The Profit Motive Crowdfunding Campaign has begun! You can help fund the game here!: http://profitmotivegame.com/PM_Funding.h
I’m finally recovering from the winter rush that occurs every year around this time. For some reason I’m always at the peak of several projects during the fall season leading up to New Years and end up having to work like crazy on…everything. Anyhow, lots of news and updates to share on lots of projects. Here’s what’s been up these past few months.
Prison School Manga
Shilin has been doing a great job of pumping out pages for the Prison School Manga. It’s about halfway done now and should be completed and ready to show off within the first quarter of next year sometime. Here’s a preview of some of the pages from the manga:
Once all these pages are completed, Shilin and I will continue to work together to revamp the Prison School prologue in order to setup the backstory of the school more. This should help give more context to the story and allow new readers to understand it better.
Profit Motive Game Demo
The first playable version of the free to play game demo I’m making with my friend Bryce has been released! This has been a great project for developing my IP management and system design skills. It’s the first time I’ve ever scripted a system this large and complex. It’s still fairly early in development and there’s still tons of balancing, tuning, bug fixing issues, and so on to do, but I must admit that it’s coming along nicely thus far.
You can find out more about this project by visiting our temporary development page:
Prototype 2 Announced!
The game project that I’m working on at Radical was recently announced so I can talk about it now (or at least talk about what I’ve been doing on it). Here’s the launch trailer:
I’ve mainly been doing mission design and scripting work on it, similar to what I was doing on Crash, but with less level design requirements. It’s been an interesting project. Definitely working with some great people on it. I’m eager to see how it will develop over the next year or so.
I.P. Development Blog
I’ve started a new blog where I‘ve finally begun to post information on all of my I.P. Development processes, tricks, and techniques. This site will be the outlet for all that theory I’ve been building up and testing out over the past 5 years (resulting in many of the projects and IPs that you see featured here). If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s the link:
Last but not least, I’ve updated my website with some new content and reformatted it a bit so that it’s easier to navigate. All the music pages are also back up and working again.
From Here On
The rest of the year for me will just be focusing on finishing up various project commitments and completing more than a few games I’ve got kicking around. From then on it will be one crazy year of work, work, work where I will try to avoid keeling over from sheer exhaustion ^_^”
Just getting back in from a great 2 weeks in Japan. We went to quite a few places and were able to see a lot thanks to the great planning of Hiromi, my friend Taiki, and their family and friends. You can see some of the highlights from our trip below:
After arriving in Chiba on the first day, we traveled to Kyoto via a Bullet Train (known as a Shinkansen). Kyoto is famous for its temples and great food so we indulged in both:( See more Kyoto Temples...Collapse )
Kyoto Parks and Forests
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An amazing bamboo forest that we walked through. It was very hot inside as no wind was getting through :p
Here we’re at a restaurant where our friend Taiki used to work. The food was fantastic!! It was all high-quality stuff that would normally cost a fortune to eat, but Taiki’s boss and friends at the restaurant gave us a major discount :D
Another place we visited in Kyoto was a cultural culinary workshop where they taught us how to make Traditional Kyoto sweets from scratch.( See more picts...Collapse )
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They basically took what used to be an elementary school and turned it into a huge library where you can find almost every manga ever published. They also had a few neat exhibits and a room that walked through the history, culture, and impact of manga on Japan and the world.
After spending 3 days in Kyoto, we returned to the Tokyo area to geek out in the “Electronic Town” Akihabara:( See more picts...Collapse )
Fuji Q Highland
The next day we took a long trip towards Mount Fuji. Unfortunately Fuji Mountain was really cloudy so we couldn’t see it. Not that we came to see Fuji anyway. What we were really there to see was a giant Evangelion!
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On our way back from Fuji Q, we happened to spot the Square Enix Store in Shinjuku.
This store was soooo awesome! They had a life sized Sephiroth build into the floor along with a lot of other impressive figures, statues, and jewelry from the Final Fantasy universe. My camera did a terrible job of capturing most of it though, so not a lot to show : (( See more picts...Collapse )
The next day we did more touristy stuff and went on a bus tour of Tokyo, which took us to a bunch of famous places including Tokyo Tower, Koukyo (the Emperor’s Palace), and Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate):
The view from Tokyo Tower.( See more picts...Collapse )
Fuji TV Station: Odaiba Gasshukoku (The United States of Odaiba)
Right after the Tokyo Bus tour we traveled over to the south side of Tokyo to the Fuji TV building where a special festival was being held called the “Odaiba Gasshukoku”. This festival featured attractions related to all the TV properties that the station owns, which included things like One Piece and Dragon Ball (which was the reason WE were there :)
Outside the One Piece building.
At the festival there was a One Piece tent that was setup like a museum and featured life-sized figures of the characters. It was themed after the Impel Down and Marine Ford parts of the story.( See more picts...Collapse )
The next trip we took was to Kamogawa, a beautiful ocean side city where Hiromi’s grandparent’s lived.( See more picts...Collapse )
This is a café owned by Hiromi’s Sister’s boyfriend’s Sister :D
Tokyo National Museum
The next day we headed out to Ueno, Tokyo to visit the Tokyo National Museum:( See more picts...Collapse )
This was another temple we visited near Tokyo.( See more picts...Collapse )
Yoyogi Animation Gakuin (Academy)
One of the coolest things we did in Japan was to attend a full-day, open workshop at Yoyogi Animation Academy (YAG).YAG is a famous school that trains students to become manga-ka, animators, voice actors, and game designers.
During the first part of the workshop we got to meet with a director of the new Gundam Animated Movie who graduated from the school and hear about what it’s like for him working in the industry.
In the second half of the workshop, we split up into various group based on our interests and followed teachers to the student classroom buildings for a sample class. I was with the Manga-ka group (which was the smallest of the four groups).
There were two instructors. One who was focused on the business /industry and the writing half of manga and another who was focused on the technical aspects of drawing and visualizing manga.
It was fun to show some of my work to the second teacher as she was incredibly surprised by how good it was (I’m just quoting here, not bragging). She gave me a few pointers to work on, which I’m very grateful for, but suggested that all I really need to do is keep at what I’m doing. It definitely motivates me to continue drilling on my art :D( See more picts...Collapse )
After finishing the Yoyogi Classes we headed over to a well known 9 story manga books and supplies store called Animate!
Long story short, I spent wayyyy too much money there. I had to ask Hiromi to take me away before I spent more. There I found every artbook I’d ever wanted, plus some! Stores like this are the reason I should never live in Japan. They’d drive me broke!
The following day we took a trip to Tokyo University. I just wanted to go there because it’s a location that I’ve seen and heard a lot about. Again, we ended up poking around in parts of the school we were probably not supposed to be (Japan is really light on security I noticed…)
The final stop on our trip, and one of the most awesome places I’ve visited while in Japan, was the Ghibli Museum. Unfortunately this was one of the only places that I couldn’t take pictures inside… Thankfully you can get a bit of an idea of what it’s like on the inside from this webpage: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/welcome/( See more picts...Collapse )
The coolest part of this museum was one floor which featured a replica of Hayao Miyazaki’s office. It was funny just how much it reminded me of my own room with art and drawings all over the wall :p It was a really awe inspiring place.
Misc. Picts from Japan
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Here’s some more general picts I took while around in Japan:
Of course I bought a lot while I was there. Things are much cheaper there than they are in the west (at least manga and anime goods), so I bought a bunch of artbooks that I’ll be using for reference as well as tons of Japanese souvenirs for family and friends:
This was a special poster we won when we visited the One Piece exhibit at Fuji TV.
So, as you can probably tell, I had a blast in Japan. We walked for 14 days straight though and by the end I was exhausted. It’s great to be back home as I’m all re-inspired and ready to jump back into my work!
So until next time!
Love and Peace!!!
I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve been neglecting to post updates. Now that the long weekend is here I can finally spare some time. It’s been a very productive quarter, lots of manga related work on the go. Here are the details:
Manga: Stock and Awe
I finished up the final draft of the” Stock and Awe: Episode 1” script with lots of helpful feedback from my good friends and acquaintances. It was surprisingly well received. You can check it out here:
Now that this is finished, my new challenge is planning all of the episodes in the first arc of the story (which is between 4 to 6 twenty page episodes). I’ve gotten off to a good start answering all of the major questions and fleshing out a rough story outline for the first arc, I just need to keep on pushing through the details and soon enough I’ll be starting on the script for Episode 2.
I’m also currently working on a second bio portrait of one of the characters from Stock and Awe similar to the Keida one I did back in December:
I’ll post the final colored piece when it's all finished.
Manga: Prison School
A lot more work has been getting done on Prison School (seeing as how I’m outsourcing most of it so there's some time actually being dedicated to it). A first draft of all the character designs has been done and some of the location design sketches have started to trickle in for “The Musician” story:
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After I get all of the location designs squared away I will be looking for a manga artist to work on a 2-to-4 page Prison School prologue. If that goes well, I will commission that artist to work on the manga for the full script.
Look forward to seeing more updates on this project over the next few months.
I had a problem that came to mind a few months ago. I knew I would be busy for a while working on the scripts and IP Development for Stock and Awe and that I wouldn’t have anything manga related to draw during that time. So, in order to keep my drawing skills up, I decided to take a few freelance manga storyboard and character design jobs posted on Devient Art. Below are some of the sketches, storyboards, and character designs that I’ve been doing for that project (titled “Elpis”):
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I have one more 20-page prologue, a poster, a full color cover, and a few more character designs to do for this project. I will post more work up as I finish it.
Personal projects aside, things have been busier than usual for me at work. After Radical was literally cut in half I joined a new project and started working with a new design team in the company. I’m just recently getting back into a steady work schedule.
In any case, I really like the project and I’m excited that I get to work on it. It’s a completely different kind of game than the previous few I’ve worked on, but one that definitely suits my story and action needs a lot more than Crash. More info on what that game is when it’s officially announced.
Lots of Modern Warfare II, lots of Action Games (Assassins Creed II, Demon’s Souls, Darksiders, Bayoneta, Just Cause 2), and plenty of Drama in between (One Piece: Rescue Ace Arc!!, Final Fantasy XIII, Heavy Rain, and True Blood the series). I really do have way more games and entertainment media than I have time to go through at the moment, but what can I do, it’s my job (shikataganai n da…).
Other than that, Hiromi tried her hand at some homemade spinach and artichoke dip recently (pico de gallo and all):
And finally one of her more traditional dishes (nice color coordination!):
March’s IPD Map:
That’s all for this quarter, hopefully I can post lots more art soon.
2009 was an AWESOME year. So many things got done and I feel I’m leaving it a bit wiser and a lot more fired up. Here’s the recap:
Well I set very high goals at the start of the year to develop my art skills up to publishing standards and I’m quite happy to see that they have developed quite a bit (whether it’s publishable, I still don’t know haha). Here’s some of my latest work:
Portrait of Keida from Stock and Awe
Background Painting I did for Practice (loosely based off of this photo)
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I think the really big development has been in my understanding of anatomy. In the life drawing classes I’ve been taking recently, we do exercises like drawing the bones then take tracing paper and layer on each muscle learning where it originates and insert:
It’s been an eye opening experience learning just how important those details are and how they affect your ability to create and pose humans better from imagination. My art will never be the same again.
The other great thing about the class I’m taking is that I’ve been able to pinpoint many of my specific weaknesses and work on developing them with a mentor. Proportion, shading, composition, and the applications of perspective on the human body are four areas where I will need to continue to develop in order to take my art to the next level.
Manga: Stock and Awe
Of course, this year was all about getting a manga proposal together, which I’m glad to say is done and gone and if I hear anything back from Tokyopop or Viz Media, then great. If not, then great. I’ll continue to work on the IP and finish drawing the first episode. From there I will submit the IP to more publishers. Look forward to seeing lots more of Stock and Awe in the first half of 2010.
Manga: Prison School
While I wasn’t working on Stock and Awe or putting in some heavy OT at Radical, I managed to develop yet another, new Manga IP with the Vancouver Manga Artist Meet-Up Group tiled “Prison School”. I don’t have any art done for this because I’m acting more as a IP Director and story writer on this project. I’ve written the story, developed the characters, and led the development of the story world, but I’ll be outsourcing the character designs and the actual drawing of the manga. I’ve already outsourced the script for one of the stories I created that takes place in the world. You can read all the details below:
Prison School Intro:
Prison School Story World Outline:
The Musician (Full-Script):
Cly Harwer Character Bio (Lead character from “The Musician”):
As mentioned above, this year will mainly be dedicated to developing Stock and Awe and directing Prison School stories, but starting next month I’m also going to be taking a 12-Week Comic Production Class taught by Steve Rolston . I haven’t heard of him before, but it seems like he’s got plenty of published material and so I think this will be a key opportunity to meet and learn from someone with experience working in the industry. Who knows what could develop from my work in that class…
I usually don’t talk about game development much here because it’s what I do for a living and I like to leave work at work, but recently I’ve found another creative outlet for my crazy game designs: RPG Maker VX!!
This thing is quite easy to learn and very good for hacking together small, simple prototypes at an insane speed. It also has a huge online community that makes modifying it to your needs a breeze. Here's a demo I managed to whip up in less than a week after learning the program (it only took me 2 or 3 days to get a grasp on all the features of the program and how to use them):
The demo itself is nothing much, just a short compilation of a bunch of features of the program I've learned. (It’s an action platformer with RPG elements based on the Stock and Awe IP). It does show off quite a range of functionality though (a lot of which is under the hood). Many of the behaviors and systems were custom made by me (e.g. the ability to jump, the bounce pads, speed boosters, traps, proximity hazard chaser, etc.) and some are just plug and play add-ons you can find on the internet (e.g. the sprite chasing AI, world map viewer, credits generator). All the art, music, and sound FX are default or placeholder nonsense of course, but it's all customizable.
Anyway, I highly recommend that you check this program out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Perhaps I’ll continue to develop the above prototype further for fun, time permitting.
Ah…Music. That’s the one thing that fell by the waist side this year. I’ve temporarily put it aside in favor of developing my art and visual storytelling skills, so no new songs this year unfortunately. I won’t give it up of course, but it’s one of those skills that I don’t use for anything in particular—I just like to do it. I don’t ever want to be a musician really, but I’ll always want to make music…if that makes sense. Perhaps if I get further into developing that game prototype, I might write some original music for it .
All’s well in Kaz Land. I’ve been able to balance getting my work done with playing games, watching movies, and learning Japanese (Oh yeah! I’m picking up Japanese…again!). Hiromi’s still owning the kitchen, but she’s also doing well in school, (acing chemistry and psychology) and enjoying her RPG’s (Tales of Vesperia and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days at the moment [is that seriously the title..])
Here’s some of Hiromi’s crazy cooking from the past few months:
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Buche Noel Cake
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I also managed to finish getting all the major things I need in the studio this year and so I reorganized a bit for maximum efficiency:
Now that all the pieces are in place, it’s all on me. I’ve just got to buckle down and continue working. I’m looking forward to another productive year!
New Years Resolutions: Now and Then
Whew. Sorry for the super long post, but this only happens once a year. Time to recap on the goals I set last time around and see how things worked out.( Read more...Collapse )
It seems like this will be a very focused year for me... I really don’t see these things taking me all year, but then again, who knows. I guess we’ll see.
Look out for more artwork soon!
Love and Peace!!!