This blog represents the artistic side of the upcoming projects from SND Games that are currently under development. All content shown
should be considered a work-in-progress. All feedback regarding gameplay should be directed to the main blog of SND Games.
This blog is not monitored for gameplay-related comments and they may either go unapproved or unanswered.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Week #013 and a Half: Obligatory Plug

Happy Hero Tower Defense Pre-Alpha Release Thursday!

I'm really only dropping an extra post here this week in case I have any followers who aren't also following the main Sam & Dan Games blog. If you aren't, news flash! The Hero Tower Defense Pre-Alpha has been officially released, just in time for the holiday break. Coincidentally, this post will also serve as a stage for any comments or critique involving the art direction of the game so far, instead of cluttering last monday night's post.

Please keep in mind that this is a pre-alpha, and a very early example of what we have in store for HTD. As I previously mentioned, we had to cut a few corners for this early release, but the promised content (human male player characters, additional hairstyles and equipment, to name a few) will be delivered in the coming months as we continue rapidly adding to this game of our's.

Speaking of the holiday break, along with Sam and Dan, I will likely just be taking it easy next week, and am not currently planning on making a blog post that week. If I have anything interesting come up that's worth sharing, I may still post, but there's no reason to blow off your families to sit here pressing refresh at hopes of getting another tally on the First! Comment Scoreboard (this post itself will not be counting towards said scoreboard, either, for those taking their commenting seriously).

I, along with all of us at Sam and Dan Games (that's right, all three of us!) hope everyone has a great holiday, and we'll see you in 2012!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week #013: Whether You Have Questions or Not, I Have Answers

Another week, and while I'm still not one hundred percent, it's improved enough that I can get back into a regular schedule. I thank everyone who left their best wishes, it's nice to see I've already touched people before the game has even been released!

With less than two weeks left in 2011, I can assure you we're hard at work in order to bring you the first build of HTD before the year ends. We may have had to cut a few corners, but we're still planning on bringing all of that content to the table just within the new year. Let 2012 be known as the Year of HTD!

Last week, in order to make up for the lack of a proper blog post, I invited everyone to let their questions fly, and as promised, I'll take the time to answer them now.

Question: What's with the enormous skull resting in the entrance way? What's the deal with this so-called Treasure Lord? Is Gon even close to being on to something?

Answer: We really don't want to reveal that much about the Treasure Lord and the supposed trophies adorning his lair until we feel that it's time to do so. I, for one, feel that experiencing these encounters for oneself could be much more incredible than simply reading about them. I wouldn't call Gon's theory accurate, but I do think it has potential for future plot lines if he isn't too protective of the idea...

Question: Inspiration, do you speak it?

Answer: I tend to get this question a lot, even from fellow artists that are having trouble finding their own. Unfortunately I haven't come up with a solid answer to it just yet. Inspiration can come in many forms - as I'm sure most artists will tell you - whether it's seeing a movie, listening to music, playing video games or, of course, money. None of these have ever proven to be reliably consistent for me. When it comes to HTD in particular, I've drawn a lot of influence from many Super Nintendo and Gameboy Advance games, most frequently (and perhaps most obviously) Chrono Trigger and Fire Emblem.

Question: New races? When? Where? How? You're not going to phone it in with space goats and werewolves, are you?

Answer: Just like the Treasure Lord, I feel like it's simply too soon to talk about the future of the HTD races. We haven't really seriously begun talking about what's next, although, there is a good chance of it being decided through a future Community Impact Poll. As for the candidates, I believe we have agreed that elves and orc are a definite must, but I'm very much against sticking to this fantasy trinity and calling it a day. Not only will the elves and orc likely be unlike any you've ever seen, but I'll be making it my goal to make sure that any additional races are really unique in order to continue setting HTD apart from other games.

I really want to thank everyone again for their support so far. It's pretty incredible to see such support before the game has even been released... I can't wait to see where we are in a month or two!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Week #012: An Unwanted Vacation

Due to my ongoing health issues, I haven't been able to get much work done lately, as much as I've wanted to, and decided to take this week off from posting. Ideally, everything will clear up and I'll be able to return to regular, more interesting posts soon.

This post is mostly just to remind everyone to place their votes for CIP#002 if they haven't already. Get your friends involved if you want to! Also, so that those looking for a First! score don't stay up all night punching refresh.

Update: You know, let's fill the space with a question-and-answer session or something. Leave any questions in your comments, and I'll answer them either with my own comments, or all at once in next week's post, along with the CIP#002 winners. Filler sounds better than nothing, yeah?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week #011: Sick Stylin'

One day, I will make an HTD boss themed around sinuses just so that I and the rest of the world can have an outlet for our rage. He will do nothing but sit there and take it, just as we are forced to do.

Community Impact Poll #002:
Human Male Hairstyles

Another slow week due to sickness, unfortunately. But I still wanted to get the poll up. CIP#002 will remain active until December 22nd, two weeks after the next post on the main blog. Unfortunately we were only able to decide on seven choices as opposed to the nine the female had, but we felt this was enough.

The poll itself is, of course, found off to your right right here on the blog (votes left via comments will not be counted). You only get one vote, so make it count!

Images represent a game currently in development.
It should be noted that with the first release of HTD now rapidly approaching, that my posts may continue to be on the quieter side for the next few weeks. This doesn't mean that work is done; far from it! We just don't want to spoil absolutely everything about the game before you even get a chance to play it.

I will still continue to bring you these weekly blog posts, and they'll be sure to pick back up once the new year is upon us!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week #010: Get Out of My House

Out-of-Character Blog Post:

Between recovering from the holiday weekend and my focus mostly resting on the looming CIP#002, this will be a quiet viewing week. Be sure to submit your ideas for human male hairstyles if you haven't already, as I plan to start organizing them soon in preparation for the poll launching next week.

In-Character Blog Post:

Once the Treasure Lord moved his family in to their new place, he promptly requested that we get the hell out. Unfortunately, that marks the end of our coverage of the Fortuitous Cave's main chambers. Further viewing must be aided by skillful wielding of weaponry and the elements alike... and I'm just not touching that one.

The entrance to the Fortuitous Cave's main chambers.
We're not sure how we feel about the Treasure Lord's taste
in decor, but such freedom did come with the lease...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week #009: Rebirth

Many viewers have questioned the status of the human male player characters, since my focus has been on the females for so long now. There has been a good reason for this, and since my focus is about to shift back onto the males, I thought it was time to talk about it.

When I first started working on HTD, the first assets I worked on was the human male player character. After completing the melee attack assets, I moved on to the creation of the Fortuituous Cave and it's inhabitants, the treasure whelps and the Treasure Lord himself.

Once these were in development, however, I began to feel that the human male assets were rather lackluster. The quality wasn't at all consistent with the work I had done since. Additionally, the human males just simply weren't built for some of the functionality we had planned (as you'll see below, they only had four slots of armor, as opposed to the six that was being planned for).

Insisting that I could do better, but agreeing that it wasn't in the best interest of time to revisit them for revisions just yet, I moved on... to the human female player character.

While still moving forward, I was still able to display just how much room for improvement we had with the player characters. As you can see, the human female is not only much more smooth and polished, but much more complicated than the human male was.

Comparison of the two idle stances, broken down into all of their components.
Now that the females are beyond caught up, as I take a little break with some stage and creature creation, I prepare to gear up to give the human males their deserved rebirth.

Don't you realize what this means!?

Community Impact Poll #002:
Human Male Hairstyles

Oh. Snap. That's right, it's time for CIP number two. Mirroring the first, this will decide on the initially added hairstyles for the human male player characters in HTD. But first, we need some entrants. That's where you come in! Just as before, leave your suggestions and ideas for hairstyles right here in the comments. I'll be accepting entrants for the next two weeks. Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan to leave a design suggestion:

  1. These hairstyles should match the character of a human male. More savage designs should be reserved for more savage races, more elegant designs should be reserved for more elegant races, etc.
  2. Your suggestions can be in any form, from a vague idea ("What about spikes?") to a specific character ("How about Arthas' hairstyle?") to something you drew yourself! All styles will be redrawn by myself for voting, and source material won't be deliberately held as an advantage or disadvantage.
  3. Submissions will be gathered over the next two weeks, leading up to the opening of the polls, on December 5th.
  4. The entrants of the poll will be included in Hero Tower Defense, starting with the winner at the initial launch. Second and third place will be quick to follow, and further runner-ups may be included in the near future.
  5. Have fun or you're disqualified. :D
Once again, we're looking forward to seeing what kind of ideas the community comes up with!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week #008: How Fortuitous... Part Two

As I promised over the last week, tonight I focused on delivering a "live" preview of the game's first boss realm. This worked out, since I got so wickedly sick over the weekend to do anything but the bare minimum of work I had to get done anyway.

Since this is more or less a continuation of last week, I'd like to shift focus to the discussion of the design of the blog itself and it's features. I've been pretty regularly adding new features as I come up with them. Am I providing the kind of viewing experience that you're looking for? Are there certain features that I may be unintentionally avoiding that would really bring it home for you? Are any of these features unnecessary?

I also want to briefly go over some of the more unique features, just in case you missed them.

- Progress Notes - These in particular have been well-received ever since I started posting them. I imagine most have noticed them, so this is mostly just to drop a reminder or two. At the time of this posting you may have noticed that they're currently all complete. Please remember that these are a representative of my current focus, and not the total progress of HTD. Stay tuned, I'll be putting up new notes soon!

- First! Comment Scoreboard - With how much people love to go for that first post, I thought it was only right to keep score. This has mostly been here since I opened the blog and is pretty much self-explanatory, although I have been considering more tightly defining the rules, such as a comment has to include "first!" to qualify. However, I'd rather encourage productive posting, personally. I may also disqualify anonymous "first!" comments in the future.

- What's Kevin Playing? - A feature that I only added within the last week, this gadget links directly to my own Youtube channel. Only just born through the massive amount of gameplay hours I spent with Sonic Generations, this is about all the channel has at the moment, and since I only have access to video capture for the PC, this may not see much content through the coming holidays as most of the titles I'm looking forward to are console or handheld releases. But just how interesting is this peek into my non-work life?

Don't forget to leave your feedback about what features you like or would like to see, so that I can further tailor this viewing experience to bring you just what you're looking for!

Also, anyone interested in contributing to the second Community Impact Poll - which will mirror the first, focusing this time on the initial hairstyles for the human male player character - should start considering your suggestions. Don't post anything yet, but preparation for this poll will probably kick off within the next week or two.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week #007: How Fortuitous...

This week we're going to take a look at the process involved in the creation of the game's first boss area. This was one of the first of the game's assets I tackled, second only to my initial work on the game's player characters. Despite this, we haven't shown much of it off yet. It took roughly a week and a half for me to finish this with my limited environment experience, which is sure to grow and quicken as work on HTD moves on. Please keep in mind that these images, as always, represent a game currently in development.

The earliest documented work-in-progress of the "Fortuitous Cave" area.
Early on, I really didn't have an idea of just what Sam and Dan had in mind yet. Taking what brief ideas they had given me I started to put ideas down on paper (so to speak), which we then refined gradually (as you can see above) as the stage began to take shape.

The pictured dragon (his name is Clyde) was only a temporary resident
and you should expect future residents of the Fortuitous Cave to be much more menacing.
Once we were happy with the layout of the stage, I started to polish it all up. This part of the process easily took longer than the early design phases for obvious reasons. Part of it was talking Clyde into sleeping on the couch while we refurbished. I don't know what his deal was, I mean the Fortuitous Cave doesn't even get cable.

Do you have any idea how tough it is to convince your construction crew
to use the cement mixer to keep the lava from cooling? Sheesh.
At this point, I started messing around with environmental effects, to enhance the mood of the place. This didn't go over too well... Many of them looked tacky, and ultimately we didn't have the time to spare, as the new tenants were ready to move in. But hey, those lava pools will save bundles on the heating bill this winter. After we cut our losses, I finished up the necessities (still no cable, Sam can be such a scrooge).

Clyde was convinced that the new rules were made just to inconvenience him...
but come on, you're only level 57, and high-class places like these have standards, you know.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week #006: Trick or Treat!

Notice: I've updated the progress lists, but notice that I've narrowed my sights, so that they are no longer symbolizing such an immense scale of content all at once. It could also be identified as an optical illusion to make progress look a bit more explosive... I'll let you see it as you choose!

When I first started this blog, I had already been working with SND for several weeks and had a nice amount of content to show for it. While the speed of content creation hasn't exactly changed (though everyone has their off weeks), the rate at which we're presenting it has, which has caused the unfortunate lull in content lately.

What I would like to do is cut back to showing less content per week, but making the content more meaningful. Instead of seeing minor updates or very early works in progress, you'll see more concept art and completed game assets. With the main blog showing more development screenshots as development progresses, I believe this will round out into a pleasant package.

Something that our spectators should keep in mind is the extraordinary circumstances we're working under. Not only are we making our developmental progress rather public from the word go, which most game developers don't do (most games aren't made public until a year or two after they've entered production!), but there are only three of us! Some of what you've been seeing has even been completed only a day or two prior to being shown. This is something I'd like to resolve with the new pacing of showing content.

This week, I thought I would show the concept design of the introductory epic cloth armor set, modeled by our human female player character along with another of our three winning hairstyles, "Yesterday's Breeze".

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week #005: Winners and Whelps

Tonight's post comes to you a little later than usual, as I wanted to wait for the first Community Impact Poll to officially come to it's end so that I could talk about it (as if the results could have changed that dramatically in just an hour or two, but whatever, play along!).

As stated, these three hairstyles will be made available for any human female player character in the initial release of Hero Tower Defense. I am rather pleased with the results myself, as I believe these three styles offer a nice balance of diversity. Remember that the runner-ups are being placed aside and may still make it into HTD some day, so no complaining!

Be sure to stay tuned, I'm sure the male's hairstyle choices will be decided through a similar fate...

This week I thought it would be nice to take a break from "Cheryl" and take a look back at the little treasure whelp, who we haven't looked at in quite some time. I would actually like to get to introducing his daddy here soon, but I feel like there's still plenty of things to go through before we need to look at new content... and some things might be better left unseen until you have the game in your hands, yeah?

One other thing I really wanted to clarify was a few things about the notes on progression. As you can see (and I'm sure some of you already did), I stuck them up on the right side bar so that they can be more conveniently and regularly seen. However it should be noted that these are a pretty limited view into my world. For example, at the moment they're really only tracking the progress on the human female player character, and just because they aren't being regularly advanced doesn't mean that I'm not getting work done elsewhere (for example, the HTD logo). As such, they should not be considered a countdown to when the game will be released.

Speaking of the HTD logo (which has primarily been shown over on the Sam & Dan Games blog), while keeping in mind that it is still very much subject to change, please feel free to drop your thoughts about it to me here, I am still actively taking notes to refine and improve it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week #004: Let's Talk! Hero Tower Defense

Welcome back loyal watchers and those not-so-loyal that won't be reading until tuesday evening! Unfortunately, last week was pretty slow for me, and I don't have much to show this week (or rather, much that I can show...).

[Human Female - Base Assets]:[||||                     ]:[018%]
  [Initial Hairstyles]:[|                        ]:[002%]
        [Equipment Structure]:[|||||                    ]:[019%]
   ["Maximum Steel" Plate Armor Set]:[||||                     ]:[016%]
[Total Progress]:[||||                     ]:[015%]

I did, however, take a little time tonight to put together a progression list. These seem to be in demand, which I can understand, since it's certainly more fun to see solid numbers instead of a lot of the word "soon". Having a definitive goal can sometimes help me push forward as well. This should also help you to understand just how much I get done and at what rate, which might give an idea of just how much time a game like this takes to produce. I won't lie, it's quite the ambitious project!

Please keep in mind that these progress lists may be rather dynamic. I'll update it at least each week (and consider sliding it off to the side as another blog gadget, to be updated "live", or at least at the end of each night), but there may be currently unaccounted for assets that might drastically skew the "total progress" number. For example, I didn't include any equipment that may need created outside of the initial plate armor set.

I'll probably make it a nice and shiny visual eventually too, once an idea fitting in with the rest of the blog theme comes to me. I was going to use some candy, but I... ran out.

That aside I did want to preview the updated idle stance for our player character here. I wound up 'tweening it for a bit more smoothness, and went ahead and put in Heaven's Tail as an example of how things will look in-game. Please don't let this preview skew the outcome of the poll oh who am I kidding Heaven's Tail is going to win.

Speaking of, don't forget that there's still another week for you to vote on your hairstyle of choice. Tell your friends to vote, if you want! You can find the options in last week's blog post. The top three hairstyles will be included in the game as the initial three style choices at launch. Runner-ups will be filed away for future inclusion. You can find the poll directly to the right. Voting for your choice via comments will not get your vote counted.

That'll be all for this week, I'll try to bring more goodies with me next week!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week #003: High Heels and Hairstyles

This week I'll be talking more about HTD's starring female lead, codename "Cheryl".

There have been mixed reactions (from both the community and the higher ups) in regards to the human females sporting high heels. In the aftermath of last week I encouraged you to stay tuned for my solution, and I'll go ahead and kick things off with that.

Images represent a game currently in development.
As you can see here, the presence of high heels in the base character sprite design allows for a lot of freedom when it comes to boot design. Along with the previously previewed high heel design, shorter, thicker heels are possible as well as boots with flat soles. Keep in mind that none of these designs are necessarily final. It should also be noted that the base design itself is still up in the air, for example, the thigh-high boots have recently been scrapped.

You might be wondering what we're going to do in the case of, say, an open-toe flat-sole boot design. While I didn't include an example of that above, I assure you that we've already thought of it and have solutions in the works.

Finally, as promised, this week will kick off the first of my Community Impact Polls (CIP), deciding on the girl's initially available hairstyles. Here are the nine potential designs, with some other notes below.

Images represent a game currently in development.
The three top voted designs will be included for use in character customization at game launch, while runner-ups will be referred to for future design inclusions. You can only vote on one, so take your time and choose carefully! Community Impact Poll #001 (which will be found on the bar to the right) will remain open for the next two weeks.

See you next week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week #002: Introducing "Cheryl"

As you may have noticed, oh, right about now, I'll be making my posts between monday night and tuesday morning, at most, a full day prior to the main Sam & Dan Games blog's dedicated tuesday HTD post.

This means two things. One, that Sam and Dan will be able to easily summarize what's going on here in the tuesday evening posts, for those who don't yet follow both blogs (or simply don't want to). This will especially be helpful when we start holding more community-interaction polls.

Two, it means that if you follow KXN@HTD as well, that you'll be getting that weekly fix a day early! If that isn't incentive to tune in, I don't know what is.

Now, speaking of polls, I was a little surprised at how many people were interested in seeing stuff I do in my free time. Joke's on you, since I'm pretty much all HTD all the time lately. However, I went ahead and added a link to my deviantArt to the side area there, for those interested. Don't forget that this poll will be open for another week yet.

Oh man, just shut up, Kevin. We want to see the art! Okay, okay. Without further ado, this is HTD's human female player character, code name "Cheryl".

Images represent a game currently in development.
Sam and Dan really have me hooked on the idea of community interaction, so what I'd like to do for the first community input poll (CIP..?) is decide on Cheryl's initially available hairstyles. I could just throw together a few choices and have you guys vote on them, but I feel like we can do better than that.

I want the community to help pick the options for the poll itself, too! Just include your ideas in your comments. The more clear details you offer, the better chance you'll have of getting your idea picked. References are also welcome, even if they're just images of a certain character's hairstyle you really like. You don't have to be an artist to contribute! After I gather the ideas up and post some mock-up sketches, I'll open a poll to decide which of the hairstyles will be initially included in the game.

Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. See you next week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week #001: The Beginning

Welcome! Make yourself at home. Beer's in the fridge.

As some of you may have read, last week I made comment about looking for a way to separate any art-related feedback so that it would be easier and faster for me to access. I quickly shot down the idea of creating a dedicated e-mail address, since quite frankly I already have enough of them to check. After discussing options over the weekend with Sam and Dan, we settled on the sub-blog concept.

As such, the primary function of this blog is to host any and all art-related feedback. Any comment regarding the gameplay of HTD itself does not belong! Such comments should be directed back to the main blog of Sam & Dan Games. I repeat, any comments regarding gameplay features made here will either not be approved or not be answered.

That aside, I do find it necessary to do more with my blog space than simply repost what's being posted on the main blog, and eventually plan to post behind-the-scenes looks at HTD and other fun stuff. But, following the example set by Sam and Dan, just what I post will be decided by the viewers! I encourage everyone to hit the poll I've setup above and help shape just what this blog will be about over the coming months and beyond. The poll will be open for the next two weeks.

Since the exact content of KXN@HTD is still being decided on, this means I don't really have a whole lot to post this week. I am, however, going to share an update on the whelp shown last week, as well as another view that I put together this weekend.

See you all next week!