Been a long time lurking, decided to join to making tracking/watching mods, and indie games far easier on myself.
So after learning that I fail at the UDK -immensely- (that or the UDK fails at 1024x1024 texture maps.) I've spent the past few weeks really sinking my teeth into traditional art. Sadly it also means I've put my entire side project on hold while I get myself some real skills in the artistic fields.
Basically that's been one of my major issues all along, I can envision something, but I can't draw it; if I can't draw it, I can't model it. I'm sure this is a common thing with people who do this casually, but considering the amount of time I tend to sink into 3D I feel this has become a massive hangup on me >>;
On a brighter note, I've figured out marmoset down to the last detail, sadly I have to purchase a single license of the engine now due to demo-time limitations (ie; my demo ran out and I am sad lol), shouldn't be to massive of an issue however.
In the meantime I've decided to teach myself animation, or rather get my teeth back into animation. It's something I started awhile back and -really- enjoyed, with both christmas and my birthday coming (lack of a traditional job kinda butchers conventional means of funding here) I should beable to scrape enough cash together to purchase some of the tutorial sets over at 3DBuzz. They let you watch an awesome amount of content free online with an account, but I'd rather have all the materials sitting here on a DVD so I can go through it at my own pace, seeing as my internet connection hasn't been brilliant as of late.
Amusingly enough I Started out yesterday morning at about 6/6:30ish AM, thinking the same thing (that I would get down to some doing some basic rigging) as the day progressed however it devolved into me spending a massive amount of time (till 10:30pm that night) OCDing about what mesh to use, creating one, realizing how -insanely- bad it was (figured that part out when I went to map the blasted thing), and spending most of my time recreating it from scratch.
Great thing was I noticed a visible difference almost immediately, the Low-Poly initially was pushing 18k+ Tris, vs now it's rocking out at 4.1k - 4.2k I believe. Seems to make a massive difference while modeling when I realize that what I'm doing is just the first step, instead of being the end result and leaving it go.
I can only imagine how high the highpoly will be, due to the massive amounts of minor detail I left out, but, considering I'm just using it as a showcase piece for -animation- and not my technical or artistic skills, I'm hoping that won't be an issue.
On a different note entirely, my personal 'secret' side project, a dungeon crawl based "hack'n'slash" has been put on hold till both my artistic & technical levels are high enough that I can carry most of the load myself (as per development). Lately, as I've stated before, I've seen a rash of 'indie' games jumping the gun and forming groups/'companies' that just fail, and if I'm going to take a serious shot at making this game, I feel I need to do it under the principle of "I'm just doing it to get better, and learn the ropes" (ie; it'd be created openly, without any inclination of going paid, or using it as some type of demo to pitch to a corporate suit.) and I think that's how a lot of people should start.
Not that they will, but, yeah.
I have a rough game design document knocked out, actually to be entirely honest in one variant or another I've had it floating around since a very young age, and hopefully like fine wine it's only matured and gotten better with age. Figuring out that part though is probably just as hard as creating the game, I believe an article on Gamasutra put it best in the statement (or something along these lines) "Write out a design document, and then bury it. Throw yourself into all of your other work, burn yourself out, and come back to it in 2-3 weeks. If you look at it and think 'my god..what was I thinking' burn it and forget about it, however, if you find yourself getting excited at the concept you've laid out, well, you might have something there."
SO that's what I'll be doing over the next few months.
Well..that and going to local airsoft matches.
..And playing the new Medal of Honor
..And playing the new Call of Duty
..And playing the new Halo (Reach)
..And playing Global Agenda
..AND failing at having a life :D
Now it should be clear by a fair bit of things, that I love stalker, I love the game to death, and I've bought -atleast- one copy of every game they've released so far. I've played almost every single mod from LURK to Complete, however, I do not belong to the Stalker community at-large here on Moddb.
I am making this clear, because, to be frank (yes I'm, aware of the fact making a blog-post about it is probably worse :P) the community seems to be filled with under 18 whining bitches who don't fully understand the amount of work it takes to complete a modification for the X-Ray or *any* Other engine.
So for those of you that've read this, please checkout the *drama* over at Lurk 1.1's page, and share in my amusement, the true community of stalker fans, the ones that actually understand how much work and effort holden & the rest of the lurk team have put into their mod, really wish they would release the mod, whenever they feel its ready.
Bit sick of the "wtf no jan 1st?! Jo0 noobs, fuckk you, I can make a better modd by stickin meh weina in da snow!"
Amusingly enough that's almost a direct quote from afew of the comments there...
So, I've left Free Roam Studios. The guys are great, and I loved the work I was doing, but my heart wasn't fully in the project, as well as after June 14th I'll be out of town for a week or two, shortly after, I will be joining the U.S. Military. However between now and then, I wanna do a shitload of 3D!
So, I'm open to suggestions for pieces again, officially joining a team is..iffy, I will as long as they understand that my first commitment is to my physical training and effort I'm putting into being part of the U.S. Army.
Also my caffeine addiction is back, and my wrist is all healed up for those that knew about that, I ran into a repetitive motion injury due to the crappy layout of my computer and its position. But now I can honestly say I'm 'all better', even if my doctor gave me a massive injection of anti-inflammatory chems over a week ago :P
Now that I've sunken a bit of time into mastering edges, or rather, remastering edges and studying the layouts for normal mapping, I can honestly say I'm 110% better then I was before I joined up with FRS, and for this, I am eternally greatful, so if anyone is reading this could you please throw them a watch over at Moddb.com
So I picked up a nifty copy of Marmoset's Toolbag, and it's actually taught me a ton, about how everything works for textures and the like. Sometimes, cranking the 'detail' as I view it, so to speak, of a 3D Mesh, isn't what you want to do. Honestly I always assumed a mesh/model was 60-70% Texture, but I'm now leaning more on the 85% Texture, 15% Mesh.
As an example, on my Barrel model (for The Hunted) I learned that adding a 'dividing line', a raised piece to make it look pretty in the viewpoint rendering, is really completely un-needed. Amusingly enough, it's actually -hindering- my ability to go farther!
So I'm redoing the model/mesh (really simple, just a cylinder really :P, I just put nice edges on it.), and hopefully I'll get it done right this time. Now, onto a word about textures, Photorealism is non-existent. Period. You can-NOT take a stock texture image, from say, CG Textures, and expect to plop it on, and have it look perfectly *right* away. Yes normal mapping and the like helps it look great, but actually touching it up, learning how seams join together texture wise, and the like, eats more time then it typically takes me to -make- the (relatively) low-poly meshes I've done.
This leads me to believe I need to learn a hell of a lot more artistically, now, I've always told myself the skill-level I have can be refined, but I'll never reach the point some of the more amazing guy's here (Overgrowth, Northern Ireland, Warm Gun, Age of Chivalry, Pirates Knights & Vikings 2, god the list is endless.), due to my lack of an 'artistic' background, hell, I'm a writer and a gamer by self-described skillset. Not an artist, I can't even draw a simple circle to be frank :P
So at this point, while I feel I -can- improve my skills in this area, I have a feeling I'll be hitting some brick walls fairly fast, until I can overcome my inability to create my own concepts, and bring them to life. I've always (well, not always, but I'm getting there :P) had a fair ability to bring others concepts, blueprints, or images to 3D, such as with weapons, and to a degree scenes even. But, I feel at this point, I have a crapload of work ahead of me to actually make them 'useable' by any game-standard.
SO this caffeine fueled rant sends me back into playing around with Gimp to carve-out a texture or two, to stare at till they drive me mad, and I shoot my monitor afew times :P
Yes this little insight was heavily inspired by the active hand projects like Overgrowth have taken in the community, explaining the skills, difficulties and principles behind working on a project.
I apologize to everyone I've made WH40k props for/promises to, while I said I'd be happy to donate any of my work I never directly joined any projects. (Or atleast, no one ever made the attempt to bring me directly into a project, simply requested models from me.)
And I do not see anything wrong with that! Hell, I enjoy modeling, and I take it as a privilage to be selected for -any- project, but, I joined up with FRS/Free Roam Studios on the project The Hunted. And that's consuming a bit of my time, the time I typically set aside for 3D that is. And while I'll still be able to do some requests (and I feel doing work outside of the said project, is a good way of keeping my skills sharp), please do not count on me for anything project-threatening, I feel I can only maintain the lead modeling (props) position in one project at a time.
Again, I apologize to Arstartes Productions/ Ox, Alpha, & Chaos Master. I wish you guys the best I luck! And I'll be -happy- to help when and where I can, the project you've started is ambitious, and I don't feel my skills are up to the quality you deserve as a project.
To change topics, I'll have a flood of Image updates, Props for The Hunted. Hopefully. I have to ask if that's alright >>;
This is a standing offer (like I get SO many people reading this/checking my profile as it is ya know? :P), if anyone has any Concept Art they want done (in my crappy, crappy skill level) feel free to drop it to me at my Deviant Art account; or a link to it here through a comment.
This'll be a standing offer, good till now and whenever I get bored or actually, dare I say, run out of time. Right now everything is really slow, and I could use a challenge to keep myself (relatively) sharp, and help improve my 3D skills.