Griptonite Games was purchased from F9 by GLU Mobile in 2011. As one of two studio Environment Art Managers at the time, I worked closely with all my reports to make sure the transition was a smooth one. There was a bit of a learning curve for everyone as we moved from our proprietary engine to Unity 3D.
Subsequently, I transitioned from an Art Manager role to an Art Lead role and oversaw all aspects of art on the mobile projects I led. This not only included all in game content and UI, style guides and planning, but also parts of the marketing materials as well. I still continued to mentor and train artists throughout the studio, and was often called to assist other teams at times.
At a time when mobile memory and graphics power were in their infancy, Gears & Guts was very ambitious for iPhone, iPad, iPad II (cerca ios 4.1) and Android devices. This car vs zombie game offered wide open worlds, destructible objects, day & night time environments, additional NPC vehicles driving around, customizable player vehicles and swarms of zombies chasing after your vehicle.
The team was fairly small, art consisted of four people, including myself, and a concept artist that was shared across teams. Design had two people, QA three people, Production two and Engineering four.
At one point during production we lost our design team. This forced the team leads to re-evaluate the game design at the request of management. Together, we refocused the gameplay mechanics and streamlined player controls to make the game much more accessible. We also examined our monetization plans and compared them to successful products in the markets. We found several areas that we were able to capitalize on and changed our plans accordingly.
As Art Lead, I designed and planned out all visuals. I worked closely with the engineers to push what we could accomplish on the mobile devices. Mobile GPUs were just coming into power and we found many ways to enhance our limited visuals. Our Style Guide was a constantly changing beast, and the guide presented here is an early version used to convey intent to those outside of the team.
As the team maintained the live operations of Gears & Guts, we also began production on our next game, Cops & Robbers. This was to be a multi-player, 3rd person cover shooter. Since myself and others on the team know and respect first responders, we raised our concerns over the games initial concept of rewarding shooting police officers. Our voices were heard and the premise was changed to a Sci-Fi setting with the Cop side being dubious independent contractors, and the robbers given a Robin Hood aesthetic. Unlike Gears, the art for Cops & Robbers aimed for a more realistic style. I took on some of the concepting duties, working on weapons and character designs.
On the day our playable prototype was to be tested, the studio leadership announced a restructuring and 50% of the staff was let go. A majority of our team were among the casualties and my time at Glu/Griptonite/Amaze had come to an end.