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RLMG: Old Bent’s Fort

Sep 13, 2012

One of the big, if not the biggest, project that we’ve worked on to date was for Richard Lewis Media Group (RLMG) developing an interactive exhibit for the History Colorado Museum in downtown Denver, Colorado.

This has been one of the most involved and most rewarding projects that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. For one, I’ve always been interested in the American West and the whole culture that grew up around trapping and mountain men. Bent’s Fort was a situated in western Colorado and served as a meeting place for trappers, the US Military, Native Americans, traders, and various folks passing through on their way to the west. The men trapping in the Rockies used the fort as a place to trade and sell their catches and the US Military used the fort as a staging ground for exploration into the west. The fort was active from 1833-49.

Layouts by Jeremy Mohler. Lines by Scott Godlewski. Colors by Jeremy Mohler.

What we developed for the exhibit is an interactive, animated game (though we didn’t do the actual animation, we generated all the artwork). There are three stations with large touch screen monitors that folks can sit at and play through the game. The player has a choice of three characters which they can choose to play and then there are multiple locations within the fort that they can visit and interact with different residents of the fort, all based on people that actually lived and worked at the fort. All the artwork is animated and included voice acting, so it really plays out like an animated, 2D movie that you can interact with. There are also a number of interactive games of choice the player will have to do to get through the game. All said, it takes about 10 minutes to fully go through the game and I have to say, having seen this in action, it’s a really gorgeous and well thought out game.

Layouts by Jeremy Mohler. Lines by Ben Hunter. Colors by Jeremy Mohler.

Anyway, as I said, this has been a really involved job and it’s involved a good number of artists. Luckily, Outland managed the entire project and I had the pleasure to work with a variety of artists, Ben Hunter, Scott Godlewski, Chris Meeks, Mike Hamlett, and Erick Marquez. These guys really helped bring the project together. I also contributed a great deal to the project, doing all the layouts for all the artwork, many edits and various tweaks to the artwork, all the color work, as well as some illustration as well.

Layouts by Jeremy Mohler. Lines by Chris Meeks. Colors by Jeremy Mohler.

In fact, one of the real pleasures of this project was seeing some of my own work on display. I did around twelve different busts of actual people that lived and worked at the fort, which were then taken and blown up to slightly larger than life and printed for display at the exhibit. It was actually some of the very best printing of my work I’ve seen to date!

Lines and colors by Jeremy Mohler.

As it stands, we’re putting the final touches on the third and final player character. We’re just waiting on the final approval from the History Colorado folks and then that material will be wrapped up and available for viewing and the project will be a wrap.

When I get a chance, I’ll also put up some examples of the final animations as well.

I really love projects like this – for one, I love the research that goes into projects that have to be historically accurate. I enjoy learning new things about our past and there is something to be said for working on projects revolving around real people. Don’t get me wrong, I love fiction too, but there is a special place in my heart for historical illustration.

Below are some images from the actual exhibit!

Ready to get started?