Leigh's News

LQ: Clam, Starfish, Oil Mutants

2012-04-30 08:47:07 by Leigh
Updated

I forgot to visit NG on Pico Day so I'll have to troll through the collection and see what everyone's been cranking out. I really love the logo and skin by Ephyse, the style is great.

I've been redrawing some old Lobster Quest characters so I can include them in a video demo of the action/battle sequences for the pitch. Without getting too deep into it, the game would have some RPG elements, including a sort of party system where different characters have special abilities during battle. These two girls join your party in the second act, a clam and a starfish. I'm trying not to write another mile long ulillillia style post so I won't bother getting into their names or story lines.

Anyway recent ideas I've had about this: The clam tosses bombs, so that's your ranged attack. You could toss bombs by circling an enemy with your finger and then swiping diagonally, sort of like drawing a bomb, and then each consecutive swipe would throw bombs at the same target. You could gain different bomb types and add them to your inventory later. For instance, oxygen bombs, which would explode into bubbles and scrub the oil off of mutants (more on them in a second) leaving them as crumbling skeletons and getting you an instant kill. However they'd be ineffective towards guards and other enemies.

The starfish is your melee and healing character. She carries a monkey wrench, which she whacks enemies with in a spastic barrage. Since she's a starfish she can regenerate, and heal your party by hitting them with her wrench. This would probably drain a resource, like 'regen', which would either recharge or be restocked through items.

Then of course Erk is your main character, and fires his uzi at enemies when you tap them with one finger. So, the lobster is your light primary attack, the clam is your heavy secondary attack, and the starfish is your defense.

Okay so, the oil mutants. They're a huge part of the story. The game takes place in an underwater city built by sea creatures around the base of an abandoned oil rig, and the oil seeping out of it is being refined. Basically, it's discovered that although the oil can be used to power machinery, it also transforms sea creatures into sludge dripping undead mutants when it engulfs them.

And that's what you see in the image below. I'm still working on the starfish's character design. I'm not sure about it. I'm okay with her being a little androgynous, she's supposed to be a little bit like Edward from Cowboy Bebop. But I'm concerned that her silhouette is just too complicated. She still looks awkward to me. I may need to just sit down and draw a turn-around of her to figure out her shape.

To be honest I probably should be working more generally and sketching out environments and locations, but this is just what I've been noodling with in my spare time.

Yep. Seeya.

LQ: Clam, Starfish, Oil Mutants


LQ: The road ahead.

2012-04-25 14:47:52 by Leigh
Updated

I started writing a response to an encouraging comment Tom left on my last post, and it sort of turned into an essay, so I decided just to make a new post.

Tom brought up another option I've been mulling over, which is to start a Kickstarter.com campaign and raise money to produce Lobster Quest myself:

Tom Fulp:
"I would think with a solid proof of concept, you could raise some decent money on Kickstarter. Kickstarter is getting more and more saturated with people doing the same thing, but you have serious talent that bursts out of everything you make. Your pitch would stand out above most."

(:O That's too kind, thanks Tom.) So like I said, I'm considering the Kickstarter thing too. I suppose my reason for wanting to shop it around to studios is that they would already have the resources to produce it. However, my worry is that it would fall out of my hands and get mangled up in the process. It would have to be a studio I could trust.

If I were to do it myself, I'd want to put together a production team. I'm basically an unknown with zero experience in the games industry, so it might take a lot to get the right talent on board.

What I would need (read: want) are a few artists who could adapt to the art specifications - probably one or two for background art, a few for in-game animation, and possibly a whole other team for cutscene animation, if I were to go that route. Then it wouldn't hurt to have a writer or two to help fill out the story and write dialogue. And of course, I'd need game developers. I look at programmers as the drummers of game development, you can't have a band without a drummer. Unfortunately, I wouldn't know where to begin managing that aspect of the production. About all I could offer there is saying "I want it to do this" and hope they could make it work. Not to mention, if it were to be produced for a few different platforms, (iPad, iPhone, XBLA, PSN, whatever else) I imagine I'd need some pretty versatile coders, or just more of them.

On top of all that, if I were to include fully animated cutscenes on the scale I envisioned - and that's a big if - I would want to hire voice actors and be able to record and mix their dialogue clearly. Oh, and let's not forget music and sound design.

A lot of these things I can do myself, but I can't do them all. So a kickstarter campaign would have to raise enough money to hire all these people, fund marketing costs, and have enough left over to pay for contingencies and whatever other little expenses would inevitably pop up. And I almost forgot, I would either need to keep a part time job during production, or include some small penance in the budget for paying my rent and food costs. Part of my plan going forward is to form the pitch in a way that's cost scalable. I'll set the bar as high as I want it, with everything I want the game to be, then include options for scaling it back in certain areas to keep the cost of production down. So, for instance, I could drop the animated cutscenes and have the story take place entirely in-game, if we needed to be more cost prohibitive. Another example, cutting out development for other platforms and only focusing on iOS. The idea is to dream big, then hack away what isn't needed.

All that said, the considerable advantages to going this route would be having total creative control. It would be a daunting amount of responsibility, but well worth it considering just how particular I've grown to be about this vision. (That isn't to say I'm not flexible, some fresh perspective on this thing is always valuable.)

The great thing about Newgrounds is that I could probably find most of the people needed right here on the site. When I was developing the art style for the backgrounds, I eventually settled on something that I knew the right artists could replicate by following a kind of formula. I actually had Stamper and Jeff in mind when I went with this. I think it's reminiscent of some of the work they've done for NG. (Image attached)

(Sidenote: I have since considered retooling these backgrounds yet again as cel shaded 3D backgrounds, with the characters and interface remaining hand drawn animation. The advantage to this would be the obvious sense of depth it would lend to the environment, as well as being able to use them as sets for cutscenes without having to redraw them in different angles. Unfortunately, my grasp of 3D modeling is pretty minimal.)

The first step to picking all this back up again - rather than animating more sprites right away, as much fun as that is - is to carefully plan out everything I want the pitch to include, then schedule my time accordingly. That's where I'm at now: planning. I'm being pretty open about this whole process, so as always, feedback is welcome.

Hope everybody's havin' a good day out there!

LQ: The road ahead.


NEVER LET THE DREAM DIE.

2012-04-24 20:56:24 by Leigh
Updated

I was just opening up old .fla's of Lobster Quest to show my roommate and found myself animating a sprite again. If there are still any of you out there wondering what happened to that ol' chestnut, I've posted before about it inflating over time into vaporware.

So I've been out of college for a year now and I'm in the process of moving to Boston. I've decided to use the year ahead to focus on one of my bigger, dreamier concepts and turn it into a big swanky pitch, then peddle it around and see where and how I could get the thing made. Of the concepts I'm considering are two cartoon series, and a game I started - guess how long ago - EIGHT YEARS ago on this website, called Lobster Quest.

I haven't touched this project since before I left for college. That was when I decided there was no way I could get it done on the level I wanted it without investing in some outside help. After that I was taking classes 40 hours a week, and spending every other hour either working on school projects, sleeping, or doing the other things that people in college do - so that just wasn't an option.

Since then the iPad came out - and I don't even have one, mind you - but I can't imagine a better platform for this game than a touch screen tablet. If you've ever played the old demo on this site, you can get a feel for what I mean.

In the old demo, the majority of the player's control was kinda passive. Rather than scrolling along areas, your character, Erk, inhabited a series of small stages. You'd move from stage to stage, sort of like a point and click adventure game, except rather than pointing and clicking, you'd use the arrow keys to move Erk stage by stage. In later demos I built (and rebuilt) you could press A to bring up a selector and choose objects and characters on the stage to interact with. (I only had a grand total of two stages drawn for these later demos, out of around 60-100 the game would take place in).

This control scheme was important to me to hold on to, because I had always imagined it being a story driven adventure, where the appeal of the game would be in your interactions with the characters. It keeps the pace measured while you take part in the story being told, until it brings you to action sequences peppered healthily throughout the game. For those sequences, the gameplay would change to being rhythm and reflex oriented. That's the kind of game I wanted to make.

So, back to the iPad. Personally, I don't think action games and touchscreens mix well. The control on touchscreen games need to be simple, without keeping your fingers hovering over the screen covering up the action. What got me thinking about Lobster Quest again, (this time) was how well the gameplay model would lend itself to touch based control. Instead of relying on the arrow keys, you could just touch or swipe the screen to move to the next area. Instead of bringing up a selector with the A key, or using a mouse, you could just tap things in the environment to interact with them. I think adventure games in general could be a perfect fit for touch screens. If you're a fan of adventure games and want to see them being made again, I think the iPad is a way to bring them back.

Basically, my idea with Lobster Quest is to put enough work into it to create a thorough proof of concept - whether that's a playable demo, or just a video demo - and back it up with a full outline of the plot, characters, and story elements, as well as an estimated cost and production schedule.

I figure, if I'm going to sink some of my time into a big idea this year, it might as well be the one I've already sunk the most thought and time into. It's still an exciting idea to me, because I still think it is something that people will want and enjoy playing.

KEEPIN' THE DREAM ALIVE... Realistically speaking...

NEVER LET THE DREAM DIE.


One Bad Pug

2010-05-04 11:40:41 by Leigh

Here's a dog flying into the sun. I made it.

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/* */
<3 Thank you.


Red Scare

2009-04-01 13:50:58 by Leigh
Updated

Was Newgrounds really taken over by China omg what happen ??



Proof read the followng sentences:

That dark invisible human is running away with my TV! He was wearing one of those human shirts and listening to loud human music. its just humans talking over drum beats I don't get it.

My friend is asian and he can mount a tall horse just by jumping. He learned it from his dad who was a samurai during the korean ware.

---------------

And that's the news everybody.


Congrats again to Metal Gear Funnies!!

2009-03-07 03:12:57 by Leigh
Updated

Hey everybody! I want to take this opportunity to add to the congratulations for the tenacious artists behind Metal Gear Funnies for winning the 2nd Annual Tank Award for Best Movie! You earned it! It just goes to show what a little hard work can do.

Now here's a wikipedia article explaining it.

UPDATE: The words "commotion" and "awesome" do not even begin to fucking rhyme. "Just don't let him touch your balls." Fucking, loleriffic. That's just... that's fucking hilarious. God dammit.

Congrats again to Metal Gear Funnies!!


Lobster Quest, Rant this, Rant that.

2009-01-26 18:08:51 by Leigh
Updated

Listen I'm SORRY about Lobster Quest, alright folks? I just got another PM today about it, asking when it's gonna be finished. I don't know, alright? I'm not working on it. I spent a lot of time thinking about everything I could do with it, and the project sort of expanded out of my control. I'd love to make Lobster Quest, and some day, I truly believe I will. But I started it when I was what, 15? And then everything went down with NG when I was 17, and I'm just not a very disciplined person. It's taken a lot of time to work on that, and I've gotten a lot better about following through with my projects, but when it comes to Flash I usually have trouble sticking with it. I found out I'm more of a hands-on artist. Pencils, ink, paint... sculpey, real life stuff. So anyway, if I'm gonna produce Lobster Quest, I'm probably gonna need to put a team together, that's what I think it's come to. Good thing about that is, I'm surrounded by a lot of creative and talented people where I go to school, at Full Sail. When I decide to do that, there will be plenty of resources around here to get it done. I feel like I've let quite a few people down, and may have slightly damaged some reputations, among other things. But fuck, I was just a kid when I took on this project. I didn't know what the hell I was up to. I appreciate people putting faith in me back then, but I probably wasn't ready for the responsibility of producing a game. I still feel indebted for that, and I'm still trying to come up with a way to pay that off, and I thank everybody for the amount of forgiveness I've been given.

I feel like a dick, really. I mean people are putting out games all the time on Newgrounds, what's my deal, right? Why is it so daunting to me?

Whatever though, it's in the past. I'm not the same person I was five years ago. I know what I'm doing, I've got direction, which is cool. There's a lot I want to do, a lot of cool stuff I want to make, and I hope I can bring some of that stuff here to NG. Cause I really believe in this place. You grow up a little, you start getting out into the real world, you get a glimpse of the entertainment industry, and it really makes you value where the real soul is out there, and Newgrounds is a place that really believes in artists. That is fucking worth something.

I can't thank you enough, Tom. Seriously, I cannot thank you enough.

It's 6 PM, so it's cool to have beer at this hour, right? I mean I know it's a Monday, but that's not too early, right? There are probably like a billion people coming home from work, drinkin' brews right now, fuck it.

Bai :3

EDIT: If you should happen upon this post again, I uploaded a little screenie for you. Just for you.

Lobster Quest, Rant this, Rant that.


I am again internet forever

2008-07-18 02:00:04 by Leigh
Updated

Okay, it's back. Nobody panic. How you been? Cool. Utah, you were right, I did not need to buy a damn $150 router. Case closed. There goes my productivity.

Have a sweet site design all photoshopped up. Few things left to do, lots of 'Lorem ipsum' to fill in, but mostly done. Now it's down to figuring out how to tackle it. Designed it to be fixed height... problem. Probably going to use something like Moveable Type with some heavy modding for most of the content management. Have to finally learn CSS. Some little features that will take some programming help from my brother. Namely, a contact-form, which can be a huge spam target if done all wrong-like. I'm excited! :D

Getting back to work on Warp. I know what I want to do next, it's all tactile in the ol' squishy skull meat, just need the time to devote to it after my brother's wedding this Saturday [excuses; see: procrastinating].

Speaking of which, I'm writing this post instead of writing a toast. Ugh, rhymes, gross. I'm the best man. I hope I don't put this off so long that I wind up having to wing it in front of my extended family. I'd probably wind up saying something painfully awkward, followed by something wildly inappropriate. I guess that would be eminent of our family's customs though.

To finish off, I'm going to note that I just saw a news blurb on facebook that one of my friends added "the aphex twins" to her favorite music, and I'm pretty positive the error wasn't intentional. I just had to get that out. 'Night.


I am not internet

2008-07-06 20:19:02 by Leigh

I moved into a lake house with my parents for the Summer before it's off to Orlando for Full Sail. Honestly, I wouldn't really mind if it turned out they couldn't afford to send me and I wound up going to a real art school in an area that isn't the retarded little brother of LA. Fickle me! So when I bought my computer 2 or 3 years ago, - when Tom did anyway heh heh- I opted not to get the wireless version for a little more dough. I mean when am I really going to need wireless? Whoopsies!! Now in order to use the wireless internet in my house I'm gonna have to drop $180 for an Apple router. Don't ask me the specifics on that, I really don't know exactly why, but this is what my brother tells me and what I failed to grasp when he explained it to me three times. Long story short I has no internets on my computer. I'm posting this from my dad's iMac G5 upstairs. I also don't have TV. That's all eat shit bye.