2018 recap

2018 has been a funny one. Even though it’s technically been a quiet year for Hedgefield lots has happened still.

Intern

For starters, I had my first intern! Kim Leunen from the HKU asked if she could intern with me for a few months, so every week we sat down and spent the day making games.

It was really refreshing to work with someone from the game world again. And like me, Kim started from illustration and now wanted to tell interactive stories, so our design vision was very similar.

We wrote a new concept from the ashes of Black Feather Forest, and built a prototype for her girlscout forest adventure game (a recurring theme in my career by now). I look forward to seeing what she creates.

Focus points

As for my own work, as you may recall, I set some focus points for myself in 2018. Each month would be dedicated to one project, and the rest would have to wait. This gives you the opportunity to spend longer periods of time with one project, allowing ideas to brew for a while.

This plan started off really strong, and I drew quite a few Offstage pages in January. After a while I realized that Offstage is basically a continuous process, which would block me from moving onto the next focus point. And since I already have a job that requires my attention too I concluded this approach would mostly only be useful if I was a fulltime freelancer.

Unity catch-up

I spent the following months building several little prototypes for games, and in general catching up to Unity’s release cycle. They release a minor version every week now, with new features every 3-4 months, so I had lots to catch up to! Timeline especially was a feature I had largely ignored, but when I was asked to make a short animation, I figured rather than re-learning After Effects or Animate I’d try it in Unity, since they’ve been catering to the movie and broadcast industry a lot lately. And it worked very well!

Here’s a preview still since I can’t upload videos here:

Coyote remake

After I got back into Unity, I felt the desire to make a classic point-and-click game again. This was right around the time of the Remake Jam, which was a good excuse to port my first released game ‘Coyote’ from Adventure Game Studio to Unity. I managed to do it in a week! Technically it’s not a ‘new’ new game, but still I could mark ‘release a new game’ off of my 2018 list.

Freelancing

Then during the last days of summer I did a bit of soul-searching to figure out how I wanted to structure my life. Working with an intern had reconnected me with all the gamedev skills that I hadn’t used for a while, and it was exhilarating to tap back into that. I considered doing a bit of freelance work again.

At then, by pure serendipity, I started getting more freelance offers.

Longtime client Hidde at The Recharge Company is in the middle of lots of exciting new projects, and I’ve been assisting him here and there with infographics, animations, sketch notes, and now some app illustrations. Hidde is always very enthusiastic about creative, so it’s been lots of fun to work with him.

Then, a ghost from the past re-appears: Miel has almost finished his research into Laka, which we made together during my time at Paladin Studios, and asked me to illustrate his research paper. Laka was a great project, it’s a shame that it was never meant to become publicly playable, but perhaps Miel’s research will make sure that more games like this will be made.

And finally an assignment for Appspecialisten came to me via my girlfriend, who illustrated a book earlier this year, and at the bookpresentation someone was also looking for an illustrator. Her style didn’t fit, but mine did, so she passed it along to me. The deadline was tight, but me and David were very much on the same page, and in a few weeks I banged out a dozen illustrations and a cover. I’m very pleased with the result!

I also updated my branding a bit as well as my portfolio.

Inktober

I don’t usually get around to doing inktober, but this year I was feeling it, and I really dug into Procreate to experiment a bit. The official prompt list didn’t inspire me much, so I drew things that were on my mind at that moment, like memories from a concert, scenes from good netflix shows, and Spider-Man. You can see the gallery here.

Tomb Raider jam

And to close out the year I participated in the Tomb Raider jam. I’ve played about every Tomb Raider game there is, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to pay my respects to this franchise. Armed with some simple building blocks and a climbing plugin I put together a little game, which approximately amounts to the scope of a Challenge Tomb from the more recent TR games. The game is much more mechanics-focused than my previous work, and so I got to really flex my level design muscle.

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