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Team Spotlight: Alyssa Calderon, Concept Artist


Hello everyone! My name is Alyssa Calderon (also known as sasa), and I’m the concept artist for Forage Friends at Pie Trap Studios! I also make indie games and table at conventions on the side.


Background

I am a mostly self-taught artist (could not afford art school) so I absorbed any free art educational resources online after graduating high school. I worked part-time jobs to attend online art classes such as Schoolism and Concept Design Academy. I worked in data entry at my local hospital until I got the opportunity to work with Pietrap Studios!


Interview Questions

What is the best part of working as a concept artist?

I believe the best part is the thrill of combining ideas for the most interesting outcome. It’s like a game itself trying to outdo your own ideas and build on top of them.


What are some of the tough things about working as a concept artist?

Probably the toughest part is when the idea looks great in your head but it doesn’t make sense on paper so you have to wrestle with the idea longer than you’ve planned to.


Are there individuals that have motivated or inspired you?

I think solodevs might be the strongest people on the planet so I really look up to them. It’s very inspiring to see how much one person can achieve on their own with a strong work ethic. Toby Fox, Austin Jorgensen, racheldrawsthis, and coffeedripstudios to name a few.


What games are an inspiration to you?

Definitely JRPGs. I am hugely inspired by the works of Vanillaware and how they incorporate beautiful painted illustrations to create their fantastical game worlds. I also enjoy the insane (almost painful) amount of grinding that JRPGs typically have which make earning rewards feel so much better. Some of my favorite games are: Suikoden, ICO, Digital Devil Saga, NieR.



What was the inspiration that got you into games?

It was probably the first ever game I played and it was Spyro: Year of the Dragon (PS1). I remember as a child being blown away by the colors and aesthetics that took me to another world. Also the animations and environments are still very impressive and still leave a great impression on me today. Legend of Mana (PS1) also blew me away of how expansive, interconnected, and beautiful video games can be.



What’s your favorite part of working in the gaming industry?

To me, It’s definitely fulfilling just to be part of the video game industry when you love video games! I was initially looking for work in Animation but it feels like I found a forever home working in video games. It’s definitely one of my biggest passions.


What is the dream game you hope to work on one day?

A turn-based RPG would be fun!!


What was a really tough challenge for you when working on Forage Friends?

The most challenging task was probably nailing down what kind of artstyle we were aiming for and keeping it consistent. We want the game to be appealing for young adults while being cute but not too cutesy that appeals to children.


What was something you’re really proud of when working on Forage Friends?

I’m proud of how the player character style turned out and also I’m proud of the character sprites.


What kind of impact are you hoping to make with the release of Forage Friends?

I really hope it encourages people to make healthier lifestyle changes as similar games did for me. I think game-ifying mundane tasks is the future!!!!


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am either playing video games or making video games most of the time. I also like to cook and hike and I recently started snowboarding!


What is an interesting fact about you?

When I was 5 years old on the first day of kindergarten, I left in the middle of class and walked home to which I lied to my grandpa at home that school got out early. I never liked school.


What is something you love that not a lot of people know about, in general?

I religiously play a web game called Touken Ranbu that is basically just a RNG slideshow and I have played it almost everyday since it came out in 2015.



Where can people follow you on social media?

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