Road To: Dogs of War
Development progress
This is a project I am currently working on right now. This is the first game in a series called "The Dogs of War". Being a fan of wrestling and food I found a way to blend these two things in a way that is funny, enjoyable, and approachable. It originally started way back in 2011 as a much simpler game when I submitted it to Adult Swim Games. Unfortunately I didn't not have the proper tools to make it happen and shelved it... until now!

Road To: Dogs of war is a top down shoot'em up with an approachable theme and unique premise. This story centers on Jonny, a hotdog vendor/ luchador who just returned home from an over seas wrestling tournament. He comes home to his neighborhood taken over by the Long Duan and their corporate businesses, pushing out his friends and families who used to have businesses there. Now to finish their take over a wrestling tournament is going to be held to crown the Heavy Weight Grand Champion of MetroVille. So he sets out on a journey to become Champion and take them down from the inside.

This is the premise for this first game. Because he actually has to get to the tournament he must set the road there. 

You can support this project which I hope will lead to a company and a place to train the game developers of tomorrow! 
This is the logo for the Dogs of War title. As the "Dogs of War" is the wrestling branch of the Long Duan company I went with a simple yet iconic look. Taking cues from modern wrestling companies and taking some ideas of my own I created this. The stroke under the Acronym DoW is the trail left behind by an uppercut super imposed over the world since they are world wide. The Crown at the top is to represent its perceived status as the kings of the industry and the wings indicate it is always always in motion. 
Being that I hate being just like other brands or have similar ideas to something that has not changed in ages. Here I took a look at the biggest prizes in wrestling, the championship. It is always belt in every organization. After doing some research the only other thing besides a cliche crown what could be done that can be easily visible to viewers and still look like it is the greatest prize. 

Because these are fighters and often use their fists I ended up on a Gauntlet. The Heavyweight Grand Champion Gauntlet. One idea here is to allow the player to wear the gauntlet in the second game if they win and use it during the beat'em up game. This way it fulfills not just a purpose but also a function.
While working out how to present my game to potential players I wanted to come up with something eye catching that could also show the goal, the journey, and show the title all at once.
The faraway top angle I felt was a bit too far and didn't allow people to connect with the character. 
The lower test angle worked a better but something still felt off. Hotdogs are a big theme in the game and I found that this angle didnt allow me to get that across efficiently.
Concept poster test. 
Using basic undetailed images I laid out my chosen angle for a poster that can be used for marketing and maybe serve as the cover. Here the intended message is to inform potential players what is in store. The ring is off in the distance with the championship inside. But on his way there he will encounter enemies , enemies who will be defeated by the deliciousness of his hotdogs!
With that in mind this angle I feel fulfilled all of my needs because it brings the camera to Jonny's perspective so the player can also connect with him since the game mostly plays from top down. But it also includes the hotdogs which are a main theme in this game. 
This is my original view  perspective of the game. I am still playing around with perspectives and will try to make sure that I find the best perspective for the player.
Menu flow chart to test the paths the game menus are set up. With some testing I am sure that this will become more efficient.
Pixel art portrait of Jonny. I wanted to incorporate the different elements of his character while not compromising people taking his seriously. The life of a hot dog vendor isn't easy. Since an icon of the hot dog vendors is the little hat I found a way to have it be on his mask but also make it look like he could use it for his hot dog stand too. The red and yellow trim are ketchup and mustard while the red, white, and green flecks would be the tomatoes, onions, and peppers for the Chicago style dog, which he loves!
After conceptualizing the menu flow I finally got around to doing a graphical version of it. In keeping with the theme of the game I designed a literal menu for the menu with a customer hand making a selection. The design came from wanting to make something that both serves to build the world while also being functional. 
Because Jonny will be getting support from his friend "Catherine" I wanted to establish what her mask and character through a pixel art portrait. Because I want her identity to be a mystery for now I wanted to give her a mask. But not just any mask, I want a mask that still allows her to have her hair out to make her stand out even more. Here are some basic designs that I am using to get some bases down and innovate from there.
This is the very first test of a building in voxel as a standalone. The original street with the buildings wasnt as fleshed out as this idea was with a full interior that was designed as an actual building with layout. Many problems were solved here and gave me a great template from which to make future buildings, cutting down on development time.
Here is the very first render of my Voxel art concept. I wasn't sure how it would look but found it to be very charming and kept working with it. I liked this angle because it has lots of character and would help the game stand out from the plethora of other Sch'mups out there.
This is the very first test of this concept in an animated format. I wanted to do a side scroller then discovered that as I moved the stage through the render area that the inside could be seen.

Upon discovering this I started to add stuff to the inside, thinking that it would be cool to have this area hide little details and easter eggs. This way I can try to encourage players to replay again later to see if they can see all the stuff I hid in the game. 
This is an asset I was going to use to let the player get used to the way it moved in isometric view. By having them weave left and right they would trust the controls, something that I have found to be an issue in older isometric games with this sort of movement. 
Preferably this would have been at the opening area of the first stage to introduce this early on. 
This is one of my early concepts using the voxel art style. After reducing the size of my team I have since moved on to 2d sprites but still hope to do a reboot someday with this as one of the optional art styles.
the thing I really enjoyed about working in voxel was that it easily allowed me to create cross sections of my buildings and hide stuff within. This angle is approximately at 50 degrees as I found it better showed the insides 
Here is a concept for a location in the game. Detail on the inside was added since I wanted to have the stage be small but loaded with details, including cross sections into some of the small shops and businesses as they passed through the render border.

Its hard to notice but there are three different chambers, each with different levels of coffee in there. Why, because I want to make sure all of my work has unique details that try to make worlds seem believable.
Animation cross section of the first building I designed as well as added the store name and logo on the side.