Thursday, August 30, 2012

Superhero Sketch

I really need to break this guy down with a model sheet (and name him) because I still feel a little to inconsistent in my drawing.  It probably wouldn't hurt to crack open Construct 2 again and continue to tinker around with it.  The video project is still moving ahead, which has been the biggest thing to side track me, but I still haven't figured out how I'm going to handle civilians and enemies walking around if I can't use the platform behavior.  I think I might have to start looking into creating the platform behavior through custom movement and maybe using it across different people with families.  Hopefully I can get more involved in the next couple weeks as my deadline passes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

After Effects, My Old Friend

Oh how I've missed you.  While I'm not in any way giving up on the Superhero Game, its nice to jump back into After Effects and play around.  Ingenuity Fest is quickly approaching and me and the Rust Belt Monsters are hoping to have something special for the event.  While the rest of the Monsters are working on individual posters with some talented students at Whitney Young High School, I've been working on a video that will tie everything together.  Right now I'm fiddling with our logo and trying to make something that represents all of our individual talents.

Below I've attached a test render from a personal project I did years ago.

Untitled from Ben Hale on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blob Villain

Just reworking a villain idea I had from a couple years ago. I still like the idea it the scale of him may be bigger than I originally anticipated. I think I have a fun play mechanic figured out for fighting him. Hopefully I can execute on it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cleveland Drink and Draw

Its looking like the Cleveland Drink and Draw is becoming a real thing as we had another successful night of boozing and sketching last night.  Trying to catch up on my RBMC themes, I started a Sgt Rock drawing as Joe Kubrick tribute.  Looking at it now, it just looks like a sad soldier.  Far less heroic.  I wish I had some extra time to work on it, but it will have to do.  Time to move on to the video!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

That There's a Mummy

Boy, I sure am slacking with the posts.  Seeing as I have no real idea how many people are reading, I will slightly lesson the guilt by pretending this is being shot out into the void.  Truth is I was having a bit of an art slump and am just now climbing out of it.  It only lasted a week so I'll limit the complaining.  Regardless, life is getting busy.  Ingenuity Fest is only 3 weeks away and a video project is beginning to way down on me so I need to lighten up on the Superhero game for the next couple weeks to get that going.  A real shame because Scirra just released R.100 which adds some interesting shader effects which should help me fully realize some effects I wanted to do.  Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out the "solids on different layers problem".  I might have to start blatantly begging on the forums for this to be included on future releases.  Until then, enjoy a mummy sketch I threw together at lunch today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

That Looks Heavy

I wish I had something a little more productive to show, because I sure like posting every day.  Sadly, I just have one measly sketch.  I'm not sure what happened this weekend.  Saturday was stressful, but I had plenty of time to work.  I had nothing to do on Sunday and couldn't get anything going.  I could have worked on anything and for whatever reason, I just couldn't jump into a project..  Just weird.  I'll just chalk this one up to recharging my batteries, but I really need to be more productive.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review: Steal Like An Artist

I know this book has been around for a little while now and plenty of good things have already been said about it, but one more person urging you to buy this or borrow it from your library can't hurt.  Now, this book is not solely based on gaining your ideas from other places as the title may suggest.  While it does wonders to make you feel better about your inspirations finding their way into your work, it also touches on the way a creative person thinks and works.  It urges you to stretch and grow in ways that will ultimately help you to improve.

Steal Like An Artist struck a real cord with me because I often struggle with whether I am too heavily influenced by what inspires me.  When I was drawing my sci-fi piece for the last winter art show, I caught my doctor character sharing too many similarities with the professor on Futurama.  When I was working on the first piece for the Rust Belt Monsters, I noticed that my Monster drawing was leaning far too close to Clayface from Batman: TAS.  And most prevalent, I am hugely influenced by Bruce Timm and his work on the DC Universe cartoons and am always tortured that its too obvious.  It was actually pretty recently that I saw a picture of Space Ghost (Which Bruce Timm has sited as an influence) and noticed that the original Batman designs look pretty spot on to that character.

This book did a lot to help me alleviate that guilt and learn to accept my influences as a part of my process.  I highly recommend the book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Problems With Solids

So I was doing a little research last night concerning how I was going to make the player fly past building ledges in "flying mode" and land on them in "platforming mode" in Construct 2.  My original idea was to have invisible platforms on a layer called "platform" and have the player switch to that layer and above it depending on whether or not he was flying.  Turns out that if you make something a solid, you can't pass through it even if its on a separate layer.  This seriously bums me out and I haven't quite figured out how to get around it.  

I'll have to give it some more thought.  Hopefully I'll find something soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Smack In The Face

I'm still struggling to draw the superhero throwing a punch so, naturally, I decided to draw him getting hit in the face.  I mean, I'm going to have to draw it eventually.  I'm really itching to jump back into Construct 2 and start building out the game.  With Dean Dodrill's "Dust: An Elysian Tail" being released today, Crazy Viking constantly putting out making-of videos for Volgarr, and Tribute Games announcing the kickstarter for Mercenary Kings there is plenty of inspiration being pumped into my brain.

While I will probably be working on the Rust Belt Monster's video project for Ingenuity Fest (hopefully show some of that soon), I'd like to get a little art done on the game.  I'm still all over the place with the BG style.  I think I got the perspective of the buildings locked down, but now I'd like to lock down a consistent style and color palette.  I'll be talking to some art buddies to help me get that figured out pretty soon.  Find a community that holds your interests, People.  Its really an invaluable resource.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Quick iPad Painting: Alien

Just a quickie.  I was laying in bed with the girlfriend and watching Shark Week.  For some reason that inspired me to draw an alien.  Go figure.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Matching Colors and Fixing the Size

What a pain.  So I import my new standard standing character sprite into the game and the original run cycle and end up with two problems: the Run Cycle is too big and the Colors don't match.  So what I did to correct it was place all of the run cycle frames into a sprite sheet, go through the Save for Web feature in Photoshop with the Superhero color profile settings, and shrink the whole thing down to 89%.  Its annoyingly technical.  I'm pretty happy with how it looks now but its becoming more and more obvious that I need to have a frame or two to transition from standing to running.  It just looks a little jarring.

Also, I can't recommend the program Texture Packer by Code'n'Web enough.  There was a time when I couldn't find anything to work properly.  Be sure to pick this up.  Its free with the basic settings, which may be all you need.  Just make sure you follow the below settings per Cacotigon on the Scirra Forums.

Steps to use it:
Drag in the image files to the program, and after that, use the following settings:
Texture format: png
Image format: RGBA8888
Dithering: NearestNeighbor
Autosize: Checked
Allow free sizes: checked
Scale mode: Smooth
AutoSD: Unchecked
Algorithm: Basic
Sort by: Name
Order: Ascending
Border padding: 0
Shape padding: 0
Inner padding: 0
Extrude: 0
Reduce border artifacts: unchecked
Allow rotation: unchecked
Trim: unchecked
Crop: unchecked
Shape outlines: unchecked
Enable auto alias: unchecked
Heuristic mask: unchecked
Premultiply alpha: unchecked
Flip PVR: unchecked

Then do File -> Export Image
and you're all done.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Ventriloquist Inks

Just some work in progress shots of this rounds piece for the Rust Belt Monster Collective.  For the Batman theme, I decided to go with one of my favorite villains: the Ventriloquist.  Be sure to go to the Rust Belt Monster Collective to check out the finished piece.

Friday, August 10, 2012

City Block Sketch and Perspective Change.

So I've been rethinking the backgrounds for the game (for the millionth time) and have come to the conclusion that I'd like to change the perspective a bit.  My original thought behind doing the flat view of the buildings was to make it easier to see where the player was landing and alleviate any worries about overlap when you drop off the side. I've been so afraid of the parallax and what it might look like once the player was in the air that I thought "flat" was my best option.

By putting my horizon line slightly above the shortest building I'm able to show a bit of the roof and sidewalk close to the ground and then flatten the tops of buildings as I get higher.  I'm probably going to have to give some thought to where I can use tiles to keep the file sizes down, but it looks like I might be drawing a lot of the buildings traditionally.  It might look better.  Might make my file sizes huge.  Hopefully, pixelating the art will take care of that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Indie Games Uprising 3 Announced

Even though I've long distanced myself from any development for XNA (mostly because I'm dumb and couldn't figure it out), I'm always excited to see what comes out of the Indie Game Uprise's that occasionally occur.  Having recently found the many benefits of grouping yourself with other creative people (The Rust Belt Monsters) its nice to see indie developers combine their powers to get exposure for each other and indie games in general.  Watch the trailer above for a taste of the many cool games coming to XNA from Sept 10-20.

Indie Game Uprising Official Site

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Construct 2 Behavior Switch Solved & WebGL

What an exciting day!  I finally got past that whole "How do I switch between the Platformer Behavior and 8-Way Movement Behavior" problem.  Turns out, setting up a simple toggle did the trick.  Basically, you set up a variable and tell it to:
  •   Make a variable called FlyToggle
  •   Every time you hit the F key, add 1 to FlyToggle
  •   0 = Platform On/8-Way Off
  •   1 = Platform Off/8-Way On
  •   If you get to 2, then reset number to 0

Now I can just hit the F key and it will flip back and forth between the two behaviors.  It even works in mid-jump and mid-fall.  Kind of awesome.  

If that wasn't enough, Scirra released another example of the WebGL enabled graphics coming up in the 100th release of Construct 2.  Its really producing some incredible effects in Google Chrome.  I'm really hopeful that it will help me to achieve the silhouette effect I was working towards when I first started this.  It might afford me the option of doing some cool things stylistically.

Check out the test here:  Rain Demo

Monday, August 6, 2012

Busy With Some Boxes

Here I was doing so well with the posts and then I got crazy busy.  Well, at least I have something to show for it.  Yesterday the Rust Belt Monsters got together and created some original art to be displayed on 16 of Scene Magazine's boxes.  The boxes will be placed throughout Cleveland in support of the upcoming Cleveland Ingenuity Fest.  I know all of us were honored to participate and love having our logo and website splashed across the top for everyone to see.

Be sure to check out the Rust Belt Monster blog for more pics and updates from the members.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Little Green Soldiers and Tackling "Events"

I doodled this little guy while at lunch today.  I'd still like to do a good pulp-science fiction invasion somewhere in the game, but I don't think I've quite nailed the design yet.

Also, tonight I started tinkering with Scirra's Construct 2.  At the moment, I'm trying to figure out the switching between player states.  This way, I can flop between platforming and flying by the press of a button.  Obviously I bit off more than I can chew because I'm getting nothing but a grey screen when I compile the project.  I'm pretty much stumped so I sent a request for help to the forums.  With any luck, my problem will be so glaring that they'll find it immediately.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its an easy fix while not being so easy that I look stupid for not seeing it.

Below is how my events are set up.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sometimes You Need To Sketch A Tree

There's something soothing about drawing a tree.  Even a rough sketch with a ballpoint pen on a legal pad can calm you.  I've been racking my brain over this whole sidewalk perspective thing and I still haven't come to a conclusion.  There is a rather strong possibility that I'm thinking about this way too hard.  So I decided to jump into some more background asset creation.  I'll scan these, bring them into Photoshop, place them in the size chart pic that I created, and start painting.

I can't really know how everything is going to look until I've created a mock-up.  Hopefully I'll find some time this weekend.