art, artwork, concept art, daily painting, free games, game art, game reviews, retro games, sprites, windows, wip

Daily Painting No.37 (Ken’s Shark Monster) (Pass 1) + Ken’s Labyrinth 3d mini Review

ken's labyrinth shark monster redesign

A shark monster (at least that’s what I THINK the sprite is) design inspired by a monster sprite in a early 90’s game called Ken’s Labyrinth. This is the first pass. Minor things need to be fixed or redefined with the anatomy. Feel free to critique. After I fix it, I will try some variations, and detail and color the one I think it best. I have no clue how much time I spent on this, I kept getting distracted. The original sprite is Copyright Ken Silverman. The original sprite is below on the left. It has a strange crotch animation in the game, oh the horror.

ken's labyrinth shark monster redesign

I finally finished Ken’s Lab. I must admit that nostalgia is deceptive. Ken’s lab is a 3d first person shooter similar to Wolfenstine 3d. It was made for DOS in 1993. Instead for shooting Nazi’s: you shoot bats, heads with ear wings, crudely drawn sprites representing space pirates, and of course naked pink people with shark heads.  The first episode (The first ten levels) was primitive yet strangely compelling, The art isn’t half bad, the music is short yet catchy, the monsters are awkward but interesting, and the level design is interesting. In short, the first episode is a blast.

The game rears it’s ugly head at the beginning of the second episode. Cash to buy upgrades are everywhere and it easily breaks the game. By level 16, I was so overpowered that I didn’t even have to aim because the heat seeking rockets did it for me. It also introduces your dog companion that follows you everywhere. Most of the time the dog gets in the way of your shots while the enemy’s bullets go right though the dog and injure you.

In the third episode, it feels like the creator of the levels just gave up and put random junk in, and hoped no one would notice. It is so random. And don’t get me started on the invisibility capes that litter the final levels, it’s almost like god mode for the rest of the game. The bosses are super easy, just horde on the invisibility capes before you engage in battle, run into the boss and hold the shooting button down.

One the plus side it had some interesting concepts that where not in many shooters before like, healing yourself with water fountains, fan blades, pool balls that tried to crush you, invisible walls, bouncing projectiles, item shops, weapon upgrades, and pink nude people with shark heads.  Ken’s Lab is still close to my nostalgia filled heart. Also I still think level 19’s music is addictive.

I would still recommend checking it out, as the full version is free. You can download it at the official site here : Make sure you download the windows port. Avoid playing it in Dosbox.

art, artwork, daily painting, digital art, dos games, dragons, games, ghosts, photoshop, still life, video games, wolfenstine

Daily Painting No.35 (Fabric Still Life)

fabric ghost still life with dragon

This was a very fun still life to paint. I put a bowl on top of a tripod and then draped it. I then put a little dragon sculpture on top. How the fabric fell made it look like a ghost, even the eyes where formed from the still life, I didn’t fabricate anything. So I didn’t draw the tripod legs. Fabric is a heck of a lot of fun to paint. Don’t be surprised if I do a couple more still life paintings with fabric. Feel free to critique it.

Painted entirely in Photoshop. Time spent on painting: 1 hour

On a different note. I was bitten by nostalgia bug. I found a game that is now free and open source that I used to play as a kid.  It was called Ken’s Labyrinth.It was a ‘clone’ of Wolfenstien 3d (another 3d game I was obsessed with at the time) but it was developed by one man named Ken Silverman. He was a prodigy programmer, he made a game by himself that took ID software 10 people to make. Remember Duke Nukem 3D? HE BUILT THE ENTIRE GAME ENGINE!

Ken’s Lab had a lot of crazy game play elements that where not in FPS games at this time such as, holes, killer fans, slot machines, vender machines, heat sneaking missiles, you even have a companion that you have to guard ( Just like Resident Evil 5, and just as annoying). The shareware episode was a lot of fun and balanced, the remaining two episodes are so broken due to endless invincibility capes and cash littering the floor, you can beat the game with your eyes closed.. EVEN ON HARD! Later the game was published by Epic Games, and a extra artist was added. Speaking of the graphics, the monster design, it starts out well but gets really bad farther down the game ( Just wait until you see the space pirates, it looks like a 5 year old discovered Paint). Despite it’s flaws Ken’s Lab really inspired me back then. It inspired me to mod the levels and graphics of  Wolf 3d, and replace the Nazis with fish warriors. (I wish I still had it, the floppy it was saved on got corrupted 😦 )

It’s got me thinking of a good concept art project.. Why don’t I find some terrible monster and character sprites of the old games from the 90’s and do some fresh redesigns?