NESQUEST – Extra-Life 2014

extraLife2014

Last year we had a successful Extra-Life fundraising event, supporting Boston Children’s Hospital.  I gathered a bunch of friends and family and entered ourselves under the team name NESQUEST.

NESQUEST 2013:

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We gathered in my game room for 25 hours to conquer the mountain this mountain of gaming.

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Together we raised a total of $3855 in donations to support our chosen Children’s Miracle Network hospital.  We’re at it again this year and we need your help.  On October 25th, we will begin another 25 hour gaming marathon supporting Boston Children’s Hospital once again.  100% of the proceeds go directly to our chosen hospital and are tax deductible.  This year we plan on streaming the event, so every donation comes with a game request where we will praise your name over the interwebs.  As an added bonus, this year I have honored ANY donation with a custom, classic-gaming avatar here’s a sample of what’s been done so far.

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If you would like to donate please visit my Extra-Life page:  http://www.extra-life.org/participant/peteyP

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Glove

After the mass-layoff at Irrational Games, a lot of the devs  moved out of the Boston area, while others (myself included) are trying our hands at being independent to stay local.

A few months ago I was contacted by former co-worker, Joe Fielder, to join his indie dev team for a project called “The Black Glove”.  After reading the initial script and seeing some of the concept art, I jumped on board.

While working on the project, I felt as though there was no obstacle that couldn’t be overcome and no ideas were considered out of reach.  This team that Joe has put together consists of some of the most tech-savvy professionals in the business.  There was never any discussion of limitation – just how to make it the best it can possibly be.

I am proud to announce our efforts have come to fruition today with the launch of our Kickstarter campaign!! If you’re a fan of indie gaming give it a look. I promise it won’t disappoint you.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theblackglove/the-black-glove

Fablevision & Learning Flash

In March of this year, I was contacted by the Art Director of Fablevision StudiosBob Flynn, to visit and see what the studio was like.  There I met with Bob and Hannah O’Neal, one of the Flash animators.  They were wondering what I was up to regarding my situation with Irrational Games disbanding and what my thoughts are for the future.

The small studio in South Boston, is an outstanding example of a creative environment – something I haven’t seen since my days in the treehouse at Blue Sky – and overflowing with creative energy.  For example, upon walking in the front door, there is an entire wall dedicated to childhood nostalgia.  Books, toys and other trinkets and what-not make up what they have properly deemed “The Wall Of Inspiration”.

Bob explained that Fablevision, in being a primarily Flash-based animation company, was interested in my animation skills because of my background, but was wondering if I had any Flash experience.  I had messed around with Flash in the past, but never anything beyond book tutorials to satisfy my curiosity – certainly not on a professional level.  I explained this to Bob and we discussed an OTJ training scenario consisting of me learning Flash on my own and coming into the studio to basically learn Flash for a few days.

I was overwhelmed and excited.  I had always done pencil-tests for my shots in the past, but never anything completely polished.  I went home and messed around with it a bit, but there was a huge disconnect.  Flash isn’t exactly what you would describe a user-friendly or accessibly software.

I was headed up to PAX East on a Friday and Bob invited me to come by, since the studio was right up the street.   I met Bob and animator Didi Hatcher who graciously spent the remaining part of their day explaining how the studio approaches animating in Flash.  It clicked.  I went home with a new-found understanding and played around with a Walrus playing piano and singing an old Procol Harum song.

A couple weeks later, I was asked to fill in for an employee going on maternity leave, so I jumped on it.  By now, I felt confident enough in Flash to the point where I would be able to contribute, so I showed up the following Monday morning, ready to do some 2D animation.

I was almost immediately brought into a meeting for an iPhone game in production called Solar Skate – a educational, runner game that was being contracted to Fablevision by Florida Virtual School.  At the time, the hand-drawn character felt disconnected with the 3D environments, so the idea was to try using a low-poly, 3D character instead.  They asked me my opinion and I agreed that would be the best move forward.  Then they asked what I would be able to contribute and I replied “all of it”.

My 2D adventure quickly became a 3D character-building endeavor.  I modeled, rigged and animated a pre-designed character named Ollie to work with Unity.  Everyone was happy with the 3D Ollie, so we moved forward with it and the game remained in production for almost my entire time at Fablevision.  Solar Skate was released on July 13th and you can download it for iOS here.  I will be posting animations a bit later.

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BTW, my son is WAY better at it than I am. :)

When the character animation for Ollie was finished up, I was assigned to help develop a webpage for the educational web series Umigo, which would all be created in Flash.  I hadn’t opened Flash in at least a month, so I was scared out of my wits.  Luckily for me, I was sitting next to the incredibly patient Lead Artist, Renee Kurilla.  She really helped me with Flash-isms that would fluster me and would sing along to yacht rock playlists with me, when others wouldn’t.  :)  The Umigo prototype site went livea few weeks.  I was responsible for animating the opening video and the character animation in the parallax site.  I’d like to think it’s not too bad for it being my first professional Flash project.

Umigo

I worked on a handful of other projects that I will share once they go live.

To say that my time at Fablevision was creative and fun would be an understatement.  I haven’t had that much fun going to work in years and the folks at the studio helped to remind me why I got into the animation business in the first place.

 

 

“Monster Season”

My brother joined a “design a game in 48 hours” contest a couple of years ago he called “Monster Season”.  He didn’t tell me about it until 24hrs in, the bastard.  :)  I immediately helped out where I could with game design ideas to help push the idea further, but not break his initial design.  I also roughly designed some of the artwork for the title screen, background panel and weapon icons.  I got about halfway through updating the character designs before the submission was due, so they never made it into the game – a reminder for him to tell me from the beginning next time.  :P  We were going to update it, but never got around to it.  It’s a fun, little match-3 shooter game.  Perhaps polishing it up isn’t a bad idea.

If you want to play the game you can download it here:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/47466002/MonsterSeason1.0.1.zip

Title Screen:

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Unreleased Monster Designs:

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