Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Pigs (part 1)

Back in February 2011 I was hired at Giraffon as an illustrator and concept designer for their game Pig’s Revenge, which was supposed to be a sort of parody/clone of Angry Birds. My first assignment was to come up with the designs for the characters. Initially, I just grabbed a handful of computer paper and started Google image-searching cartoon pigs to look for different styles. Whenever I would find one that seemed to stand out, I would try to imitate that style in creating a limb-less cartoon pig head, although a few of the early designs even had little legs sticking out. 

From all the sketches, this one stood out:

And from there it turned into:

Alot of the influence came from some of my favorite illustrators Mike Krahulik and Ben Caldwell
Once I found a look that appealed to me, I showed it to my boss and started churning out all sorts of pigs. Soldier pigs, general pigs, lady pigs, ninja pigs - by this point in development, we had only begun to think of possible ways we could improve on Angry Birds gameplay and turn it into a more exciting experience.

The only designs from this batch that made it into the game were the drill pig (who you shoot underground to pop up behind obstacles), the bomb pig, and the jetpack pig (who you can tap multiple times in the air to change precise direction.
At one point in development, we had considered a more concrete story line with a military tone to it. I had the idea that there would be a pig general that would give you instructions every now and then. I really wanted him to be animated, with his mustache bouncing up and down when he talked and pointing around with his fancy stick thing. Unfortunately, it didn't cut it.

I also was tasked with coming up with a way to shoot the pigs. We couldn't use the slingshot, so I thought of putting a cannon in there, though the cannon had to look different from all the other imitator games out there. We didn't want to have a stupid bar show up where you had to time the power and angle just right to make your shot - we wanted something quick and easy where you could pull back and release. After several designs, the one we liked best was based on the Toy Story 3D shooter game in Disneyland where you have a pull string attached to a ball behind the cannon. The ball would be pulled and the longer the pull, the more power the shot would have.

Above was the first pass on the cannon design. Below is how the cannon looks now (that particular background is not part of the game, I just drew it in there quick to give context).

Continued in part 2...

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