After completing my internship in DIT, I began working for a small game development start-up company called Dark Oasis Studios. In September 2013 the team was chosen to participate in the National Digital Research Centre’s (NDRC) ‘Gamepad’ accelerator program for game start-ups.
To qualify for the program the team pitched an idea for a 2D platformer called ‘The Everlasts‘. In this game you play as a candle named ‘Waxie’ who must escape the evil ‘Neverlast’ candle factory, go on a journey to save his fellow ‘Everlast’ candles and then overthrow the evil factory boss.
At the outset of the project I helped with development of the game on paper. This included development of the story, character mechanics, abilities, enemy mechanics, level design, puzzles and general game design. After this phase I began working on the environment art for the opening factory section. Below are examples of the initial sketches, concepts and scene development.
After this initial phase myself & the team agreed on the basic look & feel of this section of the factory and I began working on the environment art for the opening sections in more detail. The development of the opening sections is shown below, with hi-res images of the full scene development at the end.
Due to time constraints, the second opening section of the factory (as shown above) was left out of the gameplay demo. The team decided to focus on polishing the first section by getting the parallax system working perfectly and getting the basic character and enemy actions & animations implemented. All character animations were created by John Devlin, while all of the programing & Unity development was carried out by Conor Nolan. Below is the short gameplay video that was shown at the final ‘Liftoff’ presentaton.
The ‘Liftoff’ presentation went well, with the team being commended for quickly improving their respective skill-sets in a short period of time and I myself receiving lots of positive feedback regarding the visual style.
Overall, the NDRC ‘Gamepad’ program was an immeasurably beneficial experience, from both an incubation and funding standpoint. Throughout the program the team was given crucial advice and guidance and gained access to vital start-up capital, without which the company could never have begun.
After the ‘Gamepad’ program the team temporarily switched to development of a smaller client project. However, development of ‘The Everlasts’ is still ongoing, and I am continuing my role as Environment Artist on a part-time basis. The team is now aiming for a vertical slice demo before the end of the year.
I am now primarily focusing on development of modular assets from which multiple level layouts and designs can be created. Here are some of the assets I have created so far.