Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Experienced Thinker

I'm finally getting around to working on the revised Pettyland Character Cards. There are 8 playable characters in all. Three of them are aligned with the subconscious mind, three of them are aligned with the conscious mind, and two of them are "neutral", having interests in both areas of the mind.

This first character -- The Experienced Thinker, is aligned with the subconscious mind. He was always trouble to to balance in the past, because his goal of gaining 15 in 3 out 4 of his characteristics at one time can be quite challenging, because most of the cards in Pettyland manipulate characteristics in some way. However, a change to his abilities and a change to the way in which most cards work in Pettyland should make this more achievable. 

In most cases, when a player draws a card in Pettyland, they can choose which player is affected by the result, whereas in the past, it was nearly always the card-drawer. I changed this because this was punishing the player for drawing cards, which is the primary means that the each character's personal goal is advanced. By allowing the card drawer to choose which player is affected by the cards (not in all cases -- there is still some risk/reward to drawing cards), it is not only less punishing, but also places more emphasis on player interaction, and player alliances, which are major elements of the game.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A Magic Armadillo, some Rubber Gloves and the Trickle Down Economy...


...means that its time for a few more Pettyland cards. As usual, these cards continue to exemplify Pettyland's core themes of nuclear holocaust, 80's culture and bad taste.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Today I Was an Evil One

I did this painting for a show called "Troublesome Houses:An Art Exhibit Inspired by the Music of Will Oldham". One of my favorite albums of his is "I See a Darkness", and in particular the song "Today I was an Evil One". This is an acrylic on canvas painting (18"x24"). I think this is first painting on canvas that I've done in about 20 years!

Check out details about the show here:Troublesome Houses

Monday, October 07, 2013

4 Handed Gun

I found this old concept for a game I worked on many years ago. It was an idea for a 4 handed rifle that required the soldier to wear a harness / backpack that added two additional robot arms just so he could wield it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Some old creature sketches

Found these while backing up my hard drive this weekend. These are a few creature sketches that I did during the early pre-production phase of an unreleased game. They were supposed to be vaguely humanoid, so that from a distance their silhouettes might be mistaken for a person.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Adventurous the Cat

I did some imaginary NES cartridge art for the Full Bright Company's awesome new game, Gone Home. It is set in the mid 90's and I imagined a platformer mascot that was one part Corey Haim, one part Vanilla Ice, all parts fucking awesome.

Find out all about the game and buy it here: Gone Home Game

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Some pigs, Uncle Bryn, and a five-headed politician...

That can only mean more Pettyland cards. I also put a larger image of the 5-headed politician below, in case you want to make your own toaster cozy.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brutal Legend Jungle Concept

I don't normally post images from video games I work on here, but I found this image on my hard drive today. I totally forgot that I had done it. This was a environment concept for the Jungle themed multi-player map. We did those maps pretty close to the end of the game. So this must've been done in 2009.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dead Balls

This year's Molyjam is coming up and I won't be able to attend, but I was just thinking back about last year's Jam. Patrick Connor, Bill Gahr, Drew Skillman and myself (with bonus music by Alex Vaughn) made a horror bowling game in 48 hours called DEAD BALLS.

You can download it for free on your iPhone from the app store. 
You can see some footage here: you tube

Here are a few of the concepts I did (very quick!) and the front end screen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

WTF is Pettyland, anyways?

What is Pettyland?

Pettyland is a board game for eight players that I originally made over a few years starting in
An original Pettyland board
1989. I was 17 and had just left my home in Sacramento to attend San Jose State as an art major. I had a close group of friends in High School who lived in Sacramento and I would often drive back on the weekends to hang out and play classic games like Illuminati, Nuclear War, and Talisman. I don’t remember exactly why I decided to make Pettyland, I only recall that I wanted to make a game that satirically incorporated elements from my art and life.

What exactly is it about?

The original rulebook, which I wrote at the time, describes the game as:   

“ … The artist Lee Petty has lost his mind due to abnormal scrutiny of the world around him, resulting in uncontrollable paranoid delusions. Several elements of his conscious and subconscious mind are struggling with each other to be the victor of Petty’s brain. As a player, you control one of the individual elements fighting for control. Each character has a distinctive personality, special abilities, and personal goals. Your battlefield is PETTYLAND, a strange world littered with places, creatures, companions, and events from Petty’s real and imagined memories. With the right combination of luck, strategy, weighted dice, and bodily fluids, your character may be the one to conquer PETTYLAND”.

My old art

A few images of my old art from 1989-1991
A lot of the characters and locales in the game are based on my art from the time, which mostly involved a recurring set of characters amidst a melting radioactive landscape and often struggling with blocky, edifice-like creatures. I’ve always loved creating worlds, and the idea that I could make a world populated with strange and somewhat disturbing characters and events that were all part of a hypothetical mythology really compelled me.
Growing up in 80's at the tail-end of the cold war had a noticeable impact on my frame of mind. The threat of nuclear holocaust felt very real and I rarely slept through the night for many years. This is probably why I found myself drawn to the work of the Dada and Surrealist artists at a young age. While much of their work was fueled by the very real horror of WW1-- something a white suburban kid would have no actual connection to, the work still resonated with me. 

Just let it go, man!

But why go back to this old thing now? Why spend so much time on something I made so long ago? 

Here’s what happened.

I hadn’t thought about, looked at, or played Pettyland for years.  And then a good high school friend of mine (he’s a companion in the game!) wanted to play it for his birthday. And in playing it the first thing I saw was how flawed the mechanics were! Things that I thought were interesting departures from other games often created an unbalanced play session. And there were too many cards (and even an Art School expansion board), resulting in a very long game, weighing in at about 4 hours. 

But aside from the mechanics, I also saw the ideas behind the game with fresh eyes, noticing things about it that I hadn't really thought about before Beyond the satirical veneer and strange art, the experience felt nostalgic, personal and somehow meaningful. 

Many of the cards reflect my 17 year old obsessions: Orwell, Huxley, Burgess, Reganomics, comics, Punk Rock, Heavy metal, sexuality-- just to name a few. But beyond the surface level themes the game was clearly driven by an identity crisis that possessed me at the time.

What was I going to do with my life? Who exactly was I going to be? More than anything else, I wanted to be an artist, but I didn't think it was really possible. The entire goal of the game is for you to take control of Petty and "guide the unfortunate sod to the good life”. The best possible result on the Final Goal chart is to “Become a successful artist. You instantly win the game”, but there is only a 10% chance of that!

So here’s my goal

I want to finish up a new version of the game, with more balanced game play, updated rules, and completely new art by the end of 2014, making it a 25th anniversary edition. I’m creating the art using a pen ‘n’ ink style and with imagery that I would've used back then.

I’m making a lot of changes to the game so that it’s less randomly punishing, is an overall quicker experience, and contains more meaningful choices for the player. But I’m also doing my best to preserve the humor and content that my 17 year old self would've wanted, even when it’s somewhat embarrassing.

Ultimately Pettyland is a very personal thing, but I hope that others can have fun playing it and maybe a few other people out there will connect to some of the themes of identity, obsession, and friendship. And maybe even giggle at some of the dick jokes.