What’s Been Up – January 2023 Edition

Hello, just wanted to talk about what I’ve been up to lately.

After releasing the Jet Dancer game, I’ve been pondering my next move. Unfortunately, a project that I thought had some potential, the “Amari Rift” project ran aground creatively and I put it aside indefinitely.

While I don’t have any clear plans, I have gone back to the lab as it were to ponder some different creative approaches. Honestly, now that I’m writing it out, I’m realizing my mistake in real time; basing my ideas on a character without actually considering the game I want to make in full first.

Anyway, I did start building another prototype based on this character I affectionately call “T.G.”, or Tonfa Girl, since she doesn’t have a name. Just can’t seem to decide on any that feel right. But here she is anyway:

Based on one of my random character designs I produced in 2018, I decided to randomly make a sprite rig out of her one day, and thought she seemed attractive. Her gun-batons are meant to serve as both melee and projectile weapons, and I thought about building some gameplay around that thought.

As is frequently the case these days, I decided to boot up Construct 3, create some animations, give her platform behavior and all that, and go to town.

When I shared her attack animation on Twitter, it ended up becoming the most liked and retweeted post I’d ever shared to the site so far, and admittedly, that invigorated me. But I know I’m still making the same mistake I made with Amari. Unless I do something differently, T.G. will inevitably suffer the same fate. Before I get into the character, I need to get into the what, where, when, how and why of the game plan. It’s strange that, as someone who actually managed to finish and release a game, I still struggle with the simple act of making a plan and following it.

So I started pondering another idea, and this time I started from the ground up: What kind of game? I told myself, maybe a classic-style beat-em-up? And story? Well, I don’t have a story for Amari and I don’t have one for T.G., but I do have a story for another character, an older one:

Dualmask. He is my mascot, my underused vigilante enforcer with a full plot I put together years ago. I wrote several short stories featuring the character too. While not every detail of his story is clear, I have enough to build an entire narrative around. Most of my old art featuring him is not worth sharing, but I have solid ideas for him and other characters that I can include in a beat-em-up concept.

Though my social media posts featuring him didn’t receive nearly as much attention, I feel like I have a clear path with him. I should at least follow it through to the production of vertical slice of gameplay, a proof-of-concept to see if this is worth pursuing. Beats making my sexy but underdeveloped female characters jump around in empty gray box levels ad nauseum.

I’m currently working on designing the sprite rig for the second of three playable characters for Dualmask’s beat-em-up game concept. Here’s the WIP of Infiltrator, Dualmask’s former friend and training partner turned rival (and temporary ally):

I think I have a solid project on my hands though, and as things continue to evolve, I’ll share my progress here.

Finally, just for the heck of it, here are some recent illustrations I’ve done, a couple of commissions of a DC Comics character called Tomorrow Woman:

…And for the first time in quite a while, an actual new Random Practice Babe! She may become a new villainess (perhaps for T.G.’s game/world when/if I ever flesh that out):

Just kind of drew her out of the blue one night, no real plan, but I think she has potential.

I think that’s all for now. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!