Like hunting for lost treasures on a sunny beach? Me neither. This is theme exploration for a casual mobile game. We decided to go with food instead. Copyright Big Fish Games.
Blackpool was to be a free to play hidden object game in the Mystery Case Files brand. It was launched in test markets but unfortunately, not in the US. I designed the look of the game; trying to find something that brought the brand, which had become very photorealistic, back to something a little more playful and painterly.
Everything on this page is my work except the amazing portraits on the cards. For these we contracted Massive Black, and it breaks my heart that these have gone unused. Kale Stutzman, the game's writer and I designed almost 30 characters, sketched them out loosely then handed them over to the guys at MB to bring to life. So, so fun...
The Malgrave Incident (2011)
The Malgrave Incident is a hidden object adventure game published by Nintendo for the Wii. We worked with Nintendo and Sanzaru Games for two years to make something that was ultimately very cool. I'm really proud of this one.
Working with a publisher like Nintendo meant that the whole game would be scrutinized intensely by a lot of people not directly involved with the production of the game. That was new to me as the usual managerial style at Big Fish is fairly hands off. It was also a longer development cycle that I'm used to, two years. (Most Big Fish games take about a year.)
I acted as art director to a team of five artists at Big Fish, designing environments and hidden object scenes, making cut scenes, helping with story and even a little puzzle design. Meanwhile, the extremely skilled artists at Sanzaru crafted a 3D world that I think is one of the best looking ever made for the Wii; not a machine known for its graphics rendering power.
These paintings are all quick, exploratory concepts done generally in two to four hours except for the first two which are stills from our cut scenes.
This is artwork created for an adventure / arcade game called Fetch. The game is developed and published by Big Fish and art directed by Brian Thompson. I was on the Fetch project for about 5 months, designing a level including mini games and doing all the artwork. I set it in a haunted amusement park because I had already done some design work for a similar game pitch set in a park and was able to use some of the scenarios I had come up with. After I left the Fetch team for another project, the amusement park level was cut, unfortunately, but designing this level was some of the most fun I've had making games.
Fetch was honored with the Editor's Choice Award by Apple.
Drawn 3 (2011)
Drawn: Trail of Shadows is the third installment of a very art centric puzzle / adventure game headed up by the ferociously imaginative Brian Thompson and Chris Campbell. I lied and cheated my way onto their team in 2011 after they had established the style and lore of Drawn in the first two titles. They asked me to flesh out a whole level that was set inside a series of huge caves under a magical mountain. Brian set up the basic look and feel of the interiors and I ran with it, doing all the finished backgrounds as well as designing the puzzles.
For much of the project I had a dedicated programer to help me test puzzle ideas. If you've never had your own personal game developer to bring to life whatever crazy idea you can come up with, I recommend it.
Drawn: Trail of Shadows was nominated for the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ (AIAS) Downloadable Game of the Year.
My first big project as a lead. Azur was intended to be a persistent, social environment for casual gamers. The metaphor was an art deco cruise ship with many differently themed rooms and decks. Passengers would be able to choose from a variety of body types and snazzy outfits to create an avatar to represent them as they walked around the ship, mingling with other players and playing games. I designed the ship's many interior spaces as well as the over-all look and feel of the game. The rooms on the ship were isometric 2D with real time 3D avatars. The ship was to have about 30 rooms including different types of customizable staterooms and we spent 2+ years to fininish nearly the whole ship before the project was scrapped.
The images here are a combination of rough concept paintings and finished backgrounds. John Nangle did the 3D work based on my concepts that I then painted over a bit to give them a more finished and hand painted look. The avatars had a huge range of clothing and body type options, as well as many emote animations for interacting with other passengers. Some of the avatar work was briefly used in another, Facebook based, project but the backgrounds were thoroughly shelved. This was a trial-by-fire type of experience for me. And by that I mean to say that I learned a lot, grew a lot, and perhaps failed some as well.
Radom assortment of images done for random reasons like Magic the Gathering and Firsthand Technologies, as well as a couple art tests.