Documentary update 8 – Liverpool

Liverpool!, the city of Scousers, The Beatles, Merseybeat, some football clubs and ofcourse Hardware Rivals. A few days ago we arrived in Liverpool to do some filming for the documentary. The main event for me had to be meeting Darren Douglas. The artist who worked on a lot of games and comics I loved through the years. Games like WipeOut and Hardware Rivals, and comics like Judge Dredd for the publisher 2000AD. Also being about the same age would have us recollecting a lot of childhood memories about movies, tv-series and videogames.

Through the last few decadesĀ  several great videogame studios started in Liverpool. Psygnosis probably being the most famous one. This studio started out of the ruins of Imagine, a 8-bit era studio, also from Liverpool. One of the legendary games of Imagine was Bandersnatch and yes that’s the game where the famous interactive episode of Black Mirror starts off. Psygnosis became big in the 16-bit era, producing games for the Atari ST and Amiga. The studio changed into Sony Studio Liverpool (makers of the famous WipeOut series) and then into Sony Computer Entertainment Connected Content Group, the developers of our beloved Hardware Rivals. In 2016 this studio was closed down by Sony and became a part of Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Filming Darren sketching, the first step in his Art Design workflow

Like Andrew we met Darren before the actual filming. This was on the evening and we found out that Darren was as energetic in real life as he was in the first interview over the phone a few months ago. We were really looking forward to the interview and film him while he worked on some designs.

 

We were allowed to use all colours of the spectrum in this game, which is quite unique. – Darren Douglas

For me it was the first time I saw a Videogame Art Designer at work and being allowed to film it made it even more special. Like all artists Darren has his own workflow. He starts to make sketches with pencils, works those out and then scans them. These digital files are loaded into Photoshop or Painter where they are being coloured in. In the case of Hardware Rivals, these drawings were sent to 3D artists like Andrew Phelan who would translate the art into 3D.

During the interview we talked about Hardware Rivals in general, his work for the game and the process from design to final 3D in the game engine. Like for Andrew, Hardware Rivals has been a very special project for Darren. You can hear all about that in the film we are going to make this year.

For us it’s a wrap. Next stop for us is Birmingham where we’re doing some other things outside of Hardware Rivals.

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