More Love for @orchidhunter

Hands down, the best thing about my new job, outside of the job, is that I finally have nights, and weekends to draw again.

This is a progression set I did in Sketchbook Mobile for Android, on a Galaxy Note 4. It's my friend Leon, also known as @orchidhunter on Twitter. When I lived in SF, I used to draw him a lot, and you can find some of that output in my gallery, but it's been years now.

Leon has always been a type of muse to me, but in my own work, he's evolved into something totally divorced from the reality. Mind you, the reality is better, but the version of Leon I keep in my head is some cute, rubbery Mario-influenced boy-man. I guess it's the same kind of leap that exists to get from Betty Page to Betty Boop.

Caves & Chasms Beta Testing

This weekend I've been play testing my best friend Chris Morrison's new game, Caves & Chasms, which he's going to be releasing on iOS and Android pretty soon. It's really a special project to me because the music is provided by my favorite game composer Leila Wilson a.k.a. "Woofle," who has scored a ton of things I love, but most notably (for me) my own v-novel project, The Archives of Wyndia. The music for Caves & Chasms is gorgeous.

Coding duties have been handled in large part by Felix Palabrica, who was also behind the programming  for Dragon Snackthe side project Chris and I wrapped up together a few months ago.

So needless to say, it's a game that feels like a of part of my family.

Caves & Chasms looks like it's going to be a very atmospheric combination of a classic arcade feel and a very modern adventure. The sense of exploration is very real, and the light puzzle elements are fun but don't throw a wrench in my fun.

Check out Chris' shots of the game on his studio's blog, here.

Site Design Challenge: Final Fantasy XII HD for PS Vita

I recently entered a web design challenge with a goal of designing a site for my favorite video game. I have lots of favorite games, but I've been listening to the Basiscape/Hitoshi Sakimoto score for Final Fantasy XII a lot for the past few years and I love the world of Ivalice, especially as portrayed by Final Fantasy XII, so that's what I picked.

I started with some thumbnails of three design directions. I called the first one "Traditional" because it's like the most standard three-column site layout I could think of. I wanted to prove that I know what it is to do a "regular" website, but I also already knew I wasn't going to pick this. The second design I called "Parallax" because I was planning to use depth speeds on the content layers, but ultimately I decided that's too trendy, and also has nothing to do with the game content. The final design I called "Cinema." "Traditional" and "Parallax" turned out to pretty much just be warmups for me, because I really fell hard for "Cinema." I was running out of time by the time I did that version, too, so I went with it.

Here's the full-page view of the "Cinema" design. My goal for this design was to be modern, but not too flashy. I wanted the game content to be central. I also wanted the header image to be a variable-width HTML5 video stream that would work all the way down to mobile dimensions.

I only had part of one night to code this design up, so I rushed some things and believe I could do a lot better on it if I were to spend some more days, but if you want to see the live-scaling dummy view, check out:

7 Things I Kept Learning in 2014

1) Everything matters / nothing matters. There is an infinite range of opportunity to influence reality, be influenced by it, or both at the same time. Carefully constructing our best outcome in meticulous detail is an exercise in futility, and does not result in a better outcome than remaining flexible. I'm not saying don't try -- just saying don't cling to the details of your desired dream world. Even if you were the only human alive on the planet, other things would still get in your way.

My social avatar for 2015 is a little fatter and more weary, just like me!

My social avatar for 2015 is a little fatter and more weary, just like me!

2) Say what you want. You might as well. Accept what is given. This doesn't work all the time, but as a general rule, it works.

3) Try not to get too fat. It'll make you sad.

4) Everyone needs more compliments, but not fake ones. Surprise someone with a real, sincere compliment. Don't hold onto these when you notice them; just blurt it out: "Your cape looks awesome." "I love your voice."

5) Money is for three things: Your now, your future, and your loved ones. If you are using money on something else, you're probably harboring resentment about it and should reevaluate.

6) In every case, wanting is more exciting than having.  If you really, really want something, before you buy it consider that this phase of wanting may be the last time you ever really enjoy that thing. Are you prepared to convert a source of joy into a mundane tool for your daily life, or unused junk? "Having" the thing you wanted is like waking up from a good dream to mow the lawn.

7)  Life is BYOM - Bring your own meaning. Make it a good one.