Building A World: From Concept to Creation

You may have noticed this if you’ve glanced at our team page, but we have quite a few artists on our team considering the size of the company. We’re fortunate and thankful for each of them, because it takes a lot of art to make a game. Unfortunately, many talented artists’ work goes unnoticed in the broad scheme of things; consistency is very important when defining an overall look and feel for a game, so the unique styling that each person brings to the table can get lost in the mix sometimes. Since Hands On! Tangrams was designed with something of an activity-book-esque style in mind, we decided to let our different talent shine by letting different people draw each level. Our goal was to maintain a certain level of quality as well as showcase the many talented people we had working on the game, and overall I feel we accomplished this in spades.

Hands On! Pattern Blocks, however, was steered in a different direction. It was always planned to be more of an adventure game, so we went the more traditional route of defining a distinct style to bring credence to the world of the game. If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know we were already in love with Matt McKenna’s unique approach to cartooning, so much so that we picked one of his drawings from Tangrams to be the main character for our new game. We went a step further and made Matt our lead concept artist. Matt’s breezy and quirky style was exactly what we needed to bring the game to life.

Matt's concept art was the first step to setting up the cutscenes for the game itself.

In order to finalize our living, breathing world, we needed locales and cast that could populate it. This is where the original story concept from John Sabin, creative producer Ryan Harbinson and I came in. John and Ryan came up with different scenarios and locations for Orion’s adventure, and Ryan and I filled it in with the written dialogue you’ll eventually be reading. Thankfully, conceptualizing and and writing the game was an absolute blast, with Matt’s art making it really easy to come up with many zany characters and situations.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the fun so soon, but in the coming weeks we’ll tell you more about Orion’s adventure and the people he’ll meet a long the way. For now, I hope you enjoyed reading about the conceptual process that went into creating the world of Hands On! Pattern Blocks. Stay tuned for future updates, but in the mean time, why don’t you check out Matt’s art blog and web comic? I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

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