Archive for the 'Fairytale Fights' Category

My Portfolio artbook

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I’ve worked on over 40 different projects in the last few years and lately I felt the need to collect all that work in a presentable way. So I made this very old-school  paper artbook!  Here’s an impression of the book and it’s contents:

The book contains 216 pages, and all projects have a short introduction and some comments. It contains comic work, animation work, concept art, game art, live-model drawings and roleplay art.

-PS. Sorry, it’s just one copy, so it’s not for sale!

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Fairytale Fights!

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Fairytale Fights is a project close to my heart! I love creating compelling fantasy worlds, and this project gave me every opportunity to do so. I was involved from day one, as co-creator of the concept & story. I also produced the initial concept art and later on lead a team of over 30 artist as being the art director of the project. I also did a video interview for Electric Playground that gives a nice overview of our creation process; you can watch it here. In 2010 ‘Fairytale Fights’ also won the dutch game award for best visual design.
 
If you want to get a quick impression Fairytale Fights, then check out the trailer:
This movie gives an overview of the game; wich should also give you a fair impression my artistic involvement in the game:
While I was still developing the initial concept I made the illustrations you see below. The basic idea was to integrate books and paper in the world, to give the world a strong and unique connection to Fairy Tales. The idea stayed throughout the project, but as you see in the movies, the style became even more abstract &stylistic.
 

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Fairytale Fights 2

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For all Fairytale Fights fans who like to see a bit more of the game; the movie below shows the last level that was made for Fairytale Fights!  It wasn’t fully finished though, because it was canceled before we could do the final tweaks. But I believe it still works very well  :]

Now this movie was recently recorded by Rob van der Sloot, who was the first level designer on Fairytale Fights. The cool thing is; during the movie Rob tells us a bit about how this level came to be  and shows us how it was prototyped.

And this is another one of Robs movies, where he shows us a couple of unreleased pvp levels. These were definitely the more interesting ones; especially the X-mas level was fun :]

These movies are both part of Rob’s level design portfolio which can be found on his personal website.  And there is much more, go check it out! :]

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Award related interview

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Fairytale Fights recently won an award for best visuals. That’s still awesome, but I must also admit that getting those visuals in place was not easy. Now this months Control magazine (no.22) contains a 2 page interview where I talk about some of the struggles and battle tactics regarding Fairytale Fight’s visuals. For those who are interested…check it out :]

And as stated in the interview, I believe that the most important ingredients for a strong visual style are a solid rule-set and a good production process. That was clearly something we lacked at first, but later on everything started to fall in place. Let me show you some of the tools I used to get Fairytale Fights style in place.

Below you can see a few pages from the style-guide; a guide that contains a set of abstract rules that describe the visual style… It was definitely not the most popular document in the studio, for it dictated a lot of boundaries and in a way restricted the creative freedom of the artists.  But at the same time it was the key element that ensured a strong consistent style. It even helps the art director himself from changing his mind half-way the project.

Some random pages from Fairytale Fights styleguide

Below you can see some of our art sheets. These specific sheets were send over to Vietnam to be modeled and animated. Now because we were outsourcing these assets we needed to be very clear about every detail. For example, below you see that not all the arches in the model sheet are colored. We figured that the Vietnamese team could apply the same colour pallette of the arch in the bottom on all other arches…big mistake. It became a mess, and we were forced to color every individual asset. As we did in all following sheets.

Also the sheets you see below are just the tip of the iceberg. These sheets were accompanied by enormous excel sheets, naming-covention and file-management documents, technical guides and multiple content managers. All just to assure that we would actually get what we asked for.

An asset sheet

An animation sheet


Below you see one of the first animation sheets I made. This animation sheet was the basis for two of the first boss fights; “The beaver boss, champion of the lumberjack forest’. Now as you can see, this sheets contains far less information than the sheet for Hansel&Gretel above (it contains no sequences, just 1 key pose per boss-move). But in this case that worked fine because the beaver boss was fully developed in-house. So in this case we could just talk with each other about the details and you didn’t need  to write down everything. This made things far more dynamic and also more fun to develop….yeah, I guess I wasn’t a big fan of outsourcing, it’s true…

But I must say, after we ironed out the outsource process,  the Vietnamese team did manage to create hundreds of great art assets in a really short time. And that I believe, is the real power of outsourcing. So it’s not all bad :]

The first animation sheet

 
(Fairytale Fights copyright Playlogic)
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FAIRYTALE FIGHTS WINS ‘BEST VISUAL DESIGN’ AWARD

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November 19th 2010 ‘Fairytale Fights’ won the dutch game award for best visual design!

‘What really??’  That’s so cool! But I must say to me this came to me as a bit of a surprise…The game was released almost a year ago now and not too long ago the company behind it went bankrupt. I myself resigned just two months before that happened and I’m already knee deep in new projects again.  So Fairytale Fights had drifted somewhat to the back of my mind… But non the less, as I was the art director of Fairytale Fights I can only see this as a huge compliment for all the work we did. In fact I find it awesomely awesome! So thanks for this cool award!  And let me also congratulate not only the whole art team, but everybody who worked so hard on this project to get it out there. So, congratulations everybody!

PS. We also won an award for Best Audio Design!

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Fairytale FIGHTS 2 – prototype

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(Click to enlarge)

The movie below shows the visual- prototype level that was made for Fairytale Fights 2.  This prototype focuses on technical and work-flow improvements.

We did this prototype because Fairytale Fights (1) was build almost entirely from ‘building blocks’. This approach seemed flexible but always resulted in a situation where you would have lots of unwanted seams in the landscape and it was also often difficult for the level builders to recreate the concept art. So we had to come up with a better plan.

As a test we went for the other extreme and the landscape now consists out of only a few unique models. The result is a seamless landscape that matches the concept art almost perfectly. And we also checked if this approach was more or less time efficient, and it seemed to be more efficient. So that was a useful test.

Aside from this we also experimented with different lighting and shaders to get a better feel for the game. And finally we tried to go even more abstract with the style, to provide cleaner, less cluttered environments so that the player could focus more on the hectic gameplay. Still, I must say, this prototype lacks a visual focus and it has a pretty generic theme, so it’s not really exciting to look at. But that was supposed to be the next step. Unfortunately that step was never made since the company went bankrupt soon after making this prototype. It’s a real pity, especially because on the other side of the studio people were developing some really awesome gameplay for Fairytale Fights 2…

Well, the movie was captured by my fine colleague Ron Kamphuis, who was in charge of the technical aspects of this level.  My contribution was making the concept art for this level and doing the style research for Fairytale Fights 2.

A few months earlier then this prototype I shortly worked double shifts and was also made the lead of the level art team. During some downtime there I got the chance to make some prototypes with the team. The goal we set was to create bits of level that should be visually exciting in a new way (this included new gameplay and camera angles). Now Ron has also uploaded a few things he worked on. So if you are interested to see some more cool prototypes for Fairytale Fights 2, then check out this page on Ron’s website. (My compliments Ron, it’s still fun stuff to watch!)

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Fairytale Fights DLC -The last level

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Today I noticed that a former colleague of Playlogic has uploaded a showreel that shows the last -and never released levels- that we made for Fairytale Fights. (Thanks for sharing this Laurens!)

Now the first half (till 2.58) is a DLC level shows our adaptation of the fairytale of the Icequeen. The idea was that she had reappeared in The fairytale world after the player broke the mirror that kept her locked up. (This mirror, is the one that you see at the character select menu). Now she’s angry and has instantly frozen the entire world. This resulted in many interesting scenes. Lots of characters were frozen in strange poses…such as for example a giant that just peed against a village. Later on the player would cross the village by walking on a bridge of …pee. Yup. A bit further you would continue through a frozen wave; a dark place lit by glowing fish. And eventually you would end up at the Icequeen her palace. The creatures you mainly encounter are boogymen, made out of ink. They are the helpers of the queen and constantly collect frozen people for the queens epic bowling lane.

Well, this was about the last thing I worked on as an art director before I left the studio. I’m glad we can at least see it now. Too bad it will never be released.

Oh, about the rest of the movie. I wasn’t involved in what you see after 2.57; what you see first an experimental level build to generate cool gameplay idea’s and the second thing is a spinn-off game of Fairytale Fights. I believe the goal was to jump out of a plane and avoid hazards while falling, in order to eventually land on the ground…. a parachute game.

Oh, and talking about the ice level…Another colleague, Lorenzo, also recently updated his portfolio to which he added a nice image of the Icequeen.

(Click to enlarge)

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FAIRYTALE FIGHTS ARTISTS

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As the art Director of Fairytale Fights I had the opportunity to work with many talented artists. Now what you may know of them is that as a team they have created Fairytale Fights, but what about their individual work?  Some artist have made great and very different works in their free time, before or after working on Fairytale Fights. Now to give you an idea of how divers these artist are, I decided to collect as many links as I could find to the artists personal websites.

The list contains all the artist that have worked at one time on Fairytale Fights, at Playlogics game-studio in Breda, the Netherlands. The list contains various disciplines and levels of expertise, ranging from interns to senior artists. Well, go check it out!

Paul van der Meer, Gerrit Willemse ,Verena Gefferie, Yasmin Sheikh , Bang Phan, Dick Grinwis, Pascal Brander , Hans Zantman , Jeroen Backx, Jack Hageraats, Lorenzo Bahadur, Bastiaan ten Berge, Niels van Wieringen, Mark Verkerk , Aro Schmitz, Timo Visser, Bart Willem Van Lith, Martijn Willemse, Chris McEntee, Robin Brockötter, Mike Ptacek, Peter Van Dranen, Adrian Banninga, Jesper Monteny, Marcello Gomez Maureira, Vincent Bonefaas, David Kliszewski, Frank Post , Robin Gielis, Jurgen da Silva, Alexandra Mores, André Van Rooijen, Marco Fritzshe, Toni Seifert, Dennis Griesheimer, Lennart Hillen , Julian Fries, Mathijs Nahon, Oskar Janssen, Pepijn Rijnders, Ronny Franken and Ron Kamphuis.

And in addition I like to mention some gameplay developers too, for their sites aslo contain additional Fairytale Fights visuals; Peter Deurloo, Raphael Gilot .

And one more, this one is from Gijs de Jong. He is maybe the only artist from Playlogic that hasn’t worked on Fairytale Fights, but was instead busy creating awsome models for Eyepet.  But I just have to mention him because Gijs has a great portfolio, so check it out!!

Oh, and guys (and girls), it was really great working with all of you!!

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