In '07, Timegate Studios in Dallas, in the good ol' Lonestar state, you guessed it, rootin'-tootin', six-shootin' Texas USA... Err, anyway, cold-contacted me, clearly desperate for help with their new shooter: Section 8. As some of you will know, as you've probably like me been subject to one, a "Section 8" is traditionally best known as an exemption from military duty, due to poor mental health... And it very nearly cost me my own sensible mind, or would have, if I hadn't already had half of it blown out already by a misdirected friendly fire air-strike in Korea... OK, I admit I called it in, I have a hard time with maps, fortunately the 4077th scooped up what was left and stitched me back together, but that's a different story.
|The beautiful concept artwork by, who knows...? If you painted this, let me know. If only I had seen this before agreeing to do the project, eh?|
|Can I go home now, look I'm clearly mad... IAM WAERING TEH NURSEZ HAT|
(CUE AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION TRACK)
|Early days, almost certainly day one, morning... Coming up to lunchtime, Roughing in the shapes, all seems to be going well... Later, I had beans on toast.|
|Everything ends in spikes and stabby looking things, makes sense really.|
|On the left, my model, on the right Timegate's proxy.|
|Some of the sculptural elements going in on the legs.|
|Now its looking more the part, shame it took so long...|
|What? - This isn't tropical white, long?|
|I recall becoming slightly obsessed with the 'hinges' of the doors to the cockpit compartment... Even though nobody else cared *how* it worked as it all worked by video-game magic.|
|Thats some pure modelling pr0n right there, for all you greeble junkies, a lot of those greebly parts came off my Akula Warship model. Click for an expanded view, you know you want to, no ones looking...|
Yeah, sure with this model, but this is a model for a console that we were all still inaccurately calling "Next Gen" in 2007. Clearly this model will not be good for a game as it has something like 4 million triangles, even the mighty Xbox 360 will RROD the instant it attempts to push such an amount around on an HD display.
|Final render of the High-Poly model.... OOOOoooooh.|
|SRSLY, IS THIS TV SHOW OVER ALREADY? What? JUST ONE MORE SEASON? CAN'T TAKE IT NO MORE.|
|Exciting Low-Poly WIREFRAMES!|
Fortunately this doesn't take as long and I quickly built a highly optimised model around the high detail version, of course its crucial how the two models relate to each other so care needs to be taken to make the models match. I was familiar with these concepts anyway, but this was highly stressed to me, I guessed they had problems previously with freelancers providing out-of-sync versions or something.
|More wires, and more and more... The tiny spikes around the upper armour were later removed because they were stupid.|
|And here's the final version! This actually went into the game, a proper game made by almost real people.|
As I was under NDA it was also a very long time before the game was released and I was able to talk about the work, a couple of years in fact, but that's so often the case, when the time came, I had more or less forgotten about it.
|Whatever you do, try and look good doing it.|
I'm not sure if this was either knowing or unknowing by the description given and the way things were handled, perhaps it was my own inexperience of dealing with these things and not knowing the right questions to ask and too much wishful thinking, working freelance in the games industry, as opposed to other industries, is a real minefield to new players.
I guess the lesson is to not be blinded by an apparently golden opportunity.
To be fair to the people who worked at Timegate, it was pretty obvious that everyone there was very strained, stressed and under pressure, don't forget that this was nearly two years before the game was actually released!
(I was also promised a copy of the game itself, two years later but that never appeared, surprise surprise;))
I really want to make clear that this was 6 years ago, today it would not be an issue. All the same it was still a challenging build of a very complicated design that had organic and in-organic shapes, all kinds of mechanisms and animated parts.
Finally here are some pics and vids of the final thing in the game and painted etc.
A Wiki Article about this, err, vehicle... is here I obviously never did play the game as I had no idea the mech is called, wait for it: M05 Silverback
|I was expecting a bit more from the texturing.|
|Ah, **** it, 6 years ago, who cares.|
You can see it in action in this video here from about 8 minutes in:
I think they also shoved it into the sequel too, the model gets the living crap kicked out of it by another angry looking mech, what is it with my models always getting blown up by these studios?
Must be the new version of my old version, meh, I think the old one was a better design;)
Anyway, thanks for reading, if you did, maybe you just looked through the pictures, kinda bored on your lunch break... You're probably already on facebook or twitter looking at other stuff and if you are don't forget to like this article on whatever, its a great help, and if you didn't like it, whatever, you can't have those precious minutes of your life back now.
Pfft, don't kid me, and don't complain, you knew what you were getting into.