I have too much to express about my participation in this game so without further ado let’s just get started with the projects early days.
One evening Minanoop and Kappa briefly gave me a run down on their future top-secret project: a weird shoot ‘em up with a flying hamster shooting at some freakish enemies.
Kappa the lead artist asked me if I was up for joining them in the creation of the game. Naturally, I jumped at the occasion! It sounded like it would be so much fun to work on such a unique and unusual game project.
So, I joined the brand new The Game Atelier team!
Minanoop, Kappa, Arcadio & Veroni_k
Being a part of a small team is full of advantages and the biggest one is the experience gained in multiple domains.
Kappa was quite confident in asking me to imagine a few background designs for the upcoming levels and even some characters and enemies that would populate the environments. Of course I was not the only one using my creativity: like a diligent student I conjured up several classic backgrounds and enemies… then Kappa and Arcadio brought their personal touch and turned my ideas into something more original. So briefly that’s how we ended up with udder Gatling-gun cows, ninja squirrels, flying onions and so on. This was a promising project!
Once the game atmosphere was defined, Minanoop and I started to work on the production but the hardest part of the job was about to come.
I’m not going to show you all of the designs as that would clearly spoil the surprises you will find in the final game :) but I will show you a few graphic creation steps for one of the games enemies.
A little purring and furry animal beloved by Minanoop (the other graphic designer responsible for creating the Flying Hamsters main character). However this cute little pet came straight from depths of Arcadios (our lead developer) mind :)
To begin with I came up with the basic sketch:
These 3 basic poses would set the tone for the animation frames.
Then after approval of the character design from Kappa came the coloring and toning:
Before beginning work on the animation I created the background where this little enemy will stand, awaiting the arrival of Newton the Flying Hamster:
Note that this version of the background was not the very first one. Kappa brought corrections to the coloring.
Then I was ready to start to animate the cat in situation:
Kappa added some frames to polish-up the animation. This kind of full frame animation is very simple and easy to create. It contains very few key frames and only uses motion tween. The added benefit to this technique is its very low requirement for video memory.
During the production of the game I also worked on more complicated animations that used much more key frames and less motion tween.
And that brings to a close my first working-process explanation which I hope was clear enough. In short, the most important things I have learned from working on this kind of small production are that you should never be afraid to be flexible and adaptable. Having good graphic and game references never replaces: curiosity, true inspiration (WITHOUT copying) and the use of every aspect of your imagination along with your talent. So if you have a couple of passionate and enthusiastic friends why don’t you give indie game development a try?
Thanks for reading and don’t miss the Flying Hamster minis for PSP and PS3 already available on PSN Europe with an upcoming December 7th release for North America!