The development of PhotonInc was quite a learning experience. This was my first proper run at leading a project from initial concept and fundraising, through development and release. The aim of PhotonInc was to create a simulation/puzzle game centered on the physics of light. For the first half of development we were targeting mobile devices before pivoting to PC where we could have a wider variety of gameplay and more accurately depict lighting and materials using a PBR workflow.

My primary art contributions were in directing a small team of freelance artists, integrating both outsourced and stock art assets into a cohesive look, building levels, designing and building the UI, and setting up materials, lighting, and post-processing effects.

Developer: Substrate Games, LLC
Platforms: PC
Release Date: 7/6/17
Art Direction: Will Schneller
3D Art: Jordan Ray, Marc Emmert
Character Design and Illustration: Eric Ensey

Will schneller photoninc testzone 03
Will schneller photoninc testzone 04
Will schneller photoninc testzone 06
Will schneller photoninc testzone 08
Will schneller photoninc testzone 09
Will schneller phontoninc releaseannouncement

It was important to me to carry the laboratory setting and diegetic UI motifs into the promotional materials.

PhotonInc Launch Trailer

Will schneller figure 6

Early exploration on materials. One major challenge was to accurately portray surfaces on mobile devices. We tried a variety of handpainting methods to simulate PBR-style materials.

Will schneller figure 2

Early exploration into an isometric sokoban gameplay style. In this iteration players would engage with crafting stations which were stylized as robotic characters integrated into the level.

Will schneller original

The very first image created back when the gameplay had a more arcade-like feel.