Producer, Cinematographer, Level Designer, Edit, Writer, Modeller.
Alright guys. For those of you who follow me on Fallout: Project Brazil and are really awaiting the release of the 2nd Installment, you know that my half of F: PB has been finished for about 6 months now. I finished all the levels, the new 3D assets, new NPCs, and wrote and implemented all the dialogue.
That kinda left me with nothing to do, since I'm not a programmer. So I decided to take a break and work on another design for something I've always wanted to do since I was 16.
Now, that doesn't mean I'm leaving Fallout: Project Brazil. I love the story we've made, I'm really heavily invested in its success, and I am still talking to the two guys left on the team every week. When they show me progress on scripting the main quest I'm jumping right back into the trenches with them! Until then, I want to spend less time waiting, and more time doing what I love.
Shadow Star is a Science Fiction Role Playing Game that casts you as the Commander aboard a star ship exploring the galaxy during an interstellar war between four great empires. Played in a 1st person perspective, Shadow Star focuses on rich character interaction, emergent gameplay, and narrative quests as seen from the decks of your ship. The game allows the player to build their own fleets, manage officers and crews, and explore procedural star systems full of NPCs on ships and stations, similar to if Mass Effect or Knight of the Old Republic met FTL or the Elite series.
Shadow Star is set several million years in the future, long after humanity had gone extinct following a series of disasters referred to as "The Cataclysm of Old Earth." Their machine progeny survived to colonize the galaxy on their own, eventually reaching their pinnacle of evolution and adopting the role of gods.
After meeting in the depths of space, four great Progenitor machines returned to the moonscaped ruins of Terra where they resurrected our species as bio-mechanical hybrids identical in every way to us, but genetically engineered for life in space. Four human empires arose from the dust around their Progenitors and continued to expand across the cosmos as Forerunners.
Centuries later, you are born to a family living on Terra, where you entered a multi-national peacekeeping organization aimed at maintaining the law between the rising empires. When an interstellar war between the Serin, Torlan, Deadagund, and Lantus erupts, you are thrust into the captain's chair of your first ship, The Concordia, on a mission to find the lost Shadow Star to give your nation, or yourself, an edge in the unfolding events that will reshape humanity once again.
Whether you swear allegiance to the gods, the nation you were born to, or your own personal desires is up to you. One day you will find the lost Shadow Star and the Star Harrier Epoch, and that day will rewrite destiny by your hand.
There are no aliens in Shadow Star; no time travel or psychedelic physics - only humans who have grown strange to one another by the consequences of their actions. We are alone in the galaxy with each other and our self-made gods, the greatest monsters we've ever known.
Obviously, this is all still just paperwork. I haven't settled on a game engine yet, but I am building prototype models for our modular starships and their interior level design with CryEngine or Unity in mind.
This will be the first game ever made to feature a vehicle that is also a level design, in a sandbox open universe, with a first person Role Playing interface. There is no preexisting engine for that.
The amount of planning that has to go into something like this is just staggering. That's why this time of my life is perfect for that kind of innovative design. I can afford to take the time developing Shadow Star on my own and solving problems that in a professional setting with hard deadlines would be simply thrown out for something more profitable - and boring. :p
These are fully modular ships, meaning they are made out of little cubes like Legos. They click together following a very simple grammar:
The SPINE runs down the centre of the ship between a BOW CAP and a STERN CAP.
Fleshing out the ships's body are four types of square modules: SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE, XLARGE, which take up 8, 12, 16, and 24 metres wide, and 10, 20, or 40 meters long.
The modules always end along the outer edge of the ship in a skirt called EDGING.
If you can have a FLAT --- module on the interior along the spine, and a SLANT \\\ module attached to the EDGING. If you need to alternate you have a TRANSITION piece that allows you to expand to new rows.
You can make pretty much whatever you want out of this system and render practically dozens to hundreds of unique designs. Whole fleets can be rendered this way. You just need more unique END CAPS and STERN CAPS to really give it a genuinely special look.
Each race has tis own individual thematic elements that carry through their lore and their design, and go to influence the shape of the modular kit. The Confederates above are supposed to be ugly, hulking bricks in space, very utilitarian, like a retro-futuristic NASA. The Serin Empire are all about their imperial vibe, having a zen-like religion based on serenity through conflict in worship of their god, Anax, whose colours are red, gold, and black.
Check out these cool designs you can make just with this kit:
Inside each section of the ship there is an instanced interior cell serving as a level, just like in any first person shooter, but specifically Fallout 3, Skyrim, or New Vegas. Everything is made out of cubes that snap onto a grid. If you'd like to read about this modular approach, which I learned in detail by making Fallout: Project Brazil, read this blog by Joel Burgess. It goes into detail on how the asset pipeline flows and how the art meets the technical design, with its pros and cons.
Making the interior and exterior play nice together in one big mesh is impossible (today, at least,) so I've decided to instance the ship's interior in a separate level from the outside world where the ship's exterior model exists in the sandbox.
There are no doors between the inside and outside of the vessel, only "spotlights" that transfer cargo and personnel between the ship and the outside. But the shape of the exterior informs the interior, and I'm thinking we may be able to do this procedurally, like with this script for Unity made by CDeniz on the Polycount forums.
As the ship takes damage on the exterior, the interior can react. Hallways and rooms can be swapped out for damaged models, and finally for corpse modules that are left open to space, any holes automatically filled with rapidly expanding and hardening foam.
That is a TON of data on the processor and RAM, so it will be very important to keep a fairly low polycount and the ensure the scale of our ships doesn't get out of hand. That may result in ships that look a little more "cube-y," but I think if the quality of our assets is high it won't be a major issue.
We want to avoid creating mazes, and having large hero rooms throughout the ship will help. There will also be "matter-stream portals" all over the ship in place of doorways, and these allow even disconnected sections to be freely selected from a list and traveled to instantly.
It'll be the first time anything remotely like it has been done, so I still have more questions than answers. The design has to be really meticulous, low on data overhead, and the lore has to fit the mechanics to be believable. That all has to come together as I solve problems I encounter.
The best way to describe combat would be like Battleships Forever, an indie game I love desperately, in the first person. Watch this video and get an impression of what I mean.
Combat in Shadow Star will be a lot like Battlestar Galactica, with extended slug fests between ships that have no shields, only Flak and Point Defenses to counter incoming shots. The pacing is fairly slow, and when ships take damage it's a major event. Lights flicker at low damage thresholds, fuses blow at medium damage, and severe damage destroys entire modules, finally leaving the interior cell with a hole in it if it's destroyed.
Repairing damage would require a dry-dock to rebuild that section, and drones to swap out the corpse module for a shinny newly fabricated module. The biggest ships will have the facilities to build new BASIC modules in the field just by mining asteroids and using their onboard factory to restore damaged ships. These Flagships are meant to sustain fleets on remote missions without access to friendly infrastructure, and are exceedingly expensive. Cheaper ships are meant to sustain heavy damage and then be recycled to build a new ship.
That said, we have lots of resource gathering in Shadow Star, and a unique mechanic to it. There are only Four resources: Hydrogen, Matter, Exotic Matter, and Energy. Hydrogen, and Exotic Matter are also used as currency, and will be accepted in the Galaxy's trade economy.
Every ship has a Nuclear Furnace that allows them to break down Matter into Energy. The Furnace is the "core" of the ship, and these supply Energy to the ship's batteries, which then power the rest of the vessel's turrets, sensors, engines, etc. The Nuclear Furnace does not care if its fuel is hydrogen or iron, and its only byproducts are Heat and Electricity, but adding atomic elements greater than Hydrogen to the ship's Furnace will supply greater energy.
Exotic Matter goes towards building Matter-Steam Portals, Engines, Nuclear Furnaces, and Missiles, and can only be salvaged from destroyed enemy engines, missiles, drones, or mined from a Neutron Star, a very difficult process requiring a very expensive station be built in a dangerous environment.
Gathering resources can be done by sending Drones, which launch out of a ship's missile bays or spotlights. They rapidly vector to a shipwreck, comet, asteroid, moon, or gas giant and begin stripping them for useful materials. They then return to the ship with what they have gathered once their cargo container is full, allowing the mother-ship to continue doing what it needs to do. Those materials are then stored in the Cargo Bays in large Matter-Energy-Containment-Suspension-Inhibitor-Systems, or MECSIS Crates. The ship uses Matter-Steam-Lines to retrieve those stored elements and take them where they need to go to be used as fuel, ammo, or resources in Fabricators.
Each ship has a number of key systems that require a BASIC module slot to use. The nuclear Furnace, Batteries, Nuclear Forge, Fabricator, Cargo Hold, Turret Magazines, Spotlight Rooms, and Barracks are all physically located within the ship, connected by hallways, portals, and corridors.
Procedural Galaxies are now a serious and explored reality. Elite: Dangerous is one of the first of such generations of games to come out with hundreds of millions of stars, and it has really proven that it can be done in a visually stunning way. EVE: Online also has their own galaxy of such size.
The I-Novae Engine has shown that even procedural PLANETS can look amazing. Just check out I-Novae Studio's incredible work here, on their youtube page.
Navigating those Sandbox Type Galaxies requires a radically free-form gameplay, and it really doesn't allow for much in the way of storytelling. You can't have a narrative when a player can jump pretty much anywhere, and the finite amount of purposefully scripted content is spread over a small number of locations. It also doesn't make the game feel "solid" to me. It feels like time and distance aren't real, and everything is just a frenetic, almost boring series of mouse clicks to go from here to there instantly. There's no sense of place or magnitude to it.
To that end, Shadow Star is going to take a page out of Mass Effect, KotOR, and Faster Than Light's playbook, and have a star map with jump cordons which form stellar road-maps. Only in the end game, after the player has captured the eponymous Shadow Star, will their fleet be capable of jumping anywhere in the galaxy at whim.
Here is a very quick concept mockup of how that star map would work. The player's camera orbits the star they are currently in orbit of, zooming in and out and rotating around it. They can then select a star and plot a path to it. Main Quest objective locations are highlighted with a gold ring. Side quests in blue.
I'd also like to plan to implement some realistic astronomy into this system, letting players get a grasp of scale and structure in the cosmos. We won't be re-creating the Milky-Way. The idea is that millions of years have passed since 2014, and the galaxy looks much different, affording us some artistic license.
Navigating in a star system from planet to planet will take time and energy at relativistic speeds. Ships can cross 1 AU in about 25-15 minutes. That time goes to impact things like Quest Timers and buildings that drones are constructing in other parts of the system or galaxy.
To make that more interesting, ships have an Acceleration Coma they can enter at the press of a button. The ship's entire body of mass is linked together into one massive particle, and its force of acceleration is imparted onto that frozen point. The ship then accelerates, travels to its destination, an drops out of this coma, where it returns to normal space-time behaviors. To the crew, this goes by in the blink of an eye.
Enemy ships will still fire at the ship as it moves, but will be unable to hit it. The ship also cannot fire.
Navigation isn't accomplished with AWSD and mouse trashing, but instead targets are selected, or an overhead map is opened, and much like in Homeworld 1 & 2, waypoints can be set on the map relative to the local star, or selected objects.
Once a waypoint is set, the ship will accelerate until it reaches its destination. If that target is an enemy vessel, the ship can be ordered to set a distance to target by selecting the Enter Obit command, just by Right Clicking and selecting that from the NAV menu. The ship will then automatically pilot around the enemy in an arc at a set distance.
I haven't built the bridge assets yet - I wanted to finish the exterior hulls and modular rooms & halls first. The Bridge/CIC will be full of NPCs and Terminals, each one on the level below the command platform in the Pit.
Every NPC officer will be assigned to their terminal, and selecting hem will bring up an option to access their terminal, give them simple commands, or open their dialogue menus.
On the Bridge, planets and ships appear as icons floating around the room, so even if they are not visible on the simulated windows, they can always be located by looking around the room. By holding down Right CTRL, the player can use their cursor and use it as a mouse. By tapping Right CTRL and aiming at an icon, the terminal, NPC, or icon can be selected, and its context menu pop open.
If the player sits in the Command Chair, they can navigate the room with the mouse and turn 360 degrees with ease, but their movement controls are disabled in place of they key now used to bring up the helm, coms, weapons, and sensors. The HUD for the ship also display in 3D space over each terminal.
This combination of First Person and Omniscient command and control interface is toggled by walking up to terminals and activating them. The player can directly link their nervous system with the ship and see it from outside, controlling every ship system directly, or by talking with officers in first person.
The player issues broad commands to their Officers:
+ Attack this target.
+ Conserve Ammo
+ Fire Defensive Missiles Only
+ Fire at Will
+ Return Fire Only
+Vector to this Location.
+Open Coms channel when in range.
+Spotlight Marines to this location.
+Scan this region for... (resources, ships, cargo, anomaly)
Those commands are then carried out by the AI, depending on their stats.
Shadow Star also has a totally new Role Playing system under development that uses 5 stats to determine a player's personality and traits. These are: Charisma, Aggression, Intelligence, Perception, and Endurance. these are integrated into every area of the game.
Additionally, the player and NPCs have Merits and Demerits that serve to further add perks or banes. These can improve relationships, boost the performance of ship systems or crew, or do the opposite.
I'll get deeper into this system in the future, but it is mostly fleshed out and ready for testing. We'll probably run a few table-top testing rounds with it and use those sessions to plan for the balance and implementation in the game.
I hope you enjoyed this little window into what I'm working on. I'll keep everyone updated further as I start making more concrete plans.
You can also read about all this in the actual design documents and watch us on Facebook.
''How much did it cost to make Fallout: Project Brazil? I saw another mod that wants to do a kickstarter. I think they want to be you lol. Do you think they have a chance?''
It cost me about 1,400$ indirectly, if you ignore all the time we as a team spent on the project.
That's just for things like, going to LA to grab re-takes with an actor, buying new gear and software, PC parts, a new hard drive, hosting fees, and food & drinks for our sound studio. I paid that out of pocket from my measly day job as a vfx producer. Nobody got paid, and no one earned anything. When I asked if they'd like to, it was a resounding, ''We did it for the love, keep your money dude.''
I love you guys. I feel responsible to my community of moders to keep you safe. Paying for a mod breaks the rules. You can donate to a person or group as a gift, that's fine, but not make a financial contribution to a mod.
This mod the original poster was asking about... those guys don't have any experience in the GECK. They have beautiful art, a beautiful website, and a really good pitch. I mean, it's fantastic. I'm really proud of what they've done. They said they read our documents, so to me, that makes me feel like F: PB worked, it inspired someone else to do this. I want them to succeed. I do. But I know better, because I'm living it.
The hardest part about any indie game, huge mod, or volunteer basis project, is making sure that your team knows that all their hard work is worth it when you're just starting out in a grey blank abyss, with nothing to show as an alpha. I'm intimately familiar with that terror. It never goes away. You have some drawings, some write-ups, and hope. You can't motivate help with money, they don't want any even if you had it. So what do you do?
You do what you have to, as scary as it is: You learn to do as much of the hard work yourself as possible, set the foundation, and lead the way alone.
That means you get a copy of Blender, 3dsMax, Maya, XNormal, NDo, the GECK, Game Maker, Cryengine SDK, the UDK, the Creation Kit, the Source Engine, a manual on Python, C++, whatever. And you just, start. You don't even need a direction. Just sandbox, learn the ropes. Release tiny mods, like a helmet, or a new ship, an RPGMaker XP game, or just make NPCs use ammo. Something you can finish and feel proud of. Then dive into the big one.
If people choose to pitch in, they will do so knowing you'll always be there every step of the way, working just as hard as they do to make their efforts successful. You're not just an idea guy, you're a developer, and you're a team as long as you're all equal. Money will not help you. You think it will help, but money is just an excuse. What you really need is a goal, to just do it.
So to show you that you CAN do this for free if you do the work, here is my ''short'' list of my all-time heroes.
These are all Total or Near Total Conversions with a lore emphasis, and at or near professional quality. Some of these are my old sandboxes, so I know a lot of these developers personally. I'll try to keep it objective. To that end, We go first. :p
Notice the two 'prominent' examples of a TC. ;) We've got authority or some shit. F: PB of course, adds an all new campaign right along side New Vegas selected from the New Game menu, and then links back to New Vegas at the end of our story. The First Installment came out in May 2013, nailed 9th place on the mod DB mod of the year awards, and we've been able to talk to some cool developers since then. I'm still poor, working as a remote freelancer for vfx and videography, but the 2nd Installment is doing well and on its way. I also have a new game that I will announce when the 2nd Installment is launched someday.
A MASSIVE almost total conversion for Total Annihilation by The Registered One & Wotan, and TA:ESC team. It is one of the best RTS games of all time, and this mod makes it so that almost two decades later, it's still one of the most fun games, just, ever. You just have to play it to understand. It's addictive to this day. You can't improve upon it's formula. It'd be like adding to chess. It is as close to TA:2 we'll really ever get to me, as the new Planetary Annihilation and Supreme Commander just doesn't feel even remotely like TA. The Community developed Spring Engine, is also very cool.
A significant overhaul for Homeworld 2 that adds very deep management to the game's core mechanics. It is one of the best mods for an RTS, and makes for an amazing experience. The sights, the sounds, the tension: it's basically the perfect Epic Space Fight mod. It's as good as homeworld 3 as we'll get until Homeworld: Shipbreakers or the new Enemy Starfighter comes out, which you should all check out too.
I played BSG: Fleet Commander when it came out, and it was awesome. It is still awesome many versions later. Jumping the Galactica into a fleet of cylon base stars is really, really fun. There isn't much in the way of new voice acting, but hat there is fits. It's very immersive.
Battlezone II was not very well known, but it managed to blend genres extremely successfully in a way that just... wow. RTS + FPS + Tank Combat. Its mod community was off the charts, too. Battlezone II: Forgotten Enemies is the first mod I went crazy for, bug tested, and made maps for, that told me it was possible to do what you dream of, and that I could do this too. It's a feature length campaign, all new races with new units, buildings, and it runs flawless. All new voice acting, and lore friendly. It is essentially BZ3. Bionite: Origins is a game in development, launching a kickstarter in the near future, and is a successor to BZ2.
It is getting hard to find, so I backed up all these files on my storage hard drive at my home office, and a mirror is at BZScrap.
Yet another legend of the modding sphere, Minerva went up like a rocket. It's one of the best mods out there; beautiful, surreal, smart. Its team leader, Adam Foster, went on to make another title for profit and work at Valve.
The big mod that really shot the flare for all others to compare to. Black Mesa was really a port of the original Half Life 1 for the Source Engine, but it also added all new models, assets, voice talent, and effects. It then went commercial. You can buy it on Steam.
Neotokyo is absolutely fucking crazy. It is clearly very good. Great art, great execution. It's very hard to understand what it is at a glace, but it's original, it's smart, and it's very pretty. You can buy into their new game on Steam. As a first person shooter, it is very fun, and there are lots of professional teams that use NeoTokyo to point at as a landmark in the cyberpunk style of games. And that is a very hard genre to live up to.
Starting out as Beyond the Red Line, they got kicked in the guts by community betrayals and mismanagement, then split into two factions. Faction two, the Diaspora team, made it. It's for the freeware Freespace 2 Engine, all new shaders and effects, models, textures, voice acting, and a campaign, plus multiplayer. Many onboard went to work for Battlestar Galactica Online.
Another Freespace 2 Campaign that will just ruin any plans you had this week. Brilliant TC, and a spearhead for later mods like it, like Diaspora. I don't know where they all went, but they are amazing folk. Check out the Hard Light and Game Warden forums for a good time. [EDIT: According to a follower on facebook, they are still at work on their final installment. True champions!]
MechWarrior: Living Legends is a total conversion modification for Crysis Wars. Adds an all new online experience (breaking my rules a little bit,) models, textures, maps, voice acting -- just a mind blowing amount of work in that community, and top professional quality. Those maps tho, daymn. ;) Some went to work on Mechwarrior Online, and not to mention an Online Novel series.
Alex Velicky is an awesome guy. He put his money on the line, his life, his career, his education, all of it, and dove in balls first to make mods and get a job. You can argue that that's crazy, but he did it, and it worked. Falskaar is going to be one of those legends of game development, because he straight up got a job at Bungie on Destiny not two months later. I can't imagine working in a studio at his age; even at my age and experience it's like every day is a prize fight. You've gotta be pretty damn cool to be not even 20 and holding your own with industry guys. DEIMOS for Fallout: New Vegas is really cool also. AlChectBreach's playthrough will make you cry.
Wyrmstooth won number 10 on the 2013 Mod of the Year Award, right behind Fallout Project Brazil. While not technically a TC, it's close enough to an expansion pack to grant it. Arguably, they earned our spot, because they were totally finished, and just look at how amazing it is! It's yet another full campaign for Skyrim, fully voiced,and fully scripted with lots of unique assets and whole new world space to explore. It went under the radar, though, and it's a shame, because holy shit they're cool. I hope they manage to land jobs. If not, when I announce my new IPin the future, I want to hire these guys.
Nehrim is, obviously, on this list, because SureAI are just absolute legends. It's another full campaign mod, originally in German, but now in English. Full of great voice talent and assets. Their new Mod, Enderal - The Shards of Order, is also looking to be just as good as this one, probably several orders of magnitude better. Cube: Experiential for Fallout 3 was pretty badass too.
Beyond Boulder Dome was pretty good. Robert and Kaz both helped out on Fallout: Project Brazil, and were just really great people to work with. You can see their website here for Robert: Beyondmodding.blogspot.co.uk and for Kaz (who also drew all the art for our intro animation with me <3 ) here: Kazfoxsen.pixpasites.com
Edit: I forgot Alton and EMH! These guys were a huge encouragement to us in the early days of F: PB. Can't believe I almost forgot them. They added an all new world-space around their home town, new story, voice acting, and quests. I hadn't checked in on them in over a year, and it turns out their new project, Ethas: Embrace of Destiny is on the shelf, but it was still very cool.
Everybody remembers DayZ. It kinda breaks the 'free' rule I have going, but it was in its inception a mod by Rocket developed for free out of pocket. Then it took off. I bought it for 30$ in alpha, played it, and holy shit is that fun! A little wonky, but it's ridiculous how the emergent gameplay just shaped the way I see games now. It has some flaws. I hate online games, and all its issues to me stem from being an MMO. But it is still a unique experience. A few million dollars later, by the way.
It's rare that you find a mod that has a real pro-grade luster to it. A sheen of clear experience and understanding. Misery is a mod for STALKER that is in a class of its own. Of all of these mods, the end product was the most solid and on par with AAA professionals, putting a lot of them to shame. They just finished a Kickstarter at 150% for their new game, The Seed.
Third age is really well made. They still deserve a spot for all they've done for their community. It is true to the lore, really makes good use of he base engine, and has become yet another beacon of what a mod can do.
I'm not a Dootyboi, but I love Star Wars. I like KotOR more, but I can get into this. Galactic Warfare makes Call of Duty 4 the Empire Era Star Wars universe. Great Multiplayer. No single player campaign. *marks off points* But they have done incredible work outside their group, and the 501st loves them, hosting LAN parties at every convention I've been to so far with this mod on the list.
X3: Reunion was a pain in the dick of a game, and mods saved it, turning it into a very fun experience. Specifically, X-Tended saved it. X3: Terran Conflict made it better all around but didn't fix any real core problems, and then the moders came back and saved it AGAIN. The new ships, new missions, new plugins - all of that really made this a champion of everyone who bought that game. The MARS plugin and many other modders in this community also deserve a shout out. X:Rebirth, on the other hand, was a heartbreak in a DVD box.
Ultima V: Lazarus is yet another TC like F: PB or Nehrim that just blows off socks, and it did it way back in the day. This time, for Ultima on the Dungeon Siege 3D RPG engine. RPG players rejoice. This one took 6 Years to complete. I know that feeling.
You need to be kindof old school to remember this. The Aliens TC for Doom was the first TC, Ever. Like, before mods were a thing people talked about, and before anyone decided to adapt an engine to build a game inside of a game, alone. And it was good. So good that it went on to inspire others and now remains a legend. I put this on my highschool computer system, and it went viral. It's still on their server system for all of Amphi school district to this day. They can't get it out. :p Kids keep putting it back, along with the first AVP.
Yet another one of the first TCs of all time, and another hero. I can't tell you where the creators went, but it has been cited as their inspiration for many others.
Honorable mention, because I love Oni, and I love Anniversary Edition. :p Not a TC, but a really serious fan undertaking that adds a ton of content to this old and often under appreciated game. It adds lots of new skins, updates old ones, new maps, new modes, new weapons... if we could make a TC story mod, I'd so dive in, but the tools Bungie used don't exist any more.
So there you go. A huge list of mods that did the impossible, made it happen, and for free. No kickstarter, no paypal, nothing. Not even money from mum and dad. Many made it to the Industry level, or just plain made a fun game, with free tools and gumption.
In the end, it doesn't matter how you get there, just make great things. Spend $300 Million making your game with an army of 3,000 people, or spend $3,000 to host a server by yourself from a garage. Spend nothing and make a mod. It doesn't matter if you get the industry job or not, just make what you love. If you reach a dream in an industry job, you'll still be dreaming about making the titles you love. So who cares if you're pro or not, just make what you love.
But don't do it because you want something else, do it because you care. If you care, you'll make a good game, and you'll get where you need to go. And people will join you.
You can't be an idea guy and ask for money, with no technical experience, who can't deliver at least half of the work on your own. You can be a 3D artist and make all the levels before asking a programmer for help. You can be a programmer and write all the code and later ask for art help from modellers and texture guys. But you can't draw a few characters, no matter how good the drawing is, or write a story and say, ''Give me money, I'll figure it out as I go. Other people do that work, not me.''
Don't be that guy. That guy grows up to be a Hollywood Producer. That's my boss, in the armchair down the hall. DO THE WORK. It'll be worth it. It will make you a better human being.
I'll leave you with this video with Obsidian Entertainment's Chris Avellone. Start at 7:45. He goes down the list of what he's looking for if they're hiring. If you fit that definition, I will fight you for that job. XD