Friday, February 20, 2015

GDC 2015 is Quickly Approaching!

Hey guys. As you can probably infer from my previous posts, I had a great time at GDC last year so I'm planning to attend again this year. It's only a little over a week away, and I still have a lot to do to prepare, but I thought I'd update on some of my recent progress. I'm going in with a bit of a different mindset this year. Last year I attended as "an indie developer." I brought a working copy of Quest For Funk and some promotional materials for the game. My goal was to show off the game and get as much feedback on it as possible. It was a good experience, but I have a different goal in mind this time around.

(Side note: I haven't completely abandoned the project, I swear! I just renewed for another year, I do still plan for a public release eventually. It's just on the back burner at the moment)

This year, I intend to go to GDC as a "freelance artist." Working on my own games is fun, but I have far more value as an artist than as a programmer. I have been taking on more freelance work as of late, and I want to continue collaborating with other talented people. So in that regard, I'm hoping to use GDC as an opportunity to find more chances for collaboration. And so my major goal for the past few months has been to beef up my portfolio. 

First off, a new avatar. I've been told that I looked too grumpy in my old one, so I decided to draw myself flashing my pearly whites! I used this avatar on my new business cards, which will hopefully arrive in time for the convention (let's hope the recent snowstorms don't delay shipment too much).

I've also been hard at work redesigning my website. My current site is based on a free template that I modified a bit. It looks nice, but I've noticed lately that it seems rather slow. Not a good first impression to someone viewing my site if they have to wait 20 seconds for it to load. And since it was built using a template, I have little control over fixing those issues.

So instead I decided to build a new one from the ground up. I learned a lot about CSS in the process, and I'm pretty happy with the results. I think it fits my personal style a lot better, and it's also uses space a lot more efficiently. Instead of using lightbox like most websites, I have a little port window that displays images right in the interface. I also tried to avoid Javascript wherever possible. This heavily cuts down on a loading time.

I'm still filling in content and optimizing the website for multiple resolutions, but you can view the work in progress right now if you're interested.

Additionally, I've been hard at work on a new animation / game project to serve as an updated demo reel. It's a classic detective scene constructed in Unreal 4. I'm building this project as a showcase of all of my different talents. Prop modeling, character design, rigging, animation, Unreal pipeline, level design, VFX, and user interfaces will all be demonstrated in this scene, so it's been in the works for quite some time.

I have tons of images I could post from this, so I'll probably go into more detail next week. The character creation and rig setup was the biggest hurdle, but I finally got that completely straightened out last week. The majority of work I have left is hammering out more animations and setting up the cameras. Expect a lengthy post about my process a few days from now.

Last order of business, I recently wrote an in-depth blog post over at the NotRobot website. It's an article about my experiences creating the UI for Wave Crash, and some of the lessons I've learned in the process. I'm certainly no expert, but hopefully my advice proves useful to someone. So give it a read if you're interested in UI design.

And with that, it's time to wrap this thing up. You'll definitely be hearing from me again very soon. Until then, adios!