Concept Artist turned Developer Mike Garn has worked on AAA franchises such as Call of Duty and Rainbow Six, but has now decided to create his own game, Three of June. We spoke to Mike about his experience in the industry and the upcoming title:
Introduce yourself, Mike!
I’m from Phoenix, Arizona and currently live in Los Angeles California. I’m a concept artist making the switch to game developer. I’ve been a concept artist on several games most notable being Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Black Ops 4. I worked on Star Citizen and Rainbow 6 Siege a bit as well, but not anywhere near the amount that I worked on the Call of Duty franchise. Now I’m working on my own game Three of June. I’m self taught off the internet and I work at my own game studio, which I haven’t revealed the name for yet, and work as a freelance concept artist simultaneously.
Where did your inspiration for working within the games industry come from? When did you first know that this is the career you wanted to pursue?
I’ve wanted to make video games since I was really young, like I still have game design documents from when I was probably about 9 years old. As a teenager I started heading more towards writing music. I still played video games but music was my thing. I graduated high school in 2004 for a reference point. Eventually I came right back to wanting to work on video games in 2012 and by 2014 I was working on Infinite Warfare. A lot of studying went down to get there so quickly.
Could you tell us more about what the game is about? Why you chose to pursue this game idea? What inspired you?
In Three of June you’re “Three” an expired military robot reprogrammed to lay waste to everything in the way of finding a cybertoy bear’s little girl. That’s all I’m willing to reveal at the time because secrets are pretty freakin’ fun. I chose this game for a few reasons, first the subjects of the game are kinda everything I liked as a kid and continue to like put into one thing. So like robot killing machines, cybertronic teddy bears, squirrels, unsettling environments; it’s just what I’ve always been into. I’ve felt a lot of inspiration come from thinking what would 9 year old Mike Garn have wanted to play. So games like Contra, Doom (1992, although I love the the new one a lot too), Abuse, Super Metroid, and films like Alien, the Terminator and Short Circuit are a huge part of my life, and lot of 80s and 90s feels are getting pumped into this bad boy!
You have created some beautiful Pixel art and animation, could you elaborate on any key notes and processes used to create these amazing end results? Any good resources you could recommend for research?
Most of the work is just straight pixel art mixed with drawing techniques I use as a concept artist. I think those two worlds coming together is what is holding the art together. As for resources, I did watch a bunch of pixel art tutorials because there are rules to it all. I watched so many it’s kinda hard to single out any in particular. I’d just watch them while I was working on concept art all the time. MortMort (http://www.youtube.com/mnrart) and Matej Jan (https://www.youtube.com/Retronator48k) on YouTube have some really kicking videos though. I’d say just google “How to draw pixel art”, and watch everything though.
Could you choose some of your favourite pieces of development work from the game and expand on why you chose to do these, what software you used and if possible, some insight into how you undertook the completion of them? What difficulties were faced and how you overcame them?
I really like the mech at the end of the trailer, I love that part. It’s a lot of work getting a big guy like that in the game. For bigger things I will build them in 3d, animate them, and then do some pixel art magic to get them into the game. In the end it is all sprites though. I’m still refining the process and the mech will get even cooler next time it’s shown.
Any advice you’d give to people looking to break into the industry?
Work harder than you ever have before, and work with a plan. I mean, these people that have created so many awesome things, the Kubric’s, the Kojima’s, the Cameron’s, they’re all insanely hard workers, and they all plan things out in advance. If achieving something great in a single lifetime is what you’re aiming for work hard and work smart.
Do you have any future aspirations as a designer, specifically, are you looking to develop your work into other areas of the games industry? Perhaps future projects?
You better believe it! I’ve got more games planned out after this, but just hyper focused on this project until it’s finished. The plan is that if Three of June is successful it will jump start the next projects and allow for a bit of expansion for my game studio.
If you’d like to learn more about Three of June, you can visit www.threeofjune.com or keep up to date with Mike via one of the following social media links: