Subtle, but the new shaders connote the metallic materials of the blimp and the bump mapping helps break up the specular highlights.
Its the holidays so stuff to do animation-wise has dried up a bit. Though I'm still doing a bit of 3rd year work to stave off the sunshine induced apathy. I've had to gut my laptop (which was dying anyway) and implement some pretty illogical work-arounds to get my laptop to function properly with the, now enormous scenes The Last Trophy is working with. I remember when I was proud of my laptop, and lived under the illusion that it could hold its own against most desktops of its age...

Note the faulty motion blur on the left propeller, something we'll have to live with without increasing rendertime in unhelpful ways.

I've also been dabbling in render passes in order to give the compositor more control over the different elements of the image. So far we have diffuse material colour, specular, reflection, shadows, zdepth, and ambient occlusion. Unless specifically requested I'm hoping that should cover everything.

There's even some Ambient Occlusion on this one, not that you can really tell, but now you know its there, doesn't it look nicer?
Even though we still have a term left of this academic year I feel very aware of the vast amount of summer holiday approaching, a length of time that I'd like to fill with something productive if possible. I've been sending emails to a small number of companies I'd like to do placements with over the summer and recieving not particularly encouraging automated replies generally saying: "we can't reply to every email, so don't expect a response". Even the hardly known Frictional Games in Sweden have a response warning that they aren't looking for interns. They're a 5 man team for gods sake, and I offered to work for free! Obviously the fact that there is only 5 of them means they can't babysit a useless student, still, slightly disheartening.

In the meantime I've been trying to push myself into making a start on pre-production for our own 3rd year major projects. While this feels stupidly early, I don't want to arrive at term one of next year and have to sketch and storyboard a load of stuff from scratch, if at all possible I'd want to be able to go straight into asset production to give me and whoever else I can convince to join me as much time as possible in the production stage, because the sooner that all wraps, the more we can up the shininess :D

Meet Noel Paisley, Professional Protagonist.

Since gutting my laptop I haven't been able to install adobe stuff because (not expecting it to die on me) I left all the installation discs in Falmouth. So this is just a pencil sketch until I can ink and colour it in Photoshop. Hopefully I can make a start on modelling a low poly version of the character and figure out how the scraps of cloth or his beard might work in terms of dynamics.

Pixel Propaganda

Chris Hecker, designer working on Spy Party recently did a lecture at a University that covers some pretty fundamental aspects of game design but in a way pacey way that infuses his own enthusiasm and opinion.

I've always felt a resistance to killing in videogames, after a while it feels normal (which is worrying in itself) but this article discusses some of the other options available to developers that are being neglected.

This is Jonathan Blow's most complete talk on Braid, specifically its gameplay, and shows footage of the games prototyping phase. Its a fascinating look at one of my favourite games ever and even in this talk, there are still elements Blow refuses to discuss as he believes so strongly in the importance of player discovery.

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