• For the Game Jam, during the interviews we did every other hour, we asked a few simple questions:

    First Interview:

    -What is your name?

    -What is your role on the team?

    -Why do you enjoy doing that kind […]

  • Jason Moran wrote a new post, Final Critique, on the site Ludum Double Dare 7 years ago

    – more screencap

    – music too loud in spots

    – make sure people know the game footage is our game

    – add more quintin

    – don’t change a thing

    – Lower thirds for Casey

    – lower punching noises

    – […]

  • ThumbnailThe game jam is now over, and the judging period has begun. Although judging is only done between Ludum Dare participants, our game, Fruit Punch can be played for free here!


  • While we’ve already talked about what Ludum Dare is, here is an interesting look at another kind of game jam: the Train Jam, which is a 52 hour jam that takes place on a train between Chicago and San Francisco right before the Game Developers Conference, which happens to be this week. Not only does the Train Jam serve as a fun challenge for game developers, it also serves as a way to network and get to know fellow developers in the industry. The Train Jam has run for only two years so far, the second being just this last week. 



  • Here be the tentative version of our pitch script: 
    COOPER is “debugging” by slamming his head on the keyboard
    COOPER notices audience and turns towards camera
    COOPER: “Oh, sorry! I didn’t see you there, I was just debugging some of my code in preperation for a game jam coming up on April 17th!”
    JASON kicks the door in
    JASON thrusts his hand forward, revealing a jar of jam labeled “Game”
    COOPER slaps the jar of jam out of Jason’s hand
    COOPER: “NO! That’s NOT what a game jam is”

    COOPER and JASON sit at a table together
    COOPER: “The Game Jam we’ll be doing, Ludum Dare is a 72 hour race against the clock to create a game from scratch. Every Ludum Dare has a unique theme that is announced at the beginning of the event.”
    JASON: “Ludum Dare is the ultimate test for any game developer. Video games are usually created over the course of a few years by large teams of developers, with big budgets.”
    COOPER: “…and we don’t have ANY of those things.”
    JASON: “Then.. …how are we going to make a game?”

    JASON and COOPER sit at their computers, slamming on their computers and screaming at the top of their lungs

    COOPER and JASON sit at the table together
    COOPER: “Without any resources and limited development experience in an environment where every minute counts, we will have to constantly iterate, problem solve, and redesign our game.
    JASON: Ludum Dare games hardly ever conform to the standard conventions found in most video games, and rarely end up as they were originally invisioned.
    COOPER: While all Ludum Dare games are unique, both the skill of the developers and the spontaneous nature of the event determine the quality of the game.
    JASON: Not only are we going to create a game and document the entire process. Ludum Dare, by it’s nature, will let us explore game development in a way that neither research nor traditional development could.
    COOPER: In short, rather than just talk about making a game, we’re actually going to make a game.
    JASON: And THEN talk about it.

  • A great panel from Magfest ’13 where several game jam veterans talk about what it takes to get through a game jam, including several of the challenges we’ll be facing and documenting:

  • For a few generations of video games now, the Unreal Engine has been one of the most used game engines in the entire industry. While the Engine was first launched in 1998, over the years it has seen many iterations, the most recent, Unreal Engine 4, originally unveiled in 2012 was announced yesterday to be completely free for anyone to use, with 5% of the profit from any game release owed to Epic Games, Unreal Engine’s creator. While there have been free-to-use game engines in the past, one of the world’s leading game engines being free to use for anyone who is even curious about making video games has the potential to change the industry.

    While we will be using the Unity Engine for the Ludum Dare game jam, Unreal Engine 4 presents many new possibilities for aspiring game developers all around the world.



  • 3D art is becoming more and more prevalent in our every day lives: For example, most of Ikea’s advertisements are 3D renders, not real objects. Opening a dialogue and increasing 3D literacy with “the uninitiated” will lead to understanding, appreciation, and interest in the art. Creating accessible and easy to follow documents or videos can only benefit the 3D industry.

  • It seems that every year, the games released look better and better, but rarely does the hardware, the consoles games are played on, improve. Even a PC user will only upgrade every so often. Without a more […]

  • 7) Final Assembly in Game Engine

    After the model is created, UVed, and the texture and other appropriate maps are created, it needs to be assembled in the Game Engine, which serves as a framework for the game […]

  • Normal mapping, as discussed in a previous post, is a way of applying normal information from a high poly mesh to a low poly mesh, to give it more detail. But what are normals? How do they work?

    Normals, or […]

  • 5) Texturing

    Using imagine manipulation software, such as Photoshop, a 3D artist can import a UV template, and create a texture for the 3D model. The 3D model already has shape, but no color, and there is no information about the material it is made from. Adding texture to the model will help to give it character, inform the viewer of it’s materials and will give it a more pleasing and complete look, but a texture alone does not make for a complete material.

    6) Creating Normal, Specular, and other maps.

    At this point, our low poly model has been created, UVed, and textured, but color alone does not sell the illusion of reality. All surfaces have micro details that are all but impossible to capture in a low poly model on their own, as well as different levels of reflectiveness, also known as specularity.

    Normal Maps, which allow micro-amounts of detail and smoothing from the high poly model to be projected on to the low poly model via UV space, are a common way to “fake” detail on to a model. Since every part of the model is represented both in 2D UV space, and 3D XYZ space, these details can be “projected” on to the low poly model to give the illusion of detail.

    Similarly, specular maps, as well as maps that can control emissiveness, displacement, and other details can be created to add more realism and detail to the model.

  • 3) High Poly Model

    Although the order in which the High Poly and Low Poly models are created is interchangeable depending on the workflow (creating an extremely detailed model and removing detail from it, or creating a simple model and adding detail to it), it’s exact place in the workflow depends often on personal preference. As the name suggests, a High Poly model is created with a large amount of detail, which would be undesirable for use in a real-time rendering situation, but can be beneficial in several other ways, as explained below.

    4) UV Mapping

    UV mapping is one of the most important parts of the 3D workflow. It involves taking a 3D model that exists in 3D “XYZ coordinate” space, and unwrapping and unfolding it so that it sits perfectly in 2D “UV coordinate” space. The easiest way to think of this process is backwards origami. By unfolding the model and laying it flat, the 3D artist creates a 2D image that can be drawn on. Since every polygon, edge and vertex are laid out in this 2D space, each section of the image is also associated with a location in 3D space.


  • 1) Gather Reference

    3D artists rarely create any art from scratch. Normally, reference material is either gathered, created by a concept artist, or both. At the very least, a 3D artist will have a “visual guide” to work with in order to create an appropriately styled piece of art. Reference is important to plan out what is to be created, since many elements of the model may be important to the player, signifying hidden items, the path forward, or explosive or hazardous materials.

    2) Low Poly Model

    A low poly model is a model created using a relatively low number of polygons (Though standards change each generation of consoles) made to be rendered in real time in the game engine. Since rendering becomes more and more difficult for each polygon added to the model, extraneous details are excluded from the low poly model.


  • One of the big mysteries of 3D Art is who makes it. It’s not all computer wizardry, there’s got to be SOMEBODY pushing pixels around in some dark room somewhere. While this may not be the primary focus of my project, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some major jobs or roles that 3D artists can take in the video game industry.

    While there are many, many specialized jobs that exist in the Game Industry that focus on a single discipline of 3D art (Lighting Artist, Texture Artist, Animation Rigger, etc.), I will only focus on a few of the main disciplines for now. There may be major topics that I do not discuss or go in to detail over that will be covered in later posts.

    Character Artist: Possibly the most prolific of the jobs in the minds of gamers and budding game developers, the Character Artist is responsible for modeling a character or creature. A common misconception is that the Character Artist is the one who CREATES, or imagines the character. The visual aspect of character creation is normally done by a concept artist, as is the case in most 3D art. The Character artist takes the 2D conceptual art given to them, and uses that information to create a full 3D model, as well as texture/material information for that character.

    Environment Artist: Environment artists are akin to set builders in the movie industry: their responsibility is to give life to the game world to make it feel like a real, breathing place. Again, Environment Artists rarely design their levels, both aesthetically, as well as in terms of game play, but give three dimensional life to the concepts given to them. Rather than create a single, incredibly detailed model like a character artist may be tasked to do, the environment artist will create and place many props in the game world, ranging from large statues, to inconspicuous rocks, grass, and signposts. A single environment artist may be responsible for a single area, or several areas of a game, rather than a just a few models.

    Animator: Animators are aptly named, as their primary responsibility is to animate 3D models. While many modern studios use motion capture to capture real performance and translate it in to animations, animators are still needed to tweak or modify these performances, or to animate things that are usually impossible for the human body to do.

  • [caption id="attachment_54" align="alignright" width="1280"]The Tyranny of Lord Hotdog begins. The Tyranny of Lord Hotdog begins.[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_52" align="alignright" width="1280"]Americotter (The American Otter), explodes Hotdog Lord, saving the world. Americotter (The American Otter), explodes Hotdog Lord, saving the world.[/caption]

    [caption id="attachment_53" align="alignright" width="1280"]Americotter hailed as world's greatest hero for 33 centuries! Americotter hailed as world’s greatest hero for 33 centuries![/caption]

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