The Fully Illustrated Blog

Busy, Busy, Busy.

February 7, 2014

Hey Everyone,

WOW, September was the last time I posted anything on the site…this is shocking!

In short, things are insanely busy at the moment. 85% of this years available space has already been booked up, which is fantastic, but also crazy at the same time. I cant believe how far in advance everyone is planning in 2014. No complaints though.

My current projects are amazing too, lots of really, really exciting stuff to show over the coming months. And there is SO much more coming this year, its ace.

I’ve got a bazillion new projects to add to the site including UI design, character design, branding, site design, motion graphics you name it, but time is against me as I’m also trying to juggle the new re-design of the site as well…oh, and then there’s also a little something called Wulverblade too ;) Wulverblade has a whopping 12 people on board now, all working busily in their own areas, art, animation, dev, sound, voice overs, cut scenes…wow.

So in short, expect to see looooooooooooooooads of new work and hopefully, if the gods of time feel kind enough to bestow me with some free time, an entirely new Fully Illustrated too.

More to come soon.

Mike.

 

 

Wulverblade Site and Blog Launch!

September 27, 2013

wulverblade-site-blog

Hey Everyone,

As ever I’ve been too quiet for too long…but no more! As of today the all new Wulverblade microsite and dedicated blog have gone live! And why will this make me blog more? Well, I not only intend, but promise to keep the blog fully stacked with content. My goal is to blog weekly with not only updates about the game, but also…wait for it…work in progress samples and step by step guides! You guys have been asking me via email and twitter for ages to start doing tutorials, and now the Wulverblade site is going to be where that will happen.

I’ve also opened the site up to comments too using the Disqus engine, so please feel VERY welcome to come and comment. I’ll be replying to every comment that gets made, so rest assured it will be a two way thing :)

I really value and want your input on Wuvlerblade, so whatever your thought, question or opinion, please share it and I will be there to answer and reply.

This is a direct link to the microsite

And this is a direct link to the blog.

Come and say hi!

Mike.

 

 

Trenches 2 is back and FREE

March 1, 2013

T2-FREE

Hey everyone,

Some fantastic news landed in my inbox yesterday and it was to let me know that EA has graciously released Trenches 2 from its publishing agreement! Booom! Its finally back in the hands of its loving family, Thunder Game Works!

To celebrate, the game is being run for free for a limited time. I strongly suggest that you go and grab a copy to support the guys over at Thunder as its such an epic game and did I mention its free?

Expect more Trenches news coming over the following weeks and months, its so amazing to see this game back with its owners and out on the AppStore again!

Mike.

 

 

Wulverblade Reveal

December 21, 2012

wulverblade-teaser-trailer-blog

 

Well, you’ve all been waiting very patiently over these past few months while listening to me harp on about ‘THE GAME’ and now, after quite some time, I’m revealing it…albeit in the form of a teaser.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, may I present to you, Wulverblade! (Select 1080p HD!)

So, you’ve been asking for the name, you now have it. You’ve been asking about the art style, you can now see it (EVERY element of that trailer is made with in game assets) and you’ve been asking about the genre…which if you’ve been following me on twitter, chances are, you’ve guessed it…a classic side scrolling hack’n’slasher!

But this will be no ordinary side scroller, oooooh no, Wulverblade is going to be truly cinematic in every respect.  The game is being illustrated, animated and built in glorious 1080p HD! It will be adorned with breathtaking cinematic cut-scenes presented in tandem with a truly epic soundtrack and full voice acting throughout.  I aim to level up on everything I’ve ever created with Wulverblade.

The core underpinning of what will make Wulverblade special will be its attention to detail on EVERY level. The story is so deeply routed in British history and folklore that it draws on historical fact, historical theory and truly breathtaking classical folk stories.

Its coming to PC (and if the gods are with me, Steam), iOS GameDock, iPhone and iPad, and last but not least, Mac.  Prep yourself for everything I have ever dreamt of making!

And just in case you need any links…

Last but not least, a quick thanks to the amazing chaps at Verbal Vigilante for scoring the trailer (and the rest of the game) and to Noni Lewis for her superb voice acting!

Keep watching for more info soon!

Mike.

 

Replay Expo – Game Inspiration Galore!

October 15, 2012

This weekend saw the third annual instalment of the Replay Expo! For those that don’t know what Replay is, it’s a growing retro gaming expo hosted in the north west of England. It’s been expanding substantially year on year and this year it was colossal! The queues were in their thousands on opening day with people travelling from all over the UK to come and sample the retro gaming delights on offer.

There were so many arcades and pinball machines on show that it was visual and aural delight. You could get your hands on more classics than I can even begin to list here, so it was an incredible trip down memory lane. There are few to no places left on earth where you can go to get that 90’s arcade feeling, but it was here in abundance this weekend! Having a 4 player Vendetta mash up with complete strangers, challenging someone to a bout on Street Fighter 2 or trying to grab the highest score on Galaxian was just too much fun.

Alongside the plentiful coin-ops was (literally) every games console and computer ever made. So you could literally sit down, pull up a chair and enjoy any gaming machine you could dream of. The atmosphere was alive for the whole weekend, and due it being a building full of like-minded folks, everyone was so friendly. All you’d hear all day as you meandered around was someone saying ‘fancy a game?’ and on you’d go for a couple of games with a complete stranger. It really amplified what made retro gaming great, actual physical people, playing alongside actual physical people. No internet, no headsets and nothing ‘virtual’ in sight.

One of the highlights for me was an amazing Q&A session with Mike Montgomery, one of the founders of the Bitmap Brothers. The whole thing was so inspiring and to hear a true gaming legend stand there and reminisce was superb. He was also kind enough to sign my copy of Speedball 2, so I was somewhat happy with the whole event :)

The big difference this year was that the organisers decided to open the expo up to a wider audience and target half the show (which in total is about 300% bigger as a whole) at the modern gamer, so there were lots of contemporary gaming booths on show and some epic MW3 and Halo 4 tournaments.

Some of the highlights of the modern gaming booths were ‘advance previews’ of upcoming games and hardware, so I not only managed to get my mitts on the Wii U (very impressed, especially with Rayman!) but I also managed to get an advance play on the superb Metal Gear Rising. Bizarrely (as I’m rubbish at most games usually) I managed to complete a timed challenge, bagging myself a rather tasty 3D lenticular poster. Hurrah!

On top of all this there were some great stalls selling all manner of retro goodies and memorabilia, so it was damn near impossible to get your wallet and not give it a good beating.

All in all it was a fabulous show and I’ve come away more inspired for my game than ever before! It was also great to meet up with a few retro-heads from twitter that I chat to regularly and put some more faces to names.

If you’re in the UK, I strongly urge you make a visit next year!

Mike.

Fully Illustrated’s Big Announcement…

July 30, 2012

 

Well, a few weeks ago via Twitter, I declared that I had some big news to announce, and now I can finally spill the proverbial beans!

As all of you will know, games are my single biggest passion and have been for as long as I can remember.  I live them, I love them and I’ve always wanted to make them!  Now, after many years of working with some of the worlds greatest Indie’s, they’ve finally rubbed off on me and I’m diving in to join them!  That’s right; I’m officially working on my very own game as a true Indie developer!

So how does that work?

In conjunction with the development of the amazing new iOS Game Dock, Fully Illustrated has commissioned Cascadia Games to be the programming powerhouse that brings my dream game to life!  As part of the Game Dock’s Kickstarter campaign, their highest funding option ($10,000) included the glorious perk of getting your game made for the Game Dock! Now, as Cascadia are a client of mine, I had the chance to talk to Chris Jorgensen (founder) directly about exactly what was possible.  It turned out that my dream game, the game that has been toiling in my creative mind for decades was going to be achievable! This was just too good to be true!  Couple this with the fact that my game is going to be playable with an actual physical joypad rather than ‘just’ touch controls makes all this simply perfect.

Fully Illustrated has been squirreling away funds for years in the hope of getting enough cash together to fund a kick ass developer to realise my dream.  So when all this came together, and was within my small budget, I was little short of teary eyed.  Actually I was running around like a headless chicken for about 5 days out of pure uncontrollable excitement.

So what’s the game? Can you tell us more?

In short, I’m not saying too much right now, but that’s only to allow me chance to copyright and trademark everything first. I’m going to be launching a dev blog to cover this game from sketch through to release, so you can expect a very candid and open display of the development throughout.  I want this to project to be quite a social experience, so you can expect no stone to be left un-turned.  I’ll even be covering the costs and sales figures once launched (if there are any ;)

As an indication of what to expect though, I’m going to say this. This game is going to be the realisation of a dream, so you can rest assured that this is going to get every last drop of my creative ability and passion. I will make this my greatest work to date, that I can promise.

As far as what I can give away about the game, there are a few things I’ll say now. The game is going to be set in Britain, in a time way before the Roman’s invaded and will be mixed in with a touch of fantasy and old British folklore.  I want this game to have a very gritty and old English feel to it, something that I’ve never seen in any other game. Imagine the visual intensity of open misty moorlands, driving rain, blistering cold and sprawling eerie forests. This country is stooped in myth and magic that spans thousands of years, and I want to grasp the essence of that!

What about the gameplay mechanic?

I don’t want to give this away right now, but if you look at the rough concept image at the top, I’m guessing you can work out the basis pretty easily ;) It’s going to be retro, very retro indeed.

When’s it coming? How will it affect your normal work?

Dates wise, I’m working on it right now in my spare time, and have dedicated November 2012 – January -2013 to work on it full time. Its got a very loose release date of March 2013. So besides that couple of month window, I’ll be taking work on as normal :)

Ok, that’s a fair old amount of babble there; I’ll draw this to a close.

Watch this space over the coming months when I announce more information and launch the dev blog. I hope you’ll all wish me luck as I step forth into realising my lifelong dream…its as scary as it is exciting!

Mike.

 

 

Gibs n Glory – Free iOS Wallpapers!

June 15, 2012

Hey Everyone!

Its been a while since my last post but this time I come bearing goodies :)

With the upcoming released of Gibs n Glory for iOS, I wanted to pass out some free Retina wallpapers for both iPhone and iPad! The game is due out on June 28th and is my latest collaboration with Thunder Game Works.  My involvement with this game hasn’t been quite as deep as with Trenches 2 due to my schedule, but the concept art, main character art, branding, UI and some level elements are courtesy of yours truly.  Keep your eyes open for the release on the Thunder site www.thundergameworks.com and the subsequent feature on here :)

Enjoy!

Mike.

 

Trenches 2 Previewed on Destructoid!

December 2, 2011

Hey Everyone,

Trenches 2 was previewed on Destructoid last night, so I thought I fire the link up…

While I’m at it, here are some others too…

Only 13 days to go…its almost here :)

Trenches 2 delayed until December 15th

November 30, 2011

Hey Everyone,

It looks like Trenches 2 has had a slight delay and wont be released until the 15th of December now.  Sorry guys.  To partially make up for it, here’s a sneak peak of the British and German tanks :) I’ve also included an image showing how the main two soldiers have evolved from Trenches 1 to Trenches 2. As I hope you’ll agree, they’ve come on quite a bit :)

Roll on December 15th!

The gargantuan game I’ve been working on is announced!

November 21, 2011

 

Hey Everyone,

Well, I’ve been tweeting about this project for about 8 months now, possibly even longer and its now been announced! The worldwide AppStore smash hit Trenches now has a sequel!!!! Trenches 2 will be hitting the AppStore on December 1st and is being published by none other than EA!

I’ve been working on this on and off for the best part of a year and let me tell you, it’s probably the biggest war/action/strategy game on the iPhone…by a LONG stretch, it’s MASSIVE! I’ve been drawing, painting, airbrushing, vectorising and designing for this puppy for soooooooo long and every second has been insanely awesome!

First up I want to cover what has to be my biggest creative accomplishment in my entire 12 years in the industry, the HUGE A1 promo poster that I created recently.

I was blessed with a 2 week budget to create this poster and was basically given something that as an artist you almost never get…the right budget!  As I’d been given such a generous project (as part of the much larger project) I wanted to make this my show piece, the one piece of art that would allow me to take my next step up and genuinely improve my abilities. Needless to say, I spent a significant amount of time sketching and ran through an entire sketch pad putting this together!  Once the sketch was roughed out, reviewed, amended and put into its final state, I was VERY, VERY excited!

My goal was to create a cartoon image in my personal style that reflected the stunning Udon/Capcom character collages that adorn the stunning Udon comics and posters, and while I know I’m no Alvin Lee, I was determined to make this MY take on such a composition.  I started with the star of the show, the German soldier and wanted to create a story around him that portrayed the game.  The overall vision was to tell the story of the Germans out weighing, out gunning and standing terrifyingly tall over the allied forces of WW1. Trenches 2 now has multiple nationalities, so I had to include each of these within the poster, each one displaying his own very distinct character.  All very tongue and cheek too which made it even more fun :)

With the sketch completed it was time to get into the colour rendering…this was going to be fuuuuuuuuuuun!

As I had the time to do so, I had chance to lay down some colour schemes before getting started and after a few iterations I settled on the warm glow of a fiery, war torn battlefield.  This just seemed fitting, and all the browns, oranges and yellows just made for a really indulgent palette that soothed my eyes :)

The scene just seemed to explode to life as each drop of colour adorned the screen, it was a spectacularly rewarding illustration to be working on and I simply couldn’t wait to move onto the next bit as the current part was completed.  My mind was so focused on the final image that I was almost dreaming about this poster whenever I was away from it.  And without further ado, here it is…

One of the other elements that made this so exciting was the final scale of the image ( A1), so my detail level had to be about a gazillion times higher than my usual ‘on-screen’ work and boy oh boy did that make for some memory challenges…

This puppy rolled in at a whopping 1.5gb as a PSD (I like my layers ;) and was quickly becoming a beast to deal with. Even with 8 cores and more RAM than you can imagine, this sucka was still loading after I’d finished making my morning espresso!

Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’m babbling.

I hope you enjoy looking at this as much as I enjoyed making it!

Oh, and here’s a couple of cheeky screenies of Trenches 2 to whet your appetite…

…now I’ll save my rambling on these until my next post :)

Lastly, and VERY importantly, I want to say a MMMMMMMMMMASSIVE thanks to Thunder Game Works for inviting me to be their lead artist once again.

Mike.

 

 

 

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