Holy Carp! Its been a while!

Well, here’s my first blog post in over a year. Damn. I don’t know why but looking over my blogs I saw my last post was about E3…LAST YEAR. So it seemed appropriate that I do some bloggin’. I’ve still been around, posting in the forums occassionally. Anyways, let us begin the usual way!

 New Games

This might get a bit lengthy

  • Odama (GCN)
  • Deadly Premonition (360)
  • Secret Files: Tunguska (WII)
  • BioShock 2 Special Edition (360)
  • Ivy the Kiwi? (WII)
  • Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Special Edition (PC)
  • Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Collector’s Edition (PC)
  • Halo 3: ODST (360)
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PC)
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (WII)
  • Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (WII)
  • Star Trek Online Collector’s Edition (PC)
  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Collector’s Edition (PC)
  • Enemey Territory: Quake Wars Limited Collector’s Edition (PC)
  • Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided Collector’s Editoin (PC)
  • Tabula Rasa Limited Collector’s Edition (PC)
  • Spyborgs (WII)
  • Alpha Protocol (PC)
  • Borderlands (360)
  • Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack (360)
  • Penny Arcade Adventures – Episode II (XBLA)
  • The Saboteur (360)
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon (WII)
  • Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space (WII)
  • GoldenEye 007 (Wii)
  • Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)
  • Super C (VC – NES)
  • Tournament of Legends (WII)
  • Sonic Colors (WII)
  • Metroid: Other M
  • Blood Omen 2 (GCN)
  • Metroid Prime w/ MP2 Bonus Disc (GCN)
  • Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition (WII)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (360)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Limited Edition (360)
  • Disney Epic Mickey (WII)
  • Disney Epic Mickey Collector’s Edition (WII)
  • Halo: Reach Legendary Edition (360)
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns (WII)
  • Mafia II Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Rock Band 3 (360)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (WII)
  • Vanquish (360)
  • Dead Space Ignition (XBLA)
  • Lost in Shadow (WII)
  • Assassin’s Creed II Master Assassin’s Edition (360)
  • Dragon Age: Origins Collector’s Edition
  • Dead Space 2 Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening
  • Alone in the Dark: Inferno (PS3)
  • Dragon’s Lair Trilogy (WII)
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Ultimate Edition (360)
  • Battlefield 1943 (XBLA)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Limited Edition (PSP)
  • Dragon Age II BioWare Signature Edition (360)
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Jurassic Park: Trespasser
  • Comic Jumper (XBLA)
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (360)
  • Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom (360)
  • Qubed (360)
  • X-Men: The Arcade (XBLA)
  • Aqua (XBLA)
  • Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (360)
  • Fossil Fighters (DS)
  • Pilotwings Resort (3DS)
  • Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS)
  • Rayman 3D (3DS)
  • Dante’s Inferno Divine Edition (PS3)
  • Fable III Limited Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Halo: Reach Xbox Live Preview (360)
  • Perfect Dark (XBLA)
  • Snoopy Flying Ace (XBLA)
  • South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! (XBLA)
  • ‘Splosion Man (XBLA)
  • Alan Wake Limited Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel (PSP)
  • Two Worlds II Royal Edition (360)
  • Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force (PS2)
  • Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Focre Collector’s Edition (PC)
  • Age of Empires III: Complete Collection (PCDL)
  • Braid (XBLA)
  • Conduit 2 Limited Edition (WII)
  • Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection (PSP)
  • The Legendary Starfy (DS)
  • LIMBO (XBLA)
  • Shadow Complex (XBLA)
  • Trials HD (XBLA)
  • Valkyria Chronicles II (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy IV (DS)
  • ilomilo (XBLA)
  • New Super Mario Bros (DS)
  • Secret Files: Tunguska (DS)
  • Dead Rising 2: Case West (XBLA)
  • Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (XBLA)
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Special Edition (360)
  • Perfect Dark (GBC)
  • Fallout: New Vegas Collector’s Edition (360)
  • Academy of Champions: Soccer (WII)
  • inFamous (PS3-PSN)
  • Killzone: Liberation (PSP-PSN)
  • Pursuit Force (PSP-PSN)
  • Wipeout HD (PSN)
  • 3D Classics: Excitebike (3DSWare)
  • 21: Blackjack (DSiWare)
  • Dark Void Zero (DSiWare)
  • Photo Dojo (DSiWare)
  • Pokedex 3D (3DSWare)
  • Rayman (DSiWare)
  • Starship Defense (DSiWare)
  • Zenonia (DSiWare)
  • Alice: Madness Returns (360)
  • American McGee’s Alice (XBLA)
  • Operation Flashpoint: Red River (360)
  • FEAR 2: Project Origin (360)
  • FEAR 3 (360)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
  • Stuntman Ignition (360)

Hmmmm….So that’s what a year’s worth of game shopping looks

Quick E3 Thoughts

I’ll be brief since E3 is old news by now to everyone:

Nintendo: I liked their press conference for the most part. The Wii U has the potentional to be a great system and it was incredibly refreshing to see mainstream publishers and developers pushing the console; something we haven’t really seen on Nintendo’s stage in years. The 3DS lineup looks to be taking shape and I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement of Luigi’s Mansion 2. As for the Wii, the lack of Wii software at the show was unforgivable, especially when Nintendo has games like Xenoblade, Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower in its quiver. I’m looking forward to Zelda and Kirby, but that’s about all the Wii has coming for the rest of the year, if not the rest of its lifetime. Doubly disappointing since 2009 and 2010 were great years for the console.

Microsoft: I still have no intention of buying a Kinect so there wasn’t much in their conference for me. While I’ll surely enjoy games like Gears 3 and Ghost Recon, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Fable: The Journey (not surprising since I was greatly disappointed by Fable III). I’m not a huge Halo fan so the announcements of Halo Anniversary and Halo 4 didn’t spark any real interest. At this point, I think Microsoft should just title the Halo games by year:

  • 2007 – Halo 3
  • 2009 – Halo 3: ODST
  • 2010 – Halo: Reach
  • 2011 – Halo: Anniversary
  • 2012 – Halo 4
  • 2013 – Halo 2 HD?
  • 2014 – Halo 5?

Sony: Again, my Sony machines are my least used and Sony’s press conference did little to change that. Sony’s 3D TV Bundle was nice, and after the 3DS I can say I like gaming in 3D but not enough to buy a brand new TV or to wear a pair of glasses (over my actual glasses) every time. The Vita looks like a nice piece of hardware but I can’t say its really interesting, not for immediate purchase, at least. The price of $250 is certainly competitive and will surely give the 3DS as run for its money. Still, I wish people would stop with the “its more powerful than the 3DS so its sure to crush it” mentality since that same idea was around with the original PSP/DS and we all saw how that turned out.

School Updates

 Well, its been a year and I’m now in my last two quarters before graduating with a BS in Game Art & Design. Soon comes the time to search desperately for work. I’ve given it a tentative start with an application to Nintendo of America as an Associate Designer. That was two weeks ago, I’ve yet to recieve a rejection letter (though I did recieve a customer service survey in the mail despite not having customer service in a long time. Maybe it was meant to be my rejection letter). I’m also planning on applying at High-Voltage Software as a Junior Game Designer, though my first job will most likely be something like prop modeling, though my game design professor (he used to design and produce games for PS1, PS2, and PS3) says he’d be surprised if I didn’t at least get a call back from High-Voltage. I haven’t yet applied there yet since they require a portfolio and my site won’t be up for another few weeks.

Anyways, I figured I’d share some of my schoolwork with you guys.

Senior Project Planning

This was my mid-term project for senior project planning. This was a modelling/texturing project to show we that we are capable of the Senior Project proper. The final project for this class was a mass of concept work outlining our senior project.

Intro Scripting
Not much to show here, but this was my first scripting class, though I’ve had experience with html before, and picked it up rather easily. My final project was a script for MAYA (the class focused on MEL Script) that would automatically rig a character skeleton for finger curling and spread. Over my break I wrote a script that converts an NES screenshot into a series of thousands of cubes, one per pixel, that can be modified in MAYA. Unfortunately, MAYA tends to run super slow with 60k cubes in a single scene. I might continue working on the 3D scene by breaking it up into pieces and working and optimizing elements separately then reintegrating them into a single scene.

Designing 3D Environments



This project was to create a room and create all the props and textures to fill it. I did a type of Renaissance astronomer’s study. This was probably one of my better projects and got me my only A that quarter. These renders are taken out of 3DS Max and I’ve since started rebuilding a similar, but larger scene in UDK. The larger scene will require a few new props but it should turn out pretty cool.

Mapping for Games


This class was my first exposure to Zbrush. These were my first projects in the class, Death’s summoned fish from Castlevania 64 and the Phantom’s Red Death mask. I really liked these projects and working with the program but my other projects suffered from my not knowing how to include multiple objects of different polygonal densities into a single project. I’ve since worked that out but I haven’t been practicing with the program as much as I should. Its definitely something I need to get back into since its was used to get the real intricate details into a model.

Character Modeling

This was my second Zbrush class, though took it at the same time as I did Mapping. Despite being called character modeling, the class focused more on head sculpting in Zbrush. My final project was Jigsaw from Punisher: Warzone. I like how it came out for the most part. The hair could use some work obviously, and I made the skin pore detail too small so that its practically invisible at a distance and is why his skin looks as smooth as it does.

Prototyping



Holy Jesus! This was probably the toughest class I’ve had so far and it spanned two quarters, from September to March. This was a group project and our goal was to create three nodes/areas for the Sony Online Entertainment game, FreeRealms. People from the games’ development team at SOE would come in every three or so weeks to see what we’ve been working on and offer critques and suggestions. The first half of the class was particularly difficult for our group since we were mostly modelers and texturers but we were taught to aim for photorealism, as is the trend in games recently, but FreeRealms is all whimsical (a term we’d come to loathe) with a hand-drawn texture style that none of us knew how to do. We were basically failing up until about 2/3s of the way through the first quarter since we couldn’t produce anything SOE found acceptable. Eventually we were able to pull together and make something they found impressive. The second half was far smoother going since we had learned to make what they wanted and we had found our niches within the group. We produced three nodes, though they didn’t care too much for our last one, which unfortunately was mostly my work. Still, I think that was more because we didn’t really give it the same amount of time and polish the other areas did. That last one was pulled together in the last couple of weeks before the project was due while the others saw closer to 10 or 11 weeks of work each.

Personal Proejcts

I’ve recently become incredibly interested in Star Trek and its universe, helped in part by startrek.com selling Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise for 50% off, cheaper even than Amazon. I’m currently in the brainstorming stage of an episodic Star Trek game. A few of my schoolmates have agreed to help but I really need to get this to a concept doc stage. Even if it should get that far, and despite my best efforts to find a balance between ambitious and doable given the available manpower, I don’t expect this to pan out to the full extent that I’m envisioning it. Still, there is much experienced to gain in the trying and I’m hoping to at least get something portfolio-worthy for my schoolmates.

That’s enough for now, I think. I’ll try not to wait a year before my next blog post 😉