Archive for November, 2010

Starfarer Ship Design

2010/11/29

This is from a series of posts I’m writing to promote the space combat sandbox/rpg game Starfarer by Fractal Softworks.

Ahoy there! My name is David and I’m what passes for an artist around here. But enough about me; I’d like to talk a little about how the graphics of Starfarer come to be, starting with the Onslaught-class battleship which we have already featured from a standpoint of gameplay and game fiction. I’d like to show you my process of creating the visual design of the Onslaught from concept sketch to final sprite.

The Onslaught-class Battleship from concept to sprite:

Read the rest of this entry on the Starfarer blog

Advertisements

Starfarer by Fractal Softworks

2010/11/20

The game “Starfarer” by Fractal Softworks has just been publicly announced! It’s a sandboxy spaceship combat/strategy/roleplaying game and is still in production.

Oh, by the way – all the graphics are by me! (And the lovely background is by NASA, I should add.)

Art for this have been a ton of fun to draw. It’s been really hard to keep quiet about this but now I can spill the beans, so count on me writing more posts about how I approached the ship and weapon designs, drawing planets, and everything else graphical.

Starfarer will be released sometime in 2011; be sure to follow development and release news at the Fractal Softworks webpage.

The Line Between Life and Work

2010/11/18

As a freelancer, I find it difficult to draw a line between my life and my work. It costs me something that I’ve been finding it hard to put into words. And then the other day I ran into a blog post on this very subject by one Rob Zacny, a freelance writer. See his post Rat at Rest; it puts very well into words what I’ve been feeling as a freelance artist, to quote:

“If I were running the rat race, I’d have a respectable reason for feeling burned out or overwhelmed. I could blame my boss or my coworkers. I could resent the drudgery of office work, the early mornings and the late nights. … I could sympathize and forgive myself, because the fault could reside somewhere outside of me.”

“Most of my friends have jobs, and they have lives. The two don’t perfectly overlap. But if you work for yourself, chasing a passion? You enjoy no such existential escape.  You chose to do something, you and your loved ones have made sacrifices so that you can do it, and now you’re tired? You need a day off? Too fucking bad. Get out of bed and get over to your desk and be creative. … The answer to every problems is always mercilessly simple: work harder.”

Add to this the chaos, the uncertainty of income that comes when one doesn’t have a stable paycheck coming in every two weeks (But are any jobs stable anymore? Heh, oh well.): The only way I can find some peace of mind and security is that work harder. Perhaps there’s some event this evening, friends want to hang out, want to just watch a movie and relax? It’s too bad: I need to work. And if I don’t I’ll feel guilty the whole time I’m off doing something else, so I won’t even really enjoy myself or relax, the whole thing is ruined anyway.

There is a solution, however. (Yes, this is getting awfully negative, so let’s turn it around.) Consider that a “normal” job imposes a hard line between life and work on you, there are hours when you’re on the job and then there’s life. There’s a place of work and a place of rest. As a freelancer, you must impose a hard line between life and work on yourself. You define for yourself some office hours and you stick to them – say, “I’ll work 10-6” and if there’s a distraction you tell them “Sorry, those are my office hours”. (Though let’s be honest, the person you really need to tell this to is yourself.)

A major factor is the problem of working from home as a freelancer – then there’s really no physical separation between life and work. That monitor is always staring at you, saying you could be doing something useful with your time, you lazy bum. A solution? Impose that separation on yourself: Set up an office in a distinct and separate room, though I found that impossible in a small apartment, so take up with a shared office in a co-working setup. When you’re at the office, you’re in work mode, when you’re at home, you’re in home mode. You are allowed peace of mind.

Plus, the presumably businesslike atmosphere of the shared office helps one stay focused. I’m much more self-conscious about hitting refresh on Facebook if there’s someone who might catch me slacking off. In some soft sense, by involving other people in your work environment you are held accountable to them. What with being the social animals we are, this actually works.

You’ve just got to draw these lines for yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.