In August 2017, some friends and I started a company called Halseo to produce Battery Jam. Since then, I've acted as Creative Director on the title. My responsibilities as a member of a small team have been broad but my main areas of focus have been concept and art direction on every part of the game from characters to environments and particle effects.
If you're interested in where the game was in 2015 when we worked on it as students, you can check out a real thorough breakdown right here.
Battery Jam originally started as a student project in 2015. The idea for visual direction was basically this - What happens if I take the race ships from the Wipeout franchise, merge them with cute character proportions, bad ass robots and 90's Ska? Below is my answer from 2015. These are early silhouettes exploration done in Alchemy, seen through to the turnarounds and "final" logo and character models for the project.
In 2017, we got to start working on Battery Jam full time, which lead to a ton of changes. When it came time to re-evaluate our visuals, we decided not to change the characters too much. There were technical reasons for this, since we already had animations and rigs to work from, but the designs themselves were always one of our biggest hits. However, we added a tile capturing element as a core mechanic to the game, and wanted to give players the opportunity to choose their color which meant we need to develop pallets with specific color slots to change out when players chose different colors. We also wanted much higher fidelity from the characters than we had originally, so here's a surface level walkthrough of some of the choices I made.
Rocket - Rocket took the most effort to rework. Designed originally to be an aggressive muscle head, Rocket's sharp edges and forms didn't translate once we added color pallettes to the game for the sporty vibe we wanted to lean into. The original iterations were too autonomous and deadly looking, and once we decided to ditch the musical instruments, I implemented a visor to avoid the death machine look, and once I found the form I liked moved on to the body.
Turbo - Turbo was the first design I pinned down, but sometime after I finished its design we decided to ditch the musical instruments I had originally attached to the characters' heads. So when we removed Turbo's trumpet, I had to go back and rework the helmet design.
Love and Slug - They both didn't take a whole lot of revision. Love's design shifted over to a 90's game console, but I had largely pinned down the main forms I wanted to use. Slug on the other hand changed very little. The main difference from the 2015 version was streamlining the mic/grill on the back of it's head.
A lot of the level work ended up being a collaboration between I and our technical lead, Everett Gunther. Because of that, most of the works I have are ambiguous sketches and conversations around a computer. Since we didn't record footage of said conversations, here's some of the more cohesive concepts for the stages and assets,
As we honed in on what exactly Battery Jam was going to be (a robot sport) I not only had to design our company and the game's logo, but the companies within the game as well. We very much looked at the robots as just that robots. As in machines produced by these companies to represent themselves in the sport, not some entirely charming sentient being, so of course the logos had to fit the product they were representing themselves with.
From our PAX Booth to Switch announcements and websites, below are samples of some of the marketing art I created for the game. The background pattern that you see on almost everything we do is taken from the tiles in the arena. We even carried this pattern into the game menus, and used white to try to help keep the tone very positive and light, while allowing the character colors to really pop.