Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mobile Game backgrounds - HonorBound

Above, you’ll see a tiny, TINY slice of work I did for a mobile game that just came out.

 (Prepare yourselves. Long informative post on an equally long project)

So, last April, I started working full-time for a new, small start-up mobile games company: Juicebox Games.
A lot of us had left a much larger company because we wanted to make games that we, the creators, would truly want to play, with the kind of less-casual art styles that we loved.

Basically: I need people to understand that we’re not some massive overlord company with endless resources. Far from it. 

 This started with 3 guys, and grew to be roughly 17 peoples (with a few 1-3 month contract employees thrown in there helping us out along the way). We all sat packed in a single room, in rows of desks, working in fairly tight quarters. We had a beer fridge, we had beef jerky, we made our own coffee. We bought or brought all of our own meals. …We also caught a mouse.

 We worked passionately (and are still working) on a game, HonorBound, which is a mobile, fantasy-rpg turn-based game for mobile devices ( iOS and Android AND Kindle, don’t start a device war!). We worked our butts off for basically an entire year. We challenged one another to rounds of Primal Rage, Super Smash Brothers, and Mario Kart Double Dash to ease stress, scream, laugh, and cheer at one another (and learn how to make blue sparks while drifting).

 People don’t seem to understand just HOW. MUCH. work goes into creating a game. HOW MUCH tuning is involved to try and make things work. I had a woman tell me she didn’t even know there were people that had jobs for creating mobile games. She just assumed “the internet just made them” and that was that. WHAT. REALLY.

 It’s incredibly easy for a player to overlook all of it and fire into a fit of rage, huff, and leave a 1-star review, believing the developers were out to get you personally with in-game bugs (ugh, my account reset itself, goddamnit, my screen froze, eff you guys, the loading time wasn’t instantaneous, HOW DARE YOU, EVIL GAME-DEVELOPER). This is far from the case, I swear. 

 We are 17 individuals. About 8 of us make up the art team. There are 2 game designers, and the rest are our CEO/Project Manager and Engineers. I can at least break down the art-side of the company, and who worked on what in HonorBound for you. Within Juicebox Games: There’s a Creative Director, 2 lead artists (myself being one), three 2d/Concept artists, a work-from-home production artist, ONE (yes, one single, lonesome) animator, and the animator’s intern. That is the art team. That’s it. And we didn’t really use outsourcing because we were never satisfied with the quality of work that was returned back to us. So all of the graphics and artwork you see in game was done IN-HOUSE.

We use Unity as our engine and had an animator pick it up for FX, having never touched it before, along with the character rigging/animation program by the name of Spine. Majority of the User Interface was done by the Creative Director with support from myself. Majority of the battle backgrounds were done by myself while one of the 2d artists did the isometric tiles and assets with my direction. The other lead artist and other 2 Concept artists drew out over 500 characters with help from the work-from-home production artist. And ALL of those characters and ALL of the attack FX AND User Interface animations were done by one fantastic lady and her awesome intern.

Nine of us by the names of Zak, Frank, JJ, Sanjit, Christy, Jhoon, Jenn, Emily, and myself. Along the way, we had some fantastic contract artists that left for a new job by the names of Jared and Yoshi, who did incredible work on character and background design. I cannot thank the art team enough because not only are they talented individuals, they are an absolute pleasure to work with.

 I’ve worked on teams of 60+ people that didn’t produce half as much content for a game in double the amount of time compared to HonorBound. I hope you guys just take a moment to enjoy the hundreds of characters, the dozens of backgrounds and map tile-sets, and yes… even the User Interface/icons of our game. I hope you guys enjoy it even if just for a moment, and take time to review it!


 ANDROID - Android Phones and Tablets - AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD HERE - 


 PS - FUN FACT! If you think our game’s music sounds familiar, it’s because we managed to get Bobby Tahouri to compose, and he’s most famous for music that can be heard in HBO's Game of Thrones! WOO!

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