Author: Mark Lohmann

Mark Lohmann

Lists, Lists, Lists

Just checking in real quick to share this gif with you and to let you know we’re working hard to finish a small playable (yes, really!) early demo for an expo in New York this August. We’re skyping almost every day to finish all of our to-do lists. It’s a lot.

 

 

Mark Lohmann

13 April ’18 – Dev Blog #5: Hell Has Ladders, Apparently

Hey, Mark Lohmann here. This week, I want to share some of the new art I’ve been making, explain some stuff how and why we’re evolving as an indie-game team and talk about my personal life and mental health a little bit  (which, one day you’ll see, relates to this game in deep and important ways)

First of all, the easy part, that doesn’t require many words, the art:

 

 

Tada! It might not look like much, but mind you, pixel art takes time. As time goes on we’ll keep adding details to make the world feel alive and in motion. Which brings me to my next subject: the way we work now as a game-dev studio.

I’ve sort of taken/gotten the role of producer in this team, which basically means that I have to structure the way we work. I prepare the skype calls and make sure we stay on schedule while we’re doing them, I create the events in the Google agenda and I try to keep the conversations open and honest. Honestly, a few years ago I would’ve totally sucked at this job, but ever since I got a live-band I’ve learned the consequences when I don’t take the lead and leave things unclear and what not. Basically, I had to learn to be structured. Since I consciously decided to take the producer role my life has changed for the better, which brings me to my next subject: my personal life.

MY PERSONAL LIFE (darkness ahead)

A few months ago, after years of negative self-talk and dark inner voices echoing in my mind-cave (that I have learned now weren’t even mine) I was literally at a crossroads in my life. It was another rainy, gray, terrible evening in my town Heerhugowaard and I was standing still with my bike somewhere. To the right was the road to the train tracks and to the left was the way back home, where I had work to do and a life to build. I was checking the schedules of the trains on my iPhone, not because I wanted to get on them but because the thought of going home and having to spend more days with the same hopeless feeling was way worse than jumping in front of a train. I know this game dev blog just got really dark, but stick with me, I’m writing this right now, so you already know what road I chose. There wasn’t really a revelation or anything, I just quickly rode my bike back home before I did anything stupid. That evening did make me realize there was probably some stuff I had to change in my life, starting from the inside.

And omg, there was a lot I was just not doing right with my mind. It kind of baffles me that “learning how to keep a mental hygiene” isn’t a standard thing at every school. Seriously, I was doing so many things not right in there and I had been doing it for so many years that it was hard to get rid of. It’s sort of like letting the water you swim in getting more and more toxic until you don’t know any better and are just in a constant unconscious state of unhappiness. It was only when I stepped out of that shit that I saw how bad it was.

Luckily, just as I started to learn these things, I had to be a more “together” person for our game dev team too. These days, I track what I eat, I consciously work on good habits, I meditate, I say and think positive affirmations at least 3 times a day for 5 minutes. I chose role models that have a positive and productive outlook on life, I speak my mind and try to do this in a compassionate non-judgemental way (not speaking your mind can also really make the water around you get more and more terrible because nothing really changes for the better). Since then I’ve made tons of new friends, had awesome nights out, talked with cute girls (normally I’d feel like I wasn’t worthy of talking to girls at all), even scored a few numbers. I’m not afraid to take small risks, don’t overthink anything until my mind tells me not to do it, bought flowers for my grandma without feeling weird, stopped thinking about my ex in lonely moments and I found city I would like to live in one day, and I’m taking steps to make that happen. Basically, taking any steps in bettering yourself and your life is a reward on its own because it gives you a sense of hope and direction while the results are slowly but surely showing themselves in all different parts of your life.

For anyone reading this who is also in a dark place, I hope you’ll believe me that Hell has ladders, and there is a way out of it. Start climbing, and you’ll find yourself in a whole other world without having to move an inch. 1

Thank you,

Mark Lohmann

A few other specific things that helped me:

  • School of Life (tons of great videos that could help you understand yourself and make you aware of things people are going through.)
  • Toggl (maybe you shouldn’t go as far as me, but I try to track everything I do so I have a clear view of what I’m doing wrong or right. I only spend 5 minutes in the shower these days where I also brush my teeth, instead of standing there for 8 minutes unconsciously)
  • Awaken The Giant From Within (I know, I know, fuck self-help books, right? Maybe. or you could try to let go of that cynicism that is so popular these days and just try it.)
  • RSDTyler (take from it what you want, the basic things are: he does meditation, realized he can win at life even though he’s a, and I quote, “short, balding ginger guy”. In this society we’re often led to believe we’re not happy unless we buy this or that, or look like this or that, but he’s breaking those rules and you can too.
  • I want to say this again, MEDITATE! it’s not hard, look for ways to do it online, download an app, but be consistent. Nothing happens after you’ve only done it for a few days. Keep at it.
  • Yoga With Adriene, (start with the 30 days yoga challenge to get a good starter guide, again, keep at it, take time for yourself, you deserve it, even though your negative self-thinking might tell you otherwise or feel cringy when I say “you deserve it”, that cringe is probably that same voice that’s bringing you down.)
  • HASfit (find a consistent scheme that works for you, and keep at it. Honestly, making pixel art is a lot more fun with a 6-pack. Kidding, but seriously, staying fit is super important <3 .)

HEY! If you are thinking of suicide or anything, please look for professionals to talk to, they are always available everywhere. Or start a chat with one of them here.

Mark Lohmann

25 MARCH ’18 – DEV BLOG #2: I WISH YOU WERE REAL

Two hours of sleep 1

I’m going to start off by telling you about my weekend because my post will make more sense if you know what I did yesterday. The most important thing is that I’m writing this with only two hours of sleep behind me. “Two hours of sleep behind me“, I seriously don’t even know whether that’s a correct sentence right now.

Moon Moon Moon, our game development studio is also a band, and yesterday night we had a concert. The concept of the evening was “night at the library”, and that was exactly what it was. We played at around 0:00. and around 5 am we went to our tent. Yes, our tent; the artists and all the people who bought a ticket for the festival had their own tent in the library. It was weird and awesome, and there was 80ies music and I drank beers (which is never a good idea for this tiny Dutch person that I am).

Anyway, now you know why this post might be a bit all over the place. I hope Mark Benis will write a better post later this week about his experiences at GDC.

What I did this week

The last 6 days I’ve worked a lot on the art for the game because… that’s what I do. A good tip for any aspiring pixel artist/animator; use references. I always wanted to be the most original artist in the universe, so I didn’t even dare to look in the direction of other art pieces when I was working on something. But since I started inspecting other pixel art animations frame by frame (for example, the walking cycle), it really did improve my animations. Your authenticity as an artist lies in a lot of different things; your use of color, your choice to include or exclude certain things etc. these things will remain even if you look for inspiration in other art. Most sane people probably already know this, but for me, it was a big revelation. If you’re just as stubborn as me, everything I just said won’t convince you, and that’s perfect too, maybe you’ll find out for yourself some time then, or not!

Speaking of sleeping; the more I work on this game, the easier it is to get out of bed/the hard it gets to go to bed at all. I just can’t wait to keep building this world we’ve written down on paper. We’ve worked on the two main characters for a while now but just last week I really feel like we’ve reached a breakthrough with them. Ever since then, making the art became a lot easier, I know exactly how they’ll move, what emotions their faces will show and how their appearance (clothing etc) can express their personality. It sounds insane, but I’ve come to a point where I’m working on the main characters animations while thinking “I wish you were real”. Luckily, our programmer fairy Martín Isla is able to code things in such a way that at least lets you experience the feeling of realness in that world. I think games can really be the perfect combination of reality and magic, something that’s often so very unbalanced in the real world. Oh god, I’m so tired, I don’t even feel any shame in typing something so cheesy. 2

Normally I wouldn’t write a thing like this without a clear subjects and eyelids touching each other, but I was supposed to post something on Friday, so I’m already two days late and now I have no choice. But I hope you enjoyed my little story, the next one will be better for sure!

Love, Mark Lohmann

 

PS: please enjoy my artwork, ‘The Worst Extra Terrestrial’ 

 

 

 

Mark Lohmann

Where are you going!

As a small beginner indie developer, it can often feel like everyone around you is heading somewhere nice while you’re left behind.

Here’s a gif of a grim reaper and his lantern on a bike to remind you to keep on going your own way!

 

Mark Lohmann

Business Cards

One of us (Mark Benis)1 is at GDC right now. So I designed these business cards. We had a different design in mind at first, but no print shop was able to do it (for an, let’s say, indie price). The design I made is connected to the gameplay and the story we’re creating. Anyway, without further ado:

 

Business Cards Image

 

We’re quite happy with them! I hope you have a nice day, reader of this blog.

 

Mark Lohmann

First Ever Idle Animation!

My first idle animation ever. It might be a bit much, and it will probably change over time, but that’s fine! It’s good to start somewhere and move from there. Also, I hereby present to you our two main characters. Not sure if I’m allowed to tell you their names yet, so I won’t. I don’t want Mark Benis to get angry with me on Discord later tonight.

Speaking of Mark Benis, tomorrow our first dev blog will go online, and it will be written by Mark Benis. We’re planning to post one every Friday of the week!

Cheers! x Mark Lohmann

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