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Illustrator/ Concept Artist

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Do you understand that Wildfire Games is a non-commercial project, work for 0 A.D. is volunteer, and work is done for free?


Do you agree to distribute all your work for Wildfire Games under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license?

Yes, I insist on it


Justin Nichol


anok at riseup dot net

MSN Messenger:

no msn, got aim from long ago if need be.




Five to ten hours a week if there's compelling work. Maybe more if it really draws me in.


(Optional) 27


Entertainment Design and Game Design

Skills and Experience:

I've studies at several ateliers, and offered my services to other Floss games including Battle for Wesnoth and FLARE. I have also done commissioned work for indy game developers.


I like making games and painting, but more than that I like creating media that can have a social impact. I think 0AD is a game that can actually be socially meaingful, especially as campagins develop as we could craft play experiences that teach Ancient Western History in an engaging way.


Ambitious and motivated, but pretty easy going. Just a guy trying to figure out a way to make painting robots and monsters meaningful in this world.

Short Essay:

I found out about 0AD through FreeGamer. I just wanna do my part to create a really fun, educational, beautiful game, and it's also amusing to see your work as part of a larger collaborative piece of art.

Interests and Hobbies:

I enjoy painting, watching films, history, political activism, gardening, throwing DIY concerts, fiber arts, hitchhiking and cycling. Adventures and creative endeavours basically.




FreeGamer, Battle for Wesnoth, Blender blogs

Favorite Game:

Honestly, 0AD is my fav at the moment. Favorite overall is probably Pandemic in Boardgames, Diablo 2 for Computer games.

Work Examples:


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I know there's almost no use for someone with my skills since most everythings designed and illustration requirements are slim. I do have some modeling abilities, but I usually just do blocky models, sculpt them into rough forms then paint over top. Not an especially useful workflow for a game like this. Still, I like 0ad so much that if there's something I can help with, I'd like to know.

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I know there's almost no use for someone with my skills since most everythings designed and illustration requirements are slim.

I beg to differ (though I am not an official team member). If we can't find a place for illustrations of this quality, we're doing something wrong. Specifically, I'm thinking the website and other reference materials will need good illustrations to match the game's quality standards.

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Yep. We need skilled artists for some important things:

1. Unit UI Portraits. The little portraits you see in the GUI in the game when you select something, like a hoplite or Roman legionnaire.

2. Menu Backgrounds. Currently, we only have 1 background. We'd like to have at least 1 per faction (6 total) or even 2 per faction. These would randomize and be different every time the player starts up the game.

3. PR and other stuff.

I think the important thing is not necessarily your skill (which is considerable!), but your willingness to stick with the project and contribute in a meaningful way. You have to believe in the project. You have to enjoy doing stuff for free. Since I joined in October 2003, we've had a hundred people join the team, do one thing, then disappear. In a way, that's just the nature of Internet-based indie game development. But sometimes I wonder if it's a failing of Wildfire Games in just not preparing candidates for what it means to join this project as a meaningful contributor. Does the person understand the meaning of being a "self starter"? It means doing work without having to be told or asked. One sees a need and fulfills it. One enjoys doing this. That's not to say we don't give direction or tasks or guidance. But we don't have a physical office where people come in at 9AM every morning, clock in, and sit down at a cubical with a list of tasks to be completed that day. :)

Having said all that, we understand that people have lives in the real world. People have families, jobs, other hobbies, and friends. We're pretty laid back and understanding. I just wanted to give an idea of what it means to join a team like Wildfire Games. :) If none of that scares you, we can go ahead and jump into the process of working on your test project. It should be fun, and it'll give you an idea of how work would progress should you join the team. (y)

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Well thanks for the warm reception. I'm glad to hear there's some use for me. Unit portraits might be a good place to start seeing as I've done a lot of them for FLARE and Wesnoth. I am very interested in doing title screen illustrations (and hopefully someday campaign illustrations. The Second Punic War and the Conquests of Alexander the Great will be so fun) but I should probably start light and integrate into the community before biting off something like that. It may be difficult for my inner dweeb to keep the armor historical and not turn it into some crazy unrealistic video game stuff, but I think I'll manage.

I'm trying not to leap in too quick and make promises I wont keep, and my life is very hectic, but I would like to be involved consistently. So let's begin easy, can someone give me a list of unit portraits which need to be made? And maybe a suggestion or two as to which are most pressing. Also can you guys clue me into your specifications for the portraits; size, backgrounds, amount of the unit showing. etc?

Thanks, I look forward to helping out and getting better at beating qbot.


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Here are some portraits done by others:


So, basically that style would work. What we do is post some references for the unit and/or screenshots, then the artist can use their own artistic flare to create the portrait. The final sizes of the portrait are 512x512 (for PR purposes), 256x256 and 128x128 (for in-game UI), so painting in anything larger than 512x512 is completely up to you, but unnecessary.

How about you try your hand at Hannibal, the Carthaginian general?

Here is how he looks in the game (you never get to zoom in this far, though):


This was the reference for his armor when I made the body texture:


You can see the reference image dude looks kind of Germanic. For his face we want something more North African like the screenshot.

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I'm so in. Hannibal is one of my favorite historical figures. Should I do just a bust? or should I do a full body for pr that can be cropped down to a portrait. Also, I definitely wouldnt do hannibal looking Germanic, but for reference purposes, can someone give me a clue as to which modern ethnicity most closely resembles what carthaginians looked like?

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Although the area around Tunisia has been invaded and conquered many times since the era of Punic Carthage, much like the modern Greeks/ancient Greeks, the modern Tunisian people are the closest we have genetically to the Carthaginians. Lebanese would be close as well.




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Additionally, as shown in the game, I was thinking of using blue in the cape and crest instead of red. Would this be a historical no-no? I just figure red capes and crests will be used a lot in roman unit art (It already is in the splash screen) and want some way to differentiate them. But if historically carthaginians used red, I'll go with red.

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Justin, your art is awesome!

I really admire people who knows the way around concept art and digital painting. I'm kinda a frustrated drawer :P As much as I try I can't get them to look right (so I picked up 3d modeling - texturing stills a pain, for obivious reasons :P)... Yours are just mind blowing.

About the cape, I really don't know, but i guess the game will use the players collor on the ingame caracter as it usually does.

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Oh awesome, yea I have read that before, I don't know why it didn't register. I will probably get started in the next few days. If any history buffs wants to send me some cool reference, it's somewhat hard to tell on the net what is accurate and what is fantasy.

Polybius states that this occurred when Hannibal was passing through a very rough path in order to leave the lands of the Celts and reach Etruria. The primary difficulty was that the path was in a large bog. As is said in the third book,

"Many of the horses lost their hooves by the continuous march through the mud. Hannibal himself on the sole remaining elephant got across with much difficulty and suffering, being in great pain from a severe attack of ophthalmia, which finally led to the loss of one eye as he had no time to stop and apply any treatment to it, the circumstances rendering that impossible."

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Decided to go about it like a character design just for fun. Did some costume mockups. Let me know what you guys like or suggest. Just having fun with it at the moment.

ok.gif Looks promising!

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The one all the way on the right looks pretty good. :) A few points: Keep in mind, all soldiers swung their swords with their right hands and held their shields on the left. Just a rule of thumb. Also, make sure to get the wolf skin on the shoulders, since it's on the actual unit in-game, and try to get that triple disc pectoral in there too. (y)


I like the look of the cloth over his eye. Nice touch. :)

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I was trying to avoid referencing the unit art too directly since it basically means I'd be repainting that very nice reference painting you posted. I will fiddle with the pose. I also learned that triple disc breast piece was not actually carthaginian, but was found in a carthaginian tomb, and was likely of campanian make. But I can keep it if people want. There's just not much design in it if I'm painting the costume that already exists in the reference painting. But if thats what's desired.

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