Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 - Wolf

One of the games I worked on is finally released on the Playstation Network (and next week on the x360). So now I can unleash the hounds on my blog! Shuffling through this art made me realize that I generated a lot of art during the course of this project. In hindsight, I'm amazed because the project was on a very, very tight schedule and budget! How did I ever survive that?

Anyways, I'm posting up some of the concept work I did for WOTB: Commando 3, starting with some character designs. The first one we'll start with is Wolf himself.

Initially, we weren't working on a game that had the Commando license. It was just a game that kinda paid homage to it. I don't think we were ever thinking it would actually be the successor to Commando and Mercs. The license came in surprisingly (and a little painfully) later on. So what you'll see are some early designs that got scrapped as well as the final designs.

I had a lot of frustration trying to get a set of character designs Capcom had wanted and it was tough to try to please them especially with management changing hands midway into the game. So rather than shoot myself, we enlisted the help of another designer to help me out, Sach Steffel. Before I jumped onto the project, Sach had done some initial designs for the original pitch document. Who better to help me out than her right? Even though Sach was on another project at the time, she was able to help out and do double duty. I think having her help out maintained a little bit of my sanity as I also had to lead the art for the rest of the game.

For a couple of the characters she had helped me 'unlock the code', and get something the clients would agree on. Our styles are fairly different, so when it came down to generating the final assets for UI, cutscenes and turnaround sheets for the modelers, I had to translate her designs back into mine, so everything was unified. That was actually a pretty fun process! I think I had fun identifying and taking the important parts of her designs and seeing them through. Anyway, make sure to visit her site, she's got some great stuff! This turnaround sheet is what I ended up generating:

Mind you, all this initial character designing was before we had the WOTB: Commando 3 license. Later on in the production cycle, once we already finished generating character assets for the game, we had to go back in there and change it again! It was down the wire too, I remember being so stressed having to re-draw all the UI assets over. Ugh , the pain. So for the main characters alone, we ended up doing re-designs, new models, textures and cutting out two other characters and generating a brand new one (more on these guys in a later post).

So the blue guy above keeps more in line with the original Mercs dude, except he's wearing a shirt (it gets cold in the jungle). So, even though we were bummed about all these changes, the team did an amazing job pushing on (I guess having no time to spare will do that to you!).

My favorite piece of art I did in the game were the M-crashes. They were 2D panels that slid in whenever the player did a special move. They were also the most action packed drawings I did of the characters within the game. Plus, I'm such an old school nerd, 2D panels sliding in are always fun!

Wolf's pose is based on the original pose the main character was in, in Mercs. I was actually surprised it only took me one rough sketch to figure out the pose he'd be in. With all the work that was piling on top of me my greatest fear was being so stressed and fatigued that stiffness would start creeping into these panels. While the stiffness does appear in my later drawings, (in UI assets, cutscenes, etc., hey, I'm sorry I was tired okay!) the character M-crashes, thankfully, made it through fine.

That's it for today, I'll try to post up more of these next time! Sige!
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