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  1. Decide what it is you want to do. There can be a world of difference between making a game and experimenting with some game related tools. If I may politely suggest it - it sounds like you don't know what it is exactly that you want, but rather the systems themselves interest you? Rather than 1 size fits all you might just try fiddling around briefly with an engine such as unreal or cry engine - even in their older/free incarnations. Just get a taste of working with 3d games... When I say briefly, on a casual basis, we're probably talking 10-20 hours of videos/reading overview plus then whatever you want to do/learn. This should help firm up what aspects you are interested in and what you are not, along with teaching you some general principles behind 3d games. Then decide what it is you want to make. Produce a design and decide what parts of it you actually want to learn and create, and what parts you want to just to adopt (if any). Use this information to then either line up the right tools or ask more specific advice before doing so. It's a long road, but filed with firsts; the first time you make a room, light something, material something, run around it, make something move ... these are the little victories to savour and any one of these engines should at least get you there quickly. If any particular part of it is for you, then concentrate on that and the best route for letting you spend your time doing that.
  2. 3D Modeling

    Even if you're desperate to avoid uv-ing this is probably not your best route for games work. It can be very handy for basic starting points, or end additions/tweaks with specific tools, but not necessarily the best route unless you're looking into a more particular workflow that might make best use of something like substance painter [by allegorithmic] - but this is probably a specialized diversion away your immediate needs. Yep typically collision will often be a simplified mesh or even individual shapes (cheap calculations) attached to your rig... other more specialized simulations, or setups using already simple geometry, may simply use the actual model mesh. Implementations can obviously vary. If it's just a canned/non-dynamic animation it's worth noting you should be able to 'bake' a simulated animation sequence into keyframes in your 3d app and export an animation sequence like that. Yes, it developed more from a film background, but these days that means little (it used to be that maya plug-ins/tools may have been hard to find or followed after 3ds max tools, but these days it's a pretty level play field). However, as an animator specifically, it's worth noting you'll probably also find motion builder as an extremely common solution for all kinds of situations - especially those where data goes across platforms.
  3. Diablo III

    Fantastic execution on the loot drop and feel of playing the game I think everyone can now agree - even if others have preferences for other systems. To see them just drop off the story telling altogether is disappointing, but I suppose it was the corner they backed themselves into ... The poorly animated in game scripted scenes and the visually impressive, yet vaguely linked, cinematics still completely baffle me - generally failing to heighten the dramatic tone of the game and failing to craft a sense of the world that I think diablo 2 did so well, and even diablo 1 micro managed more easily. I think doing away with Cain was a mistake - imho it would have been far more inspiring to have used that character as a companion that made personal, and both reflected, and channelled, the emotions this story was supposed to invoke. As well as using him as an anchor to tie in the tale across the series and various characters. Tyreal and he should have debated/argued/agreed and contested on points...virility, desperation, age, wisdom and strength clashing in an effort better to urge you on... give you something emotional to fight for... a sense of pain and possibly failure... urgh instead it's all remarkably wooden with little sense of interaction/community... and it all just gets sacrificed in the face of the great, but now less dimensional, loot game,,, At least adventure mode now grants some relief from that... just a shame it couldn't have all been woven in with the narrative/world a bit more effectively... Perhaps squirrelling away a couple more npc/world based events/quests with insightful or even course altering plots. Ironic given starcraft did a pretty good job of tying the player to the narrative, exploiting characters, and giving you at least the perception of a couple of choices to make as concerned narrative priority. ... You'd be forgiven for thinking I didn't greatly like the game - which I do - despite the lost opportunities to emotionally invest it is a good play and still very special, genre defining still, but not worthy of wider cultural significance really, which is a shame given the stage that Blizzard has built.
  4. Amy Hennig and Naughty Dog Part Ways

    ... if nothing else I think she's played the role of a 'role model' not only very well, but pretty honestly and without personally using it as 'leverage' in any exploitative way. That her exit from naughty dogs remains somewhat murky is probably a reasonable indicator that neither side parted on the best of terms, but that also neither could professionally leverage any complaints against each other, and that each owed the other a good deal. Personally uncharted was far too hammy for me, although 'repackaging' this is still something of a challenge that I think is easy to under estimate I would be far more interested to see if Amy will perhaps get/want the opportunity to exhibit a new tone and perhaps even take a more directorial role in the game - something I feel (most) writers never really get to do to great effect. This might all be totally counter to the events already under way, perhaps even Amy's own preference; but I think it would be fascinating to see. I also think Amy is in a relatively unique position of authority and circumstance to really push large game/team development structures as a writer should she want to... Of course, if this never happens it could be equally revealing to hear from her more as a representative of a team as to why this was not something she would want to pursue so directly as an individual writer. It's a little unfair perhaps to look orward to such things from one person - but I think Amy Hennig is [perhaps in part due to fortuitous timing/chance] in an extremely interesting, able and powerful position that perhaps someone like, say, Rihanna Prachett or Kim Swift have yet to either get the chance to, or been able to, encompass completely. (That's not a slight on them, two very accomplished individuals, but both who I believe have at least suggested, if not stated, frustrations at structural/directorial walls they had to work with/around.)
  5. Reading about Games

    Depending on how you skew I'd heartily recommend perhaps looking at some of the more explorative framework writers, especially if you're looking at cultivating your own understandings - as opposed to the practical approaches/experiences of others (not to take away from these, which are great in their own right, but never typically discuss fundamentals beyond specific comparative examples): Understanding Media - Marshal Mucluhan - Often a bit bombastic, but highly entertaining to read, and most importantly extremely exploitative. Yes it's old, but it's really amazing how prophetic and thorough this man was, and his explorations on sport/communication/play in particular are still simply some of the most valuable insights ever written in correlation to this medium we now understand as games. If nothing else it really helps to highlight what a melting pot games have become for 'media', and the considerations one has to make in approaching/delivering them. If you ever felt somewhat dismayed by the Roger Ebert stance on games be re-assured; there were those from previous generations who would treat the medium of video games with a lot more interest, reverence and insight than than that critic. Cyber_Reader - a great collection of easy to read studies that will introduce you to a great number of writers/works to look into that may relate to games - some are from 'entertainment' media themselves, others are more 'academic'. Compiled by Neil Spiller whose also an interesting guy in his own right. Half Real - Jesper Juul - one of the few peer reviewed academics dedicated to games. You'll no doubt find things that might rub you slightly the wrong way, and despite something of a 'plodding' first book it remains his most useful book imho; good in terms of attempting to explore critical thinking in games. It is a good starting point for helping to critically assess games or at least help identify how you personally would like to start looking at games - even if you disagree with some of the stances taken. ... If these are up your street, let me know, and I should be able to recommend a few more - but these may be a bit more particular/dictatorial/dry compared to those above, possibly steeped more in relative literary theory. ... On a completely different tack - if you're up for something nostalgic and entertaining, rather than academic, but quite revealing in terms of the history of games development - Masters of Doom by David Kushner remains one of the most entertaining stories written on games development and some of the more notorious western personalities involved.
  6. Getting into the industry?

    Tis fine, honestly - humour intact - my bad for being too self involved and feeling I should answer back something that was unrelated. Sorry for diverting the thread
  7. Getting into the industry?

    No I got it, just didn't appreciate it, I know I wrote a terrible wall of text, but it was intended to be helpful. Being followed by snark wasn't great, whether intentional or not. I should have just left it alone, but I prodded it - obviously overcome with the need to type in a new forum... and now for some reason explaining it all... hmm But never fear, I do actually have a sense of humour, honest.
  8. Getting into the industry?

    ...You only need to answer the first bit, usually answered with something like 'because I want to'.
  9. Is free to play inherently evil?

    I don't think it's evil; not at all. However, it is very difficult, perhaps responsibly it should have a cap, but also that's a bit like limiting the time you can play per day - including a tool to help manage kids could be responsible, but at the end of the day the onus for that has to fall onto the end user. The biggest disappointment/danger for me is to see people expecting for something nothing, devs pushing each other closer to 0, whilst games become not free to play, but pay to win. However, I think consumers may tend to learn around this - sure they'll fall into the same trap many times - but I do believe that as this matures (and its starting to do so I think) you'll see diversification, and choice of payments/free to plays/subscriptions/demos that best suit not only distinct target markets but also distinct games (actual individual titles, not just genres), instead of these one size fits all or nothing stakes [which tends to occur around fashions/trends - with big swells and troughs - before it evens out].
  10. Getting into the industry?

    Whatever your discipline your portfolio is number one. Games, even incomplete ones, are simply the best kind of content. Do not sink all your time into a single magnum opus, at least at first. Practice; set yourself a couple of challenges where you may not think there's a massive call for a writer, before perhaps branching out to something more typical like an adventure game etc. Perhaps totally complete a couple of these while working on a larger piece of written work. For example, how could you as a writer make a pachinko game better, or a fashion designer game, or a fighter, or a platformer. Unless you're in desperate need of physical peer pressure/support (some people are - especially starting out or motivation while working another job etc.) I would not think a degree is the best use of your time/money. Here in the UK contacts with universities are few and far between despite what some courses like to promise, they're nothing that you can't do for yourself by emailing/calling/posting a good work sample to a studio. It sounds like things might be a bit different in Canada, but I suspect you'll still find as good, if not better content and support online. The exception to this may be if you're in need of some real specific training, and can guarantee enough tutor/peer time for their input to greatly increase your productivity - again a little skeptical of how this works in practice, tutors not in labs, lab that are only open in working hours, fellow students who may not want to be there or simply have different schedules. Now, it should be said this may all be more practical if you've got 3 years, and a couple of other interests to firm up that you can spend your time on as well as your chosen degree. But I don't feel this is quite your situation? If you do want to go to University research your options thoroughly - no course/institution is the same - talk to the tutors, and do not be afraid to walk away from it if it turns out it won't be the best fit for you. ... The situation I fear is you on a modular course where only 3/5 modules are of direct interest to you and you're taking valuable time out of your life to travel to uni, sit in a theater/lab, listen to some discussions not as good as idle thumbs, not have work finished yet and worth showing, but still have a pleasant and interesting chat, but end up going home with a business card with the same contact information that is on a company website... just like every other student in there. Of course shipped games help, but only if people have heard of them - and sometimes, depending on who's looking at cvs, or doing an interview, it could be pot luck whether they've heard of, let alone played the game - so don't worry about it. Just be ready and able to illustrate how you contributed to a game project, even if it was not completed. If you have a couple of sheets/clips to pull out and present to someone at a desk, or in an email, and make a compelling point of how you were useful in situation x that's half your interview, the other half will be them seeing if they like you. It might help to have examples of how your work can adapt to the mobile/tablet/big screen spread - but beyond that it simply won't matter if the game in question was an unnamed demo (well maybe for a writer), or the latest first person shooter - just so long as you did something good! In your position you have to respect a writer is something of a directorial role in games development. Obviously there's typically a lot more bodies doing other things in an already small sized industry. To make yourself more versatile, particularly to a smaller company, I would consider getting into a spot of scripting. In a strange way you can appreciate how attempting to walk in as the writer to a larger company may also appear arrogant. A penchant/ability for scripting/level design/UI work opens you up to far more design positions than writing alone. The experience will also give you an insight into the challenges in making games and the way writing works in games. This being said if writing is the only thing that really intrigues you this could be something of a (massive) distraction and you may be best only dipping a toe into this area and concentrating on games as a part of your career as a writer, at least at first. As far as possible - have a think - kind of design your portfolio and try to mostly shape your route to get that that as far as possible. Do not just sit on a course and try to push whatever comes out of that into a folder and present that as a portfolio. You might find a traditional writing degree can be shaped to better fit your purposes for example - do not come to it determined to do a 'games' course but determined to do the work you want to do. Upshot: whether or not you go to university, ensure your chosen route will help you get the portfolio you want. ... And, yes, this is a small industry, depending on your goal do not get disheartened if it takes a few years to find your place, look after yourself and as much as you 'go for it' remember it's not the be all and end all. This is a massive post... sorry ... hope it helps *Wasn't sure if it was idle thumbs or not... but it is ... end of recent Idle Thumbs 142: Unmasking the Brain they discuss getting into (making) games as a writer.
  11. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hey there, stopping by because idle podcast said they've got a good bunch here. Me: I am early constantly intrigued by, and working on, games.... which is a fortunate combination otherwise things would be somewhat difficult.