I’d like to share with you a game I’ve been working on with fellow CalArts Alumni: Flyer Hydrant! (Logo by Paul Flores)
Every semester, the “CalArts Game Makers Club” brings students together to collaborate on making a game in a small team. This year alumni were invited back to form their own team. I was very excited to hear this because I never joined the club back when I was a student. Hurrah for second chances!
I got to work with some old classmates, and met a lot of new people as well. Everyone was so friendly and talented. It was great to be part of such an awesome team! We coordinated and organized our project through Discord, Trello, and Google Drive. Even though we all worked remotely from different parts of the world, the production was super smooth, and I felt like I could reach out to my team mates at any time for discussion.
Before I talk about my contribution, I’d like to give credit to the rest of the team that helped make this happen:
Nathan Savant – Team Lead and Game Design
Martyna Wasiluk – Level Design and Game Design
Jeff Huang – Programming and Shaders
Paul Flores – UI and Character Design
Alex Aguilar – Character Art and Music
Holland Sangster – Music
Kayle Khanmohamed – Sound Design
Now I’d like to showcase my part of the collaboration as Concept and Asset Artist. Below is my concept of a potential level. I picked a hotel because it felt like the best setting for reusing a lot of props. (Did I mention this was a 2 month project? Not a lot of time to make many props.) My initial idea was to make something clean and readable considering how small all the props would be on screen. The fire particles I can’t take credit for, as those were done by my husband, Paul Flores.
Growing up in California, I’ve had a lot of exposure to fire. I know how powerful and all consuming it is, and I really wanted that to be reflected in the color. My idea was the more fire that’s in a room, the more orange-tinted everything in that room becomes. Rooms with extinguished fires would become grey like ashes, and anything associated with water would be blue. This game is essentially water vs fire, and I think that comes across in the limited color palette.
I also drew influence from Noir art which is known for having stark blacks and whites with bright color accents. Our main character is a vigilante who goes out at night to fight city fires and rescue civilians, and I wanted him to have that gritty detective/ super hero vibe while at the same time being cute and funny. After all, he has a water jetpack. You can’t be too serious with one of those!
Here are my concepts of the main character displaying the same limited colors. He’s associated with both fire and water so he gets both red and blue colors. Our eventual in-game sprite was created by Alex Aguilar.
After nailing down the main look, it was time to make everything. The first level was set to be a hotel, and hotels need things like windows, chairs, beds and lamps! I made a whole list of prop and background design ideas and got to work.
I’ve designed props and backgrounds before, but designing for a video game was a challenge for me because of one new concept: tiling. Before this point I only knew how tiling worked in theory, but it seemed easy and straightforward. I’d come to find out there’s actually a lot of little tricks to it! Mistakes were made, but now I know a lot more about tiles and how to design around them. I also learned some things about Unity along the way.
December 6th was our official deadline to create our prototype, and we met it with the very first level of our game completed. Moving forward into the new year, we plan to polish this game and add more levels for a full public release. Look out for a link to our game in the future. In the mean time, here are some fun gifs from the work in progress:
I can’t wait to share with you two other projects I have in the works. Everything is coming to an end with the new year. Look out for another update soon. 🙂