Nov 16, 2009

How My Grandfather Won The War: The Art Of

For those who are still gritting their teeth in anticipation over the competition's results, you can rest at ease as they were revealed just a couple weeks ago! I happened to tickle enough of the judges' collective fancies and scored 3rd Place in the ArmorGames Award category! The prize is a generous monetary gift along with a front page sponsorship at Much thanks goes out to the judges, the fans, my Facebook supporters (my one Twitter supporter), my testers, and especially those who enjoy a challenge (which in turn re-mentions people in the former categories).

The original game can be played here and the ArmorGames version here (though they're 99% identical, so you'll be getting roughly the same cardboard experience).

Also, there is a review (:D!) of my game available here.

I've gotten polar-opposite responses from people regarding the visuals and the gameplay, so I'll save the gameplay chit-chat for another day. In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the artwork for the game.

The whole idea of the narrative was not to tell too much, but to try and keep it from a familiar point of view. That's where I got the idea to tell it through a sort of 2nd grader's cardboard puppet show. I've been watching lots of awesome cardboard videos for the last couple years and even fitted my portfolio website using all cardboard, so I figured it would be fun to continue working on a cardboard world.

Here are a few of my inspiration videos, all very cool stuff: here, here, here, and here

I originally had plans for crazy moving parts and multiple layers of brown parallax, but factors of time constraints, Flash's limited power, and gameplay mechanics had me cut back unnecessary effects. The most important rule that I upheld as much as possible was to suspend the illusion that this game could actually be recreated in real life. That's why the plane you control is held up by strings, why duct tape is seen on seams, why explosions are held up by sticks, and generally why nothing simply appears out of nowhere.

So, where did I begin? Well, first I went to various wholesale clubs in my area and did some free box shopping.

Awesome. So then I ripped them up, scanned them in, and created everything digitally. That part took a few weeks.

The loading screen needed to be simple while also following my one rule, so I figured I could have a roll of masking tape roll across the screen, while simultaneously collecting a strip of tape. Doing so reveals the game within as the 4 panel flaps lift up for the first time. I ended up using them as the transition between any two screens for the sake of continuity.

The title screen was one of the last things I put together, mostly because I wanted to have a good feel of what the rest of the game would be like before I tried to design what the player would ultimately see first (excluding the loading screen).

I just wanted to show the Settings screen because those slider buttons took a while to get right and I love how they turned out. :]

The death screen shows up whenever you get hit by something bad. This happens a lot, so I wanted to have some sort of notation to let you know just what went wrong. Again, to suspend the illusion, the life display at the bottom is held up by metal dowel rods and change their graphic by flipping around.

As for the rest of the game, I thought I'd do you a favor and show every single asset in the game, namely the bad things and their counterparts underneath. Needless to say, if you're still interested in discovering what lies ahead as you progress through the game, the following image contains every single spoiler in the game... so don't click until you're absolutely ready. For the rest of us, this is a nice chance to not only see how things match up with their happy alter-egos, but you can also see them in detail without having to worry about dodging, charging, and shooting. And if you're wondering why some objects don't have an alternative form, that's because of gameplay design choices, which I'll touch upon another time.
I'd normally have some kind of concept art to show where the designs came from, but for the sake of a time-sensitive competition, I just kept messing around with the colors and shapes in Photoshop until I was happy with them. In general, though, the process for each asset was to:

  • Draw the basic shape of the object
  • Color & shade for volume
  • Add cardboard texture behind and filter it through appropriately
  • Readjust colors (as the brown cardboard can make things too red)
  • Cut out a cardboard shape around the object (to make it appear like scissors cut it out)
  • Fade the color out subtly in areas where the corrugation is exposed
  • The drop shadows were added in Flash, with the exception of the planes' wings.
That's about it!

Oct 31, 2009

Ikaruga Pumpkin Carving: Halloween Harmony

I originally had two separate pumpkins planned for tonight, but I ended up taking a lot longer on this one and didn't have enough time before the trick-or-treaters would be bombarding my door this afternoon with fabric-softener-riddled pillowcases and fancy costumes that just begged for me to give them extra candy out of adorableness.

This sucker took about 6 hours from gutting to cutting. Though it needs no introduction, this is a depiction of the two playable ships in the 90s shoot-em-up Ikaruga. The game itself is based upon a balance between black and white, which I tried my best to replicate in the carving.

Out of the ~100 people that came to my door, not one of them recognized the fighters, though I really can't blame them, especially with less than 100,000 people [in the world] even owning it on XBox Live.

It's one of my favorite games ever, takes only 20 minutes to play from start to finish, and I've never beaten it, despite having put in hundreds of hours. Clearly, I do like a challenge. Below you'll find a YouTube video of it rotating, along with some other detail shots. Happy Halloween and eat that candy slowly!

Oct 20, 2009

How My Grandfather Won The War: The Game

After roughly 7 weeks of working on a Flash game from conception to completion, I can now finally show you my entry in the 6th Casual Gameplay Design Competition hosted by, a game I lovingly refer to as How My Grandfather Won The War.

The game is hosted along with the other entries for the competition, and voting is open to anyone and everyone. If you happen to like my game, I wouldn't mind at all if you helped out and gave a helping vote. So, click below to go to the competition page and check out all of the unique games. My entry features a picture of a red airplane, which is placed randomly in the set of thumbnails.

--> Competition Page

And because I always make sure to post something visual, here are a few screenshots from the game:

So, in summary, I had a lot of fun making it, and I hope you enjoy playing it as well. If it seems a bit difficult, just keep on trying, and I'm sure you'll make it through. Afterall, the game takes about 5 minutes from start to finish.

Many thanks to my testers for helping me make the game playable (but not necessarily easier).

Oh, and voting is awesome, so go support indie games.


Oct 4, 2009

Network is the Name of the Game.

So, during the first week of August, I traveled down to New Orleans to take part in SIGGRAPH's first ever gameJam! competition, willing to spend 24 hours in a chair to create a game out of thin air (with the help of my wonderful teammates of course). The experience was fantastic, the food delicious, and the game... experimental. We spent about 3 hours just coming up with what you do in the game, constantly throwing out ideas that had been done before. Our final result was something special (which is what you get when you toss out things you know were successful elsewhere). The good news is that we won the Committee's Choice Award, which effectively granted the three of us passes to next year's SIGGRAPH in LA. As for the bad news, there is none. Awesome, right?

I would be apologizing for the 2-month tardiness of this post (the competition itself taking place exactly 2 months ago today), but I was waiting for something special. That something finally arrived in my mailbox this week, which greeted me with some fantastic postage in the corner. I'm too used to Liberty Bells and Homer Simpsons on any packages I get, so this was a wonderful treat.

As far as what was inside, that would be September's issue of Animation Reporter, "Asia's leading Animation industry magazine." And inside on page 18? That would be my first ever appearance in a magazine, an almost full page feature on my team and our game Network. It was part of a larger feature that covered both the gameJam! and the FJORG! competitions from SIGGRAPH 09. A lot of my Ringling friends were featured in there, along with their own interviews, so go check it out!

And since you've been wondering this whole time, yes the game is playable right now. So go play and enjoy!

Also, there may or may not be a two-part behind-the-scenes video of the experience at gameJam... Okay, there is.

Jul 31, 2009

A Picture of My Face and a Faraway Place

Here's a self-portrait I threw together in about 6 hours. The hardest part was bringing myself to cut my glasses in half ;]

In other news, I'm off to New Orleans next week in a two-fold plan that involves both breaking my 22-year timezone curse and participating in SIGGRAPH's 1st annual gameJam! 24-hour game design competition. The awesome part is that by this time next week, I will have created and finished a fully functioning game (with the help of my two teammates, Jonathan and Drew). That's saying a lot, what with how many games I've finished otherwise this summer (official count: zero). The important part is that they're seeing progress, so rest assured that they will one day be available for the world to enjoy. I suppose playing other games along the way isn't necessarily helping get my own done, but it sure does allow me to see what else is going on out there. I warn you all to stay away from Kongregate. There are quite a few gems there that sneakily make time fly like no one's business.

Jun 13, 2009

Apparently I Make Miniature Houses, Too.

The project here was to make a Wizard of Oz-themed retirement cake that leads to a house with the phrase "There's No Place Like Staying Home." I was tasked with making the house and helping out a bit with the cake (grass and brick laying, below).

Working from memory rather than reference

Plans for the house made in Flash. I tried to create it
in as few pieces as possible, for stability's sake.

Pre-taping phase

Chimney, bushes, and Roosevelt

I don't even think people could get this low to the cake.

Sunroom located in the back. Windows were made
super tinted for lack of better materials
(we're talking 1/2 in. width for the whole thing)

Assorted views. Coloring done with Prisma Colors.

Beginning of cake. That lemon brick road was delicious.

Coconut grass. And lots of it.

Not as grandiose as Emerald City,
but it sure seems a lot cozier.

May 4, 2009


So, my senior thesis at Ringling has finally been completed! Production started in December of 2007 and really hasn't taken a break since. I couldn't have done it without the help of my teammate, friend, and partner in crime Patrick Haskew, the other half of Team Bonesaw. Clicking the image above will take you to my website where you can (finally) watch it. And for those of you wanting a few more pixels for your pleasure, here's a link to the HD version on YouTube.

In other news, my second project for senior year is also completed, though it's of a much smaller scope (17 months vs. 4 weeks). It too is available to view on my website, under the Animation section.

Other than that, I'm off to graduate from Ringling in a few days. What I'll be doing after that, I'm not too sure. I have a few Flash games I'd like to polish up and finish, so look out for those in the coming months.

We'll meet again someday soon :]

Apr 8, 2009

Must go faster. Must go faster. (A bat's story)

Here's a few screenshots from my latest Flash game I've been working on for a few months. The idea came to me one day when thinking about cool things to escape from. An erupting volcano immediately came to mind, and our lovely bat friend followed shortly after. I'm not sure when the game will be available to the public, but I can assure you it's been a blast to work on so far.

Other than this, I have a couple other Flash games under production as well (yes, the heart game is still beating). I've also recently finished my senior thesis animation with my partner Patrick, so that should be available on my portfolio website in a few weeks. I'll of course make word of it here as soon as it's available.

Just a few weeks of school left, so hang in there. I have a few things to take care of first.

Mar 13, 2009

Parry Like You Mean It

This was done as a present for my good friend Berto, but it also stands for a few things - the recent release of Street Fighter IV, a glorified portrait of our virtual battles, how important it is never to give up even when you're down, and of course just how large the moon can become when fighting to the death in a sacred forest. Just something to munch on for now (as we all know my mouth is soon to be filled with a hadouken).