Best of E3 2012 – Wednesday

So I’m feeling a little guilty after awarding yesterdays Best of E3 to beautiful visuals alone; so how better to make it up than with The Last Of Us from Naughty Dog.  You know it’s going to play well, and what stands out from this small sample of gameplay footage is the beautiful transitions into and out of contextual animations – the hand-to-hand combat being a prime example, whether brawling or wrestling over a shotgun.  It’s fluidity provides a real cinematic boost.

Beautifully designed sets and well implemented AI supporting what looks like an interesting story, all pulled together with Naughty Dogs trademark epic moments and smooth interwoven gameplay-to-cinematic structure look to present a solid, compelling and complete package.  How is this not going to be a hit?

Best of E3 2012 – Tuesday

Okay, so there’s no gameplay here – but who cares.  According to Hashimoto-san this is running on a single GTX680.  However much horsepower is behind it, it’s damn impressive.

If you want to find out more, this piece running in the Luminous Engine is one of a number of exclusive, behind-the-scenes breakdowns which will be presented live on-stage at SIGGRAPH Real-Time Live! in August.  Come see it for yourself.

Congrats Square-Enix, it looks incredible.

Best of E3 2012 – Monday

Although they’ve clearly been in production a while, this year really feels like the arrival of ‘next-gen’ games, with some running on current gen consoles.  Certainly the largest visual jump in a while; graphics, animation, AI… and in the case of Watch Dogs, gameplay complexity too.  Ubi present a nicely balanced investment across the board for what appears to be a consistent and incredibly immersive experience; can’t wait to get hands on.

CryEngine 3 Soft Body Physics

Thanks to the awesome work from James Hans, the Technical Director responsible for the rigging system underneath the vehicles in Burnout Paradise, and Andy Hubbard, the physics engineer – the game achieved some impressive results.  Arguably the most visually impressive vehicle collisions at the time.  Maybe still.

However, it was long process.  The car rigs became so complex they required their Continue reading

Unreal 4 – It’s coming.

Unreal 4

So I was one of the lucky few to get a behind-closed-doors look at Unreal 4 at the Epic booth at GDC.  There’s no doubt it was impressive; it is impressive.  This article in wired magazine covers everything that’s currently public, including many more images.

Get excited.

Official Real-Time Live! 2012 Trailer Released.


The official RTL! trailer released for Siggraph 2012, showing 2011 highlights from NVidia, Digital Artforms, SCAD, Microsoft and Criterion Games.

Submissions for 2012 are open until April 9th; be a part of the show!

(Special thanks to Kevin Yost for the trailer).

Real-Time Live! is open for Submissions.

Siggraph 2012 Real-Time Live!

Press Release  |  Siggraph Website  |  Submissions Page

Real-Time Live! is the premiere showcase to share your latest project.  Last year saw an amazing line-up including recent projects from Criterion/EA, NVidia, Geomerics, Digital Artforms, Microsoft, Aki Rodic’s solo SCAD project and more.  We encourage diversity; any interactive, real-time submissions are accepted.  Come join the show in LA this year; Real-Time Live! @ Sggraph 2012.

(More from Real-Time Live! 2011)

Long Live Renegade

It was such a perfect idea; internally, the pitch must have been quick and convincing.  “We’ll take our best selling, internationally recognized RTS brand into the first person genre, and mix with concepts from the much loved universe that encourage team play”.

I was sold.

And then it was released; letting down just about everyone who held any expectations whatsoever for what should have been one of the most interesting cross-overs, and potentially most interesting FPS games ever.  But even more frustrating, beyond the bad AI, dated graphics and annoying maps, was a glimmer of what it should have been; a constant reminder of the greatness it promised.  Mechanics from the RTS could have ported beautifully to the FPS.

Renegade was dead.

Long live Renegade.

Breaking into Games

This may have been one my most enjoyable years in the industry, largely in part having had the opportunity to speak at a dozen schools specializing in preparing graduates for various artistic jobs in games.  This is hugely important to me, I feel energized and inspired after spending time with the future of the industry and I wish I had the opportunity of some honest insight before starting on my own career.

This post summarizes my key pointers for pre-interview preparation, I hope it’s useful.

  • Keep your showreel concise and focused.  Choose only your best work, keep traditional portfolios to less than sixteen pieces and showreels to less than three minutes.  If you are completing a course which has provided you with a varied reel consider each job a completely separate application (- this will take longer, but you will be competing with other applicants who have come from specialized courses, often with deeper portfolios).  Your best opportunity is to customize your reel and resume to the specific discipline and role you’re applying for – and ensure your passion for this field is apparent.  On-top of this, you have the option to present your knowledge and skills in the related surrounding areas as a bonus, but keep this brief.
  • Traditional art skills are important for any art role.  Whatever you may have heard all studios use pencils and pens for visual communication many, many times a day.  If you want to model or rig characters, understanding anatomy either through drawing or sculpture is a huge positive for anyone reviewing your portfolio.  (If your school doesn’t offer life drawing find some local classes).  If you are interested in environment modeling, consider supporting your folio with your own inspirational photographic lighting studies (- these areas are interwoven very deeply in games development).  Traditional skills are the foundation of what we do; draw on as much reference as possible before starting to work in CG and be confident in presenting out background research and goals as part of your portfolio.
  • Don’t be afraid to be honest.  One of the most noticeable portfolios I’ve seen recently included a short dissection under each visual; on a number of pieces the author was critiquing their own work.  It’s a great approach but needs to be  Continue reading