Sunday, 29 November 2015

So much has been happening...

Quick post as it's been a while, so much has been happening.

Trying to keep it short, I've moved into a share space in the city run by a good friend of mine, and I'm snagging one of the better rooms to use as an office to start my own games company. Hoping some of the other decent guys I've studied with will move in with me.

Work has been slow on my personal game "Break Time" but once study has finished (which it practically has) and I get back from holidays I hope to move full steam ahead with it, with help from the others.

I won second place in my region for a "world skills" game design challenge. That was a nice surprise as I thought I was too old to enter the competition (it's for under 25's) but my lecturers encouraged me to enter anyway.

I've been working on an environment scene for my end of year expo show reel, my eyes are falling out from the amount of time I've spent on it, but I just keep adding stuff! Here's a screenshot.

All textured off a single 2k texture sheet (except for the trees.)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Poster Art

Here's my first idea for a poster, designed to advertise an end of year student expo called "Polycon".
Set for A3 size. Will need to add a few more details and set text out somewhere.

...and a few images I had in my illustrator document for reference/inspiration.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

InDesign Work

So for the past 2 years whilst I've been studying, my position changed at my office job from sales to... well mainly graphic/brochure design and layout, which is perfect as I get to keep using my Adobe apps. In that time I've taught myself a fair portion of Adobe InDesign and I'm really starting to like it! At least I will have some new skills to add to my resume!

The InDesign jungle I stare at, at least 2 days a week.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Achievement Icons WIP

Few icons I've been working on in Illustrator for our "Break Time" mobile game. Came up with a logo concept also which I'm digging, smashed up computer goodness.

Class v Class Jam

We had a game jam between classes here at our college a few weeks ago. It was great to get everyone together to work on a single project rather than being splintered into our usual little cliques.

I put my hand up to do the lead game design, but ended up pitching in for the art team also. The theme was "get your ass to Mars" which we chose to interpret literally.

Ended up going with a vertical launcher/physics sorta game where you strap a prosthetic butt to a rocket and try to launch it into space! We had 2 weeks in total to finish the game, most of it was done in class time. Had some cool features like a menu screen between launches where you can upgrade your ship.

Here's some screenies... The link to play is also below!

Loading screen.
Ready to launch your butt into space, replete with a shield addon!

Launching through spaaace powered by butt gas.
Upgrade screen between launches.

Messing around in Excel for calculating score.
The game was upped by my bud Peter at Hungryum games on behalf of the class:


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Blacksmith House update

Going to finish this tutorial house up soon as I can, I'm improving my hand-painting technique and starting to enjoy it now. Happy with the progress!

Hand painting moving forward.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Ludum Dare 33

So I participated in a global game-jam with 3 other students, have to say it was a great experience!

It's an event called "Ludum Dare" and you get 72 hours to create a game and submit it over the weekend. A theme is selected for the jam via a poll, the winning theme is only revealed at the last minute so people can't pre-plan what they're doing. The theme this time around was "you are the monster".

So far on the website as of writing this there are over 2500 entries up, that's a lot of games!

Here's our entry called "The Game Reaper"

It's made me realize what we can achieve in such a short period of time, how tricky it can be to collaborate over the net, how important good coders are and how messy my pipeline is for creating art and assets!

We will most likely polish this moving forward and develop the idea further as it's fun to play.

Monday, 10 August 2015

UI Element Concept

Quick UI element concept done in class, roughly an hour in Photoshop. Could be used as health/mana type bar, reminds me of a Death Knight from WoW?
Icy Metal!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Logo hack

Here's a logo that was made as a quick exercise in class. The idea was to produce a vector based logo, then export the spline and bring it in to Maya for an extrude. That mesh was then imported to ZBrush and bashed around, texture was projected over the top then brought back in to Maya for lighting, materials and render. Final render was touched up in Photoshop.

All hail the high pass filter.

I picked out an old logo I had done in Illustrator for myself which was never used and ended up with this thing. Overall it didn't take long but I wasn't going to spend forever on it, was good practice in rapidly producing something that could be used for a game, animated on a loading screen etc.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

2 hour quick scene

I often swing past a place that's near our campus called Whipper Snapper Distillery which has a coffee shop in the front. While I was waiting I snapped a few photos and decided to model a quick scene from them, pinching some textures from the photos.

The photos I took on my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy S4).

All up the scene took about 2 hours to model, texture and render. The UV's are quite terrible and are a total hack job, the texture density could have been figured out better, and my modelling could have been more efficient but the idea was speed. I want to get a lot more of these little tests done with time constraints.

Render of the scene. Beauty & quick AO pass comped.

Second render.
Basic normal and spec maps were generated from the texture within Photoshop without spending too much time. The scene is relatively low weight with 3270 poly's. Textures were 2k resolution, a standard Blinn was used in Maya for the shader, the little tumblers on the counter top were created from a mia_material_x.

Diffuse, spec, normal, all from PS. The only thing not sourced from photos was the metal texture.

Some junk I do at work

Even though I've been back studying for the last 1.5 years, I've stayed on working casually in the office where I'm employed at a home automation company.

It's been great as my role here has changed from sales to more of a sales-team-assistant-dude. I've spent a lot of time putting my design chops to work creating flyers, brochures, mail-outs, fixing web site stuff and helping develop our sales processes further.

Vector images used in a manual. Pretty simple stuff but enjoyable to create.

The fact I'm able to study and then come to work and use Adobe software all day is really good to help keep my skills developing in other areas rather than just games! In-Design is something I hadn't even looked at before but now I'm becoming quite proficient with it for print, as well as keeping up with vector designs in Illustrator and general pixel bashing in Photoshop.

This was printed to a sticker and stuck on a specific size piece of MDF we cut to be used as a "training board".

The finished board once the sticker was stuck on and I pulled some gear out of our warehouse to bolt on to it.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Face rigging in Maya

Started a little exercise to rig a pixar-esque face mesh in maya. Model was graciously donated by our lecturer Anthony. I plan to model my own head in a similar fashion and rig it up in the same way!

Face mesh with rig overlay, rig on its own.
Floating GUI to constrain to rig for animation, relating to joint position. Rig hierarchy.

Very straight forward work flow, of course joint position and skin weight painting is key! Haven't constrained the rig to the face GUI yet, that comes next.

Realistic sandwich physics

So a game I've been working on in class with some other students should get finished by the end of this year. It's influenced by games like "Paper Toss" and revolves around throwing objects in an office and breaking stuff. Current working title is "Break Time".

The idea is it will be a mobile only game. As we're making it in Unity on PC we are controlling it with mouse click and hold, drag to throw objects sort of dynamics. Hopefully this translates to touch screen/gyro control. We will have to push it to android soon to test it out and figure the limitations of the engine/physics calculations etc. Our Trello board is bustling with assets we need to finish!

More assets, the list keeps growing.

The holy breakable sandwich. This little baby comes apart. Need splatter decals!
Little office sandbox type thing.

Stuff thrown around. Points!

We're aiming to get this done and published in the next 6 months. Today we've started discussions amongst lecturers and groups of students to figure out the semantics of marketing and shipping a game.

Need to settle on a business name, how much it will all cost, etc etc. So much work to do! Exciting times though, it would be nice to get something published.

Cue begging for Kickstarter money.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

(WIP) Blacksmith house from tutorial

Here's some progress on a project I'm yet to finish, based off a tutorial I found online (via Most of the work here is in the hand painting rather than the modelling, although I learned some great workflow tips and scene organization along the way with this one. Hand painting textures is quite laborious! I need to set a timer and just bash it out I think.

Renders? Who wants high quality renders of models when you can just snapshot the Maya perspective view. Genius.

 Hand painting textures aka Dark Souls. Normal map of a stucco texture and some wood panels which are being painted, also a grey square because everyone loves mid-grey.

Packing all the UV's for this model was good practice. Snapping things to a grid and nice UV unwrapping I find quite satisfying, perhaps because I'm some what OCD!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Rigged cow model

A cow model done at school for a project. The idea was to use it in a basic shooter game made in Unity as a prop.

Base model made in Zbrush from z-spheres, sculpted in detail then re-topologized with quad draw in Maya, normal maps baked down from the high poly and texture extracted from poly paint.

Rig built and skinned in Maya. Some basic animations were done (an idle pose.)

Pls forgive me Cow King ;_;

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Advanced Diploma of Games (2nd year of study)


It's been a long time since I wrote an entry! Time to update things from last year.

Well, since I wrote on this blog last a lot of things happened. First and foremost I finished my diploma of games, I've gone back to keep studying the advanced diploma.

Oh, also I managed to get a student of the year award!

Thanks so much to everyone who I've met so far at Central, my fellow students and my awesome lecturers, specifically Anthony who has been one of my main motivators to come back for a second year. He is making this advanced diploma worth it with the amount of knowledge he has. Even when I'm done this year, I still think I'll only be scratching the surface of this industry.

There will be an end of year expo I will be showcasing work in (named Polycon by the students). We will have a website up soon hopefully, I will also try my best and keep this blog updated with works in progress, as I move towards finishing a portfolio.

- Mark