Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Back to school, for an afternoon.

Before I left the Netherlands for Crytek I had a part-time job at my old university. I was teaching an introduction class in game art and 3d modeling and a few weeks back I had the pleasure going back for an afternoon and talk about my new job and working on Crysis 3.

Although I had been in that classroom many times before both as a student and as a teacher it was the first time I was actually kind of nervous. It would be the first time in 1,5 years and in that time a lot has changed.

After catching up with former teachers/colleagues I stepped into a classroom that I, quite honestly, had never seen so full before. During that afternoon I did two talks, one about working on crysis 3 and one on getting the job and what I did leading up to that point. After an initial dry throat I had a lot of fun sharing my experiences with the people and giving them a little bit of insight in what went into making a game like Crysis 3. Most interesting part was the Q&A round at the end of the session which was a lot of fun to do. This is also the part where you notice how hungry people are for more information and how excited they are about making games.

It's amazing how much this excitement can also recharge your own energy and passion for your work. During a big production there will always be a moment where you move into an end phase and start to wrap things up. You fix bugs, create those last remaining LOD's, collision models and make sure everything runs smoothly. Although part of the job, it's not very creative or exciting work but it all needs to be done when the deadline hits. It is at this point that it's easy to lose sight of what makes your job so awesome.

I also mentioned the hunger for more information, and I get emails with the same question on a regular basis. Most people who are already working in the industry have probably found their sources. But whether you're a student looking for more or a working professional looking to learn something new or brush up on things, here's a list of sources that can be useful:

- The Gnomon Workshop offers a wide range of online training in digital and more traditional art.
- Digital-Tutors has a great selection of software training for movies, games & digital art
- Eat3D has a great selection of more game specific tutorials ranging from software training to getting started with various game engines.
- 3dmotive offers a range of training similar to Eat3D

- World Of Level Design is a great website by Alex Galuzin, filled with all kinds of useful articles and videos.

- Polycount probably one of the biggest and most active sites/forums focused on all things game art. A lot of information and inspiration can be found here. It's also a good place to share your progress, get feedback and interact with others.

If you are a working professional and have the opportunity to do a talk at a university/school think about doing it. Even if you consider the content of your potential talk to be "common knowledge" or "not really special". Keep in mind you're not doing the talk for peers at a GDC and that for students these things might be new & interesting (always check the level of the audience however). Or think about doing a Q&A session or portfolio review.

If you are a student and have the chance to attend a talk, go. Maybe think of some things you would like to ask. Even if the talk is not that informative, in a lot of cases it's at least going to be inspiring!

I will most likely pay another visit to my old university somewhere in the future. But for now I will keep this blog going and maybe actually make use of my youtube account.

Till next time,

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Reboot! A new country and a new job!

Looking at the last entry date of this blog I realized little more than 2 years passed since I last posted. In the past 2 years I got nowhere near the amount of content I imagined I'd put up here. But that doesn't mean the pasts years have been unproductive...

Before I truly restart this blog I feel I need to give a quick update of what I've been doing in the past few years. 

Somewhere 4 years ago I decided to fully commit myself to becoming a 3d/environment artist with the goal to one day work on awesome games. Ever since I've been working really hard, learning, practicing and absorbing every little piece of information I could find.

After the competitions over at Eat3D (older post in this blog) and the surprising results, I got a lot of positive responses to my work, and this really helped me getting noticed.

As a result I got the offer to work for Interceptor Entertainment as an environment artist, working on
Duke Nukem: Reloaded. Although the project got put on hold indefinitely in September 2011 there was a lot of passion in the team and it was a great experience working on what would have been a great remake of a classic. 
I moved on after the project stopped but it is awesome to see how Interceptor Entertainment and its team has grown and is kicking ass with the Duke Nukem platformer pack and Rise Of The Triad, which should release later this month!

The biggest change in my life was shortly after, when I joined the team at Crytek Frankfurt, in December 2011. I got an offer to do environment art on Crysis 3 and I took it.

Moving to Germany and leaving my hometown was probably the hardest thing I ever did in my life. And certainly the biggest step I ever took. At the same time it was also the easiest decision I ever made. Luckily Frankfurt is only 3-4 hours away from Arnhem and hometown friends visit on a regular basis. I achieved the goal I set for myself 4 years ago and the ride up until now has been great! In the past 1,5 years that I have been here I've met and worked with great people and on exciting things but the best is yet to come.

With this recap out of the way, last restart this blog! Although I'm not going to promise a constant stream of new posts I have a few drafts lined up to work on so keep an eye on this page!