Friday, 11 December 2015

Low Poly......

I have a bit of an obsession with polygons.... The idea of working with very high poly-counts makes me nervous. I know exactly who I blame for this... and it's not necessarily a bad thing - it helped me get my job. Poly counts are important when you work in games.

I;ve wanted to have a stab at creating some really lo poly stuff - they kind I see in games I like and dotted around the web. It seems this style is very popular within Unity (I could be making that up... so you should go look for yourself). Still.... that kind of look where it reminds of origamis a little - folded paper lines? Yeah, that... I've wanted to have a go at that for a while.

Having just been on a 3Ds Max course (whichwas very cool) I'm also feeling all motivated and sutff to make things - which is really nice, because although I've been really getting in to my drawing recently, I've not felt like modelling anything in 3D.

So, progress so far:

I'm quite pleased with them so far..... Another tree to add and then I'm going to branch out in to some other things and try for the same style! :)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Which brings me nicely to.....

.... the games that had the biggest impact on me.

  • James Bond Action Pack (Zx Spectrum): This has to be 1st on the list (even though there is no particular order to this list - I suppose vaguely chronological) (see previous post). This game truly set me on my way.
  •  Alex Kid in Miracle World (SEGA Master System): I first played this at a friend's house and life would never be the same again. I was appallingly bad at this game - I've never completed it (like most games). But the colours, the characters, the levels... everything blew me away!
  • Troy Aikman Football (SNES): This was on my brother's console. He never liked American football, so why he had it is a slight mystery - I however LOVED it and it began a continuing love of American football games. I really really, still, love the graphics from that game.
  • Tekken (2 & 3) (Playstation): I love martial arts. I always have - blame it the Karate Kid and my Uncle (who did both Karate & Judo). Tekken, especially Tekken 2 & 3 consumed hours of my life - and hours of my friends' and brother's lives when they came round and we spent all day playing "Winner stays on". It was an introduction to learning strategies and button combos from magazines (along with, at one point, memorising the entire "family tree" of all the current Tekken characters. I was also my first fighting game in 3D.
  • Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES):  I loved this game. I still do. Except Ken.... I never liked Ken. Much like Paul in Tekken (who I could never beat).... I could never get to grips with Ken.
  • DOOM II (PC): This game came with a computer my parents bought. There is no way they would have ever bought it for us :) Every weekend I would play this game. All the way through. Then I acquired the cheat codes (who knows from where - this was before the internet!) and I played it through again, level hopping - playing it backwards. I would sit with a headset & mic on and pretend I was talking to other teammates while playing (I know). When Monday came, I would go in to school and talk about the game with 3 or 4 friends who also had it. We'd compare levels and what we did.. everything. It was on 5 x 3.5" floppy disks - eventually disk 1 corrupted and I haven't played Doom II since. I'm generally not a 1st person shooter fan - some even give me 'motion-sickness' - Doom seems to be the exception. It was also the moment in my life when BFG stopped meaning Big Friendly Giant.

  • GTA: Vice City (Playstation 2): I vaguely remember playing the original GTAs on my brother's console and he tried to show me GTA 3, but I didn't like it. Vice City however.... I played a little bit with him while home from Uni one holiday and I was hooked. Everything - how it looks, the music, the missions, the cheat codes, the sweet spot on the top of some structure where you could blast the crap out of everything and the police couldn't get to you, the clothes, the cars... maybe because I'm a child of the 80s - aesthetically it appealed to me in every way. And, it was the right size. Those islands were the perfect size for me - when I played San Andreas the world was too big. I wonder off, get lost, forget what I'm doing. I enjoy quite linear narrative/gameplay I guess - I'm happy to be in a sandbox and be able to do as I please, but San Andreas was too big for me. Once I lose attention to the core storyline - the core game - I stop playing. Which is why since Vice City I've not played GTA games. Also, now, the game itself doesn't appeal to me anymore. Vice City however, will always have space on the game shelf in my heart
  • Dungeon Keeper II (and 1, but mainly 2) (PC): I'm guessing that Dungeon Keeper must have come with a computer my parents bought... I don't know how else we would have got it. Both my brother and I were hooked on number 1 and then when number 2 came out, there was a demo on a disk that came with a magazine and I was firstly: not happy that the look had changed (but I quickly got over that) and secondly: I loved the humour. Micro piglets stalk you dungeon! I cannot tell you you how many times I have played through those 20 level of DK2, but it's a lot. I still have it in it's box (I miss those big PC boxes), although I haven't played for a few years now; but any time I'm asked for a list of my favourite games it appears in the top 3.
  • Warcraft III (PC): I lost an entire summer to this game. Zap... Gone. Just like that. What did you do this summer? I played Warcraft. I went to work (at a bar) came home, slept and then woke up and played more Warcraft. When I finished, I bought the expansion♦. The Arthas/Lich King storyline is my favourite of all the Warcraft stories and lore. I love strategy games - I played a lot of Civilisation and Populous with my brother growing up (and lot of Theme Park), but Warcraft really got under my skin. The fantasy setting was probably what did it above and beyond other games I'd played. I remember buying it in an HMV store - I'd wondered around and on the floor in the games section was this big black box. I picked it up and it was on sale, looked interesting, was a special edition... So I bought it and zap.... Gone. The whole summer. So much so, that when World of Warcraft first came along I refused to play it because of what would happen (even though I knew I would love it). Which leads me on nicely to:
  • World of Warcraft (PC): WoW is my only forray in to MMOs and also one of very few jaunts in to RPGs. I generally don't feel a need to play online with or against other people and I'm not a fan of the grind and thought that goes in to RPGs. I do, however, love Warcraft. I started playing in 2009 when I was introduced to someone by a friend, who played and was in a guild and told me I should definitely come play with them. So I did. 6 years later I'm still playing and 2 of my best friends have come from that guild and I still play with them now (albeit in a different guild). This game has consumed hours... No, HOURS of my time - not just playing, but researching too. I'm very much a casual player by a lot of WoW standards of play. I enjoy that I can play by myself or with others (which goes completely against my usual not wanting to play online with others). I like exploring as much as questing as much as dungeons (again, going against my dislike of straying from the narratives), but it's such a massive world. I don't get in to the stats and a lot of things pass me by. I don't care: I just love this game and the friends it has brought me.

So, there we go! Sure, I've played loads more - many of those I can't even remember the name of! These are the ones that have really stuck with me or made a lasting mark, games I've poured hours in to, games I've actually completed (which is very rare!) Worth every single penny and minute, all of them.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Gaming memories.....

I was recently reading an interview with a game dev and the first question they asked her was: What was your first experience with video games?

Which got me thinking: What was my first experience with video games? That would be the christmas my parents got me a Sinclair ZX Spectrum (specifically the James Bond Action Pack that came with that beautiful light gun).

I imagine this purchase had more to do with James Bond than computer games. Still - I can remember opening that present and being completely in love with it. A little internet research leads me to believe that this would have been 1990. Wow... I was 7years old.

I vaguely remember the goodies that came with it - I imagine that I played with them A LOT (growing up all I wanted to be was either James Bond or Indiana Jones).

Anyway... I remember playing the clay pigeon shooting game over and over and over again ("Lord Bromley's Estate" I'm guessing) and target practice ("Q's Armoury"?). Weirdly I don't remember the other title in the box - the actual Living Daylights game.

Other games I played on this computer included a Top Gun game, a Star Wars game, a Karate game, a Yogi Bear game, a Batman game... all of them of course requiring you to put the tape in and leave it to load (close the door and come back later).

I suppose, to be a little more dramatic - that was a life changing moment then, that Christmas - as I was introduced to video games for the first time and I never looked back!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Advice flows easily.....

.... but that doesn't mean it's any good.

Recently, on several occasions, by several different people, I've been asked for advice. Particularly relating to working in the games industry (less and less questions about coffee... sad times).

And, it's cool - I like sharing my "story" and how I got where I am and giving my advice on things. Makes me feel like maybe I know what I'm talking about - or at least that I can tell people about how I got here; through Uni, after Uni and getting this job and working here. Because really, all I can tell anyone is my own story. I remember doing teacher training and one of the teachers at my first placement saying that everything is storytelling; even teaching. I really took that to heart. It's all about storytelling. Everything (that and everything is a game [or could be]).

Anyway.... back to advice giving. All anyone can really offer is advice based on their own experience. Not everyone's experience is the same. Not every method works for everyone. That and a regurgitation of the advice I've received and worked for me.

This little outburst was inspired by Roxanne Gray's blog here, where she puts things fantastically:

</ramble over>

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Hardly anyone fell asleep!

SO, a week ago I went to Norwich University of The Arts and did a guest lecture for some first years. I spoke to them about what job I have, what it involves, how I got my job and my experience so far, along with some advice on stuff like portfolios and skills.

As is my wont, I rambled a bit. However, I really enjoyed it and I hope I said stuff that they found relevant and helpful.

I remember 2 game devs coming to give talks while I was at Uni - one a general talk to everyone from some at Ninja Theory and another for the MA group (cohort?) from someone at TT Games. Both talks were really interesting - like a chance to peek in the window at how people work and what they do. Along with some bits of advice.

I find most of the advice I can offer people has come from a mashing up of my experience and the various bits of advice I've collected from here and there - from people at conventions, people at talks, my tutors at Uni, books, magazines, online article and YouTube, tutorials etc etc - all those tiny bits that I've consciously (or unconsciously) collected over time are what come out now, as I attempt to sound like I know what I'm talking about and offer advice.

All in all, very cool and topped off a week that included a visit to another studio in London to meet the Art Lead and see what they're up to, how they work, what their team like.

I love my job :)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Long time in the making.....

It's a bit like how waiting for a NIN album used to be. Sure it will be worth it though..... I hope....

I have been away in the real world getting a job as a Junior 3D Artist - which has taken up my time. Shortly before that, I started on a new project to create a Lego Fire Car brick-by-brick, to scale, and without worrying about polycounts (and it turned out, with no use of textures!) So here are some pics:

I started this project in Maya: I've always used Maya as it's what I learned at Uni, however at work they use 3Ds Max, so I have converted over and I finished off this project (or, did the final rendering and positioned) in Max. I imagine I'll use Max from now on. Although I worry that I will forget how to use Maya entirely, so maybe it would be best to open it up and do something every now and then?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Environment as Character?

So, here's my thought for the day:
Are game environments characters? Are they as much of a character in a game as any other character? A lot of thought, research preparation etc goes in to the design of characters - their appearance, their abilities, their history and their future. How the player will control them, how the player will interact with them. Are environments essentially the same? Can they be?

Great environments might be stunning landscapes, interesting places, light, dark, inside outside, urban, natural.... and if all you do is look at the environment then all it has to be is an interesting or beautiful landscape.

In games, however, we interact with the environment and sometimes it interacts with us. The content of the environment adds 'character'; adds atmosphere – sometimes the obstacle to overcome isn’t another character, but the environment itself.

Can the each environment have a ‘personality’? Can great character design concepts and techniques be applied to designing an environment? Affecting how level designers plan the level, how concept artists envisage the level and how environment artists create the level be creating the ‘character’?

I’ve so far been unable to find and literature on this. My thinking is that there must be something in the theory of film sets/environments as having character if there isn’t any specifically about games.

Saturday, 12 October 2013



  1. The action or fact of resurrecting or being resurrected.
  2. (in Christian belief) Christ's rising from the dead.

revival - resurgence - resuscitation

.... or something like that. I need to resurrect this blog so I can share ramblings, game related or otherwise (otherwise probably being environment/3D modelling relates ;) )  Rather than focusing on my ongoing work, it will probably be more 'musing' or thoughts... However, to see my work go to - it's all kinds of tasty!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Sunday, 6 November 2011