Moar Substances

Lately I have been working on more substances while waiting for confirmation of my PhD enrolment. Luckily I have been accepted which means that I am about to lose even more time but I’ll probably still find a way to keep going with this.

My ArtStation account is now accessible on this site. Clicking on the link will redirect you to my ArtStation Page where you can see the various substances that I have been working on. I have about 5 different iterations of the Brick texture now among others such as snow, plastic flooring and most recently, sand.

I have also taken note of the weekly Polycount Substance Challenge which starts here (http://polycount.com/discussion/155851/weekly-substance-challenge/p1). With various industry veterans involved, I figured I should get involved and see what I can do.  Maybe it could lead to a possible job once I graduate for maybe the 3rd or 4th time.

One thing that I want to do eventually is integrate my ArtStation page into this website that way everything is in one location rather than navigating to several different sites. If need be, I’ll just go back to creating my own again. Downside will be trying to create a blog for it. Last time I tried that, it didn’t end too well.

Hopefully there may be some VR related news next time I finally get around to posting.

Substance and Environment Art

So, lately I have been messing around with Substance Designer to create a basic Brick texture. Well, it looks basic but it’s not by a long shot unless you know your way around Substance Designer. The ArtStation link is here – https://www.artstation.com/artwork/N2my5

Substance Designer is a material creation software from Allegorithmic. It is node-based and non-destructive. If you want to change something in your graph, you can do so without having to recompile everything.

I noticed this software from looking at a few GDC talks by Naughty Dog employees and I started thinking to myself that it would be great to utilise this software for myself. I was already using Quixel Suite 2.0 for texturing but after seeing Designer in action, I immediately subscribed to Substance Live.

Substance Live is a rent-to-own program by Allegorithmic where you can pay $20 a month (around $30 AUD) and slowly pay enough off to the point where you can buy a licence. Each payment you make essentially becomes credits. Once you have enough credits, you can purchase a licence.

After watching a few tutorials online, I started to tackle my brick substance. Someday I will eventually put the graph online for others to take a look at but I highly advise people that want to get into Substance Designer to take a look at the links below:

  • https://www.allegorithmic.com/blog/texturing-uncharted-4-gdc-video-sessions-part-1 – Two videos
  • https://www.allegorithmic.com/blog/texturing-uncharted-4-gdc-video-sessions-part-2 – Two videos
  • https://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/tutorials/substance-designer – From Rogelio Olguin and he does a terrific job at explaining all of the material.
  • https://environmentart.wordpress.com/ -A really good blog by some industry veterans
  • https://gumroad.com/artofjoshlynch – Some really good tutorials on offer

Game Ideas

So, after a little more design work, my idea is slowly coming together. Hopefully in the next few weeks, I can have a proper concept together that I can then leave for a few weeks. During this time, I will either focus on work stuff or work on another game idea. The reason being is that I want to be able to come back to this idea and realise that it’s actually a good idea rather than the “it’s the greatest idea ever” mentality that everyone has whenever they come up with an idea for anything.

I’ve started putting together a Trello board for keeping track of everything (thank god there is a mobile app) as well as some reference images from various different games and movies. I do have a few novels on my TODO list as well because I honestly haven’t read a novel in a number of years (visual novels don’t count). Probably the last Harry Potter novel was the last one I read and that was a long time ago.

Hopefully all of this sparks my imagination something shocking because I really want a good idea to potentially become great but if I come back to it after leaving it and it’s bad, at least I will have dodged a bullet.

Upcoming Games List

Ok, so I wanted to keep a list of upcoming games that I really want to get my hands on so here they are:

  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havok (Vita)
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (Vita)
  • Virtue’s Last Reward (Vita)
  • Persona 4: Dancing All Night (Vita)
  • Quantum Suicide (Both PC and Vita versions)
  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster (Vita)
  • Bastion (PS4/Vita Bundle)
  • Lego The Hobbit (Vita)

Be warned, this list will grow.

Ideas Graveyard and Big Ideas

Ok, it’s been a very long time since I last posted. I am entirely too busy these days. I mean with teaching, research (about to start a PhD), study (advanced diploma in prof. game dev) and game dev, it gets quite exhausting but it is time for an update after all.

This particular post is about a concept I call the ideas graveyard. The ideas graveyard is simply a metaphorical graveyard populated with the many game ideas that I have had over probably the last 7 years now and I keep adding to it.

My biggest problem is that I tend to come up with massive ideas while conveniently forgetting that I am only one person after all. I keep telling myself that the lesson will eventually get through to me but then I have been saying that for probably 4-5 years now.

Some of this comes down to scope creep where I constantly come up with new features to add and others come down to my general lack of experience making games.  Eventually, these grand ideas make their way to the ideas graveyard where they never seem to return although for some it’s for the best.

It’s actually quite funny when I tell this to my students as when they start my course, they are of the opinion that games are easy to make. It is now Week 9 of the university semester and they now believe me when I say that it’s not as easy as they first thought. Some of them will stay away from game development after this but I have noticed a few that will stick at it.

Luckily I have recently started reading a lot more books recently rather than working on games and I’ve started taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Also, I finally started looking into project management again. God it’s been a while. 3D Art is yet another thing I have rediscovered and I have found that I absolutely love ZBrush. I honestly prefer sculpting to modelling.

I do have an idea at the moment and I have started working on some basic mechanics like movement, jumping and wall jumping. Hopefully these basic mechanics can help me to finally break this habit once and for all.

Brief Update

Well, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. Although I intended to post to it more often, university studies got in the way. I did have to build a game for one of my projects and a fair bit went wrong. Murphy’s Law simply kicked in at the wrong time.

Luckily I have now since graduated from my double Bachelors degree and am now studying my Bachelor of I.T. with Honours. Hopefully I can figure out my thesis topic relatively soon once my boss/supervisor comes into the office.

In the meantime, I have been researching ubiquitous computing, mobile agents and distributive systems whilst also figuring out what classes I can teach for this coming semester so I may have a couple of posts regarding that on the way as well.

AJ

Welcome

Hi everyone,

My name is AJ and I am starting this blog so I can write about my journey as a indie game developer. I hope to be able to write about some of the lessons I have learnt either from university or just learning on my own.  Occasionally I may brag about some of my gaming achievements or just talk about games in general.

Thanks for visiting!