Dev Blog
February 4, 2023
Slave Zero X: Artist Focus on Barbera Boone

Barbera Boone
Artist Focus: 2D FX and Animator
So, tell us about yourself!

Howdy! My name is Barbera Boone, AKA Dieselbrain. I'm the 2D fx artist on Slave Zero X, though I also handled much of the UI assets and even some character animation as well!. I'm a queer artist who has spent over 10 years working freelance, primarily focusing on erotic art (something I'm still very passionate about).I'm currently living in Toronto Canada (working on immigrating!) but I'm originally from Virginia in the USA. My mediums of choice are primarily digital art and animation, often focusing on themes of body horror, LGBT sexuality, Americana, and big fucking tiddies.

How did you get started working on Slave Zero X for Poppy Works?

I was notified of an opening by a friend who felt I would be a good fit for the project, and thankfully it appears the team agreed.

What sparked your interest to work on SZX?

I had been dealing with severe creative burnout from working freelance, and working on SZX gave me the opportunity to change gears for a while so to speak, while still letting me use my primary creative skills. It's helped me heal a lot.

What do you enjoy most about working on SZX?
I enjoy my coworkers, they've all been delights to work with. I've also really appreciated how much the team trusted my creative judgment as the FX animator, it's something that made me feel very appreciated.
How would you describe the world of SZX? How did that World influence the art style?

I would describe the world of SZX as bleak and dark, with a little bit of 90s cyberpunk edge. I think that style really encouraged the whole art team to want to lean in and make something that would feel right at home on gaming consoles a few decades ago.

What has been a challenge you overcame working on SZX? An art piece you wrestled with? The complex pipeline?
A major personal challenge was unlearning certain unhealthy expectations of myself that were a holdover from a previous game project. I've been able to tackle SZX in a healthier manner while still delivering quality assets that the team needs and I thank my superiors and coworkers for helping me with that.
What skill has helped you most on this project?

My skills with Aseprite were invaluable of course, but I was also able to do some character animation due to my past experience focusing more on characters on past projects.

Poppy Works has been completely work-from-home since 2012. They are a global company in the sense that they hire anyone qualified from all over the world. What has it been like working with such a diverse group of people?

Barbera: It's been great. my coworkers have been fantastic to work alongside, and I greatly admire their skill and experience. It's been particularly amazing seeing my fellow animators improve and really flex what they can do more and more as the project went on.

Tell us something fun about working with the SZX team, a funny moment, something special that stands out to you about the team, or something you would like the world to know about this experience.

Seeing the little jokes team members would come up with or little shitpost memes they'd make with Shou or other characters always put a smile on my face

What has been your favorite piece to work on?

My favorite piece I worked on was probably FistFucker, as it was both a personal challenge to move on to working with a character rather than fx, but also because the amount of trust the team had in me when I worked on him made me feel appreciated.

Was anything cut from the project you wish had stayed in?


How did you get started in this industry? Any suggestions for up-and-coming artists who would like your job?

I had been on a few false start projects for a few years fresh out of college but the first project that truly put me in the industry was when I was brought on as the Lead Animator on an indie NSFW project back in 2017.
For any up-and-coming artists, I think one of the things that will translate best to a professional game project is the ability to bring your work to a completion. Skill and talent is important but the discipline to look at something and say ""it's done"" is an invaluable one I feel, particularly when others are depending on you.

Final thoughts
I don't have much else to say other than I’m proud of my work on SZX and I hope I can continue to work with this animation team on future projects with Poppy Works.

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