Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Videogames as Art

I recently became aware that the famous movie critic Roger Ebert wrote,"videogames can never be art". I find it puzzling that he could make such a statement, since what attracts me to videogames, as an artist, is the unlimited potential for art. The cinematics are one of the many aspects that get my creative juice flowing.

While building the cinematics, I've been forced to constantly use my imagination to solve creative and technical problems while remaining on target for our milestones. It has been challenging and exhilarating at the same time. One of the thing that Joe and I agreed upon right off the bat was to keep them short and sweet - focus on quality rather than quantity. I'll take two great minutes of animation over twenty minutes of average any time. We want the cinematics to feel like rewards, not something you want to fast-forward through.

The next challenge will be to make the transition between cinematics and game play completely seemless. I look forward to that!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dimmu Borgir

We're very happy to officially announce that the music of Dimmu Borgir, courtesy of Nuclear Blast and Prophesies Publishings, will be featured in our game's cinematics. The music is beautiful and epic and really adds power to the images.

A bunch of us from the studio went to see them in Seattle the last time they were in town and we loved the show. We’re delighted to have them be a part of our project.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My New Short Film, Sensology

We're going to be posting some updates on the game soon. In the meantime, I thought I'd share my recently finished short film, Sensology. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Let's Paint An ITSP Stencil

Our trailer for ITSP inspired Ian Fagan, an artist from Portland, to create a stencil painting of one of the creatures featured in the game. He posted a video on YouTube demonstrating his technique. Check it out.

Friday, May 14, 2010

30 fps vs 24 fps

When I started doing animation work on ITSP, Joe told me that 30 frames (or more) per second was standard for video games. I've always animated at 24 frames per second, that being the standard for the movie industry. Since a lot of the animation I do is hand drawn, increasing the frame rate by 20% meant a lot more hours to produce the same lenght of animation.

And so, Joe and I decided that I would animate at 24 fps and the game engine would adjust its playback speed when displaying my animation.

But then, I saw how smooth and silky my animation looked when we mistakenly displayed it at 30 fps. I was immediately hooked. I love how animation looks at this increased rate, especially when it's hand drawn!

So no worry, all the animation in the game will be at a minimum of 30 fps. No cheat!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fixed Fragmented Fluid

Just thought I'd let everyone know about my upcoming animated project which will premiere in Vancouver on June 25th, 2010. I've wanted to do a project such as this for many years, ever since I discovered the abstract work of Oscar Fischinger, Norman Mclaren, Kandinsky and Yves Tanguy. I got started in 2006, and now, four years later, I'm finally going to be able to share this work with an audience.

Using cutting edge technology, I will be performing the animation with the musicians, creating a dialogue between music and images that should be quite exciting. I would like to point out that the seven musicians involved in the project are all fantastic and are worth the price of admission all by themselves. So if you're in Vancouver on June 25th, you might want to check it out! Tickets can be purchased here.

You can read about how the project came about here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Website Layout

I've reconstructed the layout for the official site.

At the bottom of the webpage, I embeded a 1080P new rendering of the interstitials that inspired the game. The shorts were never showed in HD before. I still had the source files and was able to make a new version. Check it out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Michel Gagne and Fuelcell Games Bring Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet to Xbox LIVE

Seattle, WA, March 2010 – Michel Gagne and Fuelcell Games are pleased to bring their independent video game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, to Xbox Live® Arcade.

Michel Gagne and Joe Olson, CEO of Fuelcell Games, met in 2007 in Seattle’s Fremont district where they discussed the possibility of bringing feature quality 2d animation to the gaming world in a classic side-scrolling adventure. Shortly after, a production team was assembled and Fuelcell Games was born. Their mission: bring the vision of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet to life.

“This is one of the most thrilling projects of my career”, said Gagne. “I love working on ITSP with Joe and his team. It amazes me to see how they’re able to expand on my concepts and animations and create such a memorable interactive experience. Simply put, this game is going to rock!”

The Fuelcell team has been busy building a studio infrastructure and quietly working with Gagne on ITSP while exploring partnerships to develop the game. After months of negotiation with several entities, it was decided that Microsoft and Xbox LIVE Arcade was the best possible home for the project.

“The team here at Fuelcell is incredibly excited to be starting production in full force on Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet”, said Olson. “We’ve assembled an extremely talented, dedicated, and passionate group of people around this unique project. The combined forces of our team of game industry veterans, Michel’s unique artistic style and vision, and Microsoft’s expertise in the downloadable game space is sure to make for a lasting impression on 2D gaming.”

“Microsoft is thrilled to have Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet heading to Xbox LIVE Arcade”, said Saxs Persson, Senior Director of Xbox LIVE Arcade. “We look forward to helping Michel and Fuelcell realize their creative vision, and continuing to support independent developers looking to drive innovation on our service.”

For more information on Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet visit www.insanelytwistedshadowplanet.com or the official blog at http://michelgagne.blogspot.com.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Catsuka is the first French television program entirely devoted to animation. Each episode features news, clips, short films, studio spotlights and artist profiles. I was honored to be the featured artist on the just released episode five (segment starts at 5:00). The episodes are in French but each one is filled with enough eye candy to keep your interest even if you can't understand the language.

Friday, February 05, 2010


I did this interpretation of Todd McFarlane's famous character for my pal Royce Viso about 10 years ago. I'm glad I took a scan before giving it to him.

By the way, I know there are a lot of people waiting to hear what's happening with the game. I can't say much at this point except that we have a verbal agreement with a publisher and we expect to make a big announcement very soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ITSP Gets Mexican Exposure

Here's a piece of coverage from south of the border. You can read the article from issue #46 of Gamers Magazine (if you know Spanish) in PDF form by clicking here.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Shadow Tidbits: Outlaw Social Zombies

Last November, I posted about a shadow puppet show I designed for the Victoria Philharmonic Choir in 2007, called The Spectre's Bride. The opening act for the show was a band called Outlaw Social. I was commissioned to do a zombie shadow puppet rendition of the band members for the event's press material.

...and here is the picture I had to work from: