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Smoke Simulation and the Make Human Project

Over Thanksgiving, I spent time back in Miami, where I grew up.  During that time I essentially took a break from everything… including projects.  However… I did find some interesting material regarding 3D that I made note of to try…

First, check out this tutorial on Blender Smoke Simulation!

I’m pretty impressed with the tutorial.  I need to try to make something that uses this sweet feature!

The 2nd thing is the Make Human project.  Essentially it’s a programmatic way of generating human meshes.  It turns out that I have a very important use of this project… In the first Little Robots animation, I need hands, arms and legs.  Hopefully I’ll be able to use this project for the initial meshes! It’ll save me a HUGE amount of time!

Hello Seña – The Script

Last weekend I worked out the first draft of “Hello Seña”, the script that I’ll use for the first Little Robots animation.  As I described in my post “Getting it Together“, the scene takes place just before our first Little Robot gets activated.

If you’re interested in reading the script… it can be found [here].

Originally I had planned on making the dialog very plain, but while writing the script, I was inspired to add a few dark elements…

RICHARD: It sounds like we are ahead of schedule then. What about the others? Have you heard anything else from them?

ONEMURI: No, I haven’t and it’s been a while.  I’m getting a little worried that something has happened.

The conversation pauses for a moment.  Richard leans back in his chair and exhales.

RICHARD: Well, even if they were found out, we’re all supposed to be isolated, right?  There’s nothing else that we can do but do our best.

From this excerpt, you can see that I’ve added a layer of secrecy to the overall mythology.  Onemuri and Richard have some secret timeline and they are colluding with others who seem to have gone missing.

An interesting challenge of this script will be that most of the dialog will be in Japanese.  Since I don’t speak Japanese but plan on voicing the Richard character in the story, this means that I’ll have a lot of verbal practice to look forward to.

My first Blender animation

I originally modeled this several months ago… but each of my renderings had little issues… first with lighting… then with camera clipping… I worked out the various issues but never actually went through the 10+ hours of re-rendering it at decent quality until now… here you go… my first blender animation!

The PAX 2011 Sorting Workshop

I was going through the PAX Prime 2011 program guide one last time before committing it to the circular file when a paper (picture right) fell out.

Yes, mofo. That paper is hand written. By me. Barbaric right?  So what exactly is this artifact?

There was a panel that I attended called “The Sorting Workshop”.  I was intrigued both by the Harry Potterness of the title and the fact that it was a writing panel at a game convention.  I wanted to be sorted!  Instead of being sorted into magical houses, however, the goal of the panel was to sort you into your best games related writing occupation (Journalism, PR, or Community Management).  Let me quote, verbatim, the description of the panel as found in the program guide:

Unicorn Theatre
The Sorting Workshop
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Writing Workshop: Journalism, PR, Community Managers Industry vets inflict writing on attendees to determine where in the industry an apsiring writer belongs. A game developer and a publicist kick things off with a 10-minute product demo that you get 20 minutes to write up. Then a panel of journalists, community managers, and publicists sort your writing samples into which field it aught to be in based on tone, content, and accuracy. You won’t be graded, but you might be mocked with dramatic readings of your sample. Whatever happens, you’ll have a chance to make industry contacts and learn the difference between writing for journalism, for community management, for marketing and for PR. Bring pens, pencils and a surface to write on (we recommend the PAX guide) – We’ll provide the rest.

Panelists include: AJ Glasser [Lead writer, Inside Social Games, inside Network],
Susan Arendt [Senior Editor, The Escapist], Dan Amrich [Social Media Manager, Ac-
tivision, Sue Bohle [Founder, The Bohle Company], Jon “Seg” Seggerson [Content
Programmer, Telltale Games]

The thing that made this panel awesome were the panelists.  All of the other panels that I attended at PAX were fluffy, comforting workshops that tried to make you feel good about yourself and your lack of ability.  I enjoyed that these professionals just kind of breathed real life into the presentation.  (They also weren’t afraid to brandish expletives. It was fucking rad)

We ran out of time before individuals could get properly sorted… so I will never know whether I’m destined for PR fame or community management… As a career software engineer, though, I suppose it doesn’t matter much in the long run…  Still.. if you happened to have been on that panel and are reading this… drop me a note!

PAX 2011 Redux

This year, I was fortunate enough to inherit a 3-day pass to PAX Prime 2011, courtesy of my long time friend and compatriot, Nick Hernandez.

Even though I’ve seen the various PAX episodes on PAtv, but nothing prepared me for the sheer magnitude of the expo.

To give you an example of what I’m talking about, here is a picture of the demo area for the game Prototype 2.  You can see, they didn’t just put up a projector to demo stuff… they built an entire helicopter prop with sounds… and this was on the tame side as far as booths go.

Probably the most extreme example of commercial promotion of a francise was Halo Fest.  Basically, it was a mini convention …. within a convention!  There were complex dioramas.. scale vehicles like this Warthog.. and TONS of space dedicated do game play.

This isn’t to say that PAX is not just some orgy of AAA title marketing… there are a LOT of for-the-community things… like the Classic Console Freeplay.  Ever want to play an original NES game but couldn’t afford it as a kid?  This is the place for you.

All in all, my PAX experience was awesome.  I am totally going back next year. Period.