Monday, April 29, 2013

The End Is Nigh

So this is my last official week at the MGS lab, and I'm happy to say that today my group and I presented our thesis game, Drop Drop. It took a while to get here, but it feels like yesterday was the first day that I meet everyone in my cohort and now we are about to graduate on Friday.

First off, I have to admit that I wasn't really ready to present my game. I don't mean that I hadn't prepared something to say, I mean that I didn't really know what to expect when presenting your thesis and going to your formal defense of it. My team created a movie instead of a PowerPoint presentation, this made sure that we were only going to have 4 minutes to talk about what we each did on the game, and to stay brief and to the point. I have to admit that I get really anxious when I have to talk in front of people, but I think I did ok.

After the presentation, I had to wait about 2 hours for my turn to go into a room with the Chairman and the rest of my committee evaluating my contribution to the thesis game and my thesis paper that I finished last week (which is why I haven't been posting much lately). For the first part I knew what I needed to say for those 4 minutes, but for this part I didn't really know what they were going to ask me about my paper or the presentation. So I really had nothing ready, I was just ready to answer questions truthfully and hope that it would be enough.

The first thing the Chairman asked me was, "What does the title of your thesis paper mean?". I had titled my paper "Development of an Artist", FYI. And from there a conversation started about how I had started two years ago and where I was now as a game artist. I honestly can't remember everything about the conversation, but I'm really sure that it lasted about 20-25 minutes going back and forth between the five other people in the room and myself. I even had the pleasure of having an old teacher from my undergraduate degree in my committee  and she knew that I had really improved since I took classes with her almost 4 years ago.

Then they had me step outside for a few minutes, until they called me back into the room and congratulated me on the completion of my thesis game and paper. Now all that is left is presenting my Sci Fi environment on Thursday for my hard surface modeling class and one more short paper to write. And if all goes well, I will be walking across the stage on Friday receiving my MFA along with my peers.

Its all kind of surreal actually, thinking that I'm about to graduate. I've been going to school every year since I was like 5 (or whatever the age is when you go to pre-school and all that good stuff) and now in less than a week it will all be over. I'm actually one of the weird kids that like school, not only because I'm kind of a nerd, but because I like what I do and I like talking to all my friends in the MGS lab. I will really miss my computer, and all the really late nights some of us stayed up playing games of League of Legends (its a team building exercise) yelling at each other to stop feeding the other team. Those were the good old days, and now they will be nothing but memories.

I'm going to miss everyone in my cohort, and while I can't really call them family, at different levels, they are all my friends. I will try to stay in touch with all of them, and who knows, one of them might end up being a really famous game developer one day. I may even have the chance to say, "I know that guy/girl, he/she is a friend of mine from grad school." I know that every single one of us has the potential to work at a AAA game studio, and I know that we will all get there one day. Some have already achieved it, I have a few friends that have accepted positions at EA, some in Orlando and some right here in Salt Lake. I can't help but feel a little jealous that they have jobs lined up after graduation, but at the same time I'm proud of their accomplishments and I hope to catch up to them soon.

There is a lot I've learned from this program, and recently it was ranked as number 1 in the nation for the undergrad, and number 2 for the graduate degree. I hope that one day we will be able to claim #1 in both slots, and I'll be even more proud to say that I graduated from the U.

Now the real challenge starts, where I have to find a place where I can get my foot in the door. I've applied at a couple places, even had a couple interviews, but so far nothing. I hope that someone will be able to give me a chance and prove that I'm a good game artist and that I have what it takes to contribute to the studio and the project at hand. I know I will find a place, I just have to be patient and in the meantime continue to improve my skills as a game artist.

This was a really personal post, and I'm sorry to have made it so long. But for now, that is all I have to say. After all, I still have a project to finish and a paper to write. Thanks!

-Chris (soon to be Master Christian Munoz!)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Baking Normal Maps

So I've finally started to bake down my normal maps. I was having some issues but a friend of mine helped me figure out a stupid little mistake of mine. Here is a render of a floor title:

That is the render of a plane with my floor title, it went from being over 10,000 triangles to just 2. I love normal maps! I baked out an occlusion map and a normal map, here is the composite image of both maps:

I only have a couple more models to finish for my scene, but I will continue to do the bake down over these next few days and get it ready to take it into Unreal. Wish me luck since I've never used Unreal. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Scope of My Sci Fi Environment

So there is one week left before I have to submit my sci fi environment and I don't think that I'm going to be able to complete what I had intended in the beginning. I have a lot of detail in the hallway, so I've been working on making that look as good as possible adding props and other details to make it look lived in without having to go into the other area of my environment.

I also decided to seal in my hallway, making adding a big door on either end of the hallway. Here is a render of my new door:

I will think of more items to place around the scene and I'll post updates when I have something to show.

Also, I have to start baking out the normals soon along with some light maps. I'm planning on taking this into unreal for my presentation, so maybe some real basic texture work might be in order. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yet Another Sci Fi Pillar

So I wanted to create another pillar that I could place randomly around my scene, but that it wouldn't have to be up against a wall. Here is a render of everything:

My logic behind making this new pillar is that it wouldn't have to be up against the wall, so I can have it in places that makes the scene look a not as clean and not mirrored. I still have to figure out where I will place them so that they aren't in the way of someone walking around. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hallway Done

So I've finished putting together the whole section of the hallway for my micro environment, here is the render:

I'm already reworking some of the stuff in the bridge like the stairs since my scale was off. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sci Fi Door

So I've just finished making the door for my Sci Fi micro environment, here is a quick render of the door:

This door is designed so that instead of opening vertically, it opens horizontally and then the bottom part slides down, and the top part goes up. I was trying to find a way to make the door interesting when I get to animating it and texturing it since I didn't want it to be a regular door.

With the completion of the door, the hallway leading to the bridge of the ship is now done. I still have to make a new floor tile, but for now its done. I will now move to adding all the detail to the bridge.

I finally feel like I'm making progress on my environment, at first it didn't feel like I was doing anything no matter how much time I had just spend on the model. I will also start to maybe use some AO passes on the models so that I don't have to look at them in the same boring grey color. I also have to bake it down, but I will do that at the end.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


So for the last week I've been thinking of more objects to build for my thesis game. Someone in the team gave me the idea to make a kite, so here is what i came up with:

The model was about 400 and I use one texture map. Now I have to create a few more texture that can be applied to the kite model. My team also wants me to create some new particle effects for some collision when the player is falling, so my weekend will be very busy. :(

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wall Piece Finished

So I finally finished a whole section of the corridor for my sci fi environment, here is a render:

I basically took all the pieces that I've done so far, and put them all together and this is what I came up with. I'm very pleased with the look and I can't wait to see what everything will look like in the end.

Now that I'm done with the wall, I need to create a cool looking door and I will be completely done with the hallway leading to the bridge of the space ship.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sci Fi Floor Tile

So I've been working on a floor title for my space ship micro environment, and this is what I've come up with:

This title is now ready to be baked down, but I think I will put off doing that for a little while.

Next I will work on creating some roof tiles. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Confessions of a GameDev - A Discussion About Equality

So for a while I've occasionally been part of podcast being done by a few of the people here in the cohort, specifically my friend Karratti and Spencer. There's been other people that have also been there, but there are too many to list. The podcast is called: "Confessions of a GameDev" and you can listen to all their episodes if you follow that link.

The reason why I'm making this post about the podcast is that the episode we made last week (but is available today) talks about stuff that is very close to me. Its usually a bunch of students and other game devs that have a discussion about current events, but for this episode they invited a PhD student/teacher named Cindy Huynh to the podcast to discuss equality in media, specifically how we portray people in games.

A lot of what we discussed took me back to my freshman year in college since I had to take a few Ethnic Studies classes as part of my scholarship. I hope that if anyone actually reads my blog, you will give this episode a listen since I think that we touch on a lot of points that most of the time get overlooked in media or games.

That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Getting Back Into Digital Painting

So ever since I finished working on the geisha painting, I've been wanting to go back to doing more painting. I've been looking for a something to paint, and I decided to paint a black and white picture from one of my favorite manga series called Gantz. I found the picture that I wanted, and made a trace of it a while back, but never actually got around to painting anything on it. Here is what I have so far:

I did some of the shadows and put down some base layers for the colors, but I don't think I like the color that I picked for her bikini, so I may have to look for something else that works better.

Anyways, hopefully I'll be able to work more on this piece since it gives me a chance to develop my 2D art skills. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Another Sci FI Pillar

So like I said on my last post, I will focus on the hallway leading into the main room first, and this is what I have so far:

This is another type of pillar that I finished today, this is what will provide support for the the hallway. I added a monitor where I have some random stuff about the ship displayed once I get to texturing the model.

I don't really know what to call this next piece, but its going to go up against a wall between each pillar that I posted above.

Next, I will finish working on the wall where the pipes are in, with more detail. I know that the post I did about the pipes wasn't that good, but it kind of motivated me work on my project and make it look really good. That's all for now, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sci Fi Pillar

So I've kept working on my environment for my hard surface modeling class, and I finished one of the pieces tonight. I created a pillar that will support a walkway above it. Here are the renders of the finished model:



I tried to put as much detail as possible without making overbearing. When I think of the future, I think clean and complex, but not something that would take a genius to figure how to operate something. While I know that this is just a pillar, I wanted to make the pillars part of the ship, not things that are just there to hold something else up.

Next I will work on the walls that are in the hallway before entering the room, and I'll post an update when I have some progress to show. Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Progress on Final Project

So a little while ago, I posted an entry about my concept for my hard surface modeling final project. I have to admit that I've fallen behind a bit in that class with GDC and all. I've been working on it a bit over the last month, but it was mostly to block-out the idea that I had in my mind.

Today I spend most of the day working on my scene, and this is what I have so far. Its nothing impressive  but I decided that I should post at least some progress:

I don't know how much detail I posted about my idea, but I want to create a sci-fi interior of a spaceship. The render above if from some pipes that will be in the hallway. Also, this is suppose to be a hi-poly model, and as far as I know we have no tri-count limit. But I am trying to keep to a minimum my polys where-ever I can.

I keep jumping from place to place in my environment, so I think I need to come-up with an order of how I'm going to work on this or else I'll never finish. I've got some of the ships bridge (is that the right word?) blocked-in and need to add detail and smooth the edges. I will continue to work on this and try to post more updates as the week moves along. That's all for now, thanks for reading!