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.
Well we made it back from our adventure to that galaxy far, far away (Secret Cinema doesStar Wars: London). And it was bleedin' awesome. Want to review the experience, but will have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't give too much away as I don't want to spoil it for anyone considering doing it, must ponder how to go about doing this. If you are thinking of doing it you're going to have to be quick about it as the event draws to a close at the end of the month. Needless to say if you're a Star Wars fan you need to head down to London to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity to live and breathe in the Star Wars universe for a night.
Here was my chosen persona just prior to departure, ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) Field Agent Talon, on a mission to defect to the Rebellion with plans valuable to the Rebel Alliance:
Heading down to London with a trusted mercenary partner in crime, we headed to the secret rendezvous location and waited on the ship that would be our ticket off world, and so the adventure began...
No pictures from the actual event as unauthorized communication devices were forbidden, after all secrecy was key. But search out Secret Cinema Star Wars and you'll find some official images of the event, but even these don't do it justice, this was an insanely cool event, and it must be experienced to be believed.
So Force Friday hit. How did it go? Well a friend and I decided to hit up the Disney Store in the Trafford Centre (Manchester) at Midnight, only to be scuppered at the final hurdle by the M60 being closed and the exit to the Trafford Centre being closed off. Heading to the next exit to do a U-turn and see if we couldn't get off at the Trafford Centre going in the opposite direction we found to our dismay that the roundabout after the exit was totally gridlocked. Nothing moved an inch, for a long time, and I mean literally. So we ended up going the only direction that was clear which was in the opposite direction to the Trafford Centre, and with no options to find alternative routes back we headed over to Warrington's Toys'R'Us, we could still make the midnight deadline if we put the pedal to the metal. We got there at midnight to find a massive queue outside the store, got in it, and eventually made it inside the store around 1am, and of course typically all the good stuff was gone. Still members of the ever dependable 501st were there to soften the blow.
So headed home pretty much empty handed after all that, save for some freebies gained in the queue, a little cuteLego TIE Fighter that my daughter and I enjoyed putting together just before I took her off to nursery this morning.
All was not lost however. Once I got home in the early hours of this morning I went on-line checked outAmazon and picked up a couple of Black Series 6 inch TFA figures from there. Slapping my forehead going what was I thinking going to the midnight opening? It is the 21st Century after all.
That said, after dropping off the Little 'Un at nursery this morning I got a call from my fellow Force Friday Adventurer notifying me that I'd better get my arse down to the Trafford Centre sharpish, as he had bobbed in just before work and found it to be like an Aladdin's cave. Had the M60 closure prevented everyone from making the Disney Store's midnight opening? Or was it just armed for bear as far as their stock was concerned? Needless to say, I got my arse over there pronto, and it turned out that this Force Friday Adventure had a happy ending after all.
I won't say how much I spent (I wish to stay married), I won't say how much my friend spent (don't want to be responsible for his divorce), but it is enough to say we had a good day, and to tell you that you need an App-Enabled BB-8 Droid in your life. That is all.
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....
Well, the new Star Wars trailer is here, what are everyone's thoughts? Gives us a bit more of an idea of what's going on, but not much more, which I like, not giving too much away (Yes, latest Terminator: Genisys trailer, that's you I'm looking at, naughty trailer . Avoid if you haven't seen it already and don't want every major plot point spoiled) which is refreshing these days, but just enough new stuff to keep us excited.
What we catch mere glimpses of in the first teaser we see a bit more clearly here, such as the new Stormtroopers, including that nifty silver/chrome elite version we've heard a little about, a clearer look at the classic TIE Fighter design, which has interestingly had a colour inversion where the hull is now black/dark grey, and the solar panels are white. It also looks like Ansel (a.k.a. Fractalsponge) will have a new Star Destroyer to build, though it didn't look like a new Super Star Destroyer design, but more a normal sized ISD which has been customised to some extent, perhaps damaged and refitted or something? So it looks unique, but seems to be built on a standard ISD space frame. We also see the hangar interior and some other Imperial flavoured architecture, the familiar feel is still there, but it has a slightly slicker finish to it, almost like a cross between Star Wars and Tron: Legacy's shiny aesthetic.
We also have what seems to be Mark Hamill revisiting dialogue from Return of the Jedi when he told Leia he was her brother, and how the Force is strong in his family, etc. So who is he talking to? I'd bet it's the new girl and that she is perhaps Leia's daughter, or maybe Luke's? Or perhaps some other distant relation, other than through the Force, but who knows? Let the speculation continue though.
We get more of a look at the new main characters and get some more hints at what their relationship might be, Finn definitely looks to be on the run is some fashion and is being aided by Rey, we see him in some classic Star Wars styled civvie gear as well as his Stormtrooper armour, and see them both avoiding the fire of a strafing TIE Fighter on *Spoiler* brand new desert planet Jakku, NOT Tatooine, well I suppose everything in that galaxy far, far away can't revolve around Tatooine. And there has to be more than one desert planet out there.*Spoiler*. We also see the Rebel pilot Poe Dameron in his X-Wing again, but there is nothing really new revealed here other than a new shot showing the fighters flying overhead rather than the trucking side on shot we saw last time. The Sith, or should I say Sith wannabe shows us his face, or at least his mask this time, which is interesting to see, some clear inspiration being drawn from the look of Revan from the Knights of the Old Republic video game.
There are also some really nice visual touches here that really give the feel of 30 years of history that we've missed out on, the war wreckage strewn across the Jakku desert showing us that the Empire clearly didn't just give up after the Battle of Endor, with entire Star Destroyers smashed into the desert surface, and is it me, or does the gargantuan thruster nozzle array that the Falcon flies into towards the end of the trailer look like an Executor styled Super Star Destroyer's back end inverted as if it crashed to the surface upside down?
We also get some of what was lacking from the last trailer, a glimpse of the old guard made new for these new movies. We see shots at the beginning that hint at Luke, a robed and hooded man kneeling next to R2 reaching out to him with a cybernetic/prosthetic hand, Leia, a woman's hand passing Luke's old lightsaber (the one he lost on Bespin) to a younger woman's (her daughter's?) hands. But tantalizingly we're not shown their faces, that is left for the money shot when a grizzled Han and his Wookiee partner (still not looking a day over 200 I might add ;) ) are revealed stating they're home. Standing on what looks to clearly be the deck of the Millennium Falcon. Yes they are, and when seeing them there we feel like we're home too.
Anyhow, here's a link to the trailer, enjoy.
Well that is an end of an era, and a seemingly mental move by Disney. Okay, so perhaps LucasArts haven't been at the top of their game for a while now, with some ropey Star Wars games lately like Star Wars Kinect and The Force Unleashed II. But this is still the legendary studio that brought us the classic point and click adventure games of the 90's such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, the classic Star Wars games series X-Wing and Dark Forces, and published great games such as Rogue Squadron, Star Wars: Battlefront and Knights of the Old Republic. They haven't been at their former greatness for a while now, but Star Wars: 1313 certainly looked like a step in the right direction. So what now for the future of that game? Tantalizingly close and then snatched from our grasp just like SW: Battlefront 3 from the looks of it. So we see another casualty of the merger to join the Clone Wars series (though we still don't know exactly what is going on with that to be fair).
So what are everyone else's thoughts on this? Mourning this loss of an iconic games developer and publisher? Or feeling pretty Meh about the whole affair?
So now it is official J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie while producing the 3rd Star Trek movie.
So what are everyone's thoughts on this? Prepare the mighty Lensflare-atron! And set course for a Galaxy far, far away!
Personally I think he's a pretty good choice that most people might have discounted due to his current entanglement with the other big "Star" franchise, but if you think about it, he's always been quite vocal about his love for Star Wars, often mentioning how he was trying to make the new Trek more Star Wars like in a vital, exciting and mythic way. And many a Trek fan has been quoted as not liking the new Abrams Trek due to him making it too Star Wars like in tone. So maybe on that basis he's the ideal man for the job.
Now the new Star Trek was by no means perfect, it was a thrill ride for sure, but for me lacked a little something in substance which I hope will get rectified in the sequel. though a lot of those issues could be attributed to the writers he tends to work with. So hopefully when he comes on board that won't mean a Damon (Prometheus/Lost) Lindelof re-write of the script, as we certainly don't want to see that, especially with such an accomplished writer already in place.
However J.J. Abrams did inject a much needed jolt of vitality not seen in a Trek movie since First Contact, so I must say I'm quite excited about what he could bring to the table here. He also seems quite good at homaging other director's styles while still keeping his own distinct aesthetic in the mix as proven with the Spielberg love letter that was Super-8. So I'd think him more than capable of capturing the feel of the classic original trilogy that we all know and love while still injecting some new energy into it.
The only danger I see is if he creates a new Star Wars too similar in style to the new Trek he's developed, as that is one of the things that has always made both franchises so strong. Yeah they both have 'Star' in the title, but they couldn't be more different and distinct. So we really want to see that distinctive difference remain. Other than that minor misgiving I think that this is just another very positive piece in the puzzle that will lead us towards Star Wars VII. It is now an even more exciting time to be a Star Wars fan in my opinion.
Well whether you're celebrating the news or lamenting it, there is no doubt that last week's news was a pretty big deal if you're a Star Wars fan. With Disney buying up Lucasfilm and all the intellectual properties that go with it, and in addition to that the promise of a new Star Wars film in 2015 it is a very exciting time indeed.
George Lucas will be stepping down as part of his ongoing retirement plans, and though he will still be staying on as a creative consultant, Star Wars will effectively be transferred into new hands, and fresh talent is going to get the chance to have a crack at that galaxy far, far away.Now after an initial reaction of a pitiful Vader from Episode III like scream of...
If you think about it this could very well be the best thing to happen to Star Wars in a long time. The prequels didn't exactly go down a storm with everyone though they still did very good box office, and Star Wars seems to be at its best when it is the combination of George Lucas' grand ideas, a good scriptwriter who can write great snappy dialogue, and a director who can draw fantastic performances from their actors. Yes The Empire Strikes Back, that's you I'm looking at. And with rumors abound that a Lucas treatment for a third trilogy may form the basis of this new trilogy of movies I'm cautiously optimistic. Of course it is too early to tell if this will be the greatest thing ever, or an unmitigated disaster, but one thing for sure is that this has really got everyone excited about Star Wars again which is no bad thing.
So what would I personally like to see from a new Star Wars movie/trilogy?
Well I might as well put my two cents in same as everyone else on the interwebs, my opinion will be as informed/ill informed as the next chap.
Heh, where to start?
First up I'd have to say to the new film makers don't feel that you have to somehow adhere to the already established 30+ years of EU (Expanded Universe) fiction which is majorly centered around the era of the Star Wars timeline following ROTJ, I really doubt they will anyway, but I'd not like to see any fresh creativity potentially hamstrung by attempting to please everyone and not offend any of the fans. I'm sure even the most hardcore and militant EU fan won't be complaining if the new films don't fit in with established EU continuity if the new movie is absolutely awesome.
If George Lucas has treatments covering the plots for the new trilogy (as we believe is the case), then use them, it would be good to keep the tone and essence of Star Wars alive in any new trilogy, and this is a good place to start. Whatever faults or shortcomings we can throw George's way it has to be said that the use of ancient mythology as a touch stone with the hero's journey and all that good stuff made a great archetypal basis for his galaxy spanning saga, and this was no less the case with the overall themes and intentions of the prequel trilogy. The ideas for the most part were sound, we were all chomping at the bit to find out what the story was behind the boy who would become Darth Vader, it was more the execution that let it down.
As I said above use George Lucas' treatments for the new movies if they exist, but get someone else to write the script, it is this synergy between Lucas' grand ideas and themes, and great screenwriters who can actually write snappy dialogue which really allows Star Wars to shine, as is highlighted by the immediate sequel to the original, TESB. Whedon could be a good fit with his many script doctoring escapades, not to mention the recent Avengers movie which just knocked it out the park. Perhaps someone a little more left field though? How about Frank Darabont? He has already shown cracking adaptation chops on various Stephen King properties, did a treatment for Indy that was never used, don't you wish we'd had that rather than what we did get? And is a hardcore movie geek, I bet he could come up with something really interesting from a Lucas movie treatment, and would be a confident enough talent to feel he could make adjustments where needed.
It is also an interesting time for Star Wars, the brand is still robust and obviously fiscally strong, put out any movie with the Star Wars brand at its head and it is going to make money, but the brand has also lost a little of its sheen due to the disappointment to some that were the prequels, turning some lifelong fans into a right jaded old bunch even if the movies are still making loads of money with each new re-release, the fact is the franchise isn't as unsinkable as it once was, it hasn't got that swagger it had ahead of the prequels. As such there is a lot more riding on these new movies, it'll be make or break for the franchise. This can only be a good thing. Pressure breeds creativity, this was certainly the case with the original trilogy when they were really up against it, even more so when Star Wars was a hit and they had to prove it wasn't a fluke with Empire. Arguably the least successful of the original trilogy was ROTJ because then the brand had become quite self assured with the success which had gone before it. This was even more the case with the prequels. Now the pressure is on, and without George Lucas at the head hopefully we won't get the 'Yes men' mentality which seemed to plague the prequels with everyone on the crew in awe of the fact they were working for George Lucas, and unable to believe that he could do wrong. With these new movies that should be nipped in the bud with new talent in the director's chair. Hopefully the pressure and sheer possibilities and freedom offered up by having the opportunity to do a new Star Wars trilogy will breed fresh creativity and inventiveness in spades. Other than the first film this has always been how the best Star Wars has come about, with a story by Lucas but other directors actually calling the shots. Also, lets not forget that other big 'Star' franchise. Star Trek's movie franchise entered into a totally new lease of life when after the 'Slow' Motion Picture didn't do so well and Gene Rodenberry was asked to take a back seat for the sequels, and it was in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan where they really nailed it and pretty much sealed the future for the many movies that followed, so there is form for a franchise to benefit from fresh talent taking over from the original creators and injecting some vibrant new energy into it.
Set it 30 to 40 years after ROTJ, this can make most issues with EU continuity go away since most of it takes place pretty much immediately after Jedi, so it could be ignored without necessarily contradicting it if that was a worry, but as I said earlier I don't think it should be. More importantly setting it then allows original trilogy actors to come back to their roles. Bringing back Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher to their respective roles would be a major coup in my opinion. I wouldn't want to see them as major characters in the entire trilogy, but if Luke were to take on the Obi-Wan mentor role (perhaps even dying at some point, though not in the first film, we don't want it to be a complete copy of the original), or be the leader of a new order of Jedi passing the torch over to the new young Jedi defending the galaxy, with Leia playing an elder stateswoman akin to Mon Mothma in ROTJ, that would be a real fan pleasing move, and a great continuity thread leading back to the original trilogy.
But what should it be about? Whatever is in George Lucas' bag of tricks of a treatment I guess. Personally I'd like to see something totally unrelated to EU, so sure inspiration could be drawn from interesting characters and situations, but the story on the whole should be fresh. The new movies should not be beholden to EU continuity. I think the new trilogy has to be about picking up the pieces after the death of the Empire. Their forces will still be scattered around out there, splinter factions will be rising up under various ex-Imperial warlords, so there is potential for all sorts of strife, the galaxy may even be an even more dangerous place, and it has to be about the Rebellion's transition into government (no taxation of trade routes and all that garbage, but it will be interesting to see how the Rebellion manages to bring order to a galaxy that was held in check by the iron fist of the Empire with a more softly softly touch). The underworld would be running rampant through the galaxy, the Alliance would be having to deal with trying to police the galaxy and deal with disputes. Luke would be in the process of rebuilding the Jedi Order, so plenty to choose from, just a case of where to go with it and what to focus on. I also like the idea of the potential anarchy giving rise to a more crazed and malevolent less disciplined order of Sith, so gone is the rule of their only being two Sith, and that in the furthest reaches of the galaxy a Sith army is rising, so at some point (probably at the end of the trilogy) we get a chance to see what we all are gagging to see on the big screen which is armies of Jedi vs. Sith kicking off, you know you want it.
So in short...
Don't feel beholden to the Expanded Universe, make the new movie as good as humanly possible, and EU fans won't care if it doesn't fit in with EU continuity as long as the movie is awesome.
Use George Lucas' treatments for the new trilogy, but get some great scriptwriters in there to write the script itself who can write great snappy dialogue. Whedon? Darabont?
George Lucas has to take a back seat as this will hopefully end the 'Yes men' awe and 'He can do no wrong' sort of mentality that seemed to plague the crew of the prequels. We need fresh talent in that director's chair. Story by Lucas, script by a decent scriptwriter and directed by a great director, add to that mix lots of pressure to breed creativity and inventiveness, that is when Star Wars really soars.
Set it 30 to 40 years after the end of ROTJ allowing original trilogy actors to reprise their roles, Mark Hamill playing Luke as an Obi-Wan like mentor, or leader of the Jedi Order, Carrie Fisher playing Leia as an Elder Stateswoman akin to Mon Mothma in ROTJ, but have them not be the central characters, have these be a new generation, they're just passing the torch.
Have the story be about rebuilding the galaxy after the fall of the Empire, the Rebellion's uneasy transition to an allied galactic government, dealing with lawlessness from a flourishing underworld now that the Empire's strict grip has gone. Ex-Imperial Warlords and Imperial splinter factions all causing trouble, Luke's quest to rebuild the Jedi Order, and have it all leading towards the rise of an anarchistic new Sith Order rising ditching the rule of two so they can create a Sith army, which will come to a head at the end of the trilogy with armies of Jedi and Sith kicking arse.
And lastly, as many have already said, just make it Star Wars, throw in all that good stuff that we've come to expect, action, spectacle and heart, oh and lots of space battles.
So I guess now we just have to wait and see if this new movie is going to be the best thing since lightsaber sliced bread (it's great, because it slices and toasts at the same time!), or an unmitigated disaster and the last flogging of an almost dead horse/Bantha.
Only time will tell. I'll bet there's already some fans queuing up at their local multiplex already.
Has been a long time coming but my on-line portfolio:
(I know, imaginative title yes? ; P ) gets a much overdue update. I hadn't updated it for over 4 years which is just criminal. My copy of Dreamweaver went the way of the Dodo which kinda scuppered any efforts to update it, but getting a new copy recently gave me the chance to do a bit of a clear out and spruce up, and now she's ready to set sail on the interwebs again with stacks of brand new content.
The site now features a games work specific section featuring all of my officially released game titles, which is now bang up to date with such releases as Sonic & Sega All-stars Racing and Virtua Tennis 2009. There is also a new gameography page within the about me section, and plenty of new work to check out in the miscellaneous 3d and 2d sections. And of course there is a section dedicated to the mod First Strike which features plenty of behind the scenes work in progress images and in game screenshots.
Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.
RIP Ralph McQuarrie.
His art will be with us, always.
Sad news everyone, Ralph McQuarrie has passed away this weekend. I'm sure you all know him well, but if you don't, he is basically the creator of the visual look and aesthetic of Star Wars. It was his fantastic concept artwork which helped George Lucas sell his crazy idea to the movie executives and get the first Star Wars made. He then went on to create the majority of the concept work for the remainder of the original trilogy, together with work on matte paintings that appeared as effects within the movie too.
It goes without saying that the guy was a great inspiration to myself and was one of the key factors in my choosing to pursue a career in art from an early age, having grown up with his work and the cinematic results of that art. I still have stacks and stacks of books featuring his art and reproductions of my favourite pieces of his work hanging on my office wall.
A hugely influential talent and a sad loss to the world of art and fantastical movie making.
Below is a link to a few words from George Lucas:
I've been looking for some additional work lately (paid work, not mod related), and have just got done producing some sample work for a Storyboard Artist post that a certain games company has just started hiring for, works out well for me as it is a contract position that might just suit my current needs. Wish me luck with that.
Anyhow, it felt good to get the old pen and paper out again and do a little traditional media work, rather than all the computer based stuff I usually do. Sure I've done a little concept work here and there for First Strike, and floor plans for environments etc, but it has been far too long since I just sat down and did a more lengthy traditional media art project, besides these concept pieces tend to be a little rough and ready as they are quickly produced to get the idea swiftly across so production of 3D assets can begin. So to just be doing some 2D artwork just for the sake of it (well not really just for the sake of it, as obviously the work is geared towards getting me a job) felt good, being able to spend a little time on it, do a little mixed media. It let me know that it had been far too long, and like with all things you need to keep at it or lose it, if you don't keep exercising those muscles and keep on top of it you'll lose your game. Luckily after a bit of a slow start getting back into it, it soon started to flow and some not half bad work was produced. I still feel that I was a little rusty, and nowhere near as good as I was when this was all I did, but this has certainly convinced me that I need to keep at it and produce little traditional media pieces every now and then just to keep me on my toes and flex those other artistic muscles to make sure I stay in well rounded tip top shape.
So I wanted to produce some high end storyboard work to compliment the style of the job post I was going for, and to add to the various types of storyboards I had already produced in the past, but where to look for inspiration? In the end I didn't have to look too far. If you have followed First Strike for some time, you may remember a Fan Fiction Competition we ran the other year. When hosting this competition I decided to write an example of the sort of stories and scenarios that people could draw upon to create their own First Strike Fan Fiction, this initial piece took the form of an introduction to the back-story to the popular Tatooine: Mos Espa map, as featured in the loading screen text. It was this that I chose to expand upon for my fiction sample, and it was here that I chose to take inspiration for this storyboard sequence I needed to create. I developed a storyboard based on the opening scenes of this fiction, and I'll post the results here for you to check out. First the overall storyboard sequence, and then if you want to see the individual frames in a little more detail, check them out in the images section above.
If you wish to check out the story that this sequence is based on you can find a link to the First Strike fiction here:
Check this FS forum for the various entries that were made for this compo, there's some pretty good stuff there which is well worth a read:
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