Thursday, December 24, 2009

Year today, gone tomor. . . ugh.

So here it is. . . December 24th 2009. It was strange to think where I was a year ago at this date.

A year can change quite a bit in a person's life. It is quite strange to think a year ago I was at a sinking company in Salt Lake City Utah. Living in the snow covered grounds of West Valley City. Here I am today typing this in Hollywood California, looking out at the pee covered grounds of Los Angeles. Working at a solid company with more potential on the horizon. Quite a difference. I also happened to be married now, although that hasn't seemed to change much between the Mrs. and I. (She is still the most awesomest person I know, and will stay that way.)

I considered 2009 somewhat of an Empire Strikes Back sort of year. Sure some things went well, but there was lots of sacrifice, hardship, pain and bounty hunters. I feel like I lost more than I won, but sometimes a person needs that in their life. I learned quite a bit about trust, friends and working your ass off to make sure you get what you need to survive. I learned quite a bit of what not to do, and I hope to use that for the betterment of my future endeavors.

I say all this because 2010 will be more than a year of improvements, but a dedication to years even further in the future. If I have learned anything it's that there are plenty of people squandering what they have, and if they can get there, anyone can do the same. Here's to the next year and the years beyond.

Ill post a less prolific sounding update soon. . .

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Side Projects

I can't say much, but I am working on a few things in my free time collaboratively with some friends on two different projects.

One is a comic called I wrote called Mortifera (nothing there yet, but soon there will be. . .)
It is about the Dark Ages. However instead of a plague wiping out millions, hordes of demons kill off half of the population in Europe. I use historical events (even if they
are a bit out of order) and persons of interest from the era (including Joan of Arc who is a religious nut) to tell the story. Demon Hunters begin the systematic process of eradicating any beings
from hell. It has lots of occulty goodness. I
won't go into exact story details but that is the general outline. Demons in medieval Europe fighting
against various armies that want to send them back to hell. I've been getting the art for the first few pages and I have been pretty
happy with the
results so far. . . after I get some edits I will post some images.

The other project is just getting started and I like it already. I think it has major potential for badassery. I can't say much about this yet because it is JUST getting off the ground, but I am excited about it. When stuff becomes a bit more concrete I'll of course post factoids about it.

Also Modern Warfare 2 has been ruining my life. I love me some throwing knife. I also just ordered Assassin's Creed 2, so I will be introducing blades into some Italian dude's throats soon enough. Awesome. What have you guys been playing?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sensory Sweep History

These two articles were recently posted about my old job at Sensory Sweep Studios:

In case you are curious what happened to the company I was at previously, there is quite the in depth look it its history in full. Many a shady deal was made there and it was a shame so many people were affected by this illegal behavior. I was actually warned by a former colleague "Just make sure you get a pay check while you are there." I laughed internally thinking "Pshhhh there is no way crap like that happens. That just happens on made for TV movies or whatever." Little did I realize that the owner had a sordid history in filing for bankruptcy to get out of paying taxes. Two years and six felony charges later, here I am owed thousands of dollars by the man who in fact, did not get me the amount of paychecks that I was owed.

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I will never see the money I am owed, but its nice to know some people are writing about this and keeping the knowledge of it around.

On a positive note and a different company, I must say the project I am working on currently is coming along nicely and I am proud to say I am part of this game. Still can't say what it is because it has yet to be announced, but I dig it and I think others will as well. When it comes out I'll be sure to talk about the various parts I contributed to the game.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holy crap its been a while. . .

Hi. It's been a while since I posted anything. I apologize, but I have been doing the following:

-I relocated from Utah back to OC California.
-Started working as a level designer at Wayforward Technologies.
-Contracted the swine flu. It was delightful.
-Got married.
-Wrote a new comic book project called Mortifera. ( Ill update more later.)
-Moved to Hollywood.
-Ate lots of Del Taco nacho fries.

That was my life since August essentially, hence the lack of updates. The new job is great. Though I can't say anything about the project I am on, I will say I was quite excited to start work there because of it. Wayforward Technologies, for those of you who don't know, recently did A Boy and His Blob which has been getting some great reviews. I'm happy to be working at a place that has people that really work hard to make a quality product. When they announce the project I am currently on, I'll post some links.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Spider Mouse

I've been reading quite a bit 'round the interwebs today about Marvel fans crapping their pants over the recent news. Like Galactus consuming a planet, Marvel was purchased by Disney for 4 BILLION FREAKIN' DOLLARS. Disney is hoping they can get their money off the deal by grabbing a demographic that was harder for them to reach before. Boys, teens and 45 year-old over weight dudes.
At the risk of losing my fanboy card I'll go ahead and say it. . .


I'll give you an example. Disney bought Pixar in 2006. Since then has Pixar made crappier movies? Has Mickey Mouse been in every Pixar movie as the staring character? No and no. Disney bought Pixar because they were a creative powerhouse and using those characters has brought in a significant amount of revenue in demographics they didn't have before. In fact John Lasseter (the main hombre behind Pixar) makes quite a few creative decisions in Disney because they recognized the man's talents. I would also venture to say that without Disney's marketing, distribution and consumer products divisions to back up Pixar, it would not be the recognizable brand that it is today.

I've seen posts on social networking sites claiming that Disney will ruin Marvel characters. However if people want to worry about Disneyfying things I would first look internally at Marvel before going after Disney. The Wolverine Origins movie that was just recently released was terrible. The Superhero Squad brand isn't exactly aimed at the hard core comic reader. I can list lots of terrible licensed products and movies that Marvel has signed off on but that doesn't mean it's all bad and this is where I think Disney buying them is a good thing.

Movies: Disney has access to their own movie studio. Marvel Studios recently made Iron Man and Hulk which were arguably the closest to canon Marvel movies. This means that Disney can let Marvel make all the creative decisions and let Disney distribute bringing all the revenue into Marvel/Disney, as opposed to Paramount getting some and giving the rest to Marvel for example. This is also a win for Disney because they get licensing royalties from products that are mid contract.

Comics: Unless Disney goes under Marvel will never go bankrupt again. Disney also has a huge publication backing and could get Marvel into places around the world it couldn't reach before. I would also argue that content in comics won't be touched by Disney. Disney owns brands like Miramax and Tochstone Pictures which have released mature themed movies like Inglorious Basterds, Clerks 2, and Doubt. If those got released I doubt comic content will be filtered.

Video Games: Contracts with Activision (Who did a GREAT job with Wolverine and pretty good with Spider-Man Web of Shadows), Sega (Meh on Iron Man and Hulk) and others are still going through. Which means it's on Marvel's shoulders to make sure these games meet brand and creative standards through these developers. It was recently said that Disney will "Reexamine Marvel Video Game Deals As They Expire" so Disney may not even develop any of the Marvel I.P.'s for quite sometime. If anything, Marvel has shown a commitment recently to making better games with their license attached to it.

In essence: Don't be scared. Things will be fine. I doubt much will change. In fact feel free to leave comments warning of the impending Dr. Doom with iron Mickey ears threat.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Design Tests and crashing computers!!@!

I took another design test last week. The image I provided is from the high concept stuff I did for the my recent design test. It is just the chicken scratch I jot down before starting anything serious. It's all just "That would be sick if . . " type thoughts that I draw and write down madly. Maybe later I will post some screen shots of the level I designed in Unreal but we'll see.

I'm not going to say who the test for, but if I get the job you'll know. :)
I will say though that their upcoming titles are promising and I would be quite happy to work with their Intellectual Properties.

When I was informed of the test, I went and got a new comp because my current pc is beyond repair and can't run Unreal to save it's now worthless existence. I needed something that was fast, had wireless and was already built. (Didn't have time to waste on constructing my own.) I went to Best Buy and got a quad core Gateway. I get home to find out it doesn't have wireless capabilities. I then had to go to Best Buy and get a wireless usb card. (Which they gave me on the house because they said it had wireless.)

It worked for a week and then it died. Luckily I had my level saved up to date on a flash drive. I had to pack it up and take it back and get a new one. I got home and set it up and the NEW one died that day.


I finally just returned it and gave up. I am building my own pc damn it. I have to say though that the dudes at Best Buy were extremely nice and helpful.

Anyway that is what I have been doing. That and playing Spider-Man Web of Shadows. It has lots of technical glitches, bugs and seems rushed in some areas. However because it is Spidey maybe I am giving it the benefit of the doubt. . . because I like the air combat, zipping webs into bad guys faces and chasing Spidey villains through sky scrappers. I just wished they made the Symbiote versions of Wolverine a bit more intense. This design seemed lacking for such a powerful combination. If it were more like this I think it would have been more menacing looking, personally speaking. Venom also seemed a bit small in comparison to how he is in the comics. This is me being nit-picky though.

Anyway I'll update when I get some more stuff in motion and I get a pc that won't die in a week and that doesn't have Vista.

UPDATE: I received an email for the job saying they really like the stuff but their hiring needs had changed. They would essentially let me know when something pops up when they resume hiring. Bummer!

Monday, March 30, 2009


Here are some screen shots from playtesting I've been doing.  Need to move some volumes, add an easier way to move out of the acid pit, and take out some health pick ups but so far testing has been positive.  I need to move some of the flow out of the Incinerator/Air Lock room.  It seems most activity moves in there because there are too many pick ups.  

I am happy with some weapon placement though.  The more powerful weapons are in dangerous areas.  For example the sniper rifle and some health pickups are on the bridge.  If an enemy shoots the bridge switch it will submerge and the player will incur damage as a result of their sniper snatching attempt.  

Now I am just modifying and fixing. . .  I'll keep the updates coming.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

High Concept Level Map

I have done a SketchUp model of the map so Henry and I can establish a few things.  I wanted to get a nicer version of what I had drawn out in the previous post.  This can provide a 3D example of what I was trying to accomplish.  Layout and object placement are going to be discussed so we can make any modifications to the level before putting it in Unreal.  

Henry and I will also discuss art style and what needs to be achieved on the art end of things.  For example the acid bath tanks need to follow this general shape but it is up to Henry to create the awesome static meshes needed to create a gritty and corroded tank.  I have provided texture examples and photos of areas similar to what we are trying go for in the level.  For example think Terminator 2, Aliens, Predator and Battlestar Gallactica tones and moods.  We will start listing the necessary art assets to make this room look as brutal as we can.  

Next up is art asset discussion and then whiteboxing the environment.  When that happens I will post some pictures of the whitebox.  I may start scripting to make the lifts run, acid hurt the player, open doors, make crushers slam down and I need to work on a way to make the air lock suck the player out of the room into space. . .   :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Creative Ways to Die and Other News

Two updates:

One: I have a pen and paper design of the new Unreal Level.  I'll scan in all the images later but for now I have the quick picture of the chicken scratch I have been using to document ideas.  I have been working with Henry and we are going to mock up some more clearly defined ideas and blueprints.  (I'll do those in Sketchup and post em online too.)  After that he will get started on creating some art assets and meshes, while I do the white boxing for the level and rough scripting.  It's got all sorts of cool ways to use the level to kill opponents.  Dropping walkways into acid tanks, mechanized ship grinders, airlocks that suck them into space, raising acid tanks, and incinerator rooms that melt opponents.  (Complete with window so player's can watch their enemies melt to death.)  I'm pretty excited about this actually, I think it will be brutal.  Each room is represented in each image but are interconnected.  Two basement rooms and two ground level rooms.  

Two:  I asked to be laid off of work yesterday.  As odd as that sounds, the company didn't have money for paychecks and I couldn't wait any longer.  I needed some form of income and I couldn't wait any longer because I am months behind in payment.  I wish them nothing but the best and I hope they can pull out of this funk.  I know they have some plans but they will take weeks to be enacted and I just can't wait that long.  I am sure they will make some announcements sooner or later on what they plan on doing.  I was one of about six that left yesterday and I wish those that are staying the best of luck.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Catacomb Church

This is about a day and a half worth of work. It is a church with a catacomb below ground with two secret entrances. I'm using static meshes packages that were bundeled with U3, so I don't exactly have what I am looking for when it comes to art assets. (It would be nice to get some skull piles, epic sarcophagi, female medieval warrior angel statues, tapastries, mounds of candles with burning wax melting down, and huge stain glass windows. Maybe I'll harass someone to get some thrown in.)

Lighting still needs work, decorations need to be added, bump and detail maps need to be extruded as well. Any suggestions on it??

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unreal Screen Shot


Here are some more screen shots of a level I have been working on in the Unreal Editor.  The level has bot paths, working portals, particle effects elevators, and opening doors.  I am working on two connecting rooms that go to the side and under the current rooms.  It's getting there. . . 

(Sidenote:  Whoever invented Hot and Spicy Cheez It's is a winner.  They have been my side-arm throughout my efforts.)
I'll post more when I got it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I've been messin' around in the Unreal Editor and drawing in my free time as of late . . . no real updates.  I just figured I'd post one of my unfinished dudes.  I'll post a real update later.  I swears!  There might be some interesting news in the coming weeks so we'll see what goes down or up then.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This Glorious Nightmare

I am workin on this dude right now. He is an amalgamation of nightmares you could say. If a vampire bit a warrior demon this is what you would get. I might post the color if I feel so inclined. Most of my free time has been devoted to drawings and Fallout 3,
which has ruined my life. I completed the game by being a total saint ( a saint that shoots slavers in the face anyway ) and now I am quite excited to
play the game like a prick. Well here is to another 30 hours . . .

Next update I'll have something regarding my views on the scope of a project and how limits can still thrive with creativity. Word up. Hasta Luego.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Critically Critical

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and we both came to the conclusion that folks who can't take criticsim, should not be in the business of entertaining people.  Criticism as a whole is large beast, always looking for a fight.  Dealing with such leviathans can end in trajedy or triumph but it is the trial that reveals its weakness.

The tragic result of a confrontation with criticism can be the demise of the creator.  Here is the creator, bravely lunging with a sword and shield, battling the demonic criticism.  After fighting criticism, the battle begins to wear down the creator.  Instead of learning from previous mistakes, criticism merely digs deeper into the creator.  Stopping the blood is becoming difficult and the creator limps away in pain.  Throwing down the sword and shield, the creator pouts momentarilly before being swallowed whole by criticism.  

There is, however, another way.  The creator learns from criticism and fights back with new knowledge.  It may take multiple stabs but reacting to the criticism is what counts.  Yes, the creator takes some hits occasionally, but it is the mistakes which make the creator that much more cunning.  You can tell by the scars who has faced their share of demons.  

I feel in the time that I have been around, the people I like to work with are those that can take fight instead of run away from it.  Mistakes make us what we are, and when people don't believe that they make any errors, it really says something about their ability to become better.  Criticism will eventually die by the hands of the creator if they are not beaten down by it, it is just a matter of how long, and when to end the fight.

I feel that fighting the beast can be painful, arduous, and intense.  However once the beast is conquered, it is that much sweeter a result and mounting that head on the wall in the Mead Hall is quite the accomplishment.

Long metaphor but I felt it was neccesary.  The moral of the story, to which I need to heed as well, don't be a wiener and learn from mistakes.