What I've been up to...

-in case you wondered.

This entire month I have been carefully devoting myself to mastering Zbrush and 3DS Max, in order to quicken my workflow and err, well for nothing more than shits&giggles really?
I've also been exploring some creative rotoscoping techniques using biped with mocap applied prints and layering over them with hand-drawings. I busted my nuts on Rebuild 2 so instead of going straight back to working on another mega-project like that one, I thought I'd do some training instead.

Programming languages are pretty easy for to me to pick up but some of these high-end 3d modelling/animation tools (Maya, Max, SoftImage) phew!!! They are simply out-of-this-world complex to get to grips with, and it was only finally this year I decided I to buckle down and actually learn them properly instead of using the mish-mash of techniques I basically taught myself over the years. I thought I could spare a month or so to truly accelerate my knowledge of their use and so that's what I've been up to. I've been through tons and tons of video tutorials, books, conversations with artists in forums, etc, you name it. Literally going through the A-Z of tutorials out there and patiently learning about everything the software has to offer. The result after a lot of head-scratching is that I'm definitely getting better! Funny to think 2 months ago I had never touched Zbrush and now I feel like an old hand at it.

I figure the better I get at this shit now, the better 'The Insanity 3' and all my future games are going to look. One added bonus is that you can always upload any unused objects to sites like TurboSquid for a bit of pocket change; so who knows, maybe it'll result as another notch on my bow when it comes to passive income. Yep, if you're going to pick a hobby, design online games or art assets. It's win/win, baby.

FYI, the essence of the model to game engine pipeline goes like this:

Paper Sketch.
Sculpt High-Polygon model in Zbrush
Retopologise (Polygon reduction and structural simplification) - get it under 5000 max 10,000 polys
Add finer details to high-poly model.
UV map
Bake Normals
Make textures with combination PolyPaint ZAppLink linked Photoshop
Export it all to 3dsMax, add Specular/Light maps. Biped or Bones for complicated characters that don't resemble humanoids. Add mocap info.

Of course, you don't need 3d objects in Flash but I'm using a lot of prerendered stuff in my own games in order to get perfect animation and a 2.5d look. And besides studying this stuff is fun.

I think all this sudden passion stems from playing Dark Souls. Perhaps the tremendous art in the game kind of struck a spark in me. Games are something that I'd like to come back to in the future and feel a sense of pride and achievement over, and since I do have a day job it's really not about the money for me at all. If it was I'd be churning out Tower Defence rip-offs, not spending the next 3-6 months working on a game that I know isn't going to make me squat.
So what I'm saying is Insanity 3 may or may not turn out to be a great game, but visually it will be something worth experiencing.

And at the end of the day my games are essentially my portfolio. If nothing else it's nice to whip out the Iphone at parties and show people what I do outside of teaching English. "Hey baby, I bet you like guys with good polygons". Err...well that might work with some ComicCon poon, heh.

Aaaanyway, the good news for you peeps who keep nagging me about when Insanity 3 will be out is that I'm gearing up to get started on it like, right now. I do have another fighting game project in the mix, as I've mentioned before- but likely I'll be working on some elements of Insanity 3 starting sometime this week, speaking of which that image of Beardy up the top there is an early model of an official Insanity 3 character, Guymon Wolfden- one of the earlier characters you'll come across in the game. And the guy below him is a rough for, well guess who..

Speaking of Rebuild 2- check out the new gallery I've added to the blog here. You can even comment on the pics so please, tell me how much my art sucks, lol.