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Mad Props

Its been a trying semseter and we have all worked hard and a few people really deserve some mad props for what they did!

First up is Cory Haltinner! He is amazing! I’ve worked with him on a few projects in class and hes my art director up at work. He and I have a very good art flow back and forth that lets us get a large amount of work done while complementing each others skills. He was the texture master of our level for EAE day and had a ton of awesome props that sadly didn’t make it to the game.

Next Rachel Leiker! Shes the art lead on our thesis! You should really meet her cause she is seriously amazing, an di have a theory she dosn’t sleep due to being a vampire in secret. While her work duties keeps her slammed busy in class taking care of things she always comes threw with the work she promised. Shes also there to talk to you when your raging about god knows what that day.

Tony Revard! Tony is a crazy hard worker and the design lead on the project! While i sersouly have no idea whats going on in his head for where our game is going he seems to be leading it in the right way, feedback says its good! Hes always willing to help and bust stuff out, all while jokingly demeaning Brenton.

Speaking of Brenton Walker! Hes the Lead producer on the project. Hes always super interested in what you think and willing to help you figure things our after you break them, which honestly for me is ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

Another person who presses his face into the grind stone is James Hulse! James dose a weird duel roll or producer and engineer, and from whta i can tell dose it well! He has the self esteem of a wash cloth but we are all wanting to help him bring the beast we see in him out, im slapping him in the face when hes down on himself!

Lets not forget Kyle Chittenden who thru having the flu made the poof effect for the game and learned about the particle effect system of unreal 4! hail the poof master!

And of course this all couldnt work with out the Engineering team! Siddarth Gupta, Skip Fowler, Abbishek Verma, and Vinod Madigeri. While i have no doubt they all deserve huge props, but i honestlly dot know what each one did. But the game works so all i can do is assume they rocked it!

More to Tina Kalinger, Jed Merril and Matt Jenson I didn’t work with them too much on any one thing but Tina always got me things when i yell for her and Jeds weekly news letters and always worht a good laugh

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…. here hopping im not forgetting someoen if i did im sure i love them in one way or another

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The end of it all

EAE day went really smooth i kept my eye on the game so that way i could try and hear feed back what was given to us, i had a hunch we wouldn’t get the full information from the producers and as of now still haven’t seen a single bit so this precaution was founded. We got great feedback from people playing the game on the game as well as the direction the art was looking. This was good to get cause i honestly have no freaking clue what the game I’m working on is nor what direction it’s headed. To me the mechanic dosn’t make since, to me a mechanic that shows you where you can die in a huge field is neat but than limiting it so the player doesn’t have all the information so they have to die anyways to get threw the game. So by using the mechanic and dieing they get more information to use cause they can use the ability more again.   But i have put my faith in the more design oriented parts of my team to do there job as they expect me to do of mine.

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EAE day. These people rock and have every right to be proud today

Overall I didn’t like this semester like i did the last. But it has helped me learn patience in working with a clearly frustrating process and other strong personalities. Its important to keep in mind that even though things feel likes a waist to you, that its probably helping someone and this is a oversight to me a lot of the time that i need to work on. The takeaway for the semester is to keep pressing on, nothing is perfect, and to trust your team. We are all smart and talented people and you should trust everyone to do their own roles.

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This would actually be really funny to see happen with this group.

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Getting back

I already covered what happened at GDC so i wont bore you with that again. But i will add a hand link RIGHT HERE for anyone who wants to catch up!

Its always hard to get back from vacation but for me it’s nice to get into a routine again. We came back and started working on the game… but not really. As with the start of all projects its a bombardment of meetings and burn downs over what we learned and did at GDC. once all that was over the team sat together and a pointed leads of the team. Previous to this point i was thinking of leaving the team altogether, kinda vocally and constantly when i was annoyed, due to some personal issues with some team members and thinking it better to move on than suffer thru but the leadership meeting convinced me to stay. We appointed Brenton Walker as lead producer, Tony Revard lead designer, Siddharth Gupta lead engineer and Rachel Leiker lead artist. A strong leadership team that convinced me to stay. We spent the next week and a half talking about what we wanted the theme of the game to be, and honestly what it really was. This was quite draining and rather annoying sitting in meetings, and meetings about meetings and going out to lunch to keep going on the meetings and stand up meetings talking about what they talked about in the meeting out to lunch to talk about the meeting. We reached the point that we changed the theme to a superhero theme and wanted to fit a toonish comic book art style, effectively killing my hope and dreams of using NDO, but thats okay as this brings its own challenges.

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To make the selected art style work we needed a shader to make this happen, and being that we chose to go with the brand new Unreal 4 engine that was released this was going to be a challenge. I decided to take this task, mostly threw interest in wanting to better some tech art skills thanks to the lighting hurdles we got threw on Button partly because i didn’t want to be apart of the storm of the next task, Designing the character.  Designing the character is a super important part of the game, and as predicted, it turned into a massive designing by community fest that i am super happy i wasn’t apart of. Everyone has their own ideas of what it should be, what gender, who its body should be proportioned, what gender it portrays, and why its a gender or portrays such gender. Nope nope nope, dont want any part of that. But getting ready for EAE day isn’t that easy there is still a lot to do.

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Dat shader and textures….mmmm

Once again Cory and i teamed up to tackle remaking Room 207’s, now called Super Fail, falling hallway level, With some concept art from Rachel to pressed forward. We changed the design to being a skywalk that the player could see out massive windows all around the player. This time i took the role of doing the modeling and Cory textured what o produced, as well some props of his own. Once that was done i was checking on the level on the design and engineering side and found that for some unknown reason the lighting was, for lack of better words, terrible. I took on the task, with help from Rachel, of fixing and building the lighting rig for the level so that way it was prepped for the toon shader that i made. Rachel handled the start screen and menus of the project while Kyle handled adding in a POOF that happened when our premonitions die. There was a few last minute problems in the UV of objects that needed to be fixed, but other then that it was time to show off the game.

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you can see the bottom of the poo here. Its a sexy poof!

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The Process

The process to get to the thesis games was simple enough; pool together a large amount of ideas, boil down the idea to a smaller amount, than screen whats left to find the fun. We ended up working on two different games If button pressed and a game that started off being called the robot game.

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That’s right, boil down them tasty tasty ideas!

The project i worked on was If Button pressed. The idea behind this game was to force player to play against their instincts. In it the player would hit a button, something would happen and the player would react to it. If they did it right they would move on if not they would have to keep trying till they solved it.  It was a interesting little idea and interesting to work on, the major problem was when we found the game Anti Chamber and our game was a bad carbon copy of that game. This didn’t help the team moral too much but we pressed on with the design. My favorite part of working on this game was getting the chance to really develop the art style and to work with the other artist on it Cory Haltiner. We designed a visual theme of Las Vegas meets contemporary architecture, wasn’t embraced to handedly by our teachers but was very well  complemented by the industry panel later. Cory and I had a workflow that really complemented each of our skill sets. Cory is an awesome artist and worked alot on textures and models. I focused on reference research, modeling, and technical applications in the engine. A large part of our style required glow and light mapping to be working, a task that i took on while cory built up assets. One of the few minuses i had on this team was feeling like we didn’t have a decision in the design or almost anything other than art. Decisions were made to add in “witty and smart” dialog that were just done rather than talking much with the team. The name of the game was even changed without consulting the team, If button pressed was turned to This is a test. The game turned out well enough for the time we had to make it. The other team didn’t have such a smooth ride.

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feel my glow!

The other team started working on a game that was known as the robot game. In it the player would give away the robots body parts to power other objects of fix things in order to progress through the game. A interesting idea but 2 weeks into the project and they still didn’t know where the fun was. So the scrapped the game, without telling or asking the teacher if they could (I’m told this displeased them). But the redid their idea and prototyped it out in 2 weeks! The team worked hard and it really payed off. The new idea was Room 207, a forced runner where the player would avoid danger by sending out “premonitions” of themselves that would run out and die in places that were a danger to the player. In the level that i saw the player would be running threw a hallways that was collapsing around them into a black abyss and trying to reach the end. This game got good praise as well!

The advise us on our decision on on what game to move forward with we had a panel of industry professionals that came by and looked at everything we did and gave feedback. both our games got great feedback, and the art style cory and i made got a good amount of praise ( i had to mention this again cause it was a huge highlight of the semester to me). But after talking about the games we decided to move forward with Room 207, a lot due to the fact that overhauling button was going to be a very large undertaking. At this point with was time for spring break and GDC, very well needed breaks.

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FORESHADOWING!

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How it all begins

It’s the time of year where we reflect in a long rant about the semester, and maybe a bit of the year, it’s time for the burn down. I find the term burn down quite fitting for this year, as most parts were a large trail for my patients. Admittedly I’m impatient, i always say what’s on my mind, and moody fellow. But I’m also more than willing to admit that when I’m wrong or when i was just being dumb. EAE is my  home and like all families we dont always get along but will work as a team no matter what. The big change this year was the move away from making rapid prototypes with multiple team to working to find what our thesis would be with a large team. This led into the creation of the thesis game that we made for EAE day.

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In the beginning i was super excited about the team as it was  forming lost of great talent and people i really enjoyed working with. Than the team keep getting bigger and bigger. The team ended up being 4 artists 4 engineers and 6 producers. some of my biggest personal issues stemmed from the number for producers on our team. For each artist and Engineer we have ¾ of a producer, every person but one could have a producer, cut them off the knees down and hand the chopped off bits to the last person, assumably for a night stand or a  desk extension. While my ideal of “less is more” with producers is highly unpopular with my co hort producers and some faculty its one I still stand by. Less producers on a team the more they seem to really shine and where they get the best education and become better. These ideas get me yelled at constantly, but supported by less vocal members of the engineering and art teams. But as we proceeded through the process of getting to our thesis few members started to break from the pack, and prove me wrong on some points. But more on that later. First we had to come up with the thesis game.

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