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Case Study: Tooth & Tail

Pocketwatch Games, 2017

Tooth & Tail, an arcade RTS made by Pocketwatch Games, is an attempt to distill everything that made real time strategy a massive genre in the 1990’s into a flavorful, bite-sized experience for modern audiences. Matches typically run between 5-10 minutes, and the entire game was designed to be played with a gamepad. Similarly, the art style is a love letter to the chunky-pixel greats of that decade, but delivered with a ton of modern day visual techniques. A mix of traditionally animated pixel work and fun, atmospheric shaders, we worked to make an art style that felt both classic and cutting edge. 

But before we got to that point, I had to address fundamental shortcomings of the original art style. I gave a talk about this at GDC 2017, but in summary, I broke down what wasn’t working and suggested how we could address those issues via a document, mockups, and many conversations with Pocketwatch.  

In the end, everyone was excited about the new direction and after we gave it a test run and found our footing, we marched on to production. I directed a small team of in-house Chickadee artists and one extremely talented remote painter, Jerome Jacinto. We completed most of the principle artwork during that time, with me personally handling the bulk of the in-game pixel work, the UI asset painting, and VFX work. 

Tooth and Tail gif

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