Christine’s Cracked Screen Wallpaper

Christine's Cracked Phone

A few weeks back, Christine accidentally dropped her Nexus 4 down a big ass hill [edit: Christine wants me to mention it hit a lot of rocks]. The screen cracked and the phone was totally shot, so she ditched it for a Nexus 5. The first thing we did with her new camera was photograph her old phone’s screen and make it her new wallpaper. It looks AWESOME! So awesome that I went back in tonight and created a ton of ready made wallpapers for you guys to use. Let me know if you have any requests.
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SquirrelWarz is out now for iPads

Our new game, SquirrelWarz, is out now for the iPad! Go buy it RIGHT NOW so we can make more games! It’s only $.99… Go ahead, I’ll wait.

SquirrelWarz is a game we started working on 4 years ago when I was still at Tribal Games. We had just finished The Mighty Decider app (with the Mighty Boosh), and wanted to do a more ambitious game. So we set our sites on a real time strategy game with campaigns, multi-player web, local multiplayer, etc. Honestly, all that stuff may have been a bit ambitious. Years passed and the game never really made it out the door. Then one day my old boss, Steve, calls me up and says he just bought the rights to the game and he wants to finally get the damn thing out there. We simplified some parts, ditching the multiplayer and campaigns, rewriting large parts of the code, creating new music, etc.

The first thing most folks notice about our game is it’s hand drawn feel. Back when we (Steve, Mike, and myself) started working on games together we knew we wanted to make games that look like tangible objects. Our Mighty Decider app totally shares that same aesthetic, as does the first Knifetank game that Mike and I made. But neither of those function as well as a game as SquirrelWarz does. It mixes the look of cheap watercolors (Walgreens brand) with good gameplay and polish. It’s pretty much how I want all of my games to feel. Have I ever mentioned I have a dream of making a playable hand-painted version of Pitfall? Yo Activision, hit me up!

What was my roll in all of this? I was lead game design and sound design for SquirrelWarz. I also helped Mike out with interstitial art, UI art, backgrounds, and other stuff (but Mike’s squirrel sprites are what really steal the show). Right after Mighty Decider shipped, Steve found an article about invasive squirrel species in Britain, and asked if I could pitch some squirrel based game ideas. I pitched a couple, we picked the most challenging, then I started working on our “game bible”. This is the document that defined every possible element of the gameplay. What does the main menu look like, what happens when you touch a button, how do you interact with the units, what does combat look like. Here’s one of the earliest sketches I did (the day we decided to go with a real time strategy game):

Early concept art for our SquirrelWarz game. I drew these 4 years ago with a BIC pen, and the game is finally coming out tomorrow.

As our “bible” got finished, I then started helping Mike out with the art, which was super fun. We’d buy some cheap watercolor kits and just start making assets. I got to do all the easy stuff, while Mike focused on the much harder sprite animations. Then we both started working on maps for the game. The next step for me was music. Rather than my usual electro-chip-hop stuff, I wanted to make a sound track with toys and acoustic instruments. Something that fit the handmade feel of the game. Melodicas, mouth harps, toy pianos, and the awesome sounds of the Marxophone all played a part in our soundtrack.

So the game is out now, for iPad and should be available for Mac in September. The beauty of working on a small team like this is that I get to wear many different hats. Game design, writing, music, art, and now I’m deep in my marketing role. Promoting our game on Reddit, Twitter, TouchArcade, and anywhere else I can find. Next week I’ll be back in music and game design mode, putting the finishing touches on the original soundtrack release and making some new maps for our next big update.

Just a heads up, re-reading this I realize it sounds like I’m taking credit for the whole game, which is totes crazy. I can’t code for shit and would have driven myself crazy trying to figure out how to draw every squirrel action in 360 degrees. So shout out to all the Hales crew on the IgorLabs team. Steve Hales, the producer over at Tribal who gave me my first game design gig and later brought this project back from the dead. Mike Hales, who’s been a cartooning buddy of mine ever since I moved to SF. His art style is amazing and he’s found a perfect medium for it in the game industry. Brian Hales, who worked remotely from his pad in Utah… and I still haven’t met despite working with him on this game for 4 years. It was nice to have another Starcraft fan on the team and I can’t wait to try out his solo games.

Know And Tell: a series of creative workshops

knowandtell

As I’ve bounced around from hobby to hobby throughout the years, there’s always been someone there to help show me the ropes. Online or in person, the creative community is filled with people who love to help. That’s why I wanted to try doing my own series of workshops called Know and Tell. Each Wednesday in August I’ll be leading a different hands on workshop on subjects that I’m extremely passionate about. Some of these are workshops I’ve given many times before, others are one of workshops that I’ll probably never do again. Here’s the list of classes below… if the response is good, I’m hoping to continue this Know and Tell workshop series with other featured artists.

Making Music with Nanoloop for Mobile- August 6th
In 2010 I released my first all-iPhone-album using Nanoloop. Since then the app has gotten better and ported to Android. In this workshop we’ll walk through the basics of writing a song in Nanoloop for mobile.

Glitching Images With Simple Text Editors- August 13th
Breaking things is fun! I’ve certainly spent plenty of time using glitch apps like Decim8 for the iPhone, but glitching images with text editors is surprisingly easy. In this workshop we’ll go through the basics of text glitches and see how the effect differs from format to format.


Creating stereoscopic GIFs
(aka Wigglegrams) – August 20th
I’ve been knee deep in my 3D City photo project and constantly get asked how I create the images. In this workshop we’ll discuss how to use Photoshop to easily align two or more images, animate them with the somewhat hidden Animation Timeline, and best practices for saving these GIFs.

Making Music With Nanoloop 2.0 for Game Boy Advance- August 27th
I’ve been waiting on doing this workshop until I finally get my shipment of Nanoloop carts out of US Customs… but I’ve decided to do this workshop no matter what. In this workshop we’ll cover the basics of Nanoloop for GBA including: copying/pasting songs, saving patterns, arranging patterns into songs, and tricks for creating my favorite sounds.

Watch our new video for “Rumspringa”

Rumspringa!!! Off of “Destroy All Presets“. We made this video in just 48 hours. Actually, Dave Cherry made it, I just stood in front of the camera and yelled a lot. Shout out to the Cardboardians for making the video extra awesome!

GIF Happy Hour, MVR Premiere Party, and more

Just wanted to share some upcoming events I’m participating in:

codamerendezvousjuly
Gif Happy Hour (Friday July 18th, from 6-9, @ 620 Folsom)-
Codame is doing a monthly “Geekdom” series, and each one kicks off with GIF Happy Hour. I’m this month’s featured GIF artist, so come by and see my 3D City photo series on a big screen… with buttons and things to tweak/flip/flop the gifs in real time.

cardboardians eating doc
Music Video Race Premiere Party (Sunday July 20th, 6:30-9 at The Independent)-
I posted behind the scenes shots from our “Rumspringa” music video shot earlier this week. This Sunday is the premiere party and I’m so excited to see all the videos the other teams made. It’s going to be a blast… great videos, creative peoples, and some live music. For those that can’t make it, I’ll share the link to the video once they post it online.

A new remix and flexi-vinyl release (Monday, July 21st at noon on BFF.fm)-
My friend E.N. Cowell created an amazing remix for one of my favorite songs on Destroy All Presets. I liked it so much that I’m releasing it as a real live vinyl… we’ll sort of vinyl… I’ll be debuting the song on Pre-Show Jitters and sharing all the details then. Listen live from noon-2 for good music and more. Speaking of BFF, I have a show called Pop Music that you can listen to live each Thursday noon-2, or you can listen to the full archives here.

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Know and Tell workshop series (Wednesday nights in August at The Secret Alley)-
There have been so many awesome folks who have helped share their knowledge with me in person and online over the years and it’s always been important for me to do the same, so I’m doing a series of creative workshops throughout August called Know And Tell. Each workshop/discussion will be on a different topic, like how to make stereoscopic gifs or how to compose songs on a Game Boy, and will be about an hour long. I want to keep these intimate, so space will be limited to 20 seats per workshop. I’ll post more details here next week, or you can sign up for my mailing list at the bottom of this post.


SquirrelWarz (August for iPad)-
These last few months some of my old Tribal Brands co-workers re-acquired the rights to a game that we had been working on years ago and we’ve been working ever since to get it out. Yesterday, we submitted it to Apple for review! Expect to see it in the Appstore early August. I’m really proud of how it turned out. I was the lead game designer and sound engineer for the game, so it’s filled with my little jokes, toy orchestra, and even my voice! My friend Mike is the lead artist and I got to help him out with watercolored backgrounds and all that stuff. Do my a favor and follow @SquirrelWarz on Twitter, wouldya? Thanks!

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