Archive for year 2009

GDC.China’09-Presentation

Here are the animated slides from the day long tutorial that I gave at GDC China 2009 in Shanghai. Sorry I didn’t have time to record and sync up voice.  Hopefully you’ll be able to pull out something useful here or there.  If I have several requests come in for the voice, I’ll try to make the time to fill in the gaps that are missing without the vo.

This presentation was given alongside a translator changing everything thing I said in English into Mandarin.  So, I kept everything dry and straightforward.  The presentation uses Saints Row 2 as an example for discussing project development cycles, where focus should be spent, and why.

Don’t hesitate to maximize the video(s) if something is too small.

Part 1 – Introduction

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Part 2 – “Discovery”

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Part 3 – “Pre Production”

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Part 4 – “Production”

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Part 5 – “Post Production”

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Part 6 – “Conclusion”

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Crucial Conversations ‘Master Mission’ completion

Here is the digital certificate that I recieved after completing a “Crucial Conversations” course offered at work by Vital Smarts.  Level three was the end of the class. I also have certificates for level 2 and level 1, but they’re essentially the same thing and I didn’t want to clutter up this post with them.

The course took place over an eight week period comprised of 2 hour classes with weekly homework assignments & exercises.  While this type of training is awkward and hard to take seriously at times, I felt that this course offered many useful insights and techniques into holding productive discussions on difficult topics.  I was part of a charter group at Volition who underwent the training and I recommend its application to all of our employees, particularly those in lead roles.

vArt Test – RFG Character

Here is my work-in-progress from a Volition Character Artist test that we abandoned some time ago as it has proven to take too much time for the applicant to complete to a quality result.  It looked like fun and I wanted to validate the findings myself.

The basic approach I took was starting from scratch with a box in 3dsmax and then leveraging the Graphite modeling tools to build the base mesh for sculpting and possibly for the final result as it was weighing in at around 9k polys.  I left the test at the point of doing a gross Zbrush pass on the arms and head.  The next steps were to be completing the sculpt on the softer portions of the costume, moving into fine detail, painting the diffuse & spec, and then baking it all down to a game res mesh.

The hair turned out to be a particularly troublesome area due to trying to author to support the limited alpha support\sorting that we have in our game engines.  I left the test at the point of favoring an interpreted sculpt rather than opting for a series of planes on the head.

To see the Zbrush turntable, click HERE

To see the concept used for the test, click HERE

3dsmax viewport screenshots

vMesh Projector

3dsmax maxscript that I threw together that aids in retopologizing hi-poly meshes down to lo-poly.

“vMeshProjector” is a maxscript that projects one mesh onto another. It is primarily envisioned as a tool to aide in building lo-poly meshes that conform to high poly counterparts, from which normal maps and other data may be pulled. It does however have other potential uses, particularly in the areas of kit bashing.

It was a fun project and I learned a lot.

Here are some additional samples of the tool in action:


Dog Gun Seat Skull

3dsmax Viewport Fire

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We began a series of “vfx classes” in the studio to familiarize non vfx artists with what it takes to make vfx.  We were also interested in identifying untapped aptitude.  The first session included learning the basic properties of a particle system.

While participating in this endeavor, I quickly created this video.  Having already been familiar with particle systems, I focused on the trying to see how far I could push the result in the 3dsmax viewport.  So, I incorporated lighting, shadow, and hlsl on the particles.  The particles have sliding normal maps and layered masks, via the shader.  The gnome, gas can, and biped are just there for staging.