Saturday, September 20, 2014
Here's a very flattering article on Yahoo: Building a Billion-Dollar Game Franchise, One ‘Skylander’ at a Time.
article about how I design Skylanders.
I was also put on the spot to draw, so I did a super quick and loose Chopper. It's been forever since I've drawn on actual paper with a pen, no undo! Wished that I had more time and more a few takes at it, but here it is:
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
For Skylanders Boy and Girl's 500th YouTube video, Skylander Dad made this awesome rap video about how they got started!
Make sure to check out their other Skylanders Rap videos, I especially love the Element ones :) What an amazing family!
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The Skylanders Comic-Con panel was a success! The panel was great, and the costume contest was amazing! There was quite a turn out, packed with over 480 people, and had to turn some away :( Sorry for those who waited but were unable to get in! If Activision post up a video of the panel, I'll update it here. But for now, here's the eye candy that I brought and showed at the panel. There were several slides missing from my presentation, but I’m posting all of the images here. We usually don't show much of the character concept art for Skylanders, so I'm happy to have the opportunity to show the fans at Comic-Con, and now, to you all!
|Steam Powered R2|
On Modern Marvels
Early Skylanders Prototype Tinkering
|One of the first Portal, using PVC pipe and kitchen sink drain covers,|
which made really good reflectors for the LEDs.
|The first crudely sculpted prototype toy, showing the silicone mold|
of the body. The head was casted from a separate mold.
One of the most common questions that I get asked is "how do you come up with characters?". Here are some examples of the concept process. I pull a lot from nature, which has always been my biggest influence. Food Fight begin like most Skylanders, just random doodles. I was trying to come up with a plant based little critter, and explore lots of different ideas on a page. He started feeling very cute, but lacking any sense of a “hero”, and doesn't look like he would do well in a battle.
|Early Explorations, was thinking of a venus flytrap, or hot peppers,|
infused in a cute plant based character
|The top characters started the spiky artichoke hair|
|He's starting to emerge|
|More Explorations on the same theme|
The next step is what weapon to give him. He is a cute little guy, so I wanted to balance him out a bit with a cool weapon. I explored some different guns types, and shooting different veggies. But in the end, we went with something very simple… Tomato gun!
|Trying out weapons|
|Final Food Fight Concept|
|Final pose, expression, and colors|
|3D Print (left), compared to the final production toy (right)|
Next, I'd like to share a couple of examples of characters that lay dormant for a while, but eventually came to be. Sometime the hardest characters turns out to be some of the best.
Kript KingKript King started out as the very first Giant. I was thinking of what it means to be a Giant in Skylands, what a Gaint should feel like. So I took Chop Chop, and made a ultra version of him, a Chop Chop Daddy, I kept calling him. In the end, we didn't use him as the Undead Giant (Eye Brawl took that spot), but I wanted some way to bring him back in Trap Team. He went through some changes, mostly in color and proportions, but largely retained his look and feel. I am very happy with the way that he eventually turned out, and glad to see as a Trap Master Skylander.
|Original "Chop Chop Daddy" Giant, next to Chop Chop|
|Roughing out proportions|
|Playing with headdress|
|The final Kript King figure|
ChopperThis dude started out when Nat Loh, one of our game designers, asked if I could make a Tech T-Rex with mounted guns. If you personally know me, you know that I love dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. In fact, I have an unhealthy trilobite fossil collection. So, I was in love with the idea of a T-Rex in Skylands, but for the life of me, could not figure out how to make a T-Rex Giant work. T-Rex's are more horizontal than vertical, which doesn't play nicely when trying to fit onto the portal with other toys. And we'd have problems trying to fit him in the blister pack package, being so horizontal. In the end, we tried other ideas for the Tech Giant spot, and eventually ended up with the fast shooting tech robot, Bouncer.
|Original Tech-Rex Giant tests|
|The compact character is cool, but the weapons just isn't working.|
|Trying different weapons and abilities|
|Final Chopper Concept: T-Rex+Helicopter+Mech Suit Legs+Missiles|
|Final 3D Print|
|Final 3D Print|
KaosIn development of Skylanders; Spyro's Adventure, we needed an ultimate bad guy. At first, I just started drawing random bad guys, but they all felt too generic, too boring, or too scary.
|Too generic, and they don't feel like|
|Focus on being a little powerful guy|
|Embarrassingly bad attempt at a realistic-ish|
character, he just looks like a creepy old clown...
|Poor pathetic looking guy... even with the medals, he|
just isn't someone who you could imagine taking over
|Although this isn't what Kaos ended up, he has the qualities that passed down to the final version.|
|Time to bring him back to more Skylander style|
|The final sketch that solidified Kaos, with his alter ego floating|
head (from Spyro's Adventure)
|More sketches to get a better feel of who he is|
|Some quick tests|
|He's not a big guy, but I wanted him to feel powerful|
|And of Course, he's not complete without Glumshanks!|
|Me, with Richard Horvitz (voice of Kaos), Ron Marz|
(Skylanders Comic Writer)
|First place goes to Scratch, for $4k|
|Jet Vac and Gillgrunt at the Skylanders Booth|
|Me and the voice of Kaos, Richard Hovwits|
|Adorable Scarlet Ninjini|
|Chompy Mage with Skylanders kid reporter|