Rigged, and Ready to go.

I could (should) have had this rigged a week ago, but oh well. Anyways, I got a workable rig. I noticed however that when importing into Unity, it sometimes looks weird as if some of the bones in the spine are rotated when they shouldn’t be. It does a similar thing in Blender sometimes, but once I move the frame it snaps back into place. It might not be a problem. Its a good thing this isn’t even the final character model/rig. I’m going to use this as a prototype for the game. Later I will re model the character to look better. As you can even see here there are some weird deformations in some areas. I think it should be good for now.

Tomorrow I plan on doing some C# Unity tutorials. After that I will get this guy running around in game.

Development Commences!

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Last week I talked about how things always come up, and set you back. Well, I think things are just about fixed. (almost) I can actually work on the game now. Anyways, I was able to finish up this preliminary testing model today, so that I can start prototyping. I will most likely remodel this character later once I see what kind of changes will be needed. This should be good for now. I thought about using primitives to test, but I think that having an actual character model will look better. having models (even if they get changed out for better ones) will help me to nail down the look as well. Tomorrow I plan to rig him, and then put on some basic animations. After that I will get him moving around on screen.

Here I did a quick test in Unity, where I imported the model, and put some spotlights near his eyes. The idea is that his eyes emit light. So I need to be able to show a forward facing beam from each eye, as well as have them look like they are glowing and lighting up the front part of his face. This is going to be a big part of the game. Including other abilities revolving around light. (did someone say lasers?) I’ve even figured out how refraction can play a part in game play. Well, it sounds cool in theory. I’ll have to test it out.

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Something always comes up.

Im writing this week’s blog post from my phone. Something always comes up to throw a wrench in your plans.  Especially for for the game i want to make.  Its as if an invisible force is actively working to ensure I fail. For example, last week i decided to walk to the park with my sketchbook to do some concept art in a nice distraction free environment. As I get there, my nose starts bleding profusely. I had no tisues,so I had to wipe it with my hands. I got it to stop bleeding, but my my hands are all covered in blood. I had to walk back home to clean myself up. I intended to drive back to the park and draw. However, it startrd raining on the wayback. ( it was nice akd sunny whem I decided to leave initially)

That’s just one example. Right now there is an issue with my computer. Literally the day after I decide to go public with Lightshrew.

Today’s post was going to be a kind of introduction to my new blog format. Being all about the production of a 3d action platformer video game being made by a lone animator with mi imal coding skills, and documenting the process. So, I suppose we can still count today as an entry into the Lightshrew dev blog.

The takeaway here is that there will always be resistance, and something will always get in your way. It may even seem like the world is against you (in many ways it is) something will hault you before you even get a real chance to start. Expect that. Expect to be thrown even more obstacles. They wont let up. They will continue, and they will get bigger. Don’t give up. Deal with the issue, and move on. Its an uphill battle. Well, lets get climbing. I’ll see you at the top.

Half a year

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is exactly 6 months from now. There are a few team projects things that I am currently working on to show off there. Mostly I want to go there to meet people and network. But of course that’s no excuse to not come prepared with cool stuff to show. Besides these team projects, there is this game idea that has been bouncing around in my head for several months. I’ve been figuring out story, and doing a bit of concept art in my “free time”. I haven’t been full on with this, as I have some other projects that are taking up most of my time. I need to make this game a bigger  priority. I need to see what I can come up with in half a year.

Right now I’m hesitant to show too much, as I want to get something somewhat substantial going before I really go public with this. Maybe I can be convinced to turn this Weekly whatever blog, into a dev blog. For now here is a quick sketch of my main character reaching for a weird mushroom.

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Specialist vs generalist

I’ve been struggling with this question for quite a while. Talking to lots of people it seems that if you want to be successful in the field of CG, you need to specialize. Become just a character modeler. Do just hard surface modeling. Be a texture artists. Just do lighting. Be a rigger. Do straight up character animation. There are so many pieces of the pipeline, and its impossible to get good at all of them. I’ve been really hesitant to pick something to specialist in, as I feel that would pigeonhole me too much. Or worse, my skills become obsolete with new technology, or employers hire more people from overseas, leaving me to be highly skilled in one niche area that I can’t find work with.

Yet, I also read that generalists are better for freelance work, and for smaller studios. Still though, the common piece of advice I read is to specialize in something. Maybe its my stubbornness showing again, but I really do not want to pick something and abandon the rest. I think about what got me into this in the first place. I don’t like doing CG, because modeling is fun. I don’t do it because texturing is fun. I also don’t do it because animating is fun. Although doing certain things are fun, what I like about it all is the whole package. I remember the first time I created an entire scene in 3D. I can’t find the file, but It was a simple snowy landscape with a snowman character. It was so simple, and very crude. Yet, I was so proud of it. It was mine. I used a tool which was the computer, to create a world and a character that didn’t exist. I brought life out of nothing.

I’m having a hard time explaining what I mean. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think I would be happy if I was making a lot of money doing just the same thing over and over. I’d be a cog in a machine, and I would constantly have to worry about layoffs. I would only be able to work on other people’s projects, and I wouldn’t be able to do my own.

Ok, so I want to be able to do everything. Is that even practical? I like to think that it is. I don’t see a problem working for smaller studios or indie projects. Yes the smaller guys wont have the funds to hire a specialist in every piece of the pipeline, so it makes sense that they will hire a smaller number of generalists who can get the job done and wear more hats. At least in theory that’s how I envision it. Maybe I’m wrong.

I just know that there are things that I want to do, that will only be done if
A: I do it all myself (maybe bring on a few teammates to help, but overall its my baby)
B: Somehow get the funds to hire a specialist in every other thing that I am not, and then also play director role.(Which by definition means that I’m no longer specializing)

I’m not rich, so Option B is out. It has to be option A.

Does option A offer a realistic way to make money and afford living? That’s the question I wonder about. In theory yes. If I do everything at a high quality then yes I can make it work. There are lone indie game developers who can afford to make ends meet. Most of them don’t however, but they do exist. Can I be one of them?  I would have to take on programming in addition to art, which makes things VERY difficult.

So I wonder, if I decide to stay a generalist, and create my own stuff in hopes to support myself, am I being naive? Or am I being ambitious? That seems like the harder option. Yet, at the end of the day I would prefer to be successful doing what I want to do, than to be a cog in somebody else’s machine. Is that a childish mentality to have? I think about what got me into this in the first place, and it wasn’t the modeling. It wasn’t the texturing. It wasn’t the animation. It was creating.

I think I need to at least give it a shot. The worst that can happen is I fail.

Why you should Quit

The economy sucks. War is raging across the world. Health costs have been going up. You’re getting older and seeing that adulthood is much harder than you thought. You have to work a shitty job, and work on your goals in your off time. Or you just do school and go into massive debt, hoping to get that job you’ve always dreamed of that will somehow pull you out of the hole you dug for yourself. Art jobs are over saturated with people who are already way better than you, and realistically you don’t stand a chance. You’re just wasting your time.

Why even bother? If you’re smart you’ll quit now and save yourself from a trainwreck later down the road. My advice for you is to quit trying to be an artist, and do something else. Go ahead and do art as a hobby, I still think that’s a great idea. But if you intend to make a living doing this, you’re wasting your time.

Does that sound negative? Yes it does, and I don’t care. That’s the truth. You’re parents lied to you. Your teachers lied to you, and so did your friends.

Now if you’re stubborn like me, and decide to pursue this anyways. Maybe your late to the game, or maybe you just suck. If you decide that even though its a bad move, that you still want to pursue art as a career. Then what are you doing on Facebook? Quit watching YouTube. Quit playing videos games. Quit hanging out with your friends all the time. If they are true friends, then they will understand that you have goals, and they will support you in that. If they get offended for you not wanting to hang out, then they aren’t your friends. Find better friends.

Quit watching TV. Quit going out to eat. Quit going on trips. Quit buying shit you don’t need. Lower your expenses as much as you can so that you can save money for when things get really shitty, or maybe so you can afford to live working less hours at your job, so that you have more hours in the week to work on your art.

I can only speak for myself here. I know I’m not the best artist, and I’m often doubtful about if I have what it takes. Yet, I can’t think of anything else I would want to do with my life. I know we need doctors, engineers, construction workers, teachers, software developers, grocery store managers, truck drivers, and the list goes on. Yet, none of those will make me happy. Maybe I’m stubborn.

No matter what decision you choose, you’re going to have to quit something. Are you going to quit your dreams of being an artist so that you can live comfortably working in a more stable industry? Or are you going to remember what got you into art in the first place, and decide to quit being a little bitch, and do your stuff?

The time for pussyfooting around is over. You need to make a decision.
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No horse for you.

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I was rummaging through my hard drive, and came upon this horse model that I made a year ago. I’m not doing anything with it, I thought I would put it online for free. Why not? Its just a base mesh. If I’m going to sell something, its going to be of quality. Then I thought, that I should probably actually sell my Fire Hydrant Asset.
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That’s good enough to sell. Let me just log onto the Unity Asset Store, and set it up. Then I remembered…

Taxes.

You can’t do anything these days without the government trying to get a piece. I suppose I could just start selling my stuff now, and deal with taxes on a personal level. Yet, I think it might be a good idea to register as a business first, that way I don’t get screwed over later. Looks like I wont be selling that Fire Hydrant just yet. I thought I would upload just the free horse model, that way I can get some more credibility for when I actually sell stuff. Yet in both the Unity Asset Store, as well as TurboSquid, they want information pertaining to your company. Since I don’t have one yet, and I don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to re-do things, and jumping through hoops trying to change names of everything, and possibly even having to make new accounts with the business email. I decided not to upload to either of those two places.