The good people at Pixowl recently hired me to create original works using their mobile world builder, The Sandbox Evolution. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to revisit some ideas I had for standalone pieces, but never got around to finishing (or starting, in some cases).
For my first piece, I dug up the sketch below (2009?) and polished it into a full scene.
This is the screencap version:
Here's what it looks like on my actual iPad.
When revisting the concept, I experimented with dynamic symmetry to constuct a visually pleasing composition. I plan to describe this approach in a future post once I become better acquainted (and have more free time).
To set the otherworldly mood, I relied upon a triadic color scheme consisting of 16 shades plus a special red that has an effect similar to the color cycling of yore. To see it in action, you'll have to view the piece on your iOS or Android device.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with San Francisco startup Sifteo on their cube gaming platform. Instead of relying on a traditional controller or a D-Pad, players interacted by shaking, tilting, pressing, and neighboring the cubes. As a result, the hardware led to some interesting design challenges.
The flagship game was a Zelda-style adventure that featured a princess searching for ingredients to build a magical sandwich and fulfill a universal lunchtime prophesy. Due to the platform's unique inputs, the game eschewed combat in favor of exploration and Sobokan puzzles. The game's colorful graphics, sprawling levels, and epic story made it a hit with kids, even those too young to read the humorous dialogue. In fact, when we showcased the game at Indiecade East 2013, we witnessed many kids return for the second day of the event to continue their playthroughs.
With additional cubes, the player can see more of the map at once. Did I mention that the small LCD screens on top of the cubes were perfect for pixel art?
Here is some of my favorite artwork I created for the game.
The venom-spitting camel spider didn't make it into the game. I sure wish I could keep one as a pet.
A sample level made with the tileset from the starting world.
In-game cutscenes featured these portraits to accompany dialogue text.
Positive response to Sandwich Kingdom prompted the creation of a sequel: Ice Palace. This installment introduced new puzzle elements like ice slides and fierce owlbears.
Sifteo was acquired by 3D Robotics in 2014. The cube platform is defunct.