About the Artist
User Interface Design
What a Dream, What a Nightmare!
Software: Photoshop, Flash, Premiere Pro
Platform: Flash
Class/Project/Team: Special Projects 2009, Team for GDC 2010
When Created: Spring to Fall Quarters 2009
Back in my second Spring at the Art Institute, I had the privilege of being offered the opportunity to participate in a team that was building the Art Institute Online's first-ever entry for the following year's Game Developer's Conference. All by ourselves, we were to design a Flash game, build it, test it, and (if at all possible) also present it as part of a competition at the Game Developer's Conference in 2010. From the outset, we faced many challenges, but we were able to pull a working design together and, from there, each took responsibility for different portions of the game that we wanted to construct.

While working on the construction of the game, it became quickly apparent that we were going to need a fully customized user interface (UI). Unfortunately, due to the conflicting schedules of many of the team members, there weren't that many individuals who were able to work on it. So, since I was working on something similar that could be incorporated into the UI (sprite animations for the monsters) already anyway, I volunteered to work on the UI art and integrate some of my work on nightmares into it. After all, it was just more artwork, right?

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into! Although I had not realized it when I volunteered, I was the most junior member of the team: totally untrained in how to create a User Interface, barely any modeling classes under my belt, and very rough traditional art skills, to boot. So, I relied entirely upon Heather and Alan to let me know what was needed and approve my work. Make a meter to track time? I made a selection of meters to track time. Make a place to keep track of the score? I made a place to keep track of the score. I relied entirely upon the better judgement of the rest of the team, both in choosing UI elements and knowing what format to provide the assets in. Through them, we were able to construct a working game with a fully customized UI! It was so utterly amazing to see it all come together!

When it came close to finalizing the game, I created one additional element of the UI that was ultimately included on the website, rather than the game itself: an animated back-story that explains the game's premise. For this, I utilized a growing library of commercially licensed 2D and 3D content, as well as sounds, to help me create elaborate stills that were animated to resemble the pages of a storybook. The back-story itself was written and agreed upon by our entire team. All I did was compile the information in a concrete form and create the visuals.
By a stroke of sheer luck, while working on this portfolio entry, I found that Art Lead Heather Decker's site has the game up and can be played! Make sure you check out her portfolio, too, she's such an amazing artist! What a Dream: What a Nightmare! Flash Game
All information and work on this site is copyright to Mary Williams, unless specified otherwise.
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