Potato Planet! – Currently in development
2016 Greenlight Trailer:
A first person action physics puzzle game where potatoes are your only resource and enemy. The player solves puzzles and fights off enemy potatoes with a multi function, upgradeable weapon with the assistance of a snarky AI robot companion.
In early 2015 I decided that my next creative endeavor would be to get into game design. Being ambitious, I did not intend on just doing a small project to get my feet wet. I approached it as I did any other of my past ventures.
I spent months reading, learning, and experimenting in order to come up with a solid plan that identified what existing skills I could apply, and what my realistic limitations were. After 6 months I had a clear plan, a prototype, obtained a bit of startup capital through a former business partner and was all in!
I very quickly knew that I wanted to draw inspiration from a couple of favorite games. Half-Life 2 and the Portal series. I was particularly inspired by Portal as an excellent example of a great game created by a small team without needing a ton of assets or lots of complicated features. I decided on first person gameplay centered around physics puzzles with enough action to keep the player on their toes. Every concept choice came to distilling down what makes an idea fun and how can it be done with the less assets. This resulted in a single weapon with multiple features instead of multiple weapons, a single resource that can be used in different ways, a single enemy, and a single companion.
To reflect the lighthearted nature of the game and stick with my minimalist approach, I settled on a very limited color palette.
I wanted to use shaders that were representative of the bright cartoonish style I was going for, but I did not exactly want to go with a cell-shaded look,
Staying true to my goal of doing as much as possible with few assets, my approach was to first limit the amount of detail in any textures in order to give the color palette the most impact.
I achieve this by using almost no diffuse textures. Opting instead to just use normal maps and occasionally AO or roughness. Most of the shaders include fuzzy shading and fresnel effects to darken normals that are perpendicular to the camera. This provides a different look than would be achieved with a typical post process outline.
There is only one character to interact with. Your AI companion. Which is a Superintelligent Polysynaptic Ultrareliable Device. Aka SPUD.
SPUD helps guide the player through the game while providing snarky commentary along the way.
To market Potato Planet! I’ve adopted a sort of potato obsessed game dev persona online. Any time there is something about potatoes in the news, I talk about it or sometimes I photoshop images and make memes which I mix in with game promotion.
Although it is time consuming, it’s proven to be effective as now any time people find something potato related, they think of me.
Additionally, I wanted to create an actual product that people could buy to support development. I came up with the idea of a buttery baked potato fragrance complete with a commercial inspired by 90’s Obsession commercials.
After launch, the product will come with a game download code.
Ten ways to protect your home from wildfire – 2017 video infographic demo for insurance company.
This was made as a demo to a local insurance company showing how some of the infographics they put out on social media could also be made into short informative videos.
The goal was to bring the graphic to life as quickly as possible. The house was modeled in Maya and the scene built and filmed in Unreal using some premade assets. The video was completed in 24 hours.
Quantum Dots – 2017 Unreal MegaJam entry
The theme of the game jam was a Stanley Kubrick quote “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light”
My idea was to make a first person platformer where you collect quantum dots to power a multi colored flashlight. Different wavelengths of light would change the behavior of platforms in the game.
I decided to make everything from scratch during the jam rather than use any exisiting assets. I really felt that I needed the challenge to give myself a creative push that I could apply to “Potato Planet!.”
The game itself did not turn out as strongly as I had hoped, but I was super pleased with some of the things I learned and I had a lot of fun recording the sound effects.
The entry can be downloaded here