Concept artist at SnowCastle Games.
PAX might very well be the most important show out there for smaller independent developers like ourselves, and we're very happy that we had the opportunity to be a part of it! This is after all the place where FEZ, Super Meat Boy, Bastion and a whole slew of great indies have showcased their games for the first time.
We were joined by D-Pad who showed "Owlboy" and Rain Games with "Teslagrad" from Norway as well! So awesome that there were at least two other Norwegian studios present there!
We showed our alpha build of Festival of Magic to the public for the first time, and could finally let players get their hands on a controller! If you stopped by our booth to check out and play Festival of Magic; thank you so much! It means the world to us knowing that you guys enjoyed it! We're super pumped to keep working on it after all the great feedback we got, and it seems like there are a lot of people out there who want an old school turn based RPG! We'll do our best to give you guys the best game possible!
So said Tristan Elwell, a fantasy oil painter, and he was right! I love designing and painting stuff for video games and other illustration work as well. So much so that I had like 19 hour days for an extended period of time and my hand started hurting from wacoming off to much ;) So I've been doing what feels like skipping work for me for a couple of days; not getting up at 5:45am and working 2 hours before heading to the studio, and then working until like 11pm before crashing and repeating. Need to not destroy my hand :P
We all work so hard at doing what we do, but it feels like such a privilege do be doing this for a living as well, right? I love my job to bits, but everyone needs to have some downtime too. So if you guys are reading this; it's OK to take a little time off as well. Lot of long hours making games, and I'm not complaining one bit, but if you don't stop and experience other stuff, let your body recharge, you might be heading for a burnout.
It's OK to relax a little every now and then!
Ok, I had to get this off my chest. There was a statement from 2K games' Christoph Hartmann where he said that "Until games are photorealistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now." which kinda provoked me. The game we're making, Project FoM, is a far stretch from photorealistic, but we're still hoping to stir some emotion in the player.
Don't get me wrong though, I like realistic games, I like designing stuff for realistic games, movies, what have you, but I do not think in any way that it is the only way to achieve an emotional response. Journey, also mentioned in the article I've linked to, took me through an emotional span I haven't seen in games yet to my recollection, and hell, that one was pretty far from realistic in its look! I think that by stretching it, pushing it outside of realism, it's actually easier to achieve an emotional response.
There is of course also the argument that if you achieve pure photorealism, what's the point in creating it digitally other than as practice? Why can't you just make a movie, that already delivers that? Take a picture? No fun as an artist to design an realistic AK47 down to the tiniest stud and scuffmark. Use a picture. Now designing something that is inspired by an AK47, but modified, looks like something from an alternate univers, the future, the past, that is interesting. Maybe make that mag larger, exaggerate the grip, longer barrel. Well you get the idea.
I watched a behind the scenes feature from "Finding Nemo" where Pixar had done render tests of a whale swimming. The tests came back indiscernible from video footage. They didn't say "Score!! We've achieved photorealism and can now properly convey emotion!" They dialed it back to a more stylized look in order for them to tell their story effectively. So Pixar, a huge billion dollar company which probably has the funds to do it photo-realistically, chose to not do so, again, to tell their story effectively.
Anyway.. I'm not gonna rant about it more. I'll sum up with this.
There is of course a place for more realistic games. I enjoy playing a lot of them, designing stuff for those kinds of games, but they are not the only way to trigger emotion. In fact, they might be the ones where I'm least emotionally engaged, at least of the recent games I've played. I think it'll continue to feel like that even if they can push games to "pure photorealism".
Hey everyone! Just wanted to get the ball rolling on my own profile on here as well. I'm a concept artist at SnowCastle Games working on "Project FoM", which of course is a work in progress title :P
Thanks for stopping by!