Finally completed my demo reel! I feel that it shows a good sample of the things I’ve worked on throughout university but since it’s a video, there’s obviously an emphasis on visual things such as art assets and models. Demonstrating programming through video is tricky! You can view the shot list here: http://goo.gl/b3Z1y

High-Poly version of my owl character.

Low-Poly of my owl character.

Diffuse paint layer done! Mudbox kept crashing but it’s over with for now…

It’s done! A few touch ups here and there but I think I’ve done pretty well for the first time using Mudbox. I had to re-do a lot of it because I used disproportionate sized polys the first time so things weren’t coming out smoothly. Oh well! I think I did some things better the second time. Next up is painting on texture maps and diffuse, specular, etc. 

Here’s a snapshot of one thing I’m working on. We’re creating a character in Maya and then adding details in Mudbox. I think it will be really fun to add a lot of textural details, I haven’t done it before so it’s a new experience. The concept of this character is something like an owl crossed with a tree. I plan to add things like leaf feathers, moss and bark.  Many of my classmates are creating really wonderful looking models, so I am inspired by them to do my best. 

Here’s a snapshot of one thing I’m working on. We’re creating a character in Maya and then adding details in Mudbox. I think it will be really fun to add a lot of textural details, I haven’t done it before so it’s a new experience. The concept of this character is something like an owl crossed with a tree. I plan to add things like leaf feathers, moss and bark.  Many of my classmates are creating really wonderful looking models, so I am inspired by them to do my best. 

Oh Deer

I keep forgetting to keep this blog updated. There’s just so much to do with school right now, so my focus is of course on that. While setting priorities and sticking with them is good, I have to be sure not to ignore other things that I should be keeping up with.

This semester is my last semester ever, which is pretty exciting and scary at the same time. In a few months I will be entering the “real world!” I’m really looking forward to being part of something that means more than just some marks. I can’t wait until I’m helping a team create something that will be enjoyed by people, it’s really neat to think about. Hopefully I can get there soon.

This semester I’ve taken on a course overload so I can get a minor in e-commerce. There’s lots of things to do but I am managing to stay on top of things quite well. The next few weeks are going to be hectic but I am confident that I’ll be able to handle it, and I hope that my work will continue to be of a certain level of quality regardless of the increased workload.

Crunch Time!

Entering into the last week of classes. We’re working really hard on our game that we’re creating for two classes, artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction/virtual reality. I’m really excited to see it turn out, but there will be a lot of work to get to that point. 

It’s pretty overwhelming since we’re using Unity and I have no experience using it before now. I feel like I’m not being a very good team member since the others seem to know a lot about what they’re doing and I’m falling behind. My responsibilities will probably end up being whatever needs to be done that I can do. I’m fine with that.

Unfortunately because of this, I probably won’t be able to practice AI programming, unless that turns out to be something I’m capable of in this project. I really hope so, since it is very interesting. One week until the big due date doesn’t leave a lot of time for learning and creating something worthwhile…

Montreal International Game Summit

I attended MIGS this year for the first time. Almost instantly I regretted not taking advantage of the opportunity to go with the school during my time at UOIT. The whole summit was packed full of content and went by in a flash it seems. 

The conference surpassed my expectations by far. I learned so much about video game development to supplement what I’ve been learning for the past four years. Hearing real industry professionals share their thoughts and insight on topics was an extremely valuable experience.

Somewhere in the first day while I was listening to a speaker, it really hit me: this is the industry where I belong. I had been having some doubts as to what I really want to do for the duration of my life, but I’m more certain than ever now. The summit was inspirational and an amazing experience. 

Another thing I learned while at the conference is that I should really have a focus as to what I would like to do within the games industry. I have strong interests in both animation as well as programming, but they are almost opposites of each other. One is really creative and intangible, and one has a precise science behind it. During school, I’ve had experiences with both and really enjoyed each, but this is really not possible to pursue. Having knowledge of both is for sure useful, but I have fallen into the category of “jack of all trades, master of none,” which isn’t very good. I want to pursue something and excel in it. 

As I described in a previous post, my passion is really for creation. This had me leaning towards the artistic side of creating video games. However, I’m not one of those gifted individuals who are amazing at art. This is a huge barrier that would require intense study and even then, hundreds of very talented individuals will always surpass me in this department. 

As I continued to consider my options, I realized that I don’t have to be an artist to create. It takes a team of people who all contribute to creating a game. A game programmer is just as much as a creator as a 3D modeler. Especially now that I’m learning about and implementing AI behaviours, I can see how “life” can be put into something not just through mo-cap and loose movements of character animations, but also in the way the game plays out as a whole. It would be impossible for a game to feel like it has character or a life in it without artificial intelligence, intuitive controls, and friendly gameplay. 

So, from now on I think I will really try to focus most of my energies on learning and practicing programming for games as much as I can. 

First Experiences with AI

I’m really enjoying the class I have this semester for artificial intelligence. It’s really the first experience that I’ve had learning about and implementing AI that is more advanced that a goomba. 

Our class is using a framework distributed to us by our TA called Gadget (http://roswellgames.com/gadget2d/). It makes our lives a lot easier and enables us to focus on doing the fun parts of games (AI and such) and not the small details that we already know how to do. It gives us a good (working) start to creating games and applications for class and I’m really grateful for it. 

Our first real AI assignment was to create a seek and flee behaviour. It was quite simple once I got the concept of how to implement it. It’s strange to say but I really had fun figuring out how the math works and makes the sprites move and rotate and chase and run away from the mouse cursor. 

Download here! http://goo.gl/ulU4m
Press the left mouse button for it to seek (and shoot!) and the right mouse button to flee the mouse. 

The second part of the assignment was to work in groups and implement a more complex AI behaviour. Different groups had different behaviours assigned to them and ours was aiming. I had so much fun programming the AI to aim. I thought it was so neat how you can use pretty basic calculations to predict where the target will be based on velocity and then make the AI shoot at it! We made a simple game to demonstrate the behaviour. 

Download it here! http://goo.gl/Ep3ve
Control the left character (wasd to move and mouse to aim and shoot) and try to shoot more targets than the AI (left) character.
My contributions to this project were to make the aiming behaviour and have the game keep score. My team mate Gabriel C. programmed the target particles and a way for the AI to aim at the closest target and Farinaz H. created the lovely graphics and found the sounds and music. 

I’m looking forward to learning more about AI and making more things for this class.