time to work on my project with Hyrax Games, but we are really coming close to completion on that! It's a conservationist themed word-puzzle game called The Amazing Jungle Rescue. We've got a couple of screenshots up on the website, so check it out! Most of the work on the game is pretty much done at this point, so it's just been a lot of testing lately. I'm super excited to say that the game will probably be released by the end of the year, so look forward to it.

Lastly I recently left my position at Brrapp Games. We parted ways on positive terms, so there were certainly no hard feelings there. Brrapp has a bunch of wonderful people so I wish them the best of luck on their future projects. Right now they are hard at work on Spanda Ganda, a 2D platformer that I played a big part in helping develop. Keep an eye on their website for more news on that - they should have some cool new announcements in the near future. 

Well I suppose that sums up most of what I've been doing these past few months. As always, I'm hard at work on updating my portfolio so feel free to have a look at that. I'm currently looking for work, so if you're curious about what I can do, that's the place to look. I'll probably have a couple of new additions to the site in the next few days. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read my first blog post. Hopefully there will be a lot more in the near future. See ya next time!