Freelance 3D modeller and games artist. Commenced my games industry career over 10 years ago, starting out at Warthog on the sci-fi FPS Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter, and a space shooter of Battlestar Galactica. Most recently worked in house for Sumo Digital on a Tennis release for Sega, Virtua Tennis 2009 for PS3, Xbox 360 & the Wii, and I also worked on Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing. I have recently begun to teach 3D modelling and how that relates to games at several educational institutions including the University of Bolton on a part-time basis. Mod work includes development team leader, lore advice and modelling work for the Battlefield 2142 Star Wars themed mod First Strike.

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2 comments by TALON_UK on Jun 16th, 2015

Well the E3 gameplay trailers for Star Wars Battlefront are out and they're pretty damned awesome, check 'em out below:









I have to admit it was a bittersweet moment for me to see the gameplay for this finally. With our hard work on the Star Wars Battlefield 2142 mod First Strike I could see a lot of it in what was on show here, though obviously done a lot better than our non-profit efforts, but this in part was what we aimed to do with First Strike, fill that gap which was left empty by the last Star Wars Battlefront game and improve on that and bring it more into line with gritty Battlefield style gameplay, and also show EA and DICE that there was a market for this game (as if that was ever in doubt ), and encourage them in some small part in our efforts on First Strike to actually get in there and do a Battlefield engine and gameplay style based Star Wars game. Now that has happened and we can hang up our blasters and enjoy this game when it comes out like the millions of other fans out there who'll be chomping at the bit for this.


With the first video above (Co-Op Gameplay) I was very impressed with the feel and authenticity of the thing, a Tatooine based survival mode where a small Rebel group having escaped the Empire's clutches via escape pod from a captured Corellian Corvette (Rebel Blockade Runner) in orbit which is then blown to pieces by an Imperial Star Destroyer in the opening moments of the sequence. Is it Princess Leia's Tantive IV? Or another Rebel ship suffering a similar fate to that titular ship? It matters not, the scene is set and the circumstances feel authentic. Imperial forces are sent down from orbit to quash the Rebel survivors and all hell breaks loose as the Rebels must face wave after wave of increasingly more difficult foes until Rebel reinforcement space forces can arrive.


From a technical standpoint the graphics look lush, the hardware once again authentic looking with the Rebels packing A280s and DH-17 blasters from what I could tell, with different styles of firing for each. Weapon overheat was a visible gameplay factor with a Rebel needing to melee attack a Stormtrooper due to his blaster overheating. Both Rebel and Imperial forces had jetpack equipped classes which looked fun, and then there were other battlefield perks such as orbital strikes, heavy weapon pick-ups, etc. Weapons looked to have that standard console crosshair and aim assist type of thing going on, but the action looked good. I also liked the pods being sent down for the Rebels to capture and defend like dynamic flags. First Strike style withering fire seemed to have found it's way into the gameplay as Rebels were firing all weapons at the AT-ST Walkers when they eventually turned up, and one appeared to erupt on being hit by DH-17 blasterfire, unless the player happened to be firing at the target as an orbital strike took out the Walker, which is entirely possible. Whichever the case, on the strength of this gameplay footage I was quietly optimistic.


Then came the multiplayer game play footage. This was based entirely on a Hoth AT-AT Walker Assault Mode map. This one had the biggest sting in the tail for me as I had been working on a First Strike version of The Battle of Hoth as things all went to pot with EA cancelling support for their older games essentially rendering BF2142 obsolete and ringing the death knell for First Strike, but to be fair it was on it's way out long before then, and we had had Hoth in development on the back burner for some years, but on seeing their version of the Echo Base corridors and then hangar I was elated, but also seeing how strikingly similar it was to mine (well it would be they're both based on the same location and reference after all) quite gutted we didn't manage to get our version out to the public. It mattered not though, this was going to be awesome.


Then you get outside and you see TIE Fighters and X-Wings buzzing around and my heart sank. They have fallen for the same trap that I found the original Star Wars Battlefront ran foul of. Taking key battle locations and then just sacrificing authenticity for a larger canvas of gameplay. Personally if I'm playing The Battle of Hoth I want it to be as close to the movies as possible. Sure the sequence isn't going to be identical to the movie version, as gameplay obviously plays a part, but if you make such radical departures from the source material what is the point? On a Hoth battle map I want Imperial Walkers, Rebel Snowspeeders and perhaps logical extensions and embellishments so that the battle is essentially still the same in feel and authentic, but broadened out to see more of what went on than we see in the movies. So perhaps Snowtroopers on Speederbikes performing recon missions or striking outlying Rebel Outposts, perhaps Imperial Probe Droids taking a more offensive role in the battle itself. All things that could be happening while the main meat and potatoes of the battle is going on between Walkers and Snowspeeders. It would still feel authentic and just appear to be elements of the battle that we didn't see but were happening just beyond our vision in the movie. Slapping X-Wings and TIE Fighters all over it just might as well have shat all over it as far as I'm concerned. It is no longer The Battle of Hoth, but something else entirely. And don't get me started on the heroes/villains showing up at the end. I thought their inclusion ruined the last Star Wars Battlefront game, and they appear to have done the same here. Heck, they don't even have Luke wearing the appropriate gear for the time period the battle takes place in, with him wearing his Return of the Jedi style Jedi gear. Well at least they haven't gone the way of some earlier Star Wars games and gone and given the TIE Fighters missiles to balance them out against the X-Wings (touch wood).






It almost made me want to continue with FS and bring out our vision of The Battle of Hoth via the Unreal 4 Star Wars mod that FS has merged with, and this could still happen, as every moment of that gameplay trailer I watched, for every good bit there was something that made me flinch and think how I'd have done that differently. I just don't understand what DICE are playing at here, they're harping on about going to the Lucasfilm Archives and getting all the research in to achieve an as great level of authenticity as possible, which visually and through sound design they certainly have done, but then throw that authenticity to the wind when it comes to the level design and gameplay. It is almost like someone went to all the trouble of recreating the Mona Lisa perfectly down to the cellular level, and then painting a big red nose and happy face over it or something. What gives?


I hope that maybe this is only one mode that is available on this map and that there maybe a more authentic truer to the movie gamemode that can be played, or EA and DICE are going to have a lot of unhappy punters on their hands. Who am I kidding though? It looks gorgeous, and it is Star Wars, people (myself included begrudgingly) are going to lap it up, plus the earlier Star Wars Battlefront had this issue playing free and loose with the lore of the locations featured in their maps, so why would this one be any different? I just hoped with this focus on authenticity and painstaking efforts to achieve movie like accuracy with their assets and locations that this new Battlefront would manage to avoid it.


So conflicted, want it bad, but hope it won't be as bad as I fear it might be. I think it'll be very good, but that there will be little niggly things that are going to annoy the hell out of me and drive me nuts.







Like I said, conflicted....


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SHOGUN096
SHOGUN096 Jul 5 2013 says:

Dear TALON_UK,

Yesterday I bought Battlefield 2142 Deluxe Edition and I have a big problem.
I have updated to version 1.51 Battlefield and First Strike 1.5 (1.55). Battlefield multiplayer works perfectly located servers. Unfortunately, the First Strike servers are not located any. Worse mode network have First Strike Servers tab. I do not know what could be the cause. I'm keen on First Strike because just because I bought the original game. Please help me.

,, Help me TALON_UK! You my only hope!'' :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
SinKing
SinKing Feb 29 2012 says:

**** man, your devotion to the cause is amazing! You're just as good on the drawing side as I am, but miles ahead in the modelling. Respect for the awesome work!

+2 votes     reply to comment
TALON_UK Creator
TALON_UK Feb 29 2012 replied:

Cheers. I'm kinda like where you came from, a traditional artist first, and then got into 3D modelling. Can be a fairly natural transition if you can get your head around it. In fact I firmly believe that having a good foundation in traditional art is essential to being a good and innovative modeller/texture artist.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Billyf
Billyf Jan 15 2012 says:

Amazing

+2 votes     reply to comment
TALON_UK Creator
TALON_UK Mar 26 2011 says:

Good, and you?

+3 votes   reply to comment
micky123
micky123 Mar 24 2011 says:

yooo :D how's it going? :]

+2 votes     reply to comment
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