Midnight Mansion HD

 Click here to go to the ActionSoft website for more info and to download MM HD!

Midnight Mansion HD was released earlier this week on the Mac OS X App store.  The first Episode (we had to split it into 2 episodes) is $5, and features 5 huge mansions (including 2 brand new mansions!).  The graphics have been completely redrawn by yours truly, and it looks better than ever.

If you haven't heard of MM HD, and have been craving some good classic platformer action-adventure gaming on the Mac, go get it now!  Even if you've played the original, you haven't seen it looks as polished as it does now!  For $5 there's literally dozens of hours of gameplay.

The App Store is a savage arena where Apps battle it out, and the only key to victory is word of mouth and enough good luck to get into the top 10.  So if you are interested, buy it!  If you like it, rate it!  You are doing a service and helping my good friend Vern pay the bills so he can keep making games.

Same Great Taste, More Pixels!

I have mentioned on this site that I've been working on an art/game project.  Well, it is nearing release and i figured I could post about it.

A programmer who had developed a sprite based library for Mac approached me in 2001 (that's 10 years ago!!) to do some art for at-the-time-untitled game project.In 2005, it was finally released and called Midnight Mansion, and it receieved very good success in the Mac shareware market.

In 2010, Midnight Mansion 2 was released, which largely used the same assets but added some new elements and enemies.  But, by 2010, Midnight Mansion, which is already an "old school" game was really showing its age.

Vern, the programmer for Midnight Mansion, was porting his engine to Intel and taking advantage of OpenGL for graphics acceleration.  This, among other things, let him more easily embrace much higher resolutions than the 640x480 that Midnight Mansion and Midnight Mansion 2 run at.

What starte dout as a 4-6 week endeavor has taken almost 6 months.  I have re-drawn 90% of the graphics and sprites from scratch, and the result of comparing the old screenshot side-by-side to its new counterpart is astounding.

click me to see the original MM art (left) compared to the new MM art (right)

I sort of cringe to look at the old artwork, and frankly that's my motivation for kicking all kinds of butt with the updated version.  Not only am I increasing detail, contrast and vibrancy of the sprites and tiles, Vern has added some dynamic shadows and glows that really bring the game up to modern standards.

Check out the below images to compare some screenshots side by side.  On the left is the original Midnight Mansion screenshot, and on the right is a screenshot from the new Midnight Mansion.  Click to view the large version!

 

 

 

 

This new project will be released under the name "Midnight Mansion HD" in two parts sometime in the new couple of months, I'd imagine.  It'll be released at a price that will be impossible to turn down on the Mac App store, and then eventually to iPad, iPhone and Windows.  For more information, stick to this blog or head to http://www.actionsoft.com.  I'm excited to see some new life breathed into the world of Midnight Mansion!

 

Video of Me Drawing Stuff

I've been working with one-man-game-company ActionSoft ever since it was founded in 2001. The first game ActionSoft released, a Mac game named Midnight Mansion, is near and dear to my heart, and I've become close to the programmer and founder, Vern, even though we've physically never met.

Midnight Mansion was originally released in 2005, and since development started in 2001 (we were both in college so development and art happened in between semesters for the most part), the game was slightly dated when it was first released. Low resolution by today's standards, and the art in the original MM makes me cringe when I see it.

I was thrilled when Vern approached me to help do a makeover for the original Midnight Mansion. He has been busy porting the original code so that it will work on Windows and Macs, and it takes advantage of modern day video cards so that it can dynamically scale up to multiple montior resolutions. As a side effect, all of that old low-res art needed to be recreated so that the new game could take advantage of all the new real estate.

I have taken advantage of this in the last few months by recreating new art and bringing it up to my personal standard. I am definitely not as good as some of the pros, but I think I have absolutely improved in the last 10 years.

Using a screen recording program and wrestling with iMovie (I know very little about digital movies), I created a recording of the creation process. The original footage is 2.5 hours long, so I sped it up by a factor of 50, to just over 3 minutes.
I always enjoy watching other people's process in painting and drawing with photoshop, and I hope you check them out! The Midnight Mansion re-release is due out this Spring!

And here is a direct link to the video on YouTube.

Crow

I think crows are neat.  My mom's family's crest has three crows, and her maiden name is even derived from the latin for Crow.  I still want to take a picture of one, and you think that would be easy, I just haven't seen one when I was out shooting.

I also like video games, and I am helping one of my friends finish up a game he is working on, and this is one of the screens I painted for him tonight.  I kinda like it, so I'm posting it here.  it has a crow in it.

Screen from Midnight Mansion 2, of a crow perched on a tombstone.