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Virtual Open Studio / Halloween Game

I worked hard this year putting together new artwork for Boulder Open Studio 2017. Four weeks ago I began working part of my time on a virtual studio, for people who couldn’t be here and finished a few days ago. To download this game you can scroll to the bottom of this page for the sign up. Currently this game is only for Windows 64 & 32 systems but I will be publishing it to other formats soon.

My actual studio, as hung for Boulder Open Studio 2017

When I had the virtual studio done I thought it would be fun if I could expand it into a Halloween theme game. This is a simple one level game for anyone (or their children) to explore outside my studio.

My virtual studio, created for Open Studios 2017

I’m making it available for free, as part of my push this year to get my work out into the world, even somewhat simple Halloween diversions like this.

Step outside the studio to play. Kids may enjoy my halloween theme.

I’m hoping lots of people can enjoy my October Halloween game, and hope to make it part of my yearly Open Studio exploration should people enjoy it – if you want to play continue below to download.

Virtual Studio / Halloween Game Download

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Boulder Open Studio Prep

Prepping some images to print for Boulder Open Studio, these works will be printed on paper among others and sold. I’m selling originals and prints of the same work, some of which may be details to create a print-series that makes for hanging in a space together.

The first two here are 12″x12″ and the last is 15″x20″




Painting the Rockies

I’ve spent a lot more time up in the Rockies painting hoping to get into the Boulder Open Studio this year, trying to finish up a series. Some of these are large, the largest is six feet long, the smallest 3×2 feet.





Neverest green light

In the midst of being a home-schooling dad, playing architect to design the barn/studio, as well as designing and building big barn doors myself, I’ve been finding time here and there to work on my video game and other art work. I fit it in almost anywhere I can, sitting in outside a class my sons are taking, or late night when we are on vacation. I also was gifted a three day weekend in a cabin retreat in the rockies to push on my game by my loving wife Sheryl.

The real trick now is getting past the self doubt that says a lone developer cannot put out a game with the goals I have, that it’s just not good enough.

Self doubt is insidious. It says no matter how hard you work at something, it’s not good enough yet. Of course there is the part that says an Indie developer can be like an author/artist and create interactive worlds the way an author writes a novel. This is more true in these times when using off the shelf game software like Unreal and Unity allow the artist to create in ways they couldn’t without huge support teams previously. To me so much of this is obeying the urge to create and following inspiration when it comes.

Now, as the new year starts, I feel my game is in a good place to submit to Steam Greenlight. So that’s my goal this week, to cast my lot and see if I can make some traction with Steam, (aside from my goal of hanging four massive and heavy barn doors), both tasks are daunting in their own ways.

All the parts are ready for my steam upload, it’s just a matter of uploading and committing myself to hitting that button. Some images below, but the world of course is much larger than these images can capture, and so many things I just want to keep secret and will not reveal.






Neverest sketches and render update

It was a year ago that I jumpstarted this game idea having shelved it. I partly lost momentum in game development when I switched to Unreal 4, trying to keep up the momentum now. Some of these ships will appear in game, but not everything I design or even build does.



No, not all these sketches are good, the point is that as an indie developer there really isn’t time for me to sit down and just design for months, but rather it’s sketch, design, test, model, texture, light, game program, test, repeat.



Image Only

This is an image only update of my game, while I try to debug frame rate issues.






Pencil drawing for A Little Space, still working on color studies as I try to decide on the look overall.


UDK Static Shadows on terrain

One of my pet peeves with UDK is the surprising quality of shadows as a default on terrain. Seen here is a sequence of images that simply goes over the process of shadows in UDK. I’m sure this is not a mystery to the folk at Epic games, after all the demo games that come with UDK are typically built with BSP brushes and meshes rather than relying on the overhead that comes with complex terrains, and it’s something to take note of.

Some starter info : I’m using a moonlit night, but I have turned down some defaults in UDK.

Under World Settings : I like to turn my Environment color way down, there is simply too much light bouncing around for me. So I set the color dark, and then I set the Environment Intensity down as well. This makes it much more shadowy in my worlds.


For this test environment I’ve also turned off the default exponentialHeightFog, to keep the scene clear. The only thing I am altering in these renders are the lighting attributes on the Terrain.

NOTE : Although I will crank up the resolution of the shadow it is not recommended to do this for your game. This is A SIMPLE scene and merely to DEMONSTRATE the change in shadow quality, but real world tests of your game will show that this will not only be costly in time to bake your shadows, but also will create overhead in your maps that are loaded into memory.

FIRST RENDER : I set up a quick environment to show what shadows of my trees will look like on the default UDK ground. It’s passable, we have shadows out of the gate.


SECOND RENDER : I added a 16×16 terrain to my environment, and added a quick grass texture. There is no height change in this render, so it should be pretty clean. Now, to the new user of UDK this will look pretty promising. This is a render from the Editor window, but it’s deceptive and disappointing. When in editor mode our shadows are dynamic shadows, because they haven’t yet been rendered. To use dynamic shadows throughout our game would be very heavy in UE3 (we’re promised real time shadows in UE4).


Confusing to many who setup a scene in UDK and are seeing great shadows, is the surprise of going into game mode, and seeing your shadows evaporate. The reason can be found in the terrain’s settings. You can see the Static Lighting Resolution is super low, this line and the entry below it are what we want to focus on.


THIRD RENDER : Static Lighting 2 :
This is what the shadows look like after we bake out our lighting. There is simply not enough resolution someplace, so we lose any fidelity in our shadow renders. If we double click on the Terrain, our terrain Attributes will come up, and we can see the default static lighting Resolution is set to 2, and that Override is turned off. (Actually this is a mistake, the default is actually a more discouraging 1 – and that number can not exceed 4 without hitting Overriding Light Resolution. If overriding that number doesn’t make you nervous it should. You have reached a dilemma, and will face quality vs speed issues after that number goes up.)


Now we can start doubling that number to 4 and 8, but our progress making better shadows will be slow. So we jump to Default Static Lighting : 16 However, before you type that in, make sure Overriding Light Resolution : is ON ! Otherwise it will bounce back to 4.


FOURTH RENDER : Static Lighting : 16
In this render we can see a great improvement in our shadows. Remember at this point to Play your game and make sure the shadows are the same as in the editor window.


FIFTH RENDER : Static Lighting : 32
For this demonstration I’m doubling my numbers and keeping them power of two, but this will not be our end game, this is more about demonstration. We are seeing a much higher quality and I could live with this render and get back to other tasks. Still, I want to push it one more notch and see what I get.


LAST RENDER : Static Lighting : 64
A thing to note is that I also turned on specular highlights on my terrain in the attributes, but here we can see a higher quality. It looks good. The trade off will be how much time I am willing to wait for shadows to bake to get better results.


This tutorial was not meant to be an end all on the subject of shadows but I hope it gives guidance to the issue of what happens to terrain shadows, so that someone making a UDK game can consider some of the hidden things about UDK before proceeding too far in design. Shadows themselves are a complicated area, the information will vary for different types of objects. Terrain, static mesh, dynamic mesh all have different requirements. There is also a zone around the player which has dynamic shadows, and may be seen at times as it follows the player through the game, this is because you will have a near area in game you interact with in terms of lighting, casting your own shadow, or using a light that is carried in game).

One thing that is clear, for now in UE3 if you set your shadows to dynamic your game will not likely be able to handle shadows for long, although it will be tempting to use, you need to think smart about how to bake shadows, set up lighting UVs on objects and break your game up to make sure the lighting can still bake. Be careful how much you crank up that number for static shadows while you’re testing.

For the record : I am currently using a Static Lighting value of 10 in my game, but the results in overhead will vary depending on the size of your terrain, and the number of materials you use to paint your terrain. These numbers make my lighting too heavy to bake out daily while developing. I test small areas of my game by keeping my game areas as streaming levels, so that I can test parts of the whole and consider how to make my work, and game more efficient, while still trying to make the game look good.

UDK can be a very intuitive software to use, but shadows are a sticky point in UE3, that will challenge your patience as you wait for scene lighting to bake out. To me the end result is one of the most rewarding but lack of computer power for an Indie developer makes it one of the most challenging to deal with.

Dreaming Out Loud


Having taken some time away from making games to focus on only writing, I am back to splitting my time between creating games and writing in my studio. So, I begin with a short story concept and then try to figure out how to deliver it, in indie fashion, without the huge over head that most “gamers” are so used to now due to the Triple A game titles that have ballooned now like the tent-pole movies that are made in Hollywood. Essentially, the belief that bigger is always better.

Being a fan of short stories (and not of endless games that go on forever) I approach the game as a place to bring people into a story. The images you see on this page are just some recent explorations in creating environments like a painter rather than treating the game world like pixels. To me there is a story even if the player isn’t aware of all of it, and a painted world, the style of the artist behind the brush. This is hopefully one difference that can occur in Indie games, and we see it clearly in games like Fez and Super Meatboy. Personally, If I don’t feel compelled by the painted world or the writing, then it all fizzles out for me as I imagine it does for many.


Aside from my goal of making a “short story format game” I am trying to enjoy the process of creating. In other words if the enjoyment of the process fizzles, then I’m going to let go and do something creative that will let me create without the technical road blocks.

As an artist and writer, I want to treat the game environment as a canvas that I’m painting on, and trying to bring my audience into that canvas. What I’m saying is that as an artist I’m far more comfortable with writing and visual arts rather than the technical side.

I can do it, but it isn’t where I thrive, and I feel that the game engines are still road blocks to more creative games because individual artists and writers cannot sit down like a pianist at a piano and just create from that unconscious place without the technology getting in the way. Imagine if every note a musician wrote had to be programmed, and they couldn’t actually touch a piano, but rather a robot played it in another room, with a glass barrier between artist and medium.

That is partly what making games is currently like to me and likely many who steer clear of it entirely.

This means trying to find my comfort level in this medium where I can created un-impeded by the technical constraints of the medium. It’s a tough nut to crack because in the end even with powerful game engines it’s still highly complex, and the promise even of engines like Unity and Unreal have their flaws which I won’t get into analyzing right now.

Part of the production process that I always talked about with students when teaching is building up a library of assets so that when it comes to the game, you can create environments and explore. I have hundreds of assets that I’ve made for games over the years and I’m trying to mix and match them to create this world. Making games is so complex compared to the act of designing a game or writing a game. To make an environment it often takes thousands of assets.

The approach I’m taking as an Indie artist is to NOT emulate triple A games, but rather to know my limitations. If I chose to have assets along the lines of Bioshock Infinite then I would need to realize I’m competing with hundreds of artists who have labored for years creating those worlds.

Having worked in production for years on animated films, visual effects and video games, I know what it takes to produce a big game and I’m trying to produce something with that knowledge so that I don’t fall into the trap that many do, which is to say biting off too much.

To me, knowing how to trim down your game as an Indie developer should be like writing short stories. Let’s say you want to publish in a Sci-fi magazine, so you have to obey the limitations of that publication. If a publication demands that you keep your writing to 3000 words or less, then that is the limitation.

Putting boundaries around the format of a game can be liberating. Putting some time structure around it can allow for an Indie artist to be more like the short story writer. Short story writers write many stories and submit them all over the place in hopes one will land. If you spend two years working on your Indie game, and it doesn’t fly, then you are stuck with beginning again.

I’m not even saying it won’t take me two years to finish an indie game, but my goal is to eventually make it happen like that creative flowing process that partly comes from that unconscious place while you do it. To do it in small groups or individually so that the work becomes more personal and more akin to literature rather than action movies with guns and gratuitous half naked women shots (think both recent Star Trek films or Transformers). Everyone comments all the time that video games are not an art form yet, but with the millions of dollars and talent going into them they aren’t likely to get there because there is too much riding on their financial success and because they are taking their beat from Hollywood films. Not to say that films can’t be art, but who among us thinks of Transformers as art? (Note this is not a critique of the artistry that goes into those productions – two different subjects).

Making indie games is daunting. This is why you’ll hear people like Jonathan Blow, who made the popular game Braid, talk about all the games he began, but never finished. Even for indie games there is typically a huge investment in time involved with making a game, which is why so many games with months of development end up in a scrap heap as people move on.


I’m not claiming to be the only person interested in this. At some point I should probably write about some of the short games I have played that I feel do fit the short story format. You can play the games in under an hour and feel like there is artistry and creativity unimpeded by delusions of being “triple-A”. These games I find far more compelling than the huge triple A must have games, which in the end feel like they are designed to suck up my life and keep me from doing creative work, sleeping or spending time of with my family all of which are priorities in my life, not “finishing” Halo 4.

In the end I’m not trying to talk about what people should do, in creating games. I’m just talking about how I’m trying to approach this, and why I feel compelled to bang on what I think is a visual medium still in it’s infancy, and despite the fact that I made my first game in the 80’s using Basic programming on a Timex Sinclair, I still find it technically challenging to bend this medium in a way that expresses what it is I wish to say.

If I can’t find my comfort level with the medium then it will be like other mediums that are not a fit for me, pastels or charcoal, things that litter the bottom of my art bin while I move on to things that resonate for me and allow me to continue living an active and creative life.

VFX Artsy-Nerds or Invisible Stars?

I’m going to take some time tonight again away from video games, to blog again about the plight of the VFX and CG industry right after watching a friend and colleague, Bill Westenhofer get snubbed during the Academy Awards while making an acceptance speech. An obvious snub by the Academy when Bill was on the verge of talking about the plight of VFX studios who do not share in the profits of films that often make $500,000 dollars or a billion dollars. Yes, say it again, often these films make up to a billion dollars while the VFX studios flounder.

These films are Visual Effects extravaganzas. They are feasts and although we all love to see Robert Downey Jr, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman deliver the characters for these magical films, the magic (and there is a great deal of magic today – yes even in films like Australia but also The Golden Compass) is delivered by a host of artists who work long grueling hours under tight constraints to deliver beautiful shots. We create cities. We take you back in time. We make you believe that the world you are in is real. VFX artists are the invisible “Stars” of the films but never get a star credit or a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, or the star residuals and paycheck for just showing up.

Additionally, it isn’t just the artists themselves who put in long hours. What people often fail to see (and a big reason I left the industry) is that the artist’s entire family is there too. As Bill Westenhofer said, the family sacrifices too. No, they aren’t at the studio literally, they are in fact miles away. Wives and husbands taking care of children by themselves while their partners are engaged in making movie magic. Children get up and go to school but their VFX parent is usually already on the road (because let’s face it traffic in Los Angeles adds more hours to the daily grind), they are asleep when they VFX parent gets home. Seven day weeks during crunches means there may literally be months during the year when you rarely see your family. What one of us has not walked outside and realized whole seasons have passed while we worked in our cubicles to deliver the shots for these films.

The unsung support team for these films are not just the VFX artists but their entire families. They too are the invisible stars who slog through long days, temper tantrums with children and every other task that has to be taken care of. They sacrifice time with their parents, spouses, and significant others and not but a few relationships have suffered for the industry lifestyle.

Now did Bill Westenhofer get snubbed? How long did he speak? Bill spoke for 60 seconds before the Jaws theme started playing ominously chasing him off the stage. After all, he’s just a nerd, an artist, a freak like the rest of us in the midst of the Hollywood elite. (No Bill, I don’t really think that of you).

Bill’s Acceptance Speech: : Life of Pi : 60 seconds, chased off by the sharks.

Would anyone have dreamed of cutting off Natalie Portman for her acceptance speech? She spoke for close to three minutes, tearfully thanking people.

Natalie Portman : Acceptance Speech : Shy of 3 minutes.

What do I think? I think for starters the Academy has to cut the song and dance, let’s face it, it’s bullshit.

Can we review the scenes, and honor the artists without throwing a narcissistic back-slapping party for a select few yet again? Lets give the artists and nerds an extra 60 seconds, because we too have worked a lifetime to reach this achievement, and you know what we didn’t use steroids, get any plastic surgery, take EPO or get a multi-million dollar deal. Oh there is lots of free caffeine and sugar… and I can talk about how the industry in general encourages addictive behavior to pump out those shots, but I won’t talk about that sacrifice tonight. The sacrificing of health.

What else can the Academy do? Face the fact that without the stunning visual effects and the growing host of digital actors and creatures on film, these films wouldn’t get made. The Academy should recognize that the artists that are helping in no small way to create the industry instead of snubbing them. It’s like celebrating the king and queen of the prom and then doing something to embarrass the artsy/nerd, like you know cutting them off after sixty seconds.

The bottom line is that the artists deserve just as much screen time at the Academy awards for our hard work, ANYTHING ELSE IS A SNUB.

It’s having your head dunked in the toilet time, as evidenced by the Huffington Post, which claims that the Jaws theme was played because Bill went past his allotted time. Sixty seconds. True he went beyond that, but you know what? Bill actually had something important to say, the VFX industry is collapsing in this country, the bottom is falling out and going over seas due to tax incentives from other countries and tax incentives here to go out elsewhere. At Rhythm and Hues that meant over 250 jobs lost this month, but there have been others before like Digital Domain and The Orphanage who often gets forgotten in the list which goes on and on.

Bill represented all of us, even those of us who have left the industry behind because we could see how this was going all along. But Bill has stayed in there like many of you and you deserve your time on stage.

And yet, the Huffington Post thinks it was “awkward”. They didn’t see what really happened or bother to investigate what the average acceptance speech is… just that it was awkward, dunk…flush!

Apparently America is only interested in the “royalty” at these events, not the people behind the scenes that make all that magic possible. The fact that everyone commented on what the “Stars” were wearing and didn’t notice close to 500 visual effects artists protesting outside is a remarkable comment on the state of the industry, and the unconscious way we treat people in this country. It’s yet another terrible mirror to hold up for our children and aspiring artists and programmers. The idea is that if you are in the royalty, what you have to say is important, and if you’re not (which is frankly the rest of us) then we don’t want to really hear it and we’ll drown you out while thinking we’re being funny.

Ha ha, thanks, dunk-flush! Message received.

Charlize Theron : Acceptance for Monster : 2min 10 seconds

Ann Hathaway : Acceptance Speech : 2min 30 seconds

I’m sure I could go through youtube and add to this list of long speeches made at the Oscars, but I’m betting any of you could post dozens of long tearful speeches that never get less than the respect they deserve, as Bill Westenhofer, Rhythm and Hues and VFX should have received last night.

UDK on a Mac Pro

I am currently developing a game that I hope to launch on Kickstarter shortly, it’s almost in place and as my last semester running the Game Art department at RMCAD wraps up next week, I hope to launch my kickstarter campaign soon after.

I thought though I’d write a little about developing on my system, a 2009 Mac Pro. Since my HP system died I have felt very reluctant to get another PC. They just seem to die on me quickly. So when I decided to switch from developing games in Unity to UDK, I decided to bootcamp Windows on my Mac Pro. I like having everything in one place, because developing an indie game by yourself is a lot already. Having to hustle assets from one system to another every day just extends development pipelines. I lose precious time, and have junk mounting up in multiple places.

Additionally, all those good things on my main mac system; my Wacom Cintiq, my speakers, my 30 inch monitor go to waste. I end up crouched over a tiny monitor when developing in UDK, my main system and monitors waiting for me to do other tasks, which is about half my time.

So I bootcamped my computer, giving a full 1 TB hard drive to Windows. I also split the memory, 8GB for my Mac, 8GB for Windows, 4CPUs each.

A couple months ago I installed a new graphics card, the ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024MB, and finally the last piece, VMWare Fusion. Unfortunately when I ran UDK on the windows side it ran terribly, with terrible compression in the graphics and very slowly even with the default scene and nothing else.

I called people, I researched on the web and I couldn’t figure out a solution to VMWare running it’s own “virtual” graphics card.

Which is code for crap.

Tonight I installed Parallels as a test and re-installed my game on here. I was encouraged by the fact that the game was now working, the last iteration I put on here two months ago had a little lag, but if I don’t run in what Parlallels calls “Coherence mode” then it runs with very little lag.

So I re-installed my most recent game which is far more heavy than the one from two months ago, but it has also been optimized considerably. In fact it now runs better than on the laptop, my FPS (Frames Per Second) going from an average of 11 FPS, to between 18-20 FPS. I don’t detect any lag with the mouse and keyboard, but to me the real test will be with the xbox controller which I feel makes me more sensitive to any lag time.

It feels refreshing to play my game finally on my main system, 30 inch monitor, sounds projecting on three speakers around me (so important) instead of the crummy laptop internal speakers I’ve used.

So far I am happy with Parallels, and take back every bad thing I said about them when I had used them about five years back.

Parallels seems to have grown up, and it all somehow makes sense to me, to be developing a game about a virtual game world, using virtual computers. Indie game developing is starting to feel virtually real to me.

UDK Backwards

My UDK book in process.  Notes I put together for students. I call it UDK Backwards and Forwards because I intend on giving the checklist first, and explanation afterwards so that people can get right to it, which I find works best for them and me.


Fall The House :Week 1 prototype

This past Monday marked my first day in my studio devoted to working on my own games rather than prepping for classes or teaching.  I’m working on a game prototype based on where I grew up, using fodder from my childhood and my own fears and nightmares as fodder for gameplay.  It’s somewhat cathartic in some ways regardless of where it goes.

I have three weeks off to prototype the game and determine if it’s on track, and I’m one down.  In that time I’ve built a good amount of assets, models, created UVs and textures and come up with much of the game mechanics as well as tested them in UDK.

This first image shows one of the main areas in the game level, and some of the mood I’m going for.

Day 5 :

With a little more work the image develops further by day 7.     I’ve added additional trees and grass.  Off camera there are several other areas, a row of buildings and a lighthouse.   The assets, lighting and models are all easy for me.   Now the hard part, complete the game mechanics and make a good test in the next two weeks.

Day 7 :

Game Art Competition 2012

Spring 2012, is the first year I am giving out awards for the Game Art program at RMCAD.  It is an experiment  to honor the tradition I was exposed to in art school, where by students competed each year for the coveted Gregory Battcock award.  In my mind competition is a good thing, and it is a mirror of this industry which is very competitive, but also serves to celebrate the student work by having them work hard to present their work.

So after carefully considering the entries this year I am going to announce the award winners in this blog.  Before doing so I will explain the categories, and some of what we are doing in the Game Art program.    This is the first year this award is being handed out, and students who qualify are in the Fall-2011 to the Spring-2012 terms.

In order to encourage students to finish work and present it, awards are based on what is submitted for the competition in time for the Student Exhibition.  Work not presented for the student exhibition is not weighed in the competition. 

RMCAD Game Art : Best New Artist  Award – 2012 :    $50 award

This award is to be handed out to students in the Fall 2011 to Spring 2012 Previsualization and Scripting class.   This Sophomore level class is one of the first classes that students hit as they leave behind fundamentals and enter into their major.    The class is set up to teach students how to create games using the Unity Game engine and may likely in the future include Unreal.   Students make three games in their time in this class, a First Person Controller, a Third Person Controller and a Side Scroll game.   

The award goes to the student who displays an excellent grasp of the game engine, and shown dedication and creativity in making games. The game should display artistry, game savvy and should go beyond the minimum requirements of each assignment.  

RMCAD Game Art :  Realistic Modeling with Zbrush Award – 2012 :  $75 award

This award is open to anyone from the Game Art and Animation majors who has gone through the Realistic Modeling class.   This demanding class challenges students with sculpting creatures in Zbrush learning a variety of techniques students come through the class with anywhere between 5 and 7 creature sculpts as well as having re-topologized and posed work.  Admittedly it can be a grueling gauntlet that I refer to as boot-camp.

The award goes to the student who shows excellent sense of anatomy, creativity, character or creature design, and an inexhaustible ability to work at their craft.   

RMCAD Game Art :   Best in Show Award – 2012 :  $150 award

This award is presented to the individual who shows excellence in creating their game Thesis and is restricted to students within Thesis I & II, in the 2011-2012 year.  

In the game art program students are encouraged to come up with a “pre-thesis” in their sophomore year and to stick with this concept that they can create characters, environments, animations and game play around.  The overall goal is to get students to focus on a cohesive body of work which is not attainable in the short time in Thesis without having this time to do pre-production on their concept.  A concept which again mirrors the industry.

The award goes to the student for creativity in game concept, execution of assets and overall finish presentation.     


The award winners for the GAME ART department 2012 are as follows :

Best New Artist  Award – 2012 :    Brandon Jenks :  Brandon displays an inexhaustible enthusiasm for creating games.  As a student who did extra work to make it into the class over holiday, Brandon has challenged himself to create cut scenes, extra levels and spends his free time researching outside of class and trying to understand what makes zombies tick.   If Brandon were making games in the 80’s he’d likely be challenging Atari and other entrepreneurs of the Game industry.  I suspect that Brandon is currently engineering a quantum wormhole device that will insert players directly into the grid.  Let’s hope he stays ahead of Google on this.

Realistic Modeling with Zbrush Award – 2012 :   Ryan Kehoe.  Ryan is from the 3D Animation major and wrestled his way into the Modeling class often fighting off people to get a seat in the front row.  Ryan’s work shows creativity in his approach to creatures, gesture, weight and anatomy and an excellent handling of the sculpting tools.  With humor and determination, Ryan consistently has gone beyond the assignment minimal requirements, challenging himself to do excellent work.

Thesis Game : Best in Show Award – 2012 :  Tyler Snell.    Tyler consistently thinks outside the box creatively.    Tyler began making animated films in his parent’s basement when practically a toddler when he figured out how to use match-sticks, glue, parts of his father’s car, and Greek Mythology to create work that is dynamic and thoughtful.  

Now that Tyler has figured out how to tell stories with game engines, there is surely no going back.  His work is inspired and thoughtful and he consistently has gone deep in presenting a game with mythological overtones, and mysterious undercurrents.  Tyler has also shown resilience in tackling the technical challenges associated with programming his game engine, creating creatures and animating them, creating environments and presenting his work.  


As part of my on going mission to organize our Game Art program and present our work I have linked to student pages to the side bar.   This is the first year students have been required to present online portfolio presentations as well. Some of their work is currently up and the rest will be there by the end of the spring term.  

Congratulations to the first winners of Game Art 2012 Student awards!


Things to do in Denver, when you’re Dead Tired.

This brief blog will go out to my gaming students at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design who worked hard all semester to make their first video games using the Unity3d game engine.

As I go through games killing zombies and blowing things up I keep thinking of all the other remarkable areas to explore in Unity, in gaming and want to send out a few videos to tide the students over.

I’ve found that Vimeo has a very good collection of Unity videos.   Here are some of the things that I think are great to look at.


Cloth, which I didn’t teach is easy to deal with, in both setting up constraints (such as a curtain rod) or making it tear.  If only dealing with cloth were this easy in software like Maya.  You’ll become addicted.

Continue reading Things to do in Denver, when you’re Dead Tired.