The Art of Darkwatch

The Art of Darkwatch

Written when I was still on twitter.

I don’t know if it’s my lack of inspiration or the power of twitter, but lately most of my blog ideas have stemmed from twitter threads. The latest was a tweet lamenting the lack of books showcasing the art of video games.

And there doesn’t seem to be many, but that thread did remind me one game I worked on, Darkwatch, did have an book showcasing its art, aptly titled The Art of Darkwatch (with a nice blurb from Syd Mead).

One of the things about Darkwatch is that the team had a lot of top-level artists, designers, and comic book writers, so they did a good job of leveraging the IP into art books, game magazines and comic books.

I spotted the The Art of Darkwatch on a bookseller’s table at Comic Con and was pleased to see not just the concept art but even the HUD design, as I’d spent eight months getting that stuff on screen, animated, flashing, and so on.

Actually, I was originally contracted to work on the HUD during the final two months of the project, but let me tell you, when you schedule HUD development for the final two months of a game project, it’s going to take eight months.

Here’s the review I wrote on Goodreads a while back:

As a programmer on High Moon Studio’s Darkwatch video game (PS2 and Xbox) three years ago, I felt obligated to buy this book when I saw it at Comicon this year. Like other concept art treatments (this one comes complete with a Syd Mead intro), it’s lavishly filled with fantastic illustrations of the characters, weapons, vehicles and environment, but as such it discusses the much different original premise of the game (starting with a comic western gambler before evolving into a dark vampire western) and details many of the intermediate artistic directions and practical approaches, e.g. focusing design of pistols from the back, since that’s mostly what you see in a first-person shooter. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know half of this stuff, even though I was there. The book even discusses design of HUD elements (the area I spent most of my time on), which is usually considered too mundane for this type of book.

Members of the concept art team at High Moon Studios are profiled here, so it’s great to see a couple of guys I worked closely with, Billy King and Shane Nakamura, featured prominently, and complete game credits are listed in the back, so as a bonus you can find me there in small print.

That twitter thread was right — we should have more game art books.

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