It's time again... Time to blow your minds with the awesomeness that is MEDIA RELEASE TIME. We want to show you some of the awesome stuff that is being produced by people here at Tactical Assault which you'll be able to see for yourself in the game. So, today we'll be showing off some of the shiny new models that Molez has made for Storm's upcoming "Brewery" map (which we'll be showing you very soon - stay tuned ) Molez was nice enough to answer some questions for us and give us a bit of an insider perspective on what working with Tactical Assault is like for him.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am 23 and currently living in the wonderful city of Vancouver, BC, Canada. I am 150 internship hours away from completing my B.F.A in new Media from the University of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) and I hope to be able to land a video game industry job in the near future. Despite the nature of my current job and some of my hobbies I have always been a very active person, having raced in a large downhill mountain bike race, rode many dangerous things on my snowboard, and placed decently in waterpolo and rock climbing competitions. Other then that I am your average computer nerd, playing way too many video games and knowing more than I care to admit about servers, networks, vpn dialers etc.
How did you get involved in Tactical Assault?
I moved out to Vancouver almost a year ago in search of an internship in the video game industry to finish my schooling just as all this crap in the world’s economy started. I spent the next almost 2 months being supported by loans and my girlfriend, who ironically landed and internship and now a full time job as a motion capture technician at Electronic Arts, while I worked on my portfolio and searched for an internship. I stumbled across the moddb somehow while searching the internet for something and ended up picking out the TA team from the lists of mods as being what I felt the best looking and the most fun mod currently in production. I have always wanted to work on a next gen FPS and decided it does not hurt to apply. The worst anyone can say is no. I got in and due to the mass amounts of time on my hands I managed to crank out lots of models before I was forced to get a full time job to pay the bills. Many months later I am still working away trying to get as much work put into this awesome game as I can.
What kind of games do you play?
I dabble in everything to be honest. I have been a casual/”hardcore” mmorpg player for about 4-5 years though recently I spend most of my time playing my 360. I would have to categorize myself as a FPS player above anything else, thought I will give any game a play if it looks good and pride myself on finishing almost every game I have ever started. I can say that I will definitely be playing modern warfare 2 religiously when it comes out next month and really hope that one day TA will be able to get on the xbox network and I can play this religiously with my brother and the rest of the TA community.
How did you get into modeling and texturing for games?
I started my 3D back when I was probably in grade 10-11 with Blender. I remember doing a few computer class projects in 3D and to this day I haven’t stopped. I believe my passion for modeling and texturing stemmed out of my love for video games. I have always loved finding out how things worked and since I loved video games so much I instinctively learnt how they were created. I enjoy working on something and seeing it come to life. I like putting all the parts together and seeing an object that I created running in real time as part of a bigger level or game. For some reason I have never been that interested in modeling for live action and have always stuck to my passion for creating art for video games. For me there is something so satisfying in the creation and problem solving surrounding creating something that will be seen and interacted with in real time. You have to try to cover every angle as what you create will often not just be seen from the view that you want your audience to see it from.
What are you currently working on at the moment?
For a few reasons I have decided to put aside modeling and texturing for the mod in order to help out in areas that are getting less attention yet need to be completed before a beta can be released. Aside from my love for modeling/texturing I also love the challenge of figuring out a problem especially if there is not much knowledge out there on the topic. I am currently working on importing the menu/UI fonts and graphics and getting them working properly in all scenarios and resolutions. Fonts especially lack documentation out on the internet and thus I have had to figure it all out on my own from very little information. I will say that the fonts for TA will be awesome once it is all done. I have also been working on some of the particle effects for the game as well and hope to have some excellent effects built for you all to enjoy. After the bulk of those two areas are complete I will for sure be back to modeling and texturing. Most likely for either whatever Storm’s present map is or any number of other good project ideas he will be working on after
Stay tuned as I am sure that some of my current projects will surface in future media releases
What software do you use? Can you give us an idea of what your usual workflow is like?
The software I use the most is; 3D Studio Max, ZBrush and Photoshop. I also use Unfold 3D, XNormal and Crazy Bump however they are not necessarily a part of all my work flows. I am still in pursuit of the optimal workflow and I am sure with the constant change in technology and software that we will never find the holy grail of workflows. However my general work flow is usually as follows. Start by gathering good reference images to get a good idea of how I want the object to look. In some cases I will sketch out ideas on paper. After that I will work on building a base mesh, if it’s an organic character I usually don’t built anything too fancy at first. If it’s a hard surface or less organic model I will often build a mesh that’s very close to the one I will use in the final export. Next I will make up a high poly version of the mesh, either by traditional modeling techniques or using zbrush. Would then tweak the base mesh or add to it if needed depending on the amount of changes I did while doing the high poly, then unwrap it. In most cases with characters I will have to retopologize the mesh at some point too. Finally I will extract the normal and AO map. Then paint a texture from photo sourcing and hand painting, finishing with the creation of a spec map. Depending on the model I would create other map’s as necessary. Then apply it all in max using a viewport shader and if it looks good then load it up in the editor and create a nice material structure for it. This is only a rough idea of my workflow as it changes project to project.
If anyone wants more info or advice you can contact me anytime.
In the end the best advice is planning and being aware of how you model will be used in game and never being afraid to ask questions. I am always getting ideas and advice from the level designers as communication between team members is key.
What do you find to be the most difficult part of your job?
There are many challenges involved in being an artist. Staying creative and not getting too repetitive are always going to be a struggle for any artist. That’s not to say it isn’t ok to find area’s your good at and focus on them, but staying creative on the whole can be tough to maintain every day. Keeping up to date with all the new theories and practices being implemented and created is almost a full time job in itself. The industry as a whole moves so fast that by the time you’re done creating your game you almost need to learn it all over again. But in the end learning new techniques and improving my skills is what half the fun is, and I hope I never run out of new problems to solve and new models to create. If I had to pick the biggest difficulty of my job I would have to say its living up to my own expectations. If anything I am the hardest on my own work and am never really satisfied with anything I just learn to know when it’s smart to move on and let go.
While we've only been showing you snippets of what we're doing there is actually a lot more going on. We're currently getting more things into the game engine like menus and scoreboards and such which are helping to inch us closer to our finished product... we're as eager as you are to start playing this game so believe us when we say that we're doing all we can to get it to you!
The team here at Tactical Assault is always looking for new, talented people to join our ranks. If you think you have what it takes to help us in the glorious task of getting our first release to the public then we want to hear from you. Go to www.tactical-assault.com/apply to apply!
See you on the servers,
Your TA Team