I haven't written a post in just under a month which is pretty appalling considering how much care I've put into prettifying and creating content for The Pixel Crush (which, by the way, you might have noticed has its very own fancy domain name now which I paid a whole $7 for! Money well wasted.)
Official Website
Things to cover in order to bring everyone properly up to speed: lots.
And don't worry, the shiny pictures are further down.

Kernel got chosen as one of the remaining projects to go through into fully fledged production, so after we all return to Falmouth after a decidedly dissertation flavoured break it'll be pedal to the metal, as I keep telling people. And it will be, I thought I'd had no time to blog this term, it can only get harder.

There were various provisos and conditions for the directors to meet for some of the projects to get the green light of approval, and Kernel was by no means an exception to that. What was heartening about the whole thing was that, once again, people were able to crawl through the mire of ideas, designs, and emotions that make up Kernel and find something of worth. The industry professional from Cornish animation studio Spidereye gave all the feedback to the tutors (which was a slight shame as I would've liked to hear what he had to say) and with regards to Kernel he got the gist of things but was confused by most of the references to back story and context. This is by no means a reflection on his mental capacity but in fact that is the kind of feedback that the Kernel animatic (moving storyboard) got across the board, with a few exceptions where people got the whole thing with no problem, or people thought Leonard's greenhouse was a tortoise sitting on a skyscraper...you know who you are ;)
Spidereye Animation
Luckily the tutors fought (I like to think tooth and nail) to justify Kernel's value as an animated short to Mr Spidereye and it got chosen to go through, providing I be removed from story development temporarily. That hurt a little. I've long wanted to have a vessel to see whether I could actually tell a story and the animatic phase of an animation is very much like the equivalent editing for film, something I believed myself to be reasonably accomplished in. But with the rapid change of idea early on, the brutal 3 minute run time restriction, and an acute inability to draw anything that involved perspective, I must've lost the plot somewhere as the story didn't read like it should've done and almost all the context, back story, and history that surrounds and forms the world that Kernel takes place in, what makes it interesting, was lost on the audience. Until I forcefully explained what was obviously going on anyway.

Fixed UV's showing Leonard's new squint pose ready for rigging.
So something that was collaborative to an extent anyway has now become more collaborative, while I feel attachment to certain aspects of Kernel its far from being 'my baby'. Hugh is at this very moment working on a scintillating re-write that includes, live and death risk taking, Big Friendly Giant style dream thoughts, radical seed dispersal, and bad-ass back story embellishments. Once that's underway Charlie will commence the re-storyboarding (of which, judging from the re-write, there is quite a bit to do). Its great to have their contributions as they both understand the message and the world enough to extrapolate new ideas that still feel coherent, the kind of thing Leonard would agree with.
Speaking of Leonard. Dan has been doing some fancy rigging which is always fun as we get to see the first hints of animation actually happen as the character is brought to life one twitching vivacious muscle at a time.

Broken UV's around Leonard's new eyes.
 I've been working on Leonard's model to create teeth, gums and a tongue for his head so facial rigging can commence but the rest of the credit must go to Sebastian for creating the model in the first place, bar the head and hands. Making better facial geometry at this late stage turned out to be a massive pain when it came to UV's as I had to re-unwrap with the additional geometry and this misaligned everything from the high resolution sculpt displacement map to the textures, so fun was had straightening that mess out, luckily I did a beautiful bodge job. I've also been hard at work sculpting a brain which is partly for the bulbs that feature quite prominently in Kernel but that's not the model's only purpose, I shall explain properly in a subsequent blog post.
...Brain Teaser...
While we're talking about modelling and how good I've got at delegating work to other people so I can focus on being opinionated and bossy I should point out both environment/prop modellers Jake and Ryan have also be creating some great work despite the lack of designs.
Ryan's Greenhouse, Jake's Shed.
Now I'm home for Christmas and settling down for a quiet panic about the prospect of an 8-10,0000 word dissertation first draft deadline. The Pixel Crush is hopefully going to be a nice antidote to the straight jacket essay writing style I'll have to adopt to attain good marks so expect more wit, whimsy, and words that ever before. Or maybe I'll just pickle my thoughts on ludo-narrative dissonance in mulled wine. Yes, I like that idea.

Pixel Propaganda

An Indie game I stumbled across has this fantastic art/rendering style that comes the closest I've seen to a very colourful stop motion animation, nothing revolutionary in terms of gameplay but very pretty. I recently purchased the Humble Indie Bundle 4 and have at last come to terms with the fact that I can no longer stand Indie games that insist on using a charmless pixel art style and game mechanics that are 20 years old. Thats not independant, thats OBSOLETE. Please, innovate, you can afford to.

The Autodesk Area posted a great article with insight and interviews into the asset creation workflow at Naughty Dog on Uncharted 3.

Someone let an idiot loose on the Edge magazine website who wrote the dumbest article about videogames inablility to tell a story whilst contradicting himseld at every turn by citing some of the smartest narrative games this generation. Luckily this blogger set him right by pulling his article apart piece by piece.