Development Diary

#1. Prototyping a Toy Line

Hey guys, it's Aiman here, the creator of Fungisaurs! 

I'm a professional 3D Character Artist in Los Angeles and for the past 3 years have specialized in 3D printing. I've worked on all sorts of projects, as big as the Overwatch statues with Alliance Studio and small as the stop-motion puppets with Stoopid Buddy, and recently signed on as a sculptor for Hasbro, DC and Sideshow Collectibles, but I've always had an entrepreneurial streak.

Aiman with various 3D printing projects

The idea of Fungisaurs was born in 2015, when my wife Hwa and I were driving back to LA from a camping trip near Yosemite National Park. We stopped at an In-N-Out Burger and were given some prehistoric adventure themed dinosaur stickers. Having these dinosaur stickers adjacent to a mushroom identification catalog I had picked up earlier at the park, led to some furious drawing in my sketchbook of what I imagined various dinosaur-mushroom hybrid species could look like.

Early Fungisaurs sketches

Back at home I digitally sculpted the characters in Pixologic’s ZBrush and proceeded to prototype them on a Form 2 stereolithography 3D printer. I had to create several prototypes of each character to make sure the toys were the same relative-scale, didn’t have sharp pokey-edges, were well balanced, free-standing, and wouldn’t break easily if dropped. 

Making the Crex V2 prototype

We decided to test the appeal of the Fungisaurs brand last year at DesignerCon, a major toy convention in Pasadena, CA. Hwa designed the Fungisaurs brand and and I 3D-printed several toys. We brought on a professional painter, Elvin Torres, to work his airbrush magic and bring the toys to life.

Aiman promoting Fungisaurs at 2016 DesignerCon

We setup a booth and pitched the toys like Easter eggs, paint your own and hide it around the yard for a fun scavenger hunt. We sold enough Fungisaurs to cover all of our convention investment and were happily surprised and encouraged by how many people wanted the painted versions of our toys. Kids gravitated to them because of their cute strangeness and parents loved the nostalgia of dinosaurs and scavenger hunts to take the kids outside. This cinched the deal, we'd have to find a way to mass produce Fungisaurs for everyone to enjoy. 

Through 2017 we developed better versions of the toys more suited to mass production, reached out to several toy factories and after a long time searching, we finally found a factory partner with excellent communication, a great price quote and most importantly, uncompromising quality.

That’s where we are today. We’ve designed 8 Fungisaurs series-one characters and are ready to make them available to everyone as mystery-box collectible toys through our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. As an independent toy line, the success of Fungisaurs all comes down to you, the fans, and your support!

Toy packaging prototype along with all 8 series 1 Fungisaurs


#2. AR Mobile Game/Toy Tracker

We’ve begun pitch development for a Fungisaurs mobile game app for launch in late 2018 along with Kickstarter fulfillment.

In 2017, development has been focused on creating an augmented reality (AR) Fungisaur interaction demo.

We started with the C-Rex which was re-modeled with proper mesh topology and UV maps for good deformation and texturing. That's a lot of jargon for saying we made it animate-able. 

C-Rex development from digital sculpt (left) to game model (right)

Then we animated it! A spawn, idle and roar cycle which you can interact with in the Sketchfab scene below:

Working with programmer and game developer, Zach Rock, we took it to the next level, setting up a Fungisaurs AR Mobile Experience for the iOS using Apple's AR Developer Kit and Unity SDK. 

The completed Fungisaurs mobile app would have three key components:  

  1. An AR Fungisaur identifier and pet training simulator
  2. A radar tracker for scavenger hunt game-play with the physical toys
  3. An interactive world map of Fungisaur sightings to inspire travel and exploration.

Radar tracker concept

Interactive map concept

We've started preliminary discussions with a few game development companies, but creating a really cool Fungisaurs mobile game will require sponsors and partners whose enthusiasm will be determined by how well the Kickstarter campaign goes, so once again your support plays a key role!


#3. Animated Story

We are now developing a pitch for a Fungisaurs 3D animated TV show for 2020 release. Here's our animated origin story!


Fungisaurs 2D character designs by Ryan Winch

Early storyboard treatment by Feras Khagani

Being a 3D character artist, it was natural for me to start developing back-stories for the Fungisaurs and creating a pitch for my very own animated series. In 2017, we’ve made a lot of progress on the animation front.

Working with character designer Ryan Winch, we flushed out the human characters in the Fungisaurs universe. Beyond the main protagonists Kei and her grandpa, Dr. Nori Také, we also developed characters from around the world that would lend their unique skills to the task of tracking and studying the Fungisaurs.

Next, we wrote the Fungisaurs origin story and visualized it with the help of talented storyboard artist Feras Khagani. Feras was able to turn our scripts into thumbnails and then into fleshed out illustrations. The story continued to evolve even after we began animation as we had a lot of info to convey, however we knew we had to keep it short and focused on the relationship between Kei and her grandpa. Megan Ring performed flawlessly as the voice for our heroine, Kei, with additional voice acting recorded by David Lopez. All Audio effects and the score were created by Cat Arthur, despite the final animation/effects and illustrations going right down to the wire. What you see on screen is a true team effort.