Special: PAX 2017 – The Beach Ball – by Scott

Special: PAX 2017 – The Beach Ball – by Scott

[Fire crackling] Oh! Hello! I didn’t see you there. I’m Scott “As Seen on TIME” DeWitt,” your favorite Extra Credits member, and I want to welcome you once again to the PAX Extra Credits panel. This year, I’d like to do something just a little bit different and tell you a story about one of my very first art jobs. Just a quick disclaimer, I never actually signed an NDA, but I also don’t want to get anyone else in trouble, so no real names here. That said, one of my first art jobs was at a smaller studio that focused mainly on mobile and social games. They had just partnered up with a bigger studio that had acquired a property that was by a pretty big name in games. Let’s say they’ve done art for… …we’ll call it…”Blagon Quest.” It was a property about gangs, drugs, the seedy underbelly of organized crime… …and it would’ve made an INCREDIBLE console game. So naturally, they wanted to put it on Facebook. If you love clicking cows, you’ll love selling the devil’s lettuce. Now, they had the property, but they didn’t have the funding, so I was on production to make a video that would entice investors into supporting the project. This video in question was a mess. For starters, they completely ditched this BEAUTIFUL artwork found in the source material for this faux… Disney… thing… Now, it wasn’t BADLY done, it’s just… If you like the art direction of Dark Souls, you’ll love Totally Spies! We finished this video more times than I can remember, only to have the neighboring studio come in at the end of the day, give us revisions, and ask us to stay late and revise it. Here’s how the video and the revisions went: It starts off with a military woman chasing a witch that looks less like a witch and more like America’s Next Top Model. The witch, it’s also worth noting, was very clearly voiced by a man whose voice was pitched up. [squeaky helium voice] Because she sounded like this. The chase doesn’t last long, and they begin to throw down. And here is where the most SPECTACULAR series of revisions comes in. See, this is where the combat demo started, and we got ALL kinds of incredible feedback. “The background is too static.” “Do you think you could add a rat scurrying across every two seconds?” We explained, “That’s too fast,” and they said “Nope, it’s fine.” and gave us our assets and told us to get to work. And by assets, I mean they gave us a single, static silhouette of a rat that we proceeded to make the Usain Bolt of mice. Obviously, that wasn’t kept, but it was replaced very briefly with the world’s leakiest pipe in the foreground which also…didn’t stay very long. Eventually we got the combat to start with an adequately leaky pipe and a mouse that checks in on you every once in a while to see if you need anything. Our hero, the army gal, proceeds to mow down some gangsters like NOTHING. The witch lady then proceeds to summon this big demon monster thing that I animated and whoops- Here we go with more revisions. The animation, it turns out, was fine, but after it was finished… Turns out they actually wanted him to be on fire. Now, before the animators and artists watching start screaming internally, I want to point out that they did actually give me the fire assets to add to our monster. Unfortunately, the fire looked like pixelated, poorly compressed lava barf from Doom. It also didn’t fit over the monster or animate properly. This is not a joke: This is what it actually looked like. Guess who had to redo it all from scratch. So, the demo moves along, and the army girl opens fire on the demon, who is now himself on fire. No damage. Then it’s the demon’s turn. He grabs her by the throat, and snaps her… neck. He, uh… He grabs her by the… Huh. Well, I didn’t want to draw that anyways. She dies. It’s gruesome, it’s terrible. And we were like, “Are you SURE you really want this in here?” and they were like, “Oh yeah, absoluely!” So we animate it, and hooooooo boy, it’s about as not great as you can expect. But what WAS great – and I am not making this up. I couldn’t on my BEST day make this up. It would be my greatest dream of DREAMS to be able to come up with something this INCREDIBLE. The notes we got back on that scene were: “This scene is a bit too dark.” “Can you throw in a beach ball to lighten up the mood?” And so we did. [“Winter of Whistlers” by CarboHydroM, remix of the “Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island” Athletic theme, plays] [music continues] [pop sound]
[music continues] [music continues] [These subtitles are a bit too boring. Can you throw in a beach ball to lighten up the mood?]

100 thoughts on “Special: PAX 2017 – The Beach Ball – by Scott

  1. "I am not making this up. I couldn't on my BEST day make this up." Scott tells us a tale of game dev horror!

    PLUS! Watch the full PAX West 2017 Extra Credits panel where this video made its debut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFPAtJD6Kms

  2. I think they should turn this into a meme.
    Like, if you die 100 deaths in the next reincarnation of Dark Souls, a beach balls bounces around.

    The "It's too dark" achievement xD
    Or, like… You enter into a super secret highly depressing and grim scenario.
    With a sudden highly misplaced and standout bright colorful beach ball.


  3. Man, one missed opportunity, Scott! You should've put your name in the part where it says do you want ____ to come to your school, etc! It'd be a riot!

    Beach balls for EVERYONE!! ^-^'

  4. The only possible explanation i could give for this craziness is that someone in that bigger company was messing with your team big time
    "Hahahaha hey Mike look what I just wrote on the feedback letter! It says 'This scene is a bit too dark, can you throw in a beachball to lighten up the mood?'"
    "HAHAHAHA Omg this is your best one yet John! I can't believe that we can just tell them all this bullshit and that they will just do it ;D"
    Supervisor: "Mike, John, stop chatting and go back to work! Oh I've been meaning to ask you, you've been in touch with the other studio right? How's the promotional trailer coming along?"
    Mike+John: "ehhh……"

  5. No beach ball could make that last pic of the dota card game any less dark I mean damn…

    They know children might be watching right …because I still have chills

  6. …is it really out of place to give them that tiny amount of pushback? Something like "Are you sure a beach ball will be enough to lighten the mood from someone's neck being snapped by a monster?" I feel like, as someone working with an animator on this project, I would want to hear when an idea I'm suggesting is so far off the mark; it would increase my appreciation for their artistic integrity. That said, I am not that person, so my assumptions may be wrong here.

  7. Scott DeWitt! That Scott DeWitt? ::quickly opens browser to check Fanboys:: Hmmm, Paul's still dropping the weights. ::Stoic sadness::

  8. Could we just have a mini-series where Scott tells his various game dev stories? This had me cracking up more than a lot of comedy shows I watch.

  9. I think the notes about throwing the beach ball is meant for Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball or something but somehow got mixed up.

  10. You know after watching this a few times I've come to realize that they were right.

    A colorful beach ball can lighten the mood of even the darkest moments.

  11. This hits home for me because I’ve been in my CS classes for a while and my professor has been telling me there’s nothing diabolical enough that I can come up with that’s going to top what the customer will ask you to do. You’ll account for every test case and they’ll sit down and break it in 5 seconds because they flipped your program upside down and you only did it right side up.

  12. A beach ball to lighten the mood? Really? Ok, so I'm a counselor at a summer camp, every morning the camp has a staff meeting in a spatious room with comfy couches. before everyone gets to the meeting the staff bounce around a beach ball that so happens to be in this room that we lovingly named child, based off of the warning label that reads "Do not leave child unattended." One morning like any other we're bouncing it around and the ball lands in the hands of a counselor I'll call Chico, probably the nicest person I've ever met. Suddenly out of nowhere she pulls out a fork and with a shout she stabs child. Pop, then shocked silence. Apparently she was having a rough day, and was never a fan of how rowdy it got in the morning. I to this day am scarred, and will never see a beach ball the same way.

    Netflix: since you watched bee movie when it was popular you'll love "how we are damaging our earth" that totally exists :𝘋

  14. Over a year later and I see this in my phone's YouTube crawl.
    And I still get a kick out of it.
    Scott, more beachballs please?

  15. i went i to this with a calm face, the entire video a calm face, then the beach ball montoge game me laugh out loud for 3 minutes strai. amazing story.

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