Friday, October 19, 2012


A Fistful of Duckies is - even under all its ambition to be a learning game about debt repayment - a gallery shooter. Couldn't have a shooting gallery without targets! Many of these are specific to the pirate theme (Levels 1-3), and some will be reused throughout. We're aiming for a flat cut-out aesthetic, so the targets will  move in XY space as if controlled by mechanical means - sticks, pulleys, ropes, etc. 

Hanging hat monster and jackalope drawn by Parker Pierce. Pirate duck drawn by Jon Gardner. I drew the rest and painted them all. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Endangered Species

I'm exploring the idea of making a triptych of posters featuring three endangered species. Here are some of the drawings I did to familiarize myself with the animals. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pirate Set Pieces

Here is a collection of set pieces for the pirate-themed levels. 
Drawings by Jon Gardner. I did paint and final polish. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pirate Level Concept Art

Here's a stab at the target look & feel for the pirate levels. 
The "minimum-wage ducks" up front will always be available, but they are worth so few points that the game is not winnable unless the player also hits more difficult targets.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fistful of Duckies Style Guide

This is going to be a long post, but it has lots of pictures, so bear with me. 

Pre-production is coming to a close and parts of production are well underway now for my team's senior game, A Fistful of Duckies. Here are some of the pages from our style guide. 

We're targeting Android and iOS tablets to show off the art better than we could on a tiny phone screen.
Farm Blitz and Dragon Box were also two of the games that originally got me interested in the learning games and games for change space. Combining learning objectives with truly engaging game play is an ambitious challenge, and both games carried it off beautifully in their own way.
We want a combination of dark, creepy, and cute for our game. I absolutely love the color palette and chalk pastel texture of the Monsters Inc. concept art. Shaun Tan's monsters are adorable and weird, and Rayman Origins gave us a great solution for readability: smooth gradient cell shading on the characters, lush painted textures in the background.
Parker Pierce designed our carnival barker host. I wrote the character description and designed the color scheme.
My job as the Art Director is to make sure everything fits seamlessly into our world and supports the artistic vision for the game. These ground rules are a starting point to keep everything looking unified.

Our game has a limited palette to emulate the inherent restrictions of a single box of chalk pastels. By playing two divergent colors off each other instead of mixing a middle point, we'll be using optical mixing for extra vibrancy and texture.

Target objects will be lighter and stand off from the darker scenery and background pieces.

We've added Terrana Cliff as another Prop Designer & Concept Artist as of Jan. 2013, and Justin Jacox is now our sound designer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Barker Color

Parker Pierce, our animator, has been working on the character design of the carnival barker host. My job was to design his colors so he'd fit nicely in our painted world. The barker will be animated in Flash with vector gradients, and everything else in the game is painted in Photoshop. 

The final color choices we taken from the same limited palette as the rest of the game. I included call-outs of which colors made up the gradients to make it easier for Parker, our animator, to replicate the look in Flash. 

Our character was looking pretty generic up until we decided to play homage to a beloved former professor by incorporating iconic features and personality traits into the design. Round two of color thumbnails reflects those updates. 

Here's the very first stab at color for the barker. In the final game, the character will be standing in front of the booth and the player will only be able to see from the waist up. We know he'll be against a fairly dark curtain, but we aren't married to green yet.