talking experimental food art with the game’s creator TJ Hughes – PlayStation.Blog

What kind of explosive statement can be expected from a creator who is relentlessly driven to break out of the mediocrity and the corrupt? We decided to ask video game designer and digital artist TJ Hughes, who creates Under the Treading Jellyfish alias, about working on the aesthetically heightened adventure Noor: Play With Your Food.

In this profile, we talk to TJ Hughes about more, how he works with his team, his origin story, and the advice he gives to developers hoping to make their mark in gaming. leave Hughes’ first project Feesh, which featured microscopic arcade games and animated visuals, showed TJ’s drive to break the mold in an equally microscopic workplace, as it did in the 48-hour Ludham horror game Jam. It was conceived and completed. Without any hard time constraints she develops the color and lusciousness of her sophomore project, More: Play with Your Food.

PlayStation Blog: What else inspired: Play with your food?

Described further as “an experimental food art game designed to make you hungry,” giving players the space to play with their food like a child but without the mess of cleaning up. Another mark for the difference in working with Noor and Fee, Noor’s development process was slow and methodical, with no “eureka moment”.

“I was learning how to make cider, and had the best theme in mind to try and emulate,” Hughes explains. “I had just started traveling and eating a lot of variety, so I thought it was a perfect topic. I started uploading my art experiments on Twitter, where people would tell me how the pictures made them hungry. Intrigued by this response, I began to try other things, such as the technical art concept of subsurface scattering to simulate the texture of noodles and using deep blending to simulate the turbulence of milk tea. Art Tricks started making the library look a little funnier.

Hughes chose the physics-based experience because it “provides a sandbox to be chaotic and funny” as a player wants without wasted food or confusion.

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“When it comes to physics-based games, we often have one of two goals: make things as organized as possible, or make as big a mess as we can. I think the best physics games should give you Let’s do both!

Another team

As a leader, how do you motivate and inspire your team?

“It helps to have a team that shares many of the same interests and passions,” says Hughes. “It’s very easy to relate to each other and get on the same page about the designs. Many of us are friends before the collaboration, we bring a lot of trust to the project. Anyone on the team can suggest anything, any that creates an environment where even the most mundane ideas are considered. We all love food too, I’ve noticed that before meetings, we often tell each other what we’re eating/planning to cook, if Where the meeting is not already in the restaurant.

Origin and inspiration

What is your earliest memory of falling in love with video games?

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is probably my first favorite video game memory,” Hughes said when asked about his earliest gaming memory. “As a younger brother, I was usually a two-player, meaning I played as Tail. I could only help by collecting rings and hitting enemies for my brother. Tails had unlimited lives, which Which was great because I wasn’t very good at video games as a kid. We would enjoy the boss battles by sending the tails to attack while Sonic just focused on dodging. We read this book. Picked up a bunch of cheat codes for popular games and found out about a debug mod cheat, which allows you to build anything and go to walls. This made me curious about how games work under the hood. Works, we’ll spend hours tinkering with the game until it inevitably falls short of how many things we spawn.

From there, Hughes would tell any adults who would listen that he wanted to be a game designer. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go far from home to find inspiration and support. About his parents, who were expressive in their own way of art, Hughes says that what he does is “a real combination of their passions. Art from my mother, technique from my father. .

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“They were both supportive of what I wanted to do which was incredible for building my confidence,” he adds.

When talking about his journey, he also gives a lot of credit to Carol Mertz, Ben Valenti, and Dana Valenti of Rampant Interactive, who gave him his first game assignment and exposed him to the industry.

“There are so many experiences I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for them, including my first trip to San Francisco for a game developer conference,” he says. “Joey Pinello, who used to work with me, taught me a lot of coding techniques that I still use today. I’m excited to work with him again!”

Advice to game devs: keep it simple and share your work

With his first game Phish, Hughes hit a roadblock where he felt a lack of content. He thought his arcade title absolutely needed multiplayer but, after further research, realized he simply didn’t have the skills or experience to implement it.

“I told myself, this is my art, and the game reflects where I’ve been in my career,” he says. “I started playing rather than being too excited.” Priced at 99 cents as a small project that he didn’t expect any return on, it paid off well as he learned a lot from the experience and got his personal projects on the map. . “Although it was nothing spectacular, the heart of the game shined and was well received!”

Two main takeaways from that experience frame the advice he wants to give game developers when they leave reading this: Share what you’re working on and keep it simple.

“Talk about depth [your projects] With people you trust! It’s much better than doing something in complete isolation,” Hughes says. “A game is a constant connection between you and the player, watching how your players react is very important to that.”

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“Game dev can be a lot of work and you can find yourself taking on a higher workload than you should. Don’t be afraid to keep things simple,” he says. “Take it easy, and don’t overwork yourself, just do what you can. Indie developers have to wear many hats to start their business, put yourself first and as Time flies, try to organize things in a way that works for you less. Also check out the tidbits about being a small business owner and how to get your finances in order and all that. Don’t ignore these things.”

looking ahead

Panic Inc. is the publisher for Noor, a relationship Hughes says was crucial in making this particular project a reality. “This is the biggest project of my life and supporting such a prestigious publisher makes me so excited to show everyone the final product.”

When it comes to others or any project, ultimately, what makes a game a “TJ Hughes” game?

“You’ll know when you see a small visual detail that looks like someone spent a lot of time,” he says. “I’ve also been told that my use of color is fairly trademarked. I’m inspired by games like Mirror’s Edge that play with lighting specifically to achieve a certain fidelity, one that’s widely Levels are inspired by realism, but push the limit in just one or two areas to achieve a whole new aesthetic. Cranking up just a few slides after 10 can be enough to give your work a “look”. .

And what comes next?

“I want to do more games/projects that interact with spaces and create excuses to bring people together in person,” Hughes explains. “Right now I’m very interested in the sociological idea of ​​a third place; a community environment where you can hang out that’s neither home nor workplace. For me, there aren’t enough places to just hang out without spending money. I would love it if games provided such a space, or brought more like-minded people to these spaces.

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