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Hi there! As you can see, my name is Chris, I'm at university and I'm currently 21 years old, but there's more to know than my name and age. So what am I doing then? Well I'm studying Game Art at DMU. I am aiming to be one of the top proffesional vehicle artists in the industry. In the meantime, check out this Blog of mine and when your finished, take a look at my website!


Stumbled across this page when i was looking for a tutorial.

As usual, check it out!

Check this out


Very cool inside look at how the art/animation director Jan-Bart van Beek and the senior character artist Rudy Massar went about creating Killzone 3.

First Year Review

Now that the first year is pretty much over, I have had the chance to look back at my work ive produced over the past year. I think one the areas I was most apprehensive about when starting the course was whether or not my art skills were up for the job. Because of this, every art project we have been set, I have made sure I improved on a certain area every time such as my rendering abilities. Life drawing as well, has been a blast for me, as its something I find so interesting and challenging to do. I have never had the chance to do life drawing before, but it has helped me to improve my understanding of light, shadow and anatomy. The most interesting project for me was the first character project, as it allowed a lot of freedom to come up with whatever you wanted based from people of the street!

Game production for me, hasn't been that challenging in some aspects as I have been using 3ds max for about 2 years soon to be 3 when the second year starts. Despite this I have learnt a hell of a lot which I just couldn't of found or learnt from tutorials on the net. My understanding of Unwrapping and the processes of texture creation have been where I have learn the most such as how to bake your normals in 3ds max and creating them in Zbrush. the main thing that I would say is letting down my 3d work is that I need and will be improving my art skills to create better textures and understanding of anatomy for characters.

Lastly, the blogging for me was an area that I neglected to some extent as I rarely posted at all. But since the start of this year ive been becoming more interested in this area as I find its a good way to market yourself and express your interests and ambitions. After joining my brothers blog along with his mates in design, I have begun posting things that I find interesting and want to share with others. One thing that im going to do is to create a theme which my website and blog will both share. At the moment there quite different in looks but I will be working on getting them linked together.

In my spare time I am still trying to improve my skills and keep setting myself 3D projects and doing Posemaniacs at least once a week. One area that im going to be working towards over the summer is traditional painting and character creation as my overall goal to get out of this course is to become a character artist. I've been creating characters since the start of the course and ive learnt a lot in terms of techniques and topology, but I need to improve my understanding of anatomy which is going to be a  priority of mine from now until the end of the course. This along with drastically improving my traditional painting skills should keep me more than busy throughout the summer. I intend to start the second year with  a vastly improved knowledge of what and where I want to go in the future and what I need to do to achieve this.
Overall I think ive had a pretty good shot at the first year and ive learnt a lot from each area of the course. I always think though that more work could of been done as always and regret taking the time I did to fully get into and appreciate the purpose of blogging for my own development. Its pretty difficult for me to think of any improvement for the course as it has far out done my expectations, this along with the knowledge of my teachers has given me a lot of confidence in the course. If anything, id want more lessons a week and it would be cool to have more ex students dropping by to talk about there experience in the industry

Game Review: GT5

As one of the most famous racing games in videogame history, a lot of expectation was resting on the latest GT instalment for the PS3. The game consists of a huge list of features and unique additions which separate it from any other GT to date and from its competition. There are new official licenses such as NASCAR and the WRC, along with photo mode, and extensive online features.  Along with this was the promised and delivered 1000 cars with over 40 unique tracks. Currently, the game has shipped between 5 - 6 million copies.

However, the game does have some very serious short comings in terms of presentation and style, the race tracks environments and cars. Firstly though, there is much to be praised about the game from the get go. for example, each individual car has its own handling characteristics with a clear sense of over steer and under steer, something that is very difficult to get right. Each car also has the option to be fully tuned. Despite this, your going want to be spending most of your driving inside a premium car which have stark differences compared to there standard car models. most obvious is the fact that premium cars "all 200ish of them" have fully modelled interiors with driving animations etc.

Standard cars on the other hand, are pretty much directly ported from the PS2 GT4. These older models however, have mainly just had a new paint material shader added to them to give the impression they are premium cars. However just by viewing them you can clearly see these are PS2 era models as seen below, although this image is perhaps one of the worst standard models.

As you can clearly see, the use of alphas for the wheel arches, alloys and windows clearly show that this is a ps2 model, not including the extremely low polygon count. these cars unfortunately take up about 80% of the total car list which is quite a substantial amount.

The games overall presentation seems to be a rather confused layout of menus, music and gameplay. Firstly, the menus themselves stick to the classic menu styles of previous GT games but feel very clunky and un-intuitive compared to the more interesting menus on other games such as Codies Grid and Dirt menu styles. The music throughout the menus and races give a very different take on the racing experience. The music is very relaxed and calm and doesn't give anything to the gameplay experience, surly racing is about speed and adrenaline? not driving to the shops.

 Secondly, GT5 is the smallest in terms of single player events than any GT made to date. The game is divided into A-spec and B-spec, with A-spec you are the driver and its all well and good. however, B-spec puts you in the position of a drivers engineer or manager and its down to you to tell your driver what to do. its a great idea on paper but it just isn't executed to a substantial amount of detail. there are very few things you can do during a B-spec event and the AI including your driver are not the best in terms of overtaking.

Lastly, my biggest problem with gt5 is the racing and tracks. although the tracks are made to a very high quality, there is just a serious lack of atmosphere on a majority of them with bland scenery with neon blue sky 24/7. it gives a very fake impression when your driving a beautifully modelled car with so much detail, just for you to be taken out of the immersion by a poor environment. The environments are also very static with no signs of any life, with no movement in the clouds or wind in the trees. The majority of race tracks appear to be way too clean with no real signs of wear or dirt.

 The racing experience is divided at times between the challenge and enjoyment of pushing your car to the limit and the rather massive lack of excitement when your racing. GT5 very much seems to be confused with what it actually wants to be. Personally id say GT5 is very much about the driving of the cars and the racing seems to be an addition to that. there just isn't any real excitement going to a new track or progressing through the game. its such a let down in this aspect as GT5 could of been very much close to perfect. if GT5 was to have the excitement and real sense of speed that Need For Speed and Grid etc have, then it would truly be something special.

Solid driving physics
Beautiful car models
Online play is fun

AI needs improving
Lack of fun in the racing
Overall presentation/style is outdated

Environmental game worlds

Environments in games play one of the most important roles in a games overall style, theme, gameplay experience, etc. environments of the game world themselves, have to be convincing enough for the player to understand its part of the game world but also subtle enough to add to the gameplay experience. For example online multiplayer maps have to be carefully planned and created in order to create the desired gameplay experience. for example, the battlefield series has large sprawling maps which allow for teamwork based gameplay and is able to support the array of tanks and helicopters.

However, level designers have to incorporate numerous elements to a levels creation. for example, level X must conform to the rest of the games world but must offer adequate space or cover for the player for example to allow for a certain event to occur. for instance, on, there is a very detailed post on level design. it shows how a level designer can go about creating an in game level and the numerous steps and processes.

List as follows:
Blocking In
Textures - 1st pass
Detailing - 1st pass
Detailing - 2nd pass
Texturing - 2nd pass
Lights - 1st pass
Detailing & Texturing Final
Lights - 2nd pass and final
Final test and Tweaking

The purpose of the early processes is to create an ever improving understanding of what the final level will look like. this allows for detailed analysis and planning of what elements will make the level such as whether this level will be set in the desert, underwater or in the clouds. when reading the post it becomes more apparent how crucial the early stages are in a levels design. this is due to the fact that if the original idea or plan of the level is fundamentally flawed, the level will simply not work despite how much time or effort went on to this stage. To me, its a lot like game design, you can either make or break the intended goal right at the start.

Personally I think what makes a good level is a level that is able to help portray the story across to the player and really get a sense of the events or setting that your in. A prime example for me, was during the Killzone 3 single player.

For me it was the jungle level (no idea what the actual name is) but for me, it really got across that I was fighting on another planet with everything belonging to this planet being rather unfriendly towards myself. the map itself, featured vibrantly coloured plants which gave of a very ominous red glow "just like the Helghasts eyes". the plants themselves would react to your presence and would try to attack you if you strayed to close. everything about this level seemed to drive the message that I was very much alone on a very hostile planet.

The level itself was very large thanks to the no loading screen technology which I believe was developed at the Sony Ice team in Santa Monica. By being able to incorporate larger levels in one seamless gameplay experience helped with the immersion of the game as nothing is worst than fully diving into the game world just be kicked back out by a loading screen at the wrong time! the map also included small cave systems and tall grass which allows you to play the game in a different style and a different take on the gameplay.

The map obviously takes ideas from the real world rain forests and brings in new elements of sci-fi to the mix. There's huge sprawling plants all around you, with trees blocking out light from the planets star. Right from the get go, you understand where you are "jungle" but also understand that your on another world "Helghan" which isn't the most friendly place ever.