What’s up, doc?
Our next Meet the Team post is here! Don’t know about you, but I’ve always wondered what a “Classic Cartoon Consultant” does for a mobile game. Let’s figure it out!
Meet our loony consultant, Dave Hofmann
So what do you do as a Classic Cartoon Consultant?
The design team sends me ideas, characters, and environments and I review them and give notes on if they are in line with the Classic Looney Tunes aesthetic. I am a storyboard artist in TV animation.
I have worked on a number of Classic IP revivals for Warner Bros Animation and I am also a Looney Tunes history buff. I love the classic shorts that were made in the 1930s – 1960s.
I have devoted a lot of my free time to learning from the great artists that created those films. The team is able to use that knowledge to help keep the game feeling like it is part of that legacy.
What’s that you love about World of Mayhem and the franchise?
This is the best Looney Tunes game that has ever been made. I grew up in the beginnings of the video game age and I played almost all of the Looney Tunes games. My favorite had to be “Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage”, by Sunsoft on Super Nintendo. That game made the player feel like they were walking through a classic cartoon. That was one of my main inspirations for my work on World of Mayhem.
It’s hard for me to pin down what I love so much about the Looney Tunes franchise. In some ways, it is the holy grail of classic American animation. Almost every director and many of the animators and designers have been elevated to a god-like status within the cartoon community. I would say that has a lot to do with the characters having fully realized personalities. The music is timeless, the humor is still relatable and the comedic timing is so tight that even when you know the gag is coming, you still laugh.
Looney Tunes more than any other cartoon series has influenced every single job I have ever had. Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Mckimson, Bob Givens, Paul Julian, Maurice Noble, Warren Foster, Mike Maltese, Irv Spence, and Rod Scribner are all major influences on me and how I try to make cartoons. So as great as the characters are, the artists are the true heroes of the franchise and what I love the most about it.
What are you currently working on?
At this moment I am working on notes for a brand new toon for World of Mayhem that is coming soon… Cannot say much about him yet!
When we create a brand new toon (especially one of the lesser-known characters) it usually starts with me bombarding James and the rest of the team with cartoon clips, scans of original models sheets and/or animation drawings, links to full-length cartoons, images of toys and even memes.
Throughout the concept art process, I help and give advice here and there, and after that… We’re off to modeling!
Whenever the 3D model is done, I will bring it into Photoshop, compare it to the original references, and if necessary, I will draw minor redline notes. That process requires a lot of measuring of proportions and just having a general eye for noticing things that might have worked in a drawing but not in 3D.
If you were a toon, who would you be?
If I were a toon I would want to be Daffy Duck from a Bob Clampett cartoon. I would love to be able to stretch my body across a room, dance like a madman, and pull just about anything I need from off-screen.
I would not want to be the later angry Daffy. He seems to be consumed with greed and constant frustration for not getting to be the star. They made some good cartoons with that version, but I am team Crazy Daffy 100 percent.
Which are your favorite World of Mayhem toons?
At this point, I have so many favorite toons!
I have been a part of the LTWOM development team since the very beginning. I would say my favorite toons are the ones where we really were able to work a moment from the classic cartoon into the game toon. Zoot Daffy, O’Pat, and Devil Dog came out really well!
Cupid Elmer really captured the look and gags from “The Stupid Cupid”. Bat-Suit Wile was finally able to incorporate the Coyote’s failures into an attack. That was something I was really proud of our team for accomplishing.
I also have a few favorite original toons. These toons take a lot of work and we try to create them as if they are from classic shorts that we just haven’t seen.
Barkeep Sheepdog and Wildcard Wolf really feel like they are based on a classic short subject directed by Chuck Jones in the 50s, but they’re not. The same goes for Phantom Le Pew, Star-Pharaoh Marvin, Revenant Road Runner, Samurai Sam, and Ninja Ralph.
And what about your favorite team composition of Mayhem?
I guess I would just have to say who I use the most. My best team is still Daffy Hood, Friar Porky, Pepe Le Bard, and Gossamer. But I really want to level up Zoot Suit Daffy, Jester Bugs, Cupid Elmer, and Foghorn the Invincible so I can use them more.
Any cool behind-the-scenes moments you want to share?
It’s not really an “oh-no” but I remember how difficult it was keeping Ralph Wolf and Wile E Coyote identifiable as two different characters. We worked with the WB consumer products library but they did not have a color style guide for Ralph so we had to look through all of the classic cartoons to see if Chuck had ever used a different color palette between the two characters.
I found that Ralph uses a warmer brown and Wile E uses a cool brown. We also put a single tooth on one side of Ralph’s mouth sticking out. This helped the two to be identifiable as 2 different characters even before the color was added. It still gets confusing at times.
Which one has white eyes again? Oh, right, Ralph!
So we’re about to finish this – anything else you wanna add?
Sure! I have been blessed to work in the animation industry for about 15 years now. I have to first thank my parents for letting me have a TV and VCR in my room, allowing me to record and freeze frame study of all of the classic cartoons as they aired on TV. They have always been very supportive of my dream to work in animation.
I also have to thank my Grandpa and Grandma who taught me about art, took me to art museums at a young age, and taught me through example what it is to be a self-employed artist. My Grandfather was a Photographer and ran his own business spending late hours in the darkroom at home.
I also could not do what I do today without the support of my wife. She has been very understanding of the long hours of drawing required to meet my deadlines.
Lastly, I need to thank Stephen Worth. When I first moved to California I started volunteering at a place in Burbank called The Animation Archive. There I met archive director Stephen Worth and became very good friends. Stephen helped me learn a lot of the tricks from the old masters of animation. After a few years, Stephen needed to create a new non-profit to house the animation archive collection and he created AnimationResources.org.
I am proud to say that I serve on the board of directors for Animation Resources and we are continually preserving art by digitizing it, sharing it with the up and coming animation community, and helping to guide the studies of the next generation of animators in their developing years.
We believe the great animation masters of the past left their animation secrets in the old films, illustrations, and comics that we archive, and we help the next generation learn how to see those tricks to advance their own skills. I have a lot to be thankful for in my career and Animation Resources is a way that I can give back to the animation community and honor the great artists of the past.
JOIN THE GANG IN DISCORD!
Didn’t you know, bub? The Looney Tunes World of Mayhem Discord server is the place to be! Join us there to meet other Maestros of Mayhem, discuss strategies and share your feedback with Haruki and the game development team.