Kevin, The Guardian and Scream; within merely a week from April the 10th, 20 year old South African Brandon Crampton piqued quite the interest in artistic circles both within and outside the Community by way of three, three dimensional extra-terrestrial character models that were put on display in commencement of his tenure as a multi-faceted, freelancing Video Game 2D and 3D artist herein.
These three models, each crafted as a means of practice and venting artistic angst, come supplemented with detailed overviews of their creative processes that serve to but touch upon the thought and work methods that outlines the majority of Crampton’s work.
A wide area of work that is, given six years of experience in 3D modelling, two years in Digital Art, a year of playing Junior Artist at Lighthouse Games and a proprietorship of an independent gaming studio to his name.
All of this of course, is put to use by him in offering services in Pixel Art, Vector Art, 3D Modelling & Animation, UI/HUD Design, Logo Art, Conceptual Art, Banner Art and a whole lot more to Game Developers and other Gaming creators on and via the Higher Eclectic Community.
He’s currently doing so by means of the service of Fiverr for rates as low as $5-$10, which then fluctuate depending on the complexity and demands of the task at hand, slowly working his way up the skill and experience ladder in the hope of eventually toiling for a AAA Video Game studio.
‘All the art I do now is for practising new techniques and portfolio pieces that I would like to one day use to apply for a job at one of the bigger gaming companies; I do after all, plan on doing digital art and 3D models for the rest of my life’, read one of his earlier correspondences with us.
I remember quite a few drawings being torn up in class when I should have been focusing on work!
A dream not too far from his reach it might appear, given the vibrant assortment that is visible on his Instagram profile amid his sizeable following of independent game developers therein. As is with a lot of talent of his calibre, Crampton’s fondest childhood memories centre themselves around art.
‘I remember quite a few drawings being torn up in class when I should have been focusing on work! But nonetheless, most of the time I remember classmates asking me to draw things for them all the time during my junior years in school — I absolutely loved it’, he recalls, stating the reasons behind this fascination of his being a yearning for attention and a chance to prove himself to others.
With his transition to senior school came a more serious understanding and appreciation for the art he practised, realising that its magic lay in but leaving his created works to talk for themselves. ‘I remember stepping into Grade Nine, where I was doing a painting as part of a school project — my teacher loved it so much that he took it all around to show it off to the rest of the Seniors. It’s always good to have someone love your work as much as you do and till date, it remains ones of my proudest moments as an artist.’
Traditional painting and sketching aside, another one of Crampton’s laurels lay in being one of only three students in his division that practised 3D Art; a practice that stemmed out of hours spent in the school’s Computer Room. Besotted by his friend’s drawing and playing around with shapes on Blender 3D one day, Crampton began playing around with those of his own — putting into a motion an obsession that would have him learn all he could about the software, create his his own character models and eventually detail them with the intricacy visible today after his introduction to ZBrush.
For me it was an amazing experience; I got to learn some of the tools of the trade, the pipeline workflow and its just really awesome being able to work on something with talented people that love the same things as you.
‘I think what really drew me into 3D Modelling was my love for games at that time — Ratchet and Clank was my favourite, by the way’, explains Crampton. ‘I absolutely loved the idea of bring able to sit down, create awesome characters that people could play as all over the world; It’s what draws me to game design — the variety scale in terms of how far one can push designs and concepts as opposed to movies.’
This innate appreciation for the artistic design of Games finally manifested itself into his tenure as Junior Artist at South Africa based, Lighthouse Games Studio in 2014 — where he spent a few months developing character, environmental and other game asset concepts for their 2015 release Shark Deathmatch 2. ‘For me it was an amazing experience; I got to learn some of the tools of the trade, the pipeline workflow and its just really awesome being able to work on something with talented people that love the same things as you.’
Interestingly, the shift of his two dimensional art to a digital platform came around about the same time — when the purchase of a Wacom tablet coaxed the artist to cast a more serious look towards digital painting –which he continued to build on using Feng Zhu School of Design’s YouTube tutorials. While naturally the style of a large amount of his digital artwork resonates with Zhu’s own, Crampton maintains that the biggest inspiration in both his 2D and 3D artistic career remains to be his grandfather.
I’m very thankful my grandfather was with me when I was growing up.
‘He helped me develop my painting skills and the ability to look at objects and interpret them properly in my paintings. I used to go down to his house and we’d spend the day painting and truly, it was then that my work started to improve and become a lot more professional looking. I’m very thankful he was with me when I was growing up.’
Capitalising on his experience with 3D modelling and a new found interest in the digital medium of 2D art then, Crampton finally went on to release up to four free-to-play Android games under the Box Panda Games banner in the same year.
While this was done as an attempt to personally contribute towards the near non-existent Gaming Industry in South Africa, the artist’s hopes of the brand growing into a larger company remain bleak. There just aren’t many interested in this sort of thing, as he admits.
Nevertheless, what keeps him path of artistic enlightenment is the continued interest in his services as a freelancing Video Games artist from the world over — services that were put forth only by last year when his work reached an acceptable level of personal satisfaction, and services that Higher Eclectic Ground is now making accessible to Game Developers, YouTubers and other gaming creators within its network.
Over the next few months you’ll probably see a wide variety of characters of mine
‘At the moment I’ve been focusing a lot on my 3D work really, trying to perfect that and improve as much as I can, building up a decent portfolio for hopefully Game studios to see,’ speaks Crampton of his immediate future on the Community.
‘But over the next few months you’ll probably see a wide variety of characters of mine, as I am trying different methods and styles, improving my texture work, character hair and the like — so ill probably be doing a lot of testing and messing around there.
In terms of my 2D work, I’ll be looking to keep creating vast environments as I have been documenting on Instagram. I’d like to get better at that as well particularly because it makes for wonderful backgrounds for my 3D work. So really just lots of practising and working on areas of my work that I am not yet happy with.’
Whether you’ll be looking for a 2D/3D artist of substantial talent and reasonable fees, or are a fellow artist looking to trade notes and work together with one of Crampton’s calibre, the artist will now be reachable via his Higher Eclectic Space where all of his ongoing and forthcoming independent art work will continue to be documented.
Members PointFive Team’s 21 day giveaway of upto three android copies of their indie puzzler, RAM BOE, concluded earlier this week on the 23rd of February. After subjecting the Steam user ID’s of all participants to a draw, the names picked up by a randomizer were as follows —
Congratulations to the winners, each of whom are already in the process of availing their copy of RAM BOE from the Google Play Store.
Developed by PointFive Team as an entry into the Indie Game Maker Contest last year, RAM BOE follows the tale of one mountain climbing daredevil Beauregard Pete, who takes it upon himself to rid the adorable icy mountain tops of an Ice Demon. One thing leads to another and ‘Boe’ finds his soul trapped in a Jotun stone until what seems like the end of time; before a passing ram inspires the rock climber to possess its being. With four hooves and lots of fur, what ensues is up to 40 levels of mind boggling, Sokoban inspired casual puzzles as Boe heads out on a quest for vengeance — rescuing souls that may have suffered a similar fate as his along the way.
While the game itself might have not won laurels at the IGMC, the developers have not relented — having expanded the Contest build to a fully playable PC version in only a few months. With this PC version submitted to Steam’s Greenlight process in the month of November last year, the developers quickly moved to release an Android version of the game in January to rather positive user response.
In the hope of inviting feedback towards the PC version of the game then, PointFive organized a 21 day long giveaway from the 2nd of this month — inviting puzzle enthusiasts from within the Community & beyond to provide them with honest yet constructive criticism of the game on its Steam page. At the end of the three week period, the names of all those that provided said feedback were subjected to a draw — with the first three participants picked up by a randomizing algorithm being offered a copy of RAM BOE’s Android version each.
Feedback again was predominantly positive, with Steam users praising the game’s ‘cute’ art style and progressive difficulty. Furthermore, the team have also been reaching out to writers & YouTubers from within the Community over the past month, requesting unbiased, creative coverage of the game’s PC demo which resulted in —
PointFive of course are nothing less than elated with the exposure the month has brought them. Now though, it’s time for our staff to pick up RAM BOE from the Play Store and determine if indeed, it is the cute yet strenuous puzzler it is fabled to be. The progress of that as well as RAM BOE’s tenure on Steam will continue to be documented at its Higher Eclectic Space — which also comprises of an exclusive, episodic view of the game’s coming to fruition.
With the saga of a young shepherd’s silent battles & dreams to narrate along with those of their own, Indonesian developers Joyseed Gametribe made their debut amid Higher Eclectic Ground’s independent gaming fraternity to considerable response earlier this week. The saga in question of course being Daydream — their episodic medieval themed, current age fantasy drama of a boy’s quest to see himself turn into one among the very legends he’s grown to revere.
Joyseed are commencing this saga by means of Daydream: The Beginning, an endless arcade game that has been in development for much less than a year and which they hope to launch on iOS & Android devices by Summer, this. With a large part of the game’s asset & character development completed ahead of its pre-alpha version release, Joyseed hopes to not only involve the Community here in the progress of it’s coming to fruition but also muster support for what they believe is truly the start of an epic adventure for both themselves and their saga’s leading character, Mondo.
But just how much of an ‘epic’ can it actually conjure via the endless arcade genre? Set in the world of Ream, inhabited by creatures that exist during the day and those of the night, Daydream will see players participate in Mondo’s seemingly bizarre belief that he’s meant to be a warrior of the DayKnights’ calibre; legendary knights who once put to rest a raging civil war between the day & night creatures of Ream. It is only when the Kingdom of Verdante opens its doors on account of a local soldier recruitment drive will players witness the poverty-stricken Shepherd actually act on that belief, by signing up for them with his best friends in tow.
As one would imagine then, this sets into motion a riveting narrative that will follow Mondo’s rise through the ranks and his subsequent adventures through the innards of Ream. Grand as that might sound, Joyseed reveal that Daydream: The Beginning will focus on only a fragment of that tale i.e. the Verdante trials. As Mondo, players will be tasked with commanding the Shepherd’s friends in attacking a multitude of multi-colored dummies — each designated to a particular character — as quickly as they can before the given timer runs out. Doing so extends the timer which aids players in establishing their highest scores.
Combine this with achievements, leader-boards and a market-place for a variety of costumes to deck Mondo and his characters in — and one has with them a pocket escapade perfect for those mid-office breaks and bus rides. Fun, no doubt, but begging the question of why such an imposing idea of a tale would be granted such a humble start; as Joyseed Gametribe Founder Bernadus ‘Boy’ Dozan admits, its the team’s first joint attempt at creating a top-quality game with the highest degree of perfection possible.
Having founded Joyseed Gametribe with a friend in January last year, Boy started off designing several small-scale endless racing and idle games — the majority of which were abandoned soon after his partner opted to quit the company in the months that followed. Disheartened before he’d barely begun, hope would finally arrive in the form of programmer Michael Sudjono, a programmer whose vision & passion Boy found aligned with his. Opting to start off small in scale while preserving quality of concept & art, the duo were quick to draw inspiration from casual action games such as Tower Boxing & Bishi-Bashi — devising Daydream’s universe & narrative within a few weeks of its inception, before establishing The Beginning’s game play mechanic, primary assets, character designs and even an early build.
As luck would have it though, real life would throw itself in Sudjono’s way by August 2015, causing the programmer to leave Boy with continuing what the duo had started alone, until friends Joseph Putra Wibawa, Yediya Juan and Tommy Prayogo eventually found themselves on the team by September. Interestingly, Sudjono would indeed make it back months later but only as a freelance musician. ‘As a team, we have a lot to learn which is the primary reason for keeping Daydream’s start small’, admits Boy. ‘With The Beginning, our primary concern lies in delivering the most perfect, highest quality game possible by us in all aspects regardless of size. We’re hoping that its success and what we achieve via it sets the tone for the remainder of what we have planned for the Daydream IP.’
A quick look at the game’s concept art & other visual material on its social media profiles thus far, will reveal that this claim of pursuing quality seems to be in no way far-fetched. Citing Vanillaware‘s flawless art style as their primary inspiration, Daydream: The Beginning features fully hand-painted 2D art whose subsequent asset form is being programmed using Unity. The art alone in all fairness, only seems to amplify the appeal of Ream’s human dominated, medieval-themed world that has all the makings of modern-era civilization; Cars, Trains, Traffic Lights, Gyms, Barber Shops & the like.
Furthermore, while its no surprise that only a limited portion of it will be making an appearance within The Beginning, Joyseed’s description of Ream’s lore exudes intrigue. With the dominant population of humans serving as its Day creatures, Ream will comprise of up to four large territories namely Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each with their own legends & history that stem from the planet’s light sources — the sun & the moon.
Now, with 70% of The Beginning’s pre-alpha version fleshed out — the team hopes to complete the game by May before entering it into this year’s Casual Connect Asia’s indie game talent showcase.‘We then hope to release the final game to the public by June — here’s hoping that date isn’t pushed back’, states Boy when asked about the game’s public release. As for its sequel? ‘We still haven’t thought the sequel through yet. One thing is certain though, The Beginning’s sequels will be much larger in scale and will at its core, continue to build on rhythm arcade. We are definitely going to be needing all the luck in the world for that!’
While one can readily accept the usual onslaught of snippets from their journey on the community here, Joyseed also intend to be walking you through the game’s creative process from the very beginning as it has been doing on social media for a while — beginning with early character art, assets & more to ensure you are fully up to date with its progress regardless of current state. To be certain you don’t miss out on any of that then or should you wish to leave them your thoughts on their game for that matter, be sure to have yourself tuned in to their newly founded Higher Eclectic Space.