Artist François Hosy shares details on the recent mobile game release from Sparkling Vinegar, “Super Cricket Fighter Turbo”. He explains more about his process; including using Astropad for the game’s art, and perspective as an artist.
Super Cricket Fighter Turbo is a free 2-player game, currently available for both Android and iOS.
Tell us About Sparkling Vinegar
I’ll tell you the short version. I didn’t start with a game industry background, I’m a graphic designer and CGI artist. I learned CGI in France; worked on effects and short movies. I met an old classmate of mine, who is a programmer. He told me about the Global Game Jam, and invited me to one of them. It was really fun, and after 48 hours you’ve got a game!
Later on, I remembered that one of my hometown friends, was a game designer. So, I contacted him and said the three of us should collaborate; do something together. We tried to work on games, but it didn’t go well. One was in Paris, the other in Northeastern France, and I was in another city. It was quite complicated. We all had different jobs, which made it hard to split the time. We didn’t finish anything.
So, I contacted another guy, who was a game designer and programmer, looking for a graphic designer to work with. I collaborated with him, still under the name Sparkling Vinegar, and his was Flying Oak Games. In a month, we created our first game called, Dead End. It was great to finally release something. Afterwards, through a network of programmers and game designers, and I got in contact with another person. We decided to prototype another game. It took a long time, and it was hard. We wanted to take a “pause” and simplify, that’s why we created Super Cricket Fighter Turbo.
What is Super Cricket Fighter Turbo?
It’s a mix of cricket inspired by Windjammers, Pong, and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. This is a free game, we don’t put any ads. Initially, it started as a joke. We started with drawing the logo, sketches of the characters’ heads, and shapes.
We spent a week creating the prototype. The final art was also made in a week. Unlike our previous games, Super Cricket Fighter Turbo’s art was fully made in Photoshop. The timeline we set for ourselves is one reason why I decided to use Astropad.
What’s the Reason Behind Producing Free Games?
We want to produce good games to play with friends, or to pass the time while waiting for the metro. Not big games, or big stories, but to share ideas and let people get to know us.
How Do You Use Astropad?
I always work on a Macbook Pro; I already had an iPad, and a stylus. Also, I move around a lot. I’ve lived in Australia, 5 to 6 different places in France, and now I live in Montreal. That’s why I don’t always have a big desktop, it’s not portable.
A friend sent me a link to Astropad, and I thought it was quite interesting. I tried it, and started to fall in love. Working together with the computer and iPad was very nice. I like that I can watch what I’m doing on my tablet. It doesn’t matter that your screen is small, you can always zoom in and out. For me, Astropad is very affordable.
Depending on what I need to do; something rough or quick, or creating a mood board; Astropad is perfect. I only need to bring my iPad and stylus, and say “let’s do it!” When I’m not using Astropad, I’m using my sketchbook. If I’m outside, in a cafe, or at a park drawing, I don’t usually bring my laptop and iPad. After drawing a game’s art, I finish with After Effects. But that is animation; another time I don’t use Astropad. Textures for CGI, characters, landscape, drawing, or concept art on photoshop, it’s perfect.
As an Artist, What Do You Enjoy About Working on Mobile Games?
During the time I was working on my first game, I was doing a year in architectural rendering; images to promote, or sell houses and buildings. It was always the same kind of image: blue skies, and people smiling. I wanted to do something different, as if I were my own client.
I enjoy working on games, because I can do whatever I want. I can express any crazy idea, as well as experiment with style and visual representation. I do it
Advice for Those Interested in Pursuing Game or Concept Art?
Create what you want. Don’t try to look like the other games, or directly copy. When coming up with game ideas, sometimes leave the computer. Look beyond the gaming industry for inspiration. Watch music videos, paint, and draw. Go to exhibitions, shows, galleries, museums, especially if they’re free! Try to pick up inspiration from the stuff you see everywhere. Something always inspires you, it doesn’t just come from nothing.
— Everything you’ve seen or heard, it inspired you.
What’s in the Future for Sparkling Vinegar?
I’m sure we’ll be using Astropad for the work in our next game. We want to continue to make games for fun. We are considering creating a Patreon, to help with not only support, but new project ideas.