Archive for the ‘freelancing’ Category

Starfarer: Celestial Spheres

2011/03/02

The world of Starfarer has lovely 3d planets which roll beneath whatever chaos you are sure to wreak out in space. It is only right, for what good is space without planets to fight over?

Below: Flying an absurdly over-armed frigate past a jungle-covered planet.

Read the rest of this post on the Starfarer development blog

Starfarer: Modern Ship Designs

2011/01/27

(This post is written to promote the game Starfarer by Fractal Softworks.)

There’s more to space combat in Starfarer than nearly-obsolete front-line sluggers like the Onslaught. Meet the Astral class capital-ship carrier: a modern, refined platform for supporting squadrons of small fighters and bombers such as the Dagger torpedo-bomber you can see below. Escorting the Astral is a nimble Wolf class frigate.

This Astral carrier has some top-of-the-line point defense systems on its starboard side while the port has some nasty repeating torpedo launchers. Once you get past the escorts and fighter-bomber cover, you’ll have to be sure to choose your approach carefully — and that’s before dealing with the full-coverage shield. Astral-class carriers should not be taken lightly.

What follows is a bit about how I went about designing the modern ship classes of Starfarer along with some concept sketches for the Astral and Wolf.

Read the rest on the Starfarer blog

“Binb is not Bomberman”

2011/01/19

Here’s a trailer for “Binb”, a simple but compelling game by Maxim Karpenko (posted on IndieGames at the end of December) for which I drew some cute animated pixel-art sprites and terrain:

Very bomberman, but it of course isn’t, as it’s given a somewhat different game format and goal, plus special items. And look at those cute little guys!

I’ll be sure to post the link to the playable game when it’s released somewhere.

Starfarer: Pew Pew!

2010/12/23

Or: Weapon design & graphics modularity in Starfarer

A game which revolves around combat in space naturally places great importance on the weapons uses in said space. In short: They must look really cool. Here’s a picture to show how I’ve been going about this:

Click to view full size. You see here the process of taking a weapon design from concept art to pixel-art sprite to in-game screenshot. The barrels of the Heavy Autocannon — a nice standard warship cannon — recoil individually upon firing.

And how about some background on what influenced this outlook on displaying weapons?

Read the rest of this entry on the Starfarer blog

Bard’s Apprentice

2010/12/21

Bard’s Apprentice,  a cute little Flash combat rpg, was released earlier this month on Age of Games. It was developed by Cun Sun for whom I drew the overworld terrain tilesets, some UI backgrounds, and some items.

You can play Bard’s Apprentice for free online here.

Some screenshots here! :



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

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.

Against a Background Painterly

2010/04/08

These were for an ocean-themed kid’s game. I tend toward darker subject matter, but I found it was a provocative exercise for myself to make work aimed toward children.

Click the image to view the full background.

I painted these for a project that seems unlikely to ever see light. At that, I am a touch bitter about the effort I put into it because I never saw payment, but at the same time they never saw my signature on a contract, so I’m going to use these for my portfolio to get what mileage out of them that I can.

Lessons:

  1. Get a contract or down-payment before putting any serious effort into a project.
  2. I love painting backgrounds.

I’ve not had the problem of not getting paid for a job very often at all. Usually I’m working on a very personable basis with a client in the form of an individual hobbyist or small-time game designer/programmer who is enthusiastic about their project and has a small reputation to foster just like I do. No, I’m not going to badmouth anyone because everyone I’ve dealt with personally in nearly every project has been truly excellent and willing to work past any rough spots that come up — it’s just when multiple levels of contractors and investors are involved that a personal connection is never made and it’s easy to get screwed because someone never thought to think of one thing or another something and is too far from the guy on the wacom tablet to care enough to make it right.

It’s straightforward: With emotional distance, it’s easy to say “It’s not my problem”. We all do the same thing in different areas of life.

Actually, I do recall a certain reptilian web hosting company that I’m a bit mad about. I figured out too late that I was in fact sub-contracting, and their owner was jerking around the guy between me and him. Meanwhile I got offered a job in Texas at this company — but I never got paid for my work.
Maybe I just don’t understand how business works.

Let me restate my lessons:

  1. Get a contract or down-payment on a project before putting any effort into it when working with big companies, investors, or multiple levels of subcontracting.