Jeff Hangartner – Revealing the Path Less Travelled in Video Game Industry

Jeff HangartnerJeff Hangartner, the founder of the gaming start-up, Bulletproof Outlaws has been a professional developer of games over the last half a decade. Creator of Pixelation, the 1st Pixel Art Forum and also originator of the Pixel tutorials which have been published in the form of a book. Jeff has always been a pioneer of the gaming industry.

CG Today is proud to present Jeff’s exploration as he shares the whole process of creating a start-up right from day 1. With the belief that gaming development is coming back to its original “one programmer in the basement roots” idea, Bulletproof Outlaws is chronicling every step of its start-up process from strategies, to marketing, setting goals and outsourcing, successes and failures. The aim is to help other developers who have ideas but are intimidated by the whole start-up process and are not sure how to go about it.

You can visit his website Bulletproof Outlaws to know more about him or send an email to get connected.

I’m hoping to have cutscenes in my games… possibly not the first one, because I don’t want to get too complicated when I’m just learning the ins and outs of the system, but definitely beyond that.  The first game I’m doing involves ninjas, and I want to have some bad-guy soldiers in there… they may only just show up in cutscenes, I’ve started the Game Design Document for it but the plot section is just really rough right now so when I flesh that out I’ll have a better idea of what art I need.

I’m messing around with using 3d to render out lineart for stuff that’s complicated or needs to keep it’s shape in perspective.  So if I had a truck flipping around I would probably just model the rough shape of a truck and render it out and either use that lineart as final if it works for the object, or just use it as a guide to make sure everything is looking solid.  I’m not a fast 3d modeller at ALL, but if I’m going to have a character/object shown from a bunch of weird angles, it might be faster to do it this way:

 

Soldier - Bulletproof Outlaws

I’m not doing everything in 3d (had to add the body), and it requires some clean-up (like the neck/jaw), but man does it save time to start from perfectly in-perspective line-art. For one picture it’s kind of a waste… it’d probably take me less time to map out the perspective by hand and get it all looking right.  But the awesomeness of doing it this way, if I’m going to have a bunch of cutscenes/animations is:

Soldier - Bulletproof Outlaws

Bam!  SO much time saved.  These are the actual renders, totally usable (there are little glitches like on the top-left one where his lower armor connects to the helmet, but those are a quick fix and probably not even noticable if he’s moving).

My first game is gonna’ take place in a Japanese village of sorts, and I need a shot of a cityscape… I could attempt to do it all by hand, background by background, or I could render a couple different building model designs, cut and paste them around and create a rough city, then go in and render it from various angles and have a bunch of different levels taking place around the village in no time!  DC Comics uses the crap out of Google SketchUp for this.

They’ve modelled their major buildings (Daily Planet building, Justice League headquarters, etc.) so their artists can throw them in quickly and easily.  Sure traditional art purists might say “Well you should do it the traditional way because that’s creating art, this is just cheating!” but for my first few games the art will pretty much be a one-man operation.  Any time I can save doing art means I can focus on other parts of the game or cram more art in so I say “Whatever works!” haha

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