Working as an independent game designer can be pretty stressful, especially if you do not know where your next paycheck is coming from. Luckily we live in an age of online gaming where people are frequently opting to play games in their downtime. That means the demand for quality games is evermore increasing, and companies are responding by recruiting new game designers to satisfy the customers’ needs.
Let’s take, for example, the legal online casino industry which has seen a rise in popularity in recent years. Casino games appeal to players because not only do they provide entertainment, but also have real money stakes that make the gaming experience more thrilling. If you get hired by an online casino, your job would consist of creating engaging slots games and incorporating the casino bonuses in the system. You now may be wondering why you should work for a casino company. The answer is easy. This job offers flexibility, and you can explore your creative skills, all while receiving a competitive salary.
The gaming industry and more specifically, the casino gaming industry is even expanding into mobile phone markets with the introduction of mobile casino apps. So if your forte lies in mobile technology design, you can choose to create games for mobile casino apps.
The rise of popularity of casino games has seen recruiters going after independent game developers more than ever before, competing who is going to create the next best thing, and so ensuring an edge over competitors. As an independent game developer, you should consider yourself lucky if one of these recruiters is after you, and we recommend not to think twice before accepting this career opportunity.
Legacy of the Copper Skies Isen and Tir work together in Pendon’s pixel art style.
Pixel art had always appealed to Joe Pendon, though he has dabbled in three dimensions before and hopes to again. Right out of school and looking for work in Toronto he saw a demand for 2D pixel art from some of the local game companies and so it made sense to him to follow his passion down that route.
After focusing on building a pixel art portfolio he applied to the one local Toronto studio looking for a pixel artist and got the job. With that Pendon notes, “My career in gaming began. Pixel art got my foot through the door and I continue to strive to get better at it every day.”
A fan of Super Nintendo RPGs he’d been exposed to some of the industry’s high watermarks for pixel art. Even today he’s excited when talking about when I ask him about his favourite games, “Earthbound, hands down! It was my first RPG and a game that I still play at least once a year. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI are close seconds.”
An image from The Pocalypse II, a game set in The Pocalypse, a pixel art Flash web comic created by Pendon.
Next he created Green Pixel, a game development turned freelance pixel art company, and the long running Flash web comic The Pocalypse which he still maintains. To teach himself coding he created the game The Monolith which as seen success on web and mobile.
The prospect of new challenges drew him to join Horrible Unicorn Game Studios.
“I’m most excited about creating all the worlds that the game (Legacy of the Copper Skies) takes place in. Having multiple worlds with very different aesthetics lets me play around with varying styles and techniques. I’m also excited about all the modern effects we can utilize that will visually complement my pixel art,” he explained when I asked him what he was most interested in about the work he was doing.
“Oh, and robots, I’m always excited to design robots,” he added.
Unfortunately we haven’t had an update for a while as we’ve been fairly busy and didn’t want to tease out too many updates before we were ready to come out with our stuff in a more public way. So here’s a bit of what we’ve been working on lately.
The big thing we’ve been working on is our prototype for combat, including all the animation, art, AI, FX, design, and code that goes along with that. We now have two playable characters with different attacks, and some functional enemies as well. Plus the AI is pretty good too.
Music is the other really big thing we’re excited about. We have a great musician currently working in secret (#Secrets!) on our theme song. We’ve heard a few early versions of it and, if they are any indication of the final product, it’s gonna sound wicked.
On top of all of this we’ve been polishing up our art, and in game we’re getting closer to the vision we see in our heads. On the tech (and potentially less exciting) side, we’ve finalized our pipeline for creating levels, which tends to be something that’s hard for designers to break (AKA me). Additionally, our freelance concept artist Jakob Eirich has made a poster image for us that we’ll be showing just as soon as our logo is complete.
We also have a new hire, Whinnie, from the University of Waterloo. She’s taken over marketing, community relations, and a few other things here at HUGS. Say hi if you have the chance!
The last bit of news to share is that we will soon be announcing our game in a fairly big way. That’s basically why we’ve been silent for so long, nose to the grindstone as it were. So stay tuned, it’ll be soon (we promise!)
As a bonus, here is a small teaser image for our upcoming reveal.