FATHOM RTS art

 

 

 

Zbrush sculpt for the Light Scout unit in FATHOM.minitiri_scout

FATHOM the game

So way back in 2003 I had an idea for a video game. Back then indie developers were a rarity and the odds of making something to compete with AAA titles was out of the question…. but I tried it any way. I met some great people…. Devin (code guru), Sammy, Matt and Alex that went in with me to try and pull something off. We failed in the end… mostly because there were no tools available. We had an engine (or three) but they werent made for RTS games or they had no tools (editors, etc). For 10 years I’ve had this game in my head.. I think its like that song you wake up with in your mind every morning, you cant stop thinking about it until you hear it. So I think I’m going to try FATHOM again. This time we have the tools, the engine, things like Kickstarter and most of all more experience.
I’ll post more here as I get time and I’ll probably start a developers blog somewhere also. In the mean time, here are my first efforts after a few hours toying with the engine.

 

 

 

 

Game Testers Wanted

“The Colorful World of Hue”

A couple weeks ago Devin Kelly sent me an email… I havent heard from him in years.. We worked on FATHOM (my RTS project) wayyy back in the day. We didnt get very far with FATHOM because Devin (programmer) had to develop all the tools for the engine…. That sucked. Anyway.. He’s been working on a tower defense game for a while and wanted to know if I wanted to do the graphics for it. So we’re game deving again..fun stuff.
So the game is a tower defense game, and its multiplayer. Its based in a world of old cartoons, artists nightmares and general insanity. The thing that makes this different from other tower defense games is that its based on colors. You can choose the colors of your towers or attackers. Only opposing units of the same color can do maximum damage. Its a cool idea and I’m really happy with the way its coming together. If code was a martial art, Devin would live on top of a mountain and call people grasshoppa. Its so awesome to say “I need to do this”.. and a little while later (usually minutes) theres some magic script written that does what I need.
So to the point… we are getting to a point that we will need a few people to test the game mechanics, playability, balance, etc. Shoot me a message of facebook or thru my site for information…

PROMETHEUS…….

I am the biggest ALIEN fan on the planet. No joke. I was 11 and ninja’d my way into the theater ALIEN was playing…. It was a life altering day and its what flipped my switch and made me want to know how monsters were made. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. My studio is decorated in original ALIEN posters, figures, books, collectibles…. Its the perfect monster and a perfect movie… Thanks to Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger.
Naturally I was stoked about Prometheus.. I went to the midnight opening to see it. This movie could have replaced the number one spot on my movie list…. but it didnt. Was I disappointed?…. a little. Here are some random thoughts….

**SPOILERS**

The premise was fair and it was about what I expected in a general sense…. the execution on the other hand… I knew the space jockeys were going to be somewhat human and that the discovery would question evolution and religion. As far as the story taking place in the ALIEN universe, thats a little hit and miss. Where it missed the mark was the scope of the material in the time given. There were some cool things going on, but it just moved too fast. The fact that it took place in a different place than LV-426 gave the script some creative freedom to deviate from the setup ALIEN gave us, but there are holes in the script that crush the ALIEN tie-ins all together.

Since this took place prior to ALIEN I would have liked for things to not be so polished. The ship and spacesuits were awesome (all of the art direction was superb) no question, but they should have looked more primitive than any of the stuff in ALIEN, even though the Nostromo was a work vessel.

My biggest gripe with the story (plot holes aside) is that you didnt really care about any of the characters because it moved so fast. ALIEN, and most other great scifi/horror movies, are great because of a slow build. You knew all the characters personalities and you didnt like seeing any of them become xeno snacks. Prometheus didnt have that because it was trying to cover so much ground in 2 hours. Prometheus reminded me of The Phantom Menace… Not a complete movie, but more of a setup for sequels….
I also felt like the shots were amazing to look at but didnt describe what they needed to clearly…. The opening shot for example, was it earth being formed or was it a weapons test, or both? The ships pilot had to explain the plot point that they were actually at a weapons lab before the audience understood it. Show me, dont tell me.

The CG effects were great… environments, characters, creatures, hard surface stuff…. The design wasnt great but the execution was spot on. Even I had a hard time discerning the CG shots from the practical. The space shots in 3D looked incredible… You really felt like a speck of nothing in space.. Excellent art. The Engineers were obviously done in silicone…. I’m sure all of the FX guys were thinking they looked unfinished :P The android was cast perfectly and the whole imitating characters from old movies was great… but hair color in space? C’mon.
I am disappointed in the aliens as a whole… You could have had ANYONE doing the art for this film and you end up with baby faced wrestlers and a giant squid?? Seriously?
The creature development was too disconnected to make sense. Grub worms to eels to squids…. I get that the final scene was the precursor alien, but it took too many seemingly non-related creature iterations to get there. I think the last scene was Ridley trying to add an ALIEN throw back type of forth act to this film… it didnt work. It felt like “oh yea we have to have an alien in there…. just do this…”.

I think this film suffered from studio pressure and too much money. It wasnt scary and tried to jump to explosions and shock moments to soon. Alien was terrifying and was made for a fraction of this…. but then again it had a great script. Prometheus is proof that Dan O’bannon is dead.

FOX, if you want to make an ALIEN movie that respects the fans, call me.

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