Saturday, March 2, 2013

Trade Nations

Another big project I worked on at Bight was "Trade Nations" for facebook. It was an interesting experience; I had been working on 3D assets but was sucked into the 2D team with almost no experience in that field. The educational value of that project was immeasurable: I learned about painting, pipelines, flash, GUI design. I got to work on pretty much every aspect of the game, and contribute huge amounts of artwork.

Everything in Trade Nations was made in photoshop and exported through flash; most assets were painted at enormous sizes and reduced. I only have a few of the source files in my posession, the rest are just screenshots.

I worked on so many assets that it is difficult to remember which ones I made; and to make matters more complicated I would often get rough assets from other artists, or completed assets that had to be animated, or fixed in some way. I've made an effort to post only artwork I distinctly remember creating from start-to-finish.

Resource Stages:

One of my biggest tasks was to create varying stages of resource camps, which could be unlocked as the player leveled up. Each of these had to animate differently, and change in appearance as it's animations were depleted. Each of the camps had a different worker guy too, and I did all the walk and idle cycles for all the re-skinned workers.

The first-stage camps I just had to modify and add stages of decay to; the rest I did from concept to completion. Above video taken from the game featuring most of the camp stages. (and yes, the final-stage sheep are Llamas, and I still can't believe I got that approved.)

Speaking of Llamas:

The quarries were probably the most intricate ones animation-wise. Here's a closer look at them

Decorations and Buildings:

The meat of Trade Nations are it's decorations and building upgrades. Above are all the animated decorations I can remember making; sadly there were a few cool ones that never quite made it into the game. Another big feature of the game was the 'premium' assets, which cost real money. They were always more fun to work on, since they were the most flashy, exciting props; but less people got to see them.

(The cat's sprite flipped every time it animated; this Gif does not do that.)

Here are some of the more mundane props. I was on statue and shrubbery duty for a week or so.

I was responsible for most of the fences and roads; they were an interesting undertaking from a mechanical standpoint, since they had to change appearances depending on their proximity to other props. This was a layering nightmare for me, and a minor inconvenience to the programmers. They turned out pretty neat though.

 And here are some sightly larger pictures nabbed from the build menu icons.

Aaaand speaking of icons,


I made all kinds of icons for the game, it was weeks and weeks of icons. This is but a fraction of them.

User Interface:

The entire HUD was to be overhauled for an upcoming release, and all the visual concepting, heated brainstorming, and countless revisions were done by my co-worker Karyn and I. We both spent so long cooperatively hating this interface that I can no longer remember who did what; so here are some shots of the various menus.

It's a pretty decent system though, worth taking a look at in-game. There's lots of devious places where we swapped the typical location of "Okay" or "Cancel" with "Share," to get people to post things to their walls.

And that concludes this trip down memory lane.


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