As of May 18th, Duskers is now available on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store. If you haven’t already, check out the fantastic launch trailer by one Mr. Marlon Wiebe.
I am immensely proud of the work we put into this game, and it has been great working with Tim and the rest of the Misfits Attic team. The critical reception we’re seeing has been overwhelming, particularly when people are comparing my interface work to that of films I’ve idolized for most of my life (and were heavy inspirations for the game’s art direction, of course).
Here are some samples of the game’s final look, which ended up taking a very different course than my original concepts below.
“And the way it all looks. It’s one thing to make a game look like this, hooking into everyone’s current lust for “retro-futurism” or whatever it is we’re calling nostalgia now, but it’s another thing for the feel, atmosphere and mechanics of your game to perfectly match that style. This is something Duskers does unnaturally well.”
Rock Paper Shotgun
First off, I was thrilled earlier this year to get to work on a guest Steam card for the most excellent Escape Goat 2. Here it is in its glorious entirety, something that is sadly rather difficult to see in the Steam interface itself.
I’ve been somewhat enamored with the recent trend in papercraft-y, AO-shaded scenes being put out by folk like Timothy Reynolds, and wanted to do something in a similar style. It’s very liberating being able to concentrate just on form and not have to worry about UVs or texturing. I perhaps got a little carried away with the lighting.
Second up, I’ve been working with Tim Keenan on his new high-concept space scavenger rogue-like, Duskers. I’ll likely be doing most of the art for this game so expect to see more from this in the future. For now, here’s a sample of the kind of mock-up stuff I’ve been doing so far.
Tim wants the player to be constantly guessing, for their first impressions of an object to be any number of things, so I was trying to incorporate some organic forms into the machinery.
To finish up, a little personal something. Actually this was a mock-up screen for a game with some tactical space combat that didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t a huge effort, but I had fun knocking it out and might expand on it in the future. Would be fun to do a massive, 10,000 pixel wide scene with hundreds of ships and do a big print.
For the last 3 and a half years or so I’ve been working on a new game called Extrasolar. We’ll be launching into private beta in a few weeks and hopefully launching soon after. If you’d like to learn more about it, here’s an info page designed by me and coded up by master web man Volkan Ongun.
Pacific Rim is a movie I had been looking forward to, because giant robots fight monsters from space that are also from under the ocean, and overall I found the film enjoyable for said over-the-top fights and a few key scenes where Del Torro’s abilities shined – including one particularly haunting scene of a small child fleeing through the desolate streets of a city as it’s being mercilessly reduced to rubble by a pursuing gargantuan terror.
There’s something we need to talk about though, and it has to do with this headline I read in the week leading up to release:
“GUILLERMO DEL TORO TALKS ABOUT PACIFIC RIM’S FORMIDABLE FEMALE LEAD AND THE LACK OF A LOVE STORY” (link)
I better put this up real quick cause it’s about to get heavy:
Are you freakin’ kidding me?
Apparently what passes for a “strong female character” these days, according to the above article, is “not dressed slutty” and “doesn’t actually kiss or have sex with the male lead, despite oogling his hot bod through peepholes the entire movie.”
Here’s some facts about female lead Mako in this movie. 1. She is the only female character in an entire cast of dudes, short one redshirt who I think never spoke (maybe she said something Russian about “oh shit we are fucked?”), thus immediately failing the Bechdel test. 2. She spends the entire movie subservient to said dudes. She’s shorter, meeker, less experienced and oh right there’s that one scene where she just barely manages to defeat lead blonde-manly-dude in single combat, but remember it happens only after being given permission by her father figure. He’s not even metaphorically her father figure – it is later outright stated that he is her father figure.
Here’s some things that could have been done in this movie that might have earned it a real “strong female characters” label and, in this writer’s humble opinion, made for a better film overall.
- Replace any male character with a female in the same role. What if the Australians were a father-daughter team, or a mother-son? Wouldn’t their final sacrifice be that much more emotionally powerful? Del Torro says he made this film for his two daughters, why not show his daughters that they could grow up to be scientists, or the leader of a crack giant robot army?
- Have a mech that’s piloted by an all-woman crew. The triplets could have been that much more bad-ass.
- HAVE MAKO BE THE FINAL HERO. In the final sequence blonde-hero-bro goes full knight-in-shining-armor, diverts his remaining oxygen to Mako, and forces her to eject; going on by himself to nuke the shit out of alien-town and save humanity. What if these roles were reversed? Mako would suddenly become the strong hero she’s been striving to be the entire movie, instead of taking a backseat to the hero of every other scene prior.
The hero whom she adores. But don’t worry it’s not a love story. Especially not that “wait they’re not going to kiss?” embrace while she straddles his escape pod in that final scene.