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Sunday, January 23, 2011

TAIL TOWNS announced & thoughts on crunch time -

We're on the home stretch! I haven't been able to post new work because I've been in crunch mode at work the last 2 weeks.

On the same subject, I just watched a 3-part documentary on Sly Cooper/Infamous devs Sucker Punch Inc. and in one of the parts they talked about crunch time. Since we're currently crunching, I thought I'd do a little write up about my time spent working extra hours thus far.

What I dislike most is that I'm loosing time with my girlfriend; but at the same time I'm getting more time to do what I love...make games.

Don't get me wrong - I am a believer in the ideal that everyone needs a balance between work and play. There are studios that manage to get by without crunch time (or very little), and there are those that are buried in it for months. My understanding is that the main cause for crunch time is project mis-management, but not just from a management position side. There are also other factors that just get piled up over time and a zillion things that can attribute to crunch time.

The thing that I've taken away from my experience so far (which, by the way, has been pretty minimal compared to other game devs), is that you see much more progress during crunch time, your workflow solidifies greatly both with your team and yourself, and it's such a great feeling to suddenly see a huge piece of the game that didn't exist a week ago be playable. If you deal with it in the right way a bit of crunch time isn't the worst thing in the world. If you end up pulling 70 hour weeks for months on end though...that's gonna crush your spirits.

We have a comparable sized team to that of Sucker Punch Inc. and I felt a resonance with a lot of what they were saying in the documentary, both good and bad. It's only increased my desire to continue to make video games for many years to come. The great people that I get to work with now and in the future, the new things I learn everyday that make me a better artist and person overall, truly make it a dream come true for me.

Over the holiday's I was playing a pseudo-boardgame with my family and one of the questions that I recieved was along the lines of "What would you be doing if you landed your dream job?". As I read the card a smile spread slowly across my face at the sudden realization that I was doing it right now; I was living my childhood dream. With a bit of surprise at hearing the words slip past my lips, I said aloud "I'm already doing it". I'd been so buried in trying to get my career started over the past few years and absorbing the joy that is the game development process that I guess I'd somehow glossed over the fact!

As she says in the documentary "They say that if you do something you love, you'll never work a day in your life".

At the moment, that statement feels true, crunch time and all.

Cheers :)

P.S. I'll be posting some development/study drawings for my D&D character in a couple of days! Be sure to check back!

Friday, January 07, 2011

First 2011 sketches

Just before the holidays a friend of mine at work was drawing the back muscles to help me understand how to draw them and afterwards he mentioned that I should hold my pencil like you would a piece of conte during life drawing. I (shamefully) haven't done life drawing for a couple of years and generally don't hold my pencils in that fashion.

So, while I was sketching the other day I decided to try and dust off the technique and I ended up with what you see above! I still have to practice rendering in this way but it was a lot of fun!

I'm going to keep doing rendered sketches like these to help me with my understanding and exploration of form, and I think it might also help me with future 3D sculpting in Zbrush and the like.

Happy New year :D

P.S. The above is an attempt at a new way of presenting my sketches, which I've sorely needed for a while. My girlfriend gave me some awesome Photoshop pointers but I've still manged to muck it up. You might notice some darker areas around the sketches which seem to be the result of my crapping masking job and possibly some compression artifacting. I'll try and clean it up when I get some time.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Fighter update with colour

Took the plunge and decided to attempt some colour on the fighter.

Inspiration for my Fighter/Swordmage character has been really tough. I just can't seem to visualize him in my head!

Schell Sculpt Studies

 I was tipped off to Jordu Schell by a friend last year and was instantly taken by his work. A few days later while I was waiting for Jeanette to get ready, I decided to draw from some of Jordu's sculpts and the above is the result.

I find some of my better drawings come when I'm waiting to go somewhere and I'm just doodling. If I don't know how much time I'll have to spend on a drawing I tend to care less about what the outcome will be and nearly everytime the result is one of my better sketches/ideas. Blasted fits of random inspiration! It's like trying to bottle lighting sometimes ;)

Check out Jordu's work -