November Update + Gameacon NYC

Greetings inter-webs! I’m back with a few new updates. First off, I hope all of you have been enjoying the seasonal festivities so far. We at HCG are still hard at work updating and polishing up Grobo. The team really enjoyed meeting many of you at Gameacon in Atlantic City and we are excited to let you know that we will be attending Gameacon NYC to show off a few new visual changes to the game.

Presently we are working on updating many aspects of the game’s presentation such as the UI, level art, in game sprites and visual effects. We have a lot to work on and we are trying to get as much as we can done in time for the event. I am personally excited to show off all the new updates I have been working on.

So, let’s dive in on to the details, shall we. To follow up with my last blog post way back in July—time sure does fly—the new foreground tiles are nearly complete. We have undergone a lot of iteration with respects to those, so I hope you all like the new look. I’ve drawn up completely new sprites sheets from scratch and revisited a few of the treacherous hazards you will encounter throughout the game—so be careful not to get too close while you are checking them out.



Working on the tiles has been a unique challenge in striking the right blend of painterly and pixel art. I pulled from many different of sources of inspiration while I was working on each iteration; looking at games like Braid, Snow Drift, Fez, Teslagrad, etc. As an artist, traditionally I worked on a lot of pixel art similar to what you may find on the NES, SNES, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance—I played a lot of Nintendo games growing up. So, changing up my style has been an interesting process.  While working on the latest version of the tiles I decided to approach them from a more vector like base: simple shapes, solid colors, layered highlights and shadows.



I focused on nailing down simple visual representations of each area you will visit in the game. You’ll find that the new tiles are more themed, and details are much larger and more distinct. In the case of the game’s intro levels, the tiles follow a worn metallic indoors look with plenty of bright sign-posting and contrast. Details on each tile are also designed around the location they are set in. So, you will find Grobo running across a variety of different platforms from storage crates to destroyed billboards.

From there once all the base patterns are set, I do some quick detail work on the tiles to add highlights, mid-tones, and shadows. Which gives you a very cartoonish, flash game look.



Once that was done, I removed all of the top layers and repainted the tiles using textured brushes. Throughout the process I constantly resize and rotate my canvas to make sure each design has just enough visual clarity form any distance or orientation you may hold a mobile device. Usually this process can vary in time due to looking for the specific brush settings you like and varying the angles of each stroke.

Next step is repainting the detail work. While I am painting, I try to compare the foreground tiles to the background. That way I can adjust the tones and the contrast of the tiles to ensure they fit with the overall aesthetic. In the end you get something that look like this.



As we are still working on the game, the tiles may go through a few more minor visual changes as we get closer to an official release date for Grobo. But you can expect to see the new look at Gameacon NYC.

Though as I mentioned before tiles are not the only thing I am working on. There are many aspects of the game that we are planning to improve. To list some of the changes you are likely to see at Gameacon: we will have 3 brand new tile sets to replace the old look, a few new UI elements and new UI animations. We are also working on a number of other things in relation to the game, so we’ll keep you posted on those soon.

You can also expect updates to website! I have been hard work updating the overall design and user experience of the site and I have a pretty good feeling you’ll like the new changes. Although, as the team and I are focusing all of our attention towards improving Grobo these changes will be published at a later date.

So, in the meantime please stay tuned to our blog for more information. That’s all I have to share with you all today, this is Marcus signing off.



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