Posted by Ed on 2012-02-14 19:28:33
My role in this enterprise is to be the lead artist/designer; if you’ve seen it I probably made it and if it works it was probably Scott. I hoped that within this project I could build up content and use it to create various game prototypes with a fast turnaround time. While that was the initial intention finding time to devote to learning a whole bunch of new skills was challenging. I had to throw out two methods of working before I found the general principles for working in this new environment.
My existing experience in Architecture had far fewer restrictions in representation. A static render with a high poly count and poor texture work is far less of a serious problem. To simplify the process I worked on a tighter colour palette and working on the creation of my own texture sets. Trying to make some random textures to work for specific purposes is a nightmare and leads to some of my early problems in reducing the draw calls and poly-count. Creating efficient texture maps became a mantra towards the end of the preparation phase. On this front I still have to do more work in unifying maps between objects and more efficient displacement mapping.
Mapping in Autodesk 3ds Max makes me want to tear my hair out and while it is a more sophisticated tool I found myself relying on Google SketchUp for simpler texture tasks. Given my desire for speed I cannot overstate how useful SketchUp is as a 3D drafting tool. Aside from its drafting capabilities, it is a much more natural interface for simple polygon editing tasks. In dream land I would incorporate SketchUp into Max but for the moment shifting between the two is very easy. Render to texture has many advantages but I don’t find it altogether as easy as arranging my texture maps in Photoshop and re-applying them through a combination of Max and SketchUp.
Technically I started learning how to apply my skills to the Video Game world at the beginning of 2011. Unfortunately my work suffered from large delays due to work obligations and University. During my Thesis and final assessments I had little time to devote to the project.
But I will say the preparatory phase took longer than I expected at every turn. To be expected I guess but an eye opening experience.