Exploration!

Hey everyone! Gen here!

SO – the game is still in progress, but moving along quickly! There is indeed a pre-alpha version available to staff as was mentioned in a previous post, but there are still scripts of chatter and communication direction in the works as the levels are edited. Still, it’s amazing to be part of a project and see it coalesce into a cohesive product!!! It’s an exciting time!!!

Personally, I’m also having a bit of fun exploring new skills and practicing existing ones. Currently taking a Python programming class with MIT through edX…so will see how that turns out. (Obviously you can all see I’m all about online learning and alternate education along with the traditional. It’s helpful, especially when you have a busy schedule.)

But besides that, I’m exploring some concept art and perspective practice…if you wish to follow what I’m doing art-wise, my Instagram is primarily for that sort of thing: g.d.franco. Check it out if interested! Currently trying to improve with environment sketches and three-point perspective.

Speaking of art and games…very soon, I will be broadcasting a Twitch series on concept art, writing and a handful of reaction Let’s Plays. Mostly art and storyboarding, though. Upon the startup, I’ll be creating content for Legacy’s universe, specifically. Again, if you are interested, keep an eye out for the channel gdfrancoart. Coming soon!

Haha – lots of self-promotion in this post. But it’s an FYI, if you all are interested. No pressure!

Also, a question for anyone: does anyone want to see Legacy on a particular social media platform? There is Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook already, but is anyone particularly interested in a Legacy-centric Instagram? Or even later on, a newsletter production booklet of some type? Just throwing about some more ideas.

~G

 

 

Momentum!

Hey everyone! Gen here!

Just an update on the writerly side of things – everyone is working hard to complete Futuretech: Flight Academy, and already there is a pre-alpha (or rather, first-playable) version out to internal staff, which is awesome and exciting! So progress has taken a tangible step!

As always, the story is never, ever finished – and even now there are scripts being written for intros, radio chatter, reactions and briefs! The game flow and voice actors’ considerations dictate a lot of how that process goes, too.

And along with the writing comes new storyboards! Working on the trailer and changing an outcome for a character!

As people know, the game design document, comprised of pretty much everything that goes into the design process – art, writing, assets, published announcements, flow charts, info/lore sheets, controls, etc. etc. – is always changing, even up to the last second. Currently, the Legacy universe expands to its main game as well as Futuretech‘s, so a lot of its production is along the same story foundations. There’s a substantial amount of art and planning done already, and I’ve been looking into publishing processes for books lately – specifically art production books.

So, the question is…if our team could compile, publish and distribute a production book of sorts for Futuretech, would players be interested in it for an affordable price? Just an idea I’ve been kicking around for some time. All up in the air right now and ultimately up to the director, but it is something worth considering, what with many fans (including myself) being avid collectors of their fandoms’ production art books…

~G

A New Toy – I Mean, Tool!

Hey everyone!

Gen here!

So…just a very small bit of news that I wanted to share (because I am still so excited about it): I bought myself a present. A large, expensive present. A Wacom Cintiq 13″ HD touch drawing tablet.

And it is LOVELY. SO lovely. If any of you aspiring or accomplished artists out there are considering it seriously, GET IT. I have been putting it off because of the price, understandably (it costs about as much as a computer), but found a deal for a refurbished one and took it as a sign. Ha ha.

I must say again – worth it.

With digital tablets, it’s sort of been a given that there’s a little disconnection when it comes to the drawing/painting process. You’re drawing half-blindly, staring at the cursor on the designated computer screen as if it is your last hope. And it is, really. That’s your drawing point. (Anyone who uses a tablet, this is baby basics of basics, I know.) Your hand is drawing on a surface away from the actual image being rendered. It’s weird, but you normalize the feeling and that disconnect because you want to create pretty art. It’s like playing a videogame, but for drawing.

The Cintiq, of course, eliminates that disconnect; you draw directly on the screen. It makes a difference. Already I’m noticing a faster speed to creating digital artwork now; there’s more control in each stroke too. It’s a fairly customizable product and you can adjust the lighting and settings as you wish.

Anyway – thought I would let you guys know!

~G

Happy 2017!

Hey everyone! Gen here!

Hope everybody had a lovely New Year’s! I think most of us are happy to start afresh, and not unwilling to let 2016 pass us by. But lots of great things happened too; lots of milestones made, social issues brought to the forefront, environment and animal protections and of course, our art/entertainment industry is growing and changing for the better.

And so have its independents! 😀

A lot is planned for 2017 for us, so this year should prove to be exciting in that regard. As for one of the initial goals for this year, the official trailer for Futuretech Flight Academy will be coming together! That will definitely be thrilling to see!

Otherwise, at least for my corner, working on final touches to that trailer script and storyboard set. It is mostly organizing and re-editing the content I have for Legacy after that!

Will blog again soon with updates!

~G

Looking back at 2016….

Hey guys!

As 2017 fast approaches, I thought it would be good to take a moment to reflect upon the current year and some of it’s high points in regards to the progress of the making of LEGACY (and to a new degree, it’s “prequel” of sorts…FutureTech Flight Academy, or “FFA” for short).

I would have to say that, without a doubt, our major high point was attending PAX EAST in Boston, MA this past spring. We had an amazing time there…from finally showcasing a playable demo for the public, to taking in all the sights, sounds, and energy from the event itself. There were so many great games showcased there that certainly fueled our drive and ambitions to become a name in this fabulous industry! We also met a lot of interesting and genuinely helpful people during our three days on the convention floor. The people who sat down and actually played the demo had tons of great feedback for us. Subsequently, from this feedback, our newest game idea was formed. Also, we were surrounded by other teams in the booths adjacent to us who had a lot of helpful and useful ideas and advice. It really was a great feeling to see just how supportive the indie gaming community can be from the inside. Plus, PAX EAST 2016 would not have been such a fantastic success if it weren’t for the truly awe-inspiring effort put in by the team who volunteered to man the booth. To Camille, Genevieve, Latisha, and Tori…I want to thank each of you for making the event run smoothly, efficiently, successfully, and most importantly…fun! Although we will not be making an appearance at PAX in 2017, be prepared to see us in 2018 with some new, amazing content!

The major event that spawned from our visit to PAX was the decision to create a smaller, one-off game which could be considered a “prequel” of sorts to the main project. It seemed that the majority of the people who played our demo…a small space combat portion of the game…thought that this was an example of the full game itself. Not only that, but they were all for it being a project that they would be willing to follow and support. This realization was in fact a bit of a relief, seeing that the main game would not be close to completed until sometime mid-to-late 2018. By splintering off and working on a standalone space combat sim, we had the possibility of releasing a completed game much sooner. We have also placed FFA on Steam’s Greenlight “early concepts” page for additional feedback and exposure. As of now, production of FFA is well underway, with a projected release sometime this coming Spring/Summer.

Another first for us in 2016 was the release of our very first teaser trailer! It’s fairly short and purposely ambiguous, but definitely sets the tone and mood for the game as a whole. The haunting voice-over work from on of our voice actors Tulip (whose voice can be heard on her web page http://www.tulipflanagan.com) sounds just so perfect! I still can’t get over how good it is. Thank you Tulip for the wonderful improvisation. The teaser video can be found here…https://youtu.be/OG3d8P2k9y0.

One of the technical milestones in the project early in the year was the completion of the “AI Ship Director”…an intuitive in-engine visual scripted program…used to control all of the various AI ships in a given level. By implementing this “Director”…I was able to greatly increase the efficiency and speed at which the game engine could control enemy AI assets in a level. Other technical achievements of last year were the creation of a functioning main menu, weapon selection script, and a order priority selection menu. The latter gives the player the ability to designate targets of priority for their support AI wingmen during the space combat scenarios.

In the writing department, we covered a lot of ground this past year. Our writers, Genevieve and Summer, both created some very intriguing dialogue and back-story for the game. Genevieve has been focused on creating a new main character for FFA, a young rookie pilot in training named Gary. Newly recruited, he is eager to get into the fight against the alien menace that is currently controlling the planet. However, he soon finds out that joining the cause comes with it’s own heavy price to pay. Moving to the lore of the game, Summer has been writing a narrative that will delve deep into the history of the world of LEGACY. Several hundreds of years before the events of LEGACY, circumstances are unfolding on Earth and beyond that will forever change the fate of humanity.

In the art department, we had a very talented batch of concept artists, 3D modelers, and level designers working to get a ton of assets and art sheets thru the pipeline. Latisha and Jacob…the core of our 3D modeling team…have been working on creating our weapons, level assets, and textures. Sergio, who has moved on from our team to work with a AAA gaming studio, was integral to creating the 3D models for our fighter and bomber assets…with design help from concept artist Kevin. Kevin, who has been busy with both ship and environmental concept art design, created a fantastic array of alien and human weapon designs, as well as environmental art for the interior of the large space cruiser being developed for our next main game demo level. Tori, our level designer, has been putting together that demo level inside of Unreal Engine 4 for most of the latter half of 2016. Our newest concept artist addition to the team, Danielle, has been creating character a-pose modeling sheets and illustrations featuring design updates to the main characters of the game. Her unique ability to blend both the established design aesthetics of the characters while being able to seamlessly integrate her own unique spin has been amazing to watch! The characters are fabulous to look at…and are coming to life with their own unique personalities. I cannot wait to get them modeled and rigged for animation in 2017! Our UI designer Camille has been working on creating some really great designs for both the menu screens and HUD iconography for both the main game and FFA. Some of those menu screens were showcased in our demo at PAX back in April. Since then she has create a ton of new work that will be front and center in FFA’s gaming interface.

Of course there were a few setbacks…which seem to mirror a lot of what transpired in 2016 as a whole. One of the major ones was not reaching a point that we felt comfortable launching a crowd funding campaign. Initially slated for fall of this year, there just didn’t seem (at least in my eyes) enough solid ground to initiate that sort of funding campaign. It’s my true belief that people should have the ability to see a comprehensive, fully grounded and functioning demo product before being asked for their financial support. Although we had a playable demo, there just seems to be a little bit more needed in place before that happens. Rest assured, that will be coming very soon though. Another was the inability to cast all of the main voice acting roles for the game. With a large portion of the characters cast with amazingly talented voice actors, the bar has been set pretty high for the remaining parts. The search for the voice of the main protagonist, alien scientist, and for the newest character…Gary…along with several other NPC’s…continues on into the new year.

In conclusion, I believe that overall 2016 was a monumentally positive year for production. Like our aforementioned voice actors, it has set the bar high for 2017. It is a bar that, although high, I believe we will surpass and even eclipse in 2017. We have the team, the vision, and the drive to make it happen. Keep an eye out for what is next. Trust me…it’s gonna be cool!

Happy New Year from the LEGACY team…and thank you for your continued support and interest!

~SF

Importance of Diverse Characters!

Hey all!

Gen here! Again!

Just some thoughts on story development and character design. Of course, at this point, everything is fairly thought-out and nearly in its final stages for the Futuretech Flight Academy upcoming game. There’s some amazing concept/modeling/design art happening in regards to vehicles, weapons, environments…and characters!

There are, basically, unlimited discussions everywhere that analyze the significance of representation in all types of entertainment media – but especially within the realm of videogames now. This is natural, as it is a massive genre that has exploded along with the advancement of technology. Videogames are so versatile, and can really be almost whatever the audience wants – whether it’s a simple game of online Scrabble to Robot Unicorn Attack, or from Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto to VR gaming. There are fitness games, self-help games, adventure puzzle games and violence/horror simulators. This is a genre approaching the vastness of film and literature.

Yes, I know I’ve said this very same in a previous post some time ago. But it has only grown more true, I think.

This is why it is important to appreciate their power. Videogames are now part of the Humanities. They have been for a long time. The simple fact is, they significantly influence culture; especially our culture.

It is extremely important to recognize this.

Depending what the overall goal/purpose of the game is, there is a measure of responsibility upon the creators and the fans. (Yes, the fans. The great and terrible forces of fanbases are not to be underestimated!) It is always important to include all types of people in all types of life. It is important to represent them in our characters that we relate to and identify with in our media; in our humanities. It is particularly important to include diverse characters within games – because we do not merely stand by and watch; we take part in them.

Of course, the story may not support as much as is needed or wanted, but then questions need to be considered. We need to ask ourselves why. Is it for marketing purposes? Is it for historical accuracy? Is that version of historical accuracy accurate itself? Are stereotypes played into for a statement and/or purpose or just because that has been the status quo?

Obviously, no one is perfect. And group projects always must come to a compromised result/end product – that is the nature of them.

But it is our goal to always improve. This is only one area, of course. But we as humans tend to be drawn to the characters of a story, of a realm – so it makes the most sense to start with their transformation and development. Diversifying them and making them relatable both – is the key.