Monday, 20 December 2010

Train2Game - Make a 2D Game in 10 days Contest !

Splash Screen
Train2Game announced a contest to make a 2D "top down game" designed for use on the iPad. 

The winning entry would be published by DR Studios for commercial release with some of the proceeds going to charity.

I didn't see the forum announcement but I was contacted by Aaron who is on the programming course and asked if I would like to join his team as the "art director" (there were only 3 of us so that title is a little grand!)

My background is photo realistic textures because I make them with Photos mainly.

I am a pixel pusher, I can take existing digital images and blend, layer and make something of my own but I cannot draw a vector car for example, I don't even own Adobe Illustrator nor can I make a 3D car model yet,  so it was a steep learning curve in 10 days to make things I have never had to make before but we got there in the end.

I notice people who don't make graphics or textures will look at someones work and assume they can apply that artistic "skill" (for want of a better word) to all practises that fall under the umbrella of "art" 

I guess it is like me making assumptions that someone who can program a website must be able to program a game when in actual fact there are many different types of code languages and methods and very few people are mastered in all of them.

A few people at the Train2Game forums have made assumptions that I would "kick ass" in any 2D contest and that's so not the case. 

I hoped I would be asked to make some seamless tile sets of grass and earth, streets, roads etc but what Aaron needed for this game was cartoon or cell shaded "top down" car sprites and this was and still is totally alien to me, it is the opposite of what I am confident in.

My comfort zone

NOT my comfort zone! 

It can be and indeed often is harder to make something very basic but with enough depth and shadow to look like a car at 64 x 64 pixels. I guess its like digital impressionist art.

Normally, in a bigger team with plenty of time before a deadline, you may have the benefit of a concept artist who can sketch a story board and how things should look to give you something to go off but we didn't have the luxury of time or concept art and in fact only big well established game studios have concept artists.

I was told the basic game play design and from there I was to create characters (avatars) sprites and a splash screen (the first picture) which gave the user a simple story line and an idea of what the game is about. The map was provided by DR Studios and could not be edited or changed.

I made some errors and at times stepped into other roles,  sometimes when I wasn't welcome and other times, when I was. 
There were only three of us, the programer/designer, the code breaker and me so at times we each slipped into different roles and once or twice "locked antlers" over things but we got there in the end and are still on speaking terms! lol

Aaron, the captain is 17 but trust me, he is not like any 17 year old I have ever met.

He is very articulate, intelligent and diplomatic (which has never been my strength!

Not once did I feel like "Ohhe's just a kid, what does he know?!" In fact quite the opposite.
His opinion meant a lot to me and I am sure it must have been weird for him to tell a *cough* older person that he didn't agree with me at times.

In hindsight, I learnt I can over complicate things and tend to dwell on the details more than I needed to and at one stage I was trying to re think and re design the whole game because "I" wasn't happy with the art style.
I think because it was our first project we each learnt something new and it was good experience.

We submitted our game in yesterday as today at 4pm is the deadline.

I have no idea how well we did in relation to the other teams,  I am not even sure how many teams there are or what they have done so there's quite a lot of suspense. 

The winner won't be chosen for great graphics or fantastic sound effects, it's the game play concept that will be the deciding factor and the winning game will be "polished up" by DR Studios before it is published.

I would love us to win but even if we don't,  I am glad I got involved.
It's been a great learning experience and it's something I can add to my portfolio which is always a good thing.

I will post a link to the game after 4pm today.


  1. Liz, it has been great working with you.

  2. Realy looking forward to seeing your game and I am sure the graphics will be great Liz... Well done you lot and good luck :D x