Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recent Work

Here is a selection of images from my recent work. I'm hoping to allocate some time in the near future to finishing my personal website, but for now, this will do! Click to enlarge.

Level Designer, Ku, bitSmith Games (iPad, PC, MAC - Alpha)

Personal Work, all assets are my own

1 Level Prototype, play it here

Environment College Project

Craggy Island, adventure addon for Dragon Age: Origins

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Petition: Add an 8th day to the week.


How are we doing? Where the hell has the time gone. Can you believe it's almost Christmas? Shocking, I know. So yes, my feeble attempt at blogging more is obvious for all to see, but to be fair, I'm a pretty busy man and frankly, I'm having trouble gathering any sort of tangible thoughts together at the moment. I'll just start by giving Bethesda an honourable mention. Despite it's shortcomings, no other game this year has given me the freedom to your very own little adventure in such a manner as Skyrim. I can generally sneak an hour in here and there, and no matter how long or how short my play sessions are,  I always come away with a new story I'm excited to talk about. Yes, it's a single player game, but for me, the most intrinsic feature of this game, is a feature it didn't ship with, the multiplayer. I've spent just as much time just discussing the experiences myself and others have had, as playing it. It has created a community reminiscent to that of a large scale MMO, which is simply an incredible feat. I've no doubt that I'll be playing Skyrim for a long time to come and with the mod tools becoming available soon, I expect we'll see some brilliant additions to it's already masterfully created world. If you haven't already picked up a copy, I implore you to do so. It also happens to be the most accessible entry in the series and a great starting point for newcomers.

So what else have I been up to.. Well my week is literally bursting at the seams. On top of my normal 42 hour work week, I have been doing the evening course in Game Design with Clane College. I've been looking for a crash course in Unity and C# scripting and this fits the bill. I'm currently working on the first of two projects which are due in a few weeks. The guideline is to create a level in Unity, which has a clear and consistent aesthetic. The level geometry should reinforce gameplay and should also be pleasing to the eye. I'll try get some shots together once it's in a presentable state. The second project, is to create a level with functional gameplay mechanics in Stencylworks. Looking forward to starting on that.

Last but not least, I'm also working as a level designer for bitSmith Games, which I'm incredibly excited about. Our first title for the iPad (and eventually PC) is known as 'Ku', an action RPG based on ancient Irish mythology, with a beautifully hand painted Celtic/Steampunk aesthetic. Make sure you check out and chuck a like/follow on Facebook/Twitter if you like what you see.

Things are pretty manic at the moment, I'm stretched like a rubber band. I have Sundays free currently, which is usually spent food shopping for the week and spending the evening on project work. As a result, I can't promise more frequent blogging, but I'll be giving this Twitter malarky a go for now with it's 'quick-blog' nature and all, so you can follow me @Sticky_Brain for the time being.

Be good.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Busy Bee

Well didn't the summer just disappear? And to think that the Christmas decorations will be on full display everywhere in a matter of weeks.. scary! I've had a rather turbulent month with a screwed back (worse than first suspected, but better now) a bout of flu, increased pressure in work and last but not least, girl troubles.

As I sit here and type, all of these things are now behind me and I've been looking at various evening courses in an attempt to boost my skill set in particular areas I feel formal training could be rather beneficial. I've signed up for two, both of which commence next week. The first, is a Creative Writing class. I've never been great with expressing my feelings through words, so the hope is that it will strengthen a small project I'm beginning to work on (more on this later) and generally just expand my creative vocabulary and emotional expression. The second, is a Game Design course that's focal point is producing prototypes and working demos using Unity 3d and 3d Max/Photoshop for asset creation. My aim here is to get some formal training with UnityScript as it's the one thing that's been curbing progress for me. Both courses run until Christmas and while 2 nights a week might sound like a lot, it should still leave me enough time to work on other things. The plan for after Christmas, is to take a Creative Drawing class and possibly something else, in the run up to the summer.

So that's it! I bought a second and much bigger (classroom size) whiteboard and have stuck it on my wall - which is now full with notes and doodles, as I plan out the early stages of a game that is loosely based on my childhood experiences. I won't talk about it until I have something concrete to show and/or the concept sticks, but one thing's for sure, I have an exciting few months ahead!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Checking in

Just back from a glorious 2 weeks in Corfu. Plenty of sun, booze, adventures and much needed R&R. I might post some pictures at some point, but at the moment I'm practically incapacitated due to a pulled muscle in my back, rendering the use of my left arm completely and utterly useless. It's laughing at the pain killers at the moment, I just hope there isn't any proper damage done to it. But yeah, I can barely move.

Going to crawl into bed now not move for hours, hopefully this thing can be slept off.

Until soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Still Alive


I just finished Portal again and the end credits song "Still Alive" has given me the kick I've needed to update this and let you all know that I'm alive and well and whilst there has been little actual progress on the development front, it doesn't mean I've drifted off into the land of the giver-uppers. The wheel is still turning.

I guess you could say I'm in sort of a development limbo at the moment. I'm juggling a bunch of tools, Unity, UDK, Zbrush, 3D Max and sort of just being unsure as to what to pick and use going forward. It's clear that I've been over-evaluating and procrastinating. One minute I'm pro-Unity, the next, UDK is the best thing since sliced bread (it really is though..) and then I'm modeling vases and walls in 3D Max and having a tonne of fun painting on beautiful normal maps in zBrush, all without an end goal. Dither brain. Sure, it's all practice and I'm constantly learning, but at the end of the day, it's all about how efficient and productive you are with your time, that counts. I can tell you, I have not been efficient with my time.

You can tell from my previous posts and pretty much since the release of Craggy Island, that I've been a right dither-brain, hopping from one idea to the next. Little Big Planet, Virus Attack, iPhone game, AI behaviour game, yada yada. I've made some progress with the AI behaviour game in Unity and hope to post some progress shots of that sometime in September. (2 week holiday to Corfu in August!)

So where does that leave me? It left me in a state of deep and meaningful thought this week. I worry an awful lot about the future. Is this the right thing to do given current industry conditions? What studio should I aim to work at, would they hire me? How should I best spend my time, making nice maps for a pre-existing game, or build some prototypes using my own assets? How do I want my portfolio to look? Should I look to join a mod team and contribute content? Should I skip returning to college and spend the near 20k I will have saved on funding an indie game?

These are the questions running through my head on a daily basis. They've pretty much been clouding my mind and have left little room for the creative part to breath. So I've come to the conclusion that I will no longer think or worry about what the future holds and instead focus all of my energies on creating COOL SHIT. I'm sure that any of you reading this are probably shouting the monitor "Well DUH" but sometimes it's not as easy as that. In this case though, you'd be right. That's right, I'm going to make some cool shit. Some seriously cool shit. Make cool shit and the rest will take care of itself, right?

I will primarily be using Unity for the AI based game. There are some really interesting behavioural and pathing libraries out there that can be integrated into Unity's API. We won't be sticking to any rigid game design just yet, rather just testing the waters with the hope of something interesting emerging from that. To speed up production and save some hair, we'll most likely look to get a programmer on board. The library integration will take a little work and neither myself or Sergio are immediately equipped with the necessary skills to bring our visions to life.

Hopefully soon enough I'll be blogging about something productive and less about promising to be productive.

Have a nice Sunday.