In 2011 my friends at Mode 7 Games asked if I would like to handle art duties on the spiritual sequel to Frozen Synapse – we had wanted to work together for many years, so I didn’t have to think too hard when responding in the positive.
The basic idea was to take the established synchronous turn-based combat gameplay demonstrated in Frozen Synapse and reduce the complexity and stress involved in playing, focusing instead on competing over the movement of a single object, the ball, and the spatial dynamics of two teams of player units within a randomly generated space. Mode 7 director, lead programmer and designer Ian Hardingham explains it far better in these videos:
Interview with PC Gamer
Mode 7’s second director Paul Kilduff-Taylor focused on overall production, the reliably fantastic music ( as nervous_testpilot ! ) and the writing – on which he worked alongside Alex Hayes and Tom Richards .
Paul and I spent rather a lot of time going over all the details and general art direction, massaging the all important concept , the opinions of our learned collaborators, and figuring out how to make things work without a team of 30 artists to obey our commands. The main obstacle to this was that we didn’t choose a low-fi aesthetic. In fact we set the bar quite high, and then spent 3 years jumping up and down towards it.
If anything, this builds muscle you didn’t know you had.
My work begain with initial concept artwork, character models and rigging, stadium artwork, lighting, skyboxes, in-game visual FX and particles, marketing artwork, UI design and character avatars. The other huge area of Frozen Cortex, without which all other efforts would be redundant, is animation. Martin Binfield , a fellow NCCA graduate and very experienced games animator, answered the call to duty, and, as everyone agrees, excelled in providing the anima to all these bots – as well as plenty of other art duties.
Many others helped out along the way, particularly Mode7’s James Hannett, who makes-everything-work, Robin 'Bin’ Cox, and James Urquhart , who battles with Torque3D whilst we sleep. Also, Oxford Indies for much-lunching.• Early Concepts
• Early Gameplay
• Character Portraits