Monday, November 25, 2013

3DS Max biped twist links inside of Unity 3D

For a while now I’ve had a problem using the 3DS Max biped inside of Unity. Specifically twist links and how they would always react badly when imported into the engine. While the rest of the rig would animate like normal, the twist links themselves would fly all over the place. The only solution I could ever find was to just not use twist links at all for my Unity projects.

Recently I found out how to fix this issue. If you rig your character with twist links and then go into Max’s Schematic View (up by the curve editor) you will find that the twist links, as they appear in the tree diagram, are not linked correctly. Somehow they are able to animate perfectly fine inside of Max, but once they are imported into Unity, the FBX reader looks at the links from the schematic view and animates the bones accordingly (which makes the twist bones fly all over). All you have to do is reorder the links in the schematic view. The hand links to the forearm twist which links to the forearm which links to the upper arm which links to the upper arm twist which links to the shoulder. After this is reordered, the animation continues to play fine in Max but now also works perfectly fine inside of Unity.

I found this info really exciting! I’m happy that I can start using twist links again because it was a real pain to work without them. Hopefully this can help someone that may be running into the same issue.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Snowballs and Pumpkins

I'm working on a game with a programmer from the office. I don't want to say too much about it except that it involves kids and snowball fighting. This is the first character I'm making for it. A few more character classes will follow as well as a bunch of props and environment pieces. There's a ton of work to do! I'll be posting more about it later.

This is the pumpkin I carved for Halloween this year! Last year I won the carving competition at work but this year my boss and I were the only two to enter so they just gave both of us gift cards. I was happy to get a gift card but I kind of wanted to reign victorious :( Oh well...

I finished the last of the 3 Bug Monsters for Easley-Dunn Games. I need to go back and tweak the first one however so that it matches the other two better in terms of texture quality.

Since then I have been given 3 Dinosaur Monsters to model! I'm super excited to work on these. They should also go a little smoother than the bugs because they are more organic. The Monster Football game is slated to become a Kickstarter here soon. I'll post more about it when the time comes.

This week was my sixth week of basically nothing to do at work. For about a month I worked on this roller coaster demo inside of Unity to use with the Oculus Rift, but I really got tired of it after a while and put it aside for the moment. I hope to finish it eventually, but I've been spending most of my time recently thinking about my portfolio and what I need to get done before I can start applying for new jobs. I believe it's time.

Speaking of portfolio work, I've been designing my new site! Scott Easley gave me some tips on how to organize my work to make it easier to find stuff. I will be taking advantage of his advice. I sketched a mock-up last night and am really liking the look. The color I've really been digging lately is purple, so I'm pretty sure the final color scheme will be white, black, and purple.

Finally, I ended up winning that Saints Row 4 contest! I don't know how, but it happened. Thanks to anyone that voted for our weapon. I got the [enormous] special edition bundle of the game in the mail a couple weeks ago. Most of this bundle I have to eventually hand over to Brad since the gun was his idea, but I got the game for free at least! Totally worth it.

Supposedly our gun design is going to be added into the game as DLC at some point in the future. I can't wait for that because I think it will be super fun to play with. We are expert game designers after all ::wink wink::

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bugs on Ice

 I am still working away at Jason Frank. This render is from a couple weeks ago because I haven't saved out a newer render in a while (notice the seam on his neck from where I re-attached the head lol.) This model is taking me quite a long time, I realize. I'm really trying to go for a super high poly detail in this model. All of my past models have been very... low res(?) I've never incorperated things like lip lines, crows feet, and skin pores before, so this is my attempt to bring all of that together for the first time. I want to go all the way with this model and so I'm taking my time to make it as perfect as I possibly can. My only hope is that after spending all of this time on the sculpt, the detail isn't lost when it transitions to a low poly form.

Most of my time recently has been devoted to Easley-Dunn Productions and their game Monster Football. For the past couple months I have been spending all of my free time (when I wasn't playing Grand Theft Auto 5) modeling the wicked team of bug monsters! The image above is of the coolest looking one so far.

 At work I was given the opportunity to come up with some booth concepts for our swamped design team. Although I think some of these ideas are really cool, I was told none of them work LOL. So I guess I'm not a very good designer. Oh well.

We also got an Oculus Rift at the office! It's pretty awesome. I have been working on a futuristic roller coaster ride in Unity. Even though roller coasters were one of the first things we made in school, I am still struggling to animate a car going around upside down loops! DAMN YOU! I'm starting to remember things though. It should be wild :D

The last bit of news is about a GameStop weapons challenge for Saints Row 4! I heard about it from a co-worder and teamed up with my good friend Brad (who could be considered a Saints Row fanatic) to come up with a cool gun idea. One of the many guns he thought up was one that uses magnets and polarization, which I thought would be a really fun weapon to use in game. So I drew it up and submitted it to the challenge. Low and behold, we were chosen as a finalist!! I filled out the paper work a couple days ago and we're now waiting until the 27th when the public voting starts. I'll probably be posting voting links all over social media when the day comes, so I hope anyone reading this can vote for the Polarizer!

I just wish (since the winning gun will suposedly become DLC) that I could actually model the gun myself; just because that would be awesome to have a weapon I made show up in a AAA title like Saints Row.

A guy can dream.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Here's some stuff I made at work. This is an octopus I started animating for one of our side projects: 

And these are a couple screen grabs of a sculpt I made in my free time:
It's a Rat Man. I might go back and add a little more to it; although realistically, I probably won't...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

fighting the good fight

Man, I really haven't posted anything in a while. I thought I would write myself a little update so I can try and collect my thoughts.

First of all, I'm 24 years old now! Woo! I also have an apartment and ended up making negative 300 dollars last month due to all of these things called "bills" (a speeding ticket also didn't help too much)

But I digress: I want this blog to be about work that I've done, so here we go! Commence the dump:

First of all, I did some illustrations for a card game being shown off at a sort of anime convention in Pittsburgh:
This is actually the second year I've done cards for this (although I still haven't been paid for these...)

My friend's brother is beginning to develop a web show and wanted a cartoon depiction of himself to use in titles and whatnot. He asked me to draw that for him:
I'm still looking forward to seeing it animated in his video intro.

Just this weekend I wrapped up 2 side projects. One was a T-shirt idea that crossed Pokemon with the Wendy's fast food chain:
This was nice because it was my first attempt to seriously make something in Adobe Illustrator. It worked as a nice tutorial! I think I may use AI for future projects just so I can keep things super clean and crisp instead of struggling to make things look nice in Photoshop (all of that pixelation!!!) I also submitted this shirt to TeePublic If you want to dish out $20 for it and tell 29 of your friends to do the same, I'd be extremely appreciative!!!!! :D :D :D

The other thing I finished was a little video my friends and I shot MONTHS ago. I had been putting it off but finally got around to capturing all of it and piecing things together:
It's not bad considering I edited it down to under 5 minutes from the 45 minutes of footage we shot.

That game I said I was working on in my last blog post has been put on hold. Despite saying "I'm going to finish this thing!".... I aint gonna finish it right now. Trying to build a 3D game for a mobile application seems to be a little over our heads at the moment. Instead, we are focusing on a simpler, 2D animated game that we can hopefully produce a little quicker. Not sure when that ball will get rolling, but I'm sure I'll post something about it when it finally takes off.

In the meantime, here I am! Still working my same job and wishing I was doing other things. Looking through all of my old blog posts, I noticed I had a good stream of new 3D work coming out on a regular basis. I hope to start having that kind of work again soon. I just need to not be so burnt out from wasting the majority of my days doing mindless tasks at work. Today was a bad mental day, but tomorrow I should be IN THE GAME.

I also want to start doing more comic work. I never finished this concept, but here is a sample of one project I really want to do:
It would be a reimagining of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers story. It would be darker and grittier for a more mature audience and would chronical all of the events from the start of season 1 all the way to the death of Zordon in Space. This project would be a HUGE undertaking, but it would be a lot of fun to make AND fun to read when it's done (at least I think so). I am calling it Angel Grove.

I still want to also make my Budget League super hero comic series as well, but Angel Grove would probably gain a bit more traction just because it's Power Rangers (it's also already completely written since it's based on the TV show).

That's my update! I hope to post a bit more frequently. Hopefully with new things to show!



Sunday, March 10, 2013


Gears are turning. For the first time it feels like something could actually "happen" in terms of my videogame career. I don't want to say this is will be a sure-fire success (because chances are it will not be) but I will say that things are looking up.


My programmer friend Matt and I are going through with the creation an LLC to house the production of some games we've wanted to make. We currently have one game in the works and are in negotiations to develop another game related app.  Neither of which I can really speak about indepthly at this moment, but since everything is moving so quickly, I don't think it'll be long before I start posting updates relating to the two. The above render are characters from our first game! Exciting :)

The Game.minder Expo is this coming Saturday (March 16th) up in Cleveland. Matt and I will be there, walking the floor, talking with people, and learning everything we can about starting an independent game studio. A lot of the Cleveland Game Developers will be there and as of right now, admission is free, so go check it out. It should be a fun event!

A couple other things I've worked on recently include a 3D rendering of a baseball bat grip known as the BatJack. You can go to their official website and check out the video on their homepage. The video is a little long winded and my animation only shows up for a couple seconds at the 3:30 mark, but all in all it was a cool project. The Bat Jack is a nifty little invention that improves the grip on a bat. It really works too!

I also designed the logo for a local bowling team which you can see below. They are the Coconut Monkeys! That was a pretty fun project as well. This logo is actually going to be embroidered on their shirts. I'm hoping the embroidery comes out well so I can get a picture of the final shirts and post it on here.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Game Jam 2013

This past weekend I attended my first Global Game Jam up in Cleveland. There were a lot of really incredible and talented people up there who I really enjoyed meeting. I also loved seeing some awesome little games emerge from the amongst chaos. 

My one regret is that I wish I had introduced myself to “more” people because I only really talked to a small handful of individuals. If I attend next year’s event, my goal will be to work freelance style and help out a number of different teams instead of working solidly with one individual group. This way I can interact with more people and get more involved. 

In terms of my own game, I was rather disappointed with the outcome. I worked with two individuals who didn’t seem to really have their “eye on the prize” throughout the weekend. An overactive scope mixed with a lot of distractions lead to the game not being playable at all. The final product was nothing more than an animated intro cutscene (a shitty one, at that) followed by some broken gameplay that had no end. I give my teammate the benefit of the doubt however because he totaled his car on the way up to the Jam and was in the hospital for 2 weeks prior to the event. I’m absolutely certain these events factored into the group’s overall energy as we worked.

Personally, I felt like I accomplished a decent amount of work.  I modeled, unwrapped, rigged, and animated 2 entire characters as well as couple of other props. The models aren’t by any means “top notch”, but considering our time restrictions, I’m happy with what I ended up with.
I’m looking forward to getting back to work on my own projects where I will actually have a decent amount of time to make the art look good :)