After the NDRC Launchpad program myself & the Dark Oasis team put development of ‘The Everlasts’ game on hold and took on a project from I.T. recruitment agency Gempool. The company needed a promotional web game to promote their recruitment services and to tie in with the 2014 World Cup in Rio, Brazil. The game was called ‘Recruiter Shooter 3: Rio’, following on from two previous titles they had released.
The game was conceived as a 2D side-scrolling shooter where you play as a Gempool job applicant named ‘Johnny Java’ who lands in Rio during the World Cup & must free other job applicants while defeating evil enemy recruiters by shooting CVs at them!
For this project I was given sole responsibility for all of the artwork including characters, animations & environment art. The game needed to be completed in a very short time-frame so this was a significant challenge for me but one which I’m happy to say I more than rose to.
I started with creating the look of ‘Johnny Java’, who the team described as basically a ‘generic, white male in semi-casual attire’ so I more or less just based him on myself! Once I had his look finalised, I began creating all of the necessary animations in Adobe Flash which I had never done this before, so this was a new challenge. After some time I got the hang of creating an armature to link all of the body pieces together & creating keyframes for the core stages of movement in each animation & then tweaking the speed and smoothness of the transitions between frames. The image below shows the character’s basic look & static frames for each animation.
After finishing ‘Johnny’ I moved onto the enemies. To save time, I used ‘Johnny’ as a base template for the enemies and made some minor changes so that they looked different enough from him so the re-use of assets would not be too noticeable. There were three enemy types, with rising levels of threat / difficulty. The first was just a patrolling scout with 1 hit point. The second patrolled, could shoot ‘Rejection Letters’ & had 2 hit points. The third was a static enemy who shot ‘Ultimate Rejection’ missiles & had 3 hit points. See image below.
After the main character & enemies had been created I focused on the environment art. The first level was set on the beach in Rio. The development of the level from beginning to end is shown below.
Once the beach was completed I worked on the city level. The main gameplay difference in this level was that ‘Johnny’ could progress through the level underneath or above ‘awnings’ giving two paths & adding some variety to the level. The development of the level is shown below.
After the City level I moved onto the ‘Boss’ level. This was to be a static scene outside the Estádio Maracanã, where ‘Johnny’ must fight the evil recruiter boss while football supporters watch. See the scene development below.
Finally, I created the boss character. The description for the boss was a bizarre mix of ‘evil recruiter’ and ‘drunken football lout’. Again, I re-used and altered assets from previous characters where possible to save time. Initially I kept the boss similar in stature to the other enemies but after some input from the team, we decided to ‘fatten’ him up! The image below shows his development and static animation frames.
All that was left after this was the main menu screen. For this I just re-used the beach background, created a basic logo and created some very basic menu boxes using the same colour scheme as the Gempool website.
Overall, the project was an excellent experience for me as it was the first time I had been given sole responsibility for the art workflow on a project and it required me to become familiar with animating in Flash in a very short space of time.
The finished game is playable at the link below!