Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Howdy douche bags
So bedlam is complete, it's out on the Internet via the caper Republic site or newgrounds and its doing pretty well! At this moment it's up to 1700 plays which is amazing, it's so strange to know people have taken time out of their day to play a game where you throw boots at people heads to cure them of victorian illnesses.  The game so far has got 2 stars out of 5 which doesn't sound great but we are chuffed considering it's our first game. Next up is our second game, after attending Eurogamer expo and having a couple of interesting chats with industry types in trilbies we are hyped and ready to get cracking. First of all is getting the website finished. Its no good going all out trying to get people to play our games if you have to navigate a crap website. 
My last bit of work for the site is the avatars. My process for the avatars has been to draw a likeness on paper in pencil before outlining it in black ink. Then its off to Photoshop for a tidy up before chucking it into Adobe illustratorfor some prettying up. I was going to teach myself to use a tablet while doing these but for times sake I'm just sticking to what I know. So far I'm really happy at how they are shaping up. Really not looking forward to doing mine as it'll be strange staring at my ugly mug for hours, but it's a blast turning my bro and my bezzie into cartoons

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Website live!

So there we have avid readers, the website has put on its new clothes and is out and about showing his new toggs off to anyone bothered to pay attention.

Its taken quite a while but we've managed to complete the website. When I say complete I mean it still needs a load of bug finding and a load of polish, but its out there now and anyone that can be arsed can go look at the product of a gang of highly trained fruit bat farmers' blood sweat and tears.

Its been tricky trying to guess what will work and what wont asset wise, but I had a mock-up of the site I would use to test stuff on which was a great help. I've got to say the result is much better than I thought it would be. I had a massive mental block while designing the site, but really I should have just chilled out and had fun with it.

The best tips I can offer to someone doing this for the first time are:

Planning. Make a list of every asset you need and fill the list with as much info as you need. This includes sizes of art work, inspiration images, colour schemes and priority's. I found I needed to work on the background first as after I had that I could work from a colour scheme and I had a clearer idea of the overall theme. I used design mood boards to help me. Research and lots of reference images helped me get a general idea of the feel of the site. Inspiration isn't a tap you can turn on and off so you need to give your self a starting point.

Mock-up. Make a template in a program like Illustrator or Photoshop so you can test how your artwork looks in place. Playing around with the layout and adjusting sizes and position meant that the site went through many different incarnations. Its like having a giant jigsaw puzzle, but every time you complete it you find that several pieces are from a different puzzle and you need to start again with different pieces.

Communication. Stay in touch with the website developer. After toiling away in my pit, it was the get together with PJ that finally got the site finished. I had all the sizes I needed and a to do list but working live with PJ accelerated  the process and help both of us tie up the loose ends.

So, there you go. The sites pretty much done. what's next?

Well, my better half Gilly got me a Wacom Bamboo for my Birthday! what an awesome GF, helping me geek out to the max!

Its a sweet bit of kit, its very much a baby Wacom but its perfect for me to learn on. As this is my first time using a tablet to design with a massive £500 tablet would be a bit overkill and very daunting.  My little learning project for the Wacom is the caricatures for the 'caper crew'. I've read through a few tutorials and watched a load of you tube videos on inking using a tablet and all that's left is to get my hands dirty.

I've already managed to knock up a caricature for Mike by hand which needs a bit of a tidy up in Photoshop, but this is a chance to have a play with the Wacom and take my first step to being a big boy - I mean designer.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Website design

So it's my task to pretty up the website. We really like the sunburst effect for the site. The original idea for the site is a washed out/worn out look so we merged the 2 ideas together to come up with a background.

I've been trying to come up with a few demo drafts for the guys to look at and for me feedback on, but I just couldn't get any good demos put together so after one of our weekly Skype meetings I decided I was going to go back to the drawing board and switch program's to photoshop to get a better more realistic look and this seems to have worked. I've only drawn up 1 idea as it seems to work and the feedback is good so far. I'm going to have a tweak and commit to it I think. Time is a factor with us as everything we produce is in out spare time so as we are happy with the demo I'm just going to crack on with getting the site finished based around this textured background. 

Hopefully the logo will look good with the background- it should do but I need to tweak the logo a bit before having a proper look at them together. Phew, so much tweaking and so little time! Being a part time game designer is tough on the nips. 

Peace out homies. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Logo loco

After a bit of bug finding and fixing with the game and website it's time to work on the website logo. Since El Presidente is from a fictional Cuban style country the logo is going to reflect that I have intact got two logos to design, one being caper republic and the other being the parent company caper interactive. I have sketches and a fist draught of the CI logo, but the CR logo is more important at the moment due to needing to get the website finished for the full launch in the near future. 

So what's my game plan you may ask, and if you don't then you should because its so blindly obvious of a question you should be chastised for not asking it. 
Well it's mood boards, what is a mood board you may ask (I'm eye rolling at the second obvious question) it's a collection of images and colour schemes to give me inspiration for the logo. 
During the numerous drunken conversations about the 'caper hub' we talked a lot about Cuba, Che Guevara, communism and the like so I've spent time finding images linked to these themes. We have an idea on the style of the logo and now it's time to sketch out a few ideas. 

I've settled on an idea and I'm in the middle of the laborious task of cleaning up my sketches using photoshop before unleashing adobe illustrator on it. I'm going to give the logo a 3d sticker effect/style. Sounds odd? Well so do you! Keep your eyes pealed (yuk, sounds mingling I know) for my initial sketches in the coming days/weeks. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bedlam Art complete.

PHEW! all the Bedlam artwork is complete. its been an epic task for an amateur artist but I've got there. I've shed blood, sweat and tears working on this project part time, but its completed now and although there's things I would like to improve due to my skills, knowledge and confidence growing during the project. As much as I would like to go back an touch a few things up ( that's what she said) I would probably never get things finished so that's it. I'm sure I'll go back and do the odd improvement here and there but for now that's it.

So what have I learnt?

1) Don't be too ambitious especially when we are just starting out. I had to learn Adobe illustrator and Adobe Flash but due to my work load I've only managed to get my head around illustrator. I'm by no means an illustrator guru but I can now use the program to produce work I'm proud of.

2) Communication is key. Staying in regular touch with my co-devs is vital. Help and support is there and it would have helped if we had set up weekly Skype chats earlier. We are a team and we will pull together so there's no point stressing myself out trying to get everything done on my own.

3) Inspiration. Its very easy to sit and stare at a blank screen for hours with no idea where to start. My favourites list in my browser is now bulging with my fav sites linked to gaming, art colour wheels and design websites. With all the best intentions in the world I found myself with time to work on the project but I just cant get going because I cant find a start point. in the future I will be gathering a lot more ideas and concepts before starting the project.

What's next? - the website! Currently I'm mocking up websites to play around with art and colours. It harder than you think to get a colour scheme sorted for the site. I'm torn between styles at the moment and its very hard to put across the point of the site through the artwork and design. Currently I'm using our beta site design layout because PJ's done a cracking job with it and I don't want to deviate too much from it as he's put a lot of time into it.


The next game project will be under way! PJ's got a game built to a decent level and we will get together to discuss art work and the look of the game. Keep an eye out for this game as its brilliant! Its something that you probably haven't seen before and it should bring a smile to your face. again well done PJ, cracking job so far.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Rezzed 2013

Thanks to Professor Teenwolf (design guru and spraff master) and his intense powers of blagging he managed to get me and ratking (coder to the stars and hobo sex act coordinator) into Rezzed!

 It was really important for me to go to rezzed this year. Having gone to E3 thanks to life long friend Ian Higton of Platform 32 and Eurogamer fame I knew that an expo for indie games is a place we really as a young game dev team needed to go. 

I took a lot from the weekend, and we got to play some wicked games, but we also got to see how accessible the indie game world is. I am under no illusion how much talent, time and sacrifice it takes to be a developer but, we have a chance, if we can stumble on the right ideas we have the nucleus of a team that can make some cool games. 

The Dev talks were really cool to watch, the indie scene is really keen to share knowledge and its so so helpful to us hearing about other peoples problems because it helps us to avoid making some mistakes. the indie scene is so supportive and it really is a community that trys to help the little guy succeed. We are proud to be the little brothers of all these talented people. I cant wait until we can contribute to the scene and maybe one day we can show a game at rezzed!

so what games did we enjoy playing? Well for me I loved hotline Miami 2 and also had a blast playing Total war Rome 2. I don't play these types of games but was pleasantly surprised with the game and how much I got into it. I will definitely be getting this game in September when its released! Surgeon simulator was hilarious and we spent ages watching people play it. Its strange but I probably spent more time laughing at people playing than actually playing myself!

Pj Had a go on the oculus rift and he couldn't stop going on about it! honestly if you can get a go on a dev unit then go for it, its going to change gaming!


This is the evolution of Dr. Prawn, before I set up my scanner I took snaps of my drawings so that I could ink them in Photoshop and illustrator  

So what have I learnt?

So then, what the hell have i been doing all this time?

A fucking shit load that's what!

Most of my time has been taken with learning Adobe Illustrator. I know Photoshop pretty well but I really wanted a sharp, modern look to my art work. Photoshop art done right is stunning but I find it difficult to get crisp artwork our of it and I cant get the best out of the software. I chose to work in Illustrator because we decided that flash was the best way to go to learn game design and the 2 programs work well with each other.

The surprise pay off from choosing Illustrator to work in was that I work best when creating from scratch by hand and the live trace function in illustrator meant that I can do this easily and quickly. First of all I would draw characters by hand in pencil then I scanned the sketch into illustrator and I traced over the image to get an out line. I found that this took a while and wasn't as good as I felt I could do, so I focused on my hand drawn art work.

After sketching out a character I first of all used a black out line pen, then I'd draw a stylised out line to the image - A lot of you tube videos recommended that I 'inked' the sketch by tracing over it using a wacom, but wacoms cost bucks and I'm skint so I had to find another way. I found that I could 'ink' the image with a fine line pen and then scan that into Photoshop to tidy up and do some contrast adjustments before doing a live trace in Illustrator.

I'll have to change the way I draw and build images in illustrator to be able to animate in flash as the technique I mention above means that you cant isolate limbs and objects to animate in flash. its no biggy but one of the pitfalls of not being tutored is there's no one that can steer me back on track when I take a wrong turn. its all part of the learning process but annoyingly avoidable.

Anyway, next up is the web site, I'm looking forward to this as I can play with my new skills and it feels good as an artist to be able to do what I want! Art is my little corner of the project and although art is no where near as important to games as game play and mechanics I get a kick out of beautiful games. Limbo is a bench mark for me. Its stunning looking first and foremost but its more than that. The look and atmosphere of the game really strikes a chord with me and I hope to make someone "feel emotion" (yeah, I know how gay it sounds) while playing one of my games one day.

Ok, im going to go drink beer and fart man guffs onto ducks heads. Till next time douche bag...go thumb your own arsehole.

Zero to hero

Howdy peeps,

This is my blog charting my rise from Photoshop hobbyist to game designer/artist extraordinaire.

So lets start from the start (obvious I know but its Monday and my brain is fried from a busy morning). I've always been interested in Art and have been drawing from an early age.

The earliest memories I have of my interest in art is spending hour upon hours filling drawing pads with random cartoon characters. I didn't really have an interest in cartoons or comics (apart from the beano), so why the hell I did this I don't know.

Probably my greatest love (as well as star wars and transformers) was my 48K speccy. This is the reason I am a gaming geek. I loved my speccy and ploughed thousands of hours into games like Dizzy and Double dragon.

When I got to school I realised that contrary to popular belief I had a talent in art. I was never the best student and that reflected in my grades. I hated school and art was a way to forget about school and do something I was good at and enjoyed. After secondary school I went to college and studied art and design. I didn't really enjoy it as the college never really tried to develop our skills and the only thing I got out of it was gaining a basic knowledge in Photoshop.

Since then I've always tinkered but now its time to get serious! I love games and I love art so why not get together with a bunch of lazy-eyed freak shows and make games.

Sounds like a plan uh? Well, this is the story charting my rise and inevitable fall as Caper Republic Artist and world champion cat breath sniffer.