Sunday, November 30, 2008

billy to do masterclass in mudbox at pratt

heya folks.

just wanted to drop a quick bit of info about me doing some teaching and demo work for autodesk in NYC tuesday day and night.

you can go here for more details:
event details from awn

i'd love to catch up with any old friends and colleagues while i'm out drop me a line if you're in the area early next week.

i'll make sure to blog afterwards to let everyone in on what i talked about.

love, peace, and hair grease!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving from the dreamhive!!

we HOPE you all enjoy this time with friends and family. we certainly are!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Battle the Bugs in "Squish Squash" -- the Hot New Game for the iPhone and iPod Touch!

Addictive New Game from The Dreamhive to Launch at iTunes AppStore in December 2008

Orlando, FL November 25, 2008 -- The creative minds at The Dreamhive ( announce the development of a cool, addictive and exciting new game for the iPhone(TM) and iPod Touch(TM) mobile platforms that finally addresses the age-old question, "Is it better to crush your enemies? Or squash them?" Once iPhone users get their fingers on The Dreamhive's new game Squish Squash... the answer will be clear: Squash 'em!

What is Squish Squash? It's as fast as it is fun -- a colorful, entertaining and pulse-pounding game that superbly spotlights the very latest in iPhone and iPod Touch technology to the fullest. In Squish Squash, you'll need to defend your crumb from being eaten by wave after wave of clever, colorful and determined bugs, by squishing and squashing them first. But you have to hurry, and do it before your crumb disappears!

"The Dreamhive Animation Studio created Squish Squash as an enjoyable, addictive and fast-paced 3D game that really showcases the entertainment capabilities of the iPhone and iPod Touch mobile platforms," comments Wes Grandmont III, Co-founder and Senior CG Supervisor at The Dreamhive. "Squish Squash is set in a rich, vivid and stunningly stylized 3D world of bugs, and was designed to provide a satisfying immersive experience that fully utilizes the iPhone, as well as the iPod Touch's unique touch-based interface."

Squish Squash features four modes of gameplay to challenge everyone from kids to adults, with 100 challenging levels to master, bonus rounds, awards to earn, special super-squashing power-ups, high score tracking and more! The game's highlights include five different types of bugs to battle, each with their own unique personalities and tactics as they try to get a bite of your crumb: Crush and smear the slow moving Brutes to slow the other bugs down, avoid the Hunter bugs that can bite your finger, and the Hoppers, who can only be squashed when they're on the ground. Watch out for the fast moving Wimps -- as well as the hordes of hungry Peons. These bugs are bad news -- and must be squashed!

In addition to addictive gameplay and stunning graphics, Squish Squash features amazing music and sound effects from GameBeat Studios. "Once we saw the game art that The Dreamhive provided to us, the inspiration for the music and sound design came instantly," says Darryl Duncan, President/CEO of GameBeat Studios. "This is going to be a truly amazing game, and GameBeat is thrilled and honored to be a part of it."

The Dreamhive's Squish Squash game perfectly spotlights the technological capabilities of both the iPhone and the iPod Touch, with beautiful and innovative use of the platforms' multi-touch technology, real-time 3D graphics, and sound. The game was developed entirely in-house over a nine-week period by The Dreamhive's founding members, with the game designed and programmed by Wes Grandmont III, who also contributed work modeling the bugs and environment. Art direction and conceptual design work was handled by Mathias Lorenz, and level models and level layout were accomplished by Tom Angus, with assistance from Billy Harper, who also created the game's unique font and acted as lead tester.

"We're proud to say that Squish Squash really features some of the best 3D graphics among applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch technology," adds Grandmont. "Squish Squash will be priced at just $3.99 on the iTunes AppStore, so look for it for purchase and download in December 2008!"

About The Dreamhive:
The Dreamhive was founded in 2006 by skilled veterans of the game and film industries. Together the studio's managing partners have more than forty years of experience, with credits on dozens of AAA games, music videos and national television spots -- and they do it all from outside Hollywood. Based in Central Florida, The Dreamhive is dedicated to producing stunning HD and film-quality visuals and assets for its clients, pioneering new technology that converges film and interactive media, and bringing original creative properties to market.

For more information on The Dreamhive, please visit their website at To interview The Dreamhive team on their work on Squish Squash or other recent exciting creative projects, or for knowledgeable quotes and industry insights, please contact Wes Grandmont at contact at

Meanwhile, to evaluate Squish Squash for press review, or for public relations materials, bios, logos, images, or further backgrounders, please contact publicist Angela Mitchell at (904) 982-8043 or Paramitch at

All companies and products referenced in this press release are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

initial artwork complete!!!

hey folks. i just wanted to drop a quick blog in here to give you guys a "first look" at our game on the iPhone.

not much i can say to add to this but...WOW!! needless to say we are very proud of how this turned out.

now, we're tuning the gameplay...adding levels...and implementing some really cool stuff that will add to the depth of the game. i'll be posting a blog about that really soon.

in the meantime, enjoy the pretty, pretty:)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

work in progress--anatomy of an enviroment

the really fun thing about creating a game on the iPhone/iPod Touch is it takes you back to the garage days of creating games. stripping out the "fluff" and sticking with what is strongest visually, simplest to learn, and most fun to play.

when we decided that squish squash would be our first game, we broke one of our own rules about "keeping it simple"...we decided to do a game about bugs. "what's the big deal?" you may ask. well, we're talking about nature. when you talk about nature, you have to make your environments feel organic and alive. environments in games have always been a big cookie to crumble...but outdoor environments are especially challenging.

however, for our first game developed completely in-house...we knew that a game that marries core play elements from games like space invaders and fantavision and wraps it around the concept of squashing bugs was something that would be super fun for parents and kids alike. so creating organic environments was a hurdle we knew we couldn't avoid. not only could we not avoid it...we had to conquer it in a way that sticks with our mantra of making everything that comes out of our studio top notch.

big question is how do you create something interesting and unique looking while keeping the art assets efficient enough so the game can run smoothly.

i've already blogged about how we're using time of day to add that element of emmersion and variety. while a very handy and gorgeous tool to use when getting mileage out of the art we create, that's only one piece of the puzzle. the other is to keep the number of unique assets to a minimum and reusing them in unique configurations. however, lots of times that equals the artists losing control over the minute details and variation that gets applied.

in the past while working at studios like Naughty Dog, EA, and Microsoft...the answer was very powerful, yet complex tools and game engine architecture. things we simply didn't have the time and budget to fit into our production schedule. we had to come up with something that gave us the ability to pack a visual punch, yet be a process that's simple and straightforward.

we started thinking about those dioramas we all had to do in school. you remember those things, right? i remember mine, it was about the cretaceous period. i took a shoe box, cut it up to create a stage, i lined the walls of the box with foliage. i then created the ground by adding sand, created little clusters of trees, plants, and rocks, and finally i bought little dinosaur figurines to populate it.

we decided to apply that same exact approach to our environments for squish squash.

we're treating the area where the bug's roam as the shoe box/stage. we're surrounding the playing field with 3d foliage and we've created a nice sandy texture for our ground.

the image above is our ground texture element. this is applied much like the ground element in a diorama

so, we've got our "shoe box stage" set up. now comes the hard part...adding environmental elements that breaks up the ground plane and give art directed variety while not slowing down the game. just as with the old school dioramas, we chose to create a library with clusters of environmental elements. much like those little decorative doo dads folks buy to put in their fish tanks. see, most of the time the solution becomes something where the artist creates individual pieces and that gets placed randomly by the game. most times this ends up giving the environment a lack of cohesion or artistic interest because there is much less creative control. our approach allows the artist to hand create complete little sets of artwork that THEN get placed in the game engine. efficient, yet more controlled on an artistic level.

during pre-production, we did all sorts of concept artwork for various elements one would find in a forest.

the image above is a collage of some of the select concepts for enviromental elements. there were several elements we kicked around, ultimately settling on mushrooms, rocks, and blades of grass. these were the elements that worked best game design-wise and also efficiency-wise

next we took these concepts and created 3d versions of them in Maya. once all these individual elements were created, the task was to assemble them into unique and art directed clusters.

the series of images above show how the concepts were interpreted in 3d within Maya to first create individual mushrooms. then we would take the individual mushrooms and create a specific cluster of mushrooms. those clusters are then placed in various configurations in the game. all of these clusters applied in various combination's on the iPhone gives a nice sense of lushness while not sacrificing the performance of the game.

here real soon, you'll be able to experience for yourself how all this stuff adds to our game. in the meantime, click on the "WIP" image below to see a mocked version of the camera looking over an assembled enviroment.

Click me
click on the image above to view the preview.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

work in progress--what time is it?

heya folks.

just wanted to drop in really quick and shoot you all some more pre-production artwork for Squish Squash created by mathias.

this stuff is geared towards the time of day color treatments for our enviroments. here at the hive we're all about immersion...even in a small world. variation with time of day is something we feel is an important factor.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

work in progress: bring on the bugs

heya folks. just wanted to take some time to post some more of mathias' gorgeous concept artwork for squish squash.

the first image is a line up of the various classes of bugs you'll be going up against:

(from the left)brute, warrior, peon, hopper, and wimps

next up is some looks at the variety of colors and patterns you'll be able to see within each class of bug. this is actually a key part of some combo/puzzle based gameplay we're thinking about implementing:

finally, here's a neat look dev piece for how a bug will get squished:

that's all for now, but make sure to keep checking back. we definitely have a great deal more to share with you guys as we near our release date.

thanks for stopping by!