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.

Bulletproof Outlaws - Game 1 - A Diary of a video game studio!

So back when I started my business course, I found that Calgary has an International Game Developers Association chapter that meets up once a month. I checked it out and had a fun time, everyone was cool and it was nice to meet other developers. Through that meeting I found out about the Global Game Jam. Back in my hobby dev days I took part in a few 48hr game competitions and they were always a good time. This one sounds cool because you’re working with strangers, so there’ll be lots of meeting and greeting new faces.

I’m dying to add glowy stuff to my game haha  Back at the place I used to work I was pretty notorious for adding glows to anything I could.  I just love flashy effects… I think that’s why anime appealed to me when I was a teenager.  Bugs Bunny was eating carrots and the schoolgirl in Project A-Ko was jumping off missiles destroying giant robots… sign me up for that, holy crap!  So I was messing around with making a throwing-star that materializes out of a glow as it flies toward the player and has a little curve in it’s motion:

I’m converting old art from the crappy Flash version of my game I made way back in the day, but I was rushing it out super fast back then because I was just messing around so when I look at some of it now I’m like “aghhh, that looks terrible, I want to redo that!” At the same time, I don’t want to make it look perfect because I think some of the style comes from the sketchy look the main ninja has…if I tightened up his line art and cleaned him up, I think it’d lose some of the flair.  Yet if I have a perfectly painted background, realistic looking weapons, etc., and then a sketchy main character, it’s a clash of styles. This is the old background:

Bulletproof Outlaws - Background

I don’t mind the foreground roof or the tree, I think I’ll keep those as they are or very similar, but man do I hate that background haha  I just pooped it out in a minute to get something back there.  I’m happy with the color scheme of it all, but I’m going to have to redo the background entirely.  Unfortunately I picked a city-scape to show, and I’m not a fan of doing perspective stuff. So what I’m probably going to do is model a few house types in 3d and arrange them, then render them out as line-art, so the perspective is right. I have a feeling the perspective I’m currently using is impossible though, haha  So I’ll figure that out later.

No work done today! Had to go to class haha The business course I’m taking is down to just one class a week on Wednesdays followed by a coaching session where I update my coach on how the business is going and set some goals and such. I’m pretty beat from lack of sleep lately, so when I got home from class I just crashed and caught up on a jillion hours of sleep.

Re-did the throwing star today! I want to keep things hand-drawn/sketchy but a little nicer than before.  I’m working pretty randomly here… my plan is to finish the art before I hire a programmer to put it all together, so I’m just working on what I feel like working on on any given day.  I should probably be a little more organized, but it’s easier to motivate myself when I get to work on fun stuff in-between the boring stuff haha Here’s a mock-up of the original throwing star and the new one side by side:

Bulletproof Outlaws - Background

I put a hole in the throwing star because I have a feeling I’m going to end up making it glow in SOME way, and holes look cool when you’re making things glow because it breaks up the solid silhouette with little glowy bits.

Bulletproof Outlaws Diary