Monthly Archives: May 2010


So, so sooooo much to do on a multitude of angles yet my mind strays little from playing with the Brushes app on the iPad. Sigh. When it comes to deferring gratification I’m not the best of the best.

Witness these for example. I’d also like half a dozen other doodles, finished and some less so, taken into consideration.

(although this one was, admittedly, done on the trusty iPod touch 🙂 )

(and this one fought finishing for flipping yonks…)

Sketchbook Pro face

OK now some of you may have noticed I’m very much into the Brushes app on iPad and iPod. That’s not to say that I’m not open to the idea of other apps, nor do I avoid contact that isn’t anything Brush related. Far from it; I have a page of apps devoted to the creative tools and have an interest in all of them (Sketchbook, Art Studio, Brushes beta, Inspire, Layers, Harmonious, Typedrawing, Artisan, SpawnHD, iFractal and Trippingfest in case you’re wondering). I just haven’t found anything I like anywhere near as much as I do Brushes.

It’s not perfect: the viewer tool is a little broken on the iPod -> Mac version (taking the layer order over the drawn order as timeline priority), the line tool isn’t as strong as Sketchbook’s (no auto-smoothing), there’s no move layer tool on the iPod version (although issue 1 and 3 have been fixed in the iPad version) and so on. I can think of a dozen or more improvements I’d love to suggest to Steve Sprang if we had the chance to chat about what would be amazing to see in future releases (movie exporter with selectable render layers, type, custom brush designer, brush rotation alongside spacing, psd file export and so on) but the first thing I would say would be ‘thanks for such an amazing tool. It’s a job to use.’

So, not perfect but awesome regardless.

That said I do often try and create pictures with the other apps, I just find their limitations, particularly their UI limitations, immensely frustrating. Layers has some sweet touches but shake for interface? No thanks (yes I know this has been optioned but even so a crackers idea. Still, it was the first tool with layers so big kudos to them for that), Art Studio has a LOVELY dry brush tool but, again, I find the UI clumsy and unwieldy. Sketchbook has a beautiful and useful mirror drawing tool which I LOVE to pieces, as well as a sweet line smoothing tool but is slooooow and the UI is, again, aimed for precision and thoughtful contemplation rather than speed of doodlage. I want to draw and think as little as possible about the steps I have to take to progress forwards. Sketchbook’s UI feels like a satnav set to a foreign language.

That said I did doodle this today (edit: yesterday but have been sick as a sickpig through night hence delay) which is as far as I could get. I would like to have coloured it in more and smoothed some of the lines but enough was enough. Maybe one day I’ll get a workflow sorted on another app but, for the moment, Brushes hits the speed spot.

Doodled this while having tea with a friend…

OK admittedly that sounds very rude.  It was mainly while she went to the loo and, fortunately for me, there was a q 🙂 So I had a good five minutes to sketch and block colour in. Then the rest I just did while calming down from the penultimate PGCE lesson…

I have done a little bit of doodling to it since so it may change by a few more percent… But I’m happy with it as is and then, when uploaded, I can blow this joint and go home…

Crazy dayzy…

Sigh, life is full. Sometimes fun though, can’t complain.

Anyhow did this for a client who I like loads:

and this for the fun of it. It was fun that had a downside. I drew the pic in my garden at the end of a hectic and busy day and found, the next morning, that one side of my face had swollen up around a bug bite I barely remember receiving. Beginning to go down now but it does still feel like someone’s stamping on my face.

This is my Mario or Sonic…

Naturally I don’t mean in terms of exposure, success or prominence, things I aspire to with little confidence or hope. Nor do I mean that he is the occupant of a colourful world filled with amazing dangers, set pieces, bad guys and shiny things be they gems or star bits or rings.

Nope, this is the guy who inhabits my thoughts when I think on computer games, the ones I want to make. I dare say anyone who’s worked in the industry has wanted, at one point or another, to create ‘the game’. Certainly when I worked in the industry most of the people I sat alongside would have done the game they were working on differently, whether it was a material based flight sim (Magic Carpet PC) or a metal based flight sim (Top Gun PS2/GC/Xbox) both of which I worked on (I also worked on The Cabal, Populous 2 (Mac) and Burning Ambition, all unreleased, Raucous Caucus, FA 18E Super Hornet, Theme Park, Creation, Dungeon Keeper and Syndicate/Syndicate Wars in a variety of roles. FA18/DK I did a tiny amount on, the rest a little more).

Anyhow, I digress. I have always wanted to make a number of games, the ideas for which reside in my mind and struggle to break out on occasion. I want to do a spin on a football game which makes PERFECT sense, a music/rhythm action game which changes the game a fair amount and mashes another genre into the mix. I want to make a pinball/action game, an MMO with a SERIOUS difference and, most of all, an action/adventure game which stars the guy above: Intimidus. If I had to choose one game to make it would be this one (although from a logistical standpoint I’d make a couple of smaller games first just to bed in a team and work out the pipeline of roles and responsibilities…)

Without giving too much away (and some of this has been done elsewhere, the ideas been bubbling away for 6 years or so) Intimidus is the bodyguard of a murdered Roman Senator. Left for dead in the attack, then accused of it, he runs away, first to escape and then to clear his name and find out who caused so much harm and so many changes to everything he understood. He falls in with people he previously attacked, through need rather than choice, learns something of the consequences of his blind obedience and, most of all, he comes to understand life at the other end of the sword. Yes there would be violence in the game – I have no issue with the concept of violence per se, having more of an issue with the fact that computer games deal, for the majority of the time, with consequence free violence and part of the game focuses specifically on this fact. So anyhow, the game I see in my mind is dirty, earthy, gritty, painful, unpleasant, honest, occasionally violent and stars a man equal to all of these things.

One day I hope to make the game. Yesterday I had a number of chats which led me to wonder if it could actually happen. We’ll see, but I enjoyed the chats yesterday and feel more energised than ever about it, hence drawing the picture above on the train from Esher to Guildford while standing up 🙂 One of the struggles that managed to make it out of my mind… I hope one day the rest follows.

(Sorry forgot to add, and heard the voice of Yvonne in my head reminding me I should listen, that this was drawn on my iPad nano – or iPod touch, whichever name you prefer 🙂 )