Every Spare Minute

February 25th, 2015

Okay, so making games is hard. Pong clones maybe not so much, but anything that’s truly something new and worthwhile is really bloody hard. And for one guy, working in his spare time? You’d think it’s impossible, and it very nearly is. The only way I’m going to make this work is by being smart. By using the best tools for the job, by buying resources whenever it makes sense, and by streamlining every part of the production pipeline. And of course, most importantly, I have to want it. I have to want it about as much as I want air. The main problem last year was treating this project as a chore. For the most part anyway. And lo and behold, somehow I never seemed to have any time. There was always something else that really needed doing. And that pattern is never ever going to get this thing made.

But my mindset this week has shifted massively. The pieces are all falling into place, and every day I seem to arrive at a new epiphany about the mechanics, the story, or the art pipeline. Every spare minute is harnessed for the purposes of creation, is something I might say if I was feeling especially poetic about it all. Even on the bus I’m jotting notes on my phone, or sketching out characters. And this is the only way forward. Now all I have to do is sustain it, without falling unconscious in the process.

I’m going full 3D on this beast, and 3D is an unholy bitch, but it has always been my bread and butter. I have at least arrived at a style that allows textures to be produced very quickly. Modeling, UV mapping and animation, however, remain enormous time sinks that I’ll just have to live with. Fortunately I’m dealing with a theme that calls only for humanoid characters (the theme is gladiators, by the way). If I also had to animate dragons, horses and gibbering piles of goo, I would just quit right now. But humanoids I can deal with. I have a pretty decent idea of how they move, partly due to being a humanoid my entire life thus far. And I have some experience animating them. There’s also a lot of resources out there for human animation, and much less so for the poor goo piles. Thank god we’re such a self-absorbed species.

Without further ado, below you will find the character I’ve been working on this week. Definitely a bit rough around the edges; further tweaks are certain to come. But I am pretty happy with the base model and the rig. In game this would appear pretty small, and most likely get rendered with a toon shader. So there’s enough detail to get by, though I’m definitely doing another pass on the texture map and the sword.



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