The Frontier of Social Gaming

Senior Artist: 1 of 4 of original artists at launch

Character and Environment Art, Spot Illustrations, Flash Animation, XML Implementation, Leadership & Mentoring

From 2009 to 2011, I made hundreds of art assets for FrontierVille, a massively popular social game on Facebook with an ultra short six month development cycle and an aggressive feature cadence upon going live. Here are a few of my favorites. 

Flash-based Character Animations

Press play to watch!

Animals, icons, and spot illustrations

frontierville Character_Fox_wallpaper

My experience on FrontierVille

This game was incredible to work on as Zynga East’s first shipped title. I literally interviewed in Brian Reynold’s house; my first day began in his basement with nine other developers. It was hot and cramped, but it brought us closer together. From humble basement beginnings, we moved to a real office and shipped the game with three artists and an Art Director. I’m proud to have been one of the original artists.

Takeaways

While on the FrontierVille team, I learned how to create vector graphics, how to implement assets in XML, and developed an expertise animating characters in Flash. I also learned how to work and communicate with a team that grew from eighteen to over a hundred across multiple remote locations (including San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX). One of my favorite experiences was visiting headquarters in San Francisco to train other artists on our processes and pipelines, as it helped me grow into a senior leadership role at the studio. June 2010 – The day we went live Pre-ship and post-ship on a live game are two extremely different environments. FrontierVille had such an aggressive feature cadence, that the only way to get everything done was to work lightning fast and be as efficient and organized as possible. I was responsible for creating Mystery Animals that would appear out of premium Mystery Boxes – I kept up a pace of nine animals (three species, three colors each) every two weeks. To my amazement, this feature made the studio millions of dollars over its lifetime.

Nice things my colleagues have said

Your Mystery Animals just made $4M over the weekend! -Pritiv Raj, Product Manager – Zynga
You will not find a more engaged, dedicated, or productive artist. -Tim Train, GM – Zynga
Helen is an incredibly talented artist that I really enjoyed working with. No matter what task she received, she always met deadlines and delivered fantastic results far exceeding expectations -Vince Livings, Artist – Zynga