Friday, March 24, 2006

GDC - Thursday

Thursday at GDC was cool. The first presentation I went to was by a guy at Factor 5 talking about their new next-gen title, Lair. It was really neat to see the level of detail that they're able to get on their characters. They said that when they hire modelers, they look for people that are really good at modeling and don't worry much about the polycounts. They just tell the guy to build a great looking model. Then if it needs to be reduced, they have a technical artist do that job. I think that's a really good strategy since it uses the strengths of both types of people. The dragon's they're making for the game are around 40k triangles for the base model!

Next I went to a presentation on next-gen modeling for Gears of War. The guy was a vehicle and weapon modeler and gave a ton of useful tips for speeding up the process of creating next-gen assets. One of the main things he does to speed up the high poly model process is to float details on the surface of the geom instead of sinking them into it - even cut lines that should actually be built into the surface - he just floats them on the top of it and when the normal map is created it looks exactly the same. That's a huge time saver.

I also worked on our company's career booth on Thursday. It was fun to talk with people about the projects we're working on at Vicious Cycle and about the job opportunities. If you're an artist or a programmer looking for a job working on fun projects, head over to the Vicious Cycle web site ( and apply!

In the afternoon I attended a session given by Kevin Bjorke at Nvidia about the new version of FXComposer. It's pretty cool because you can use it to edit Cg, and GLSL in addition to HLSL and you can also view all of them running at once in multiple viewports. It's been re-built to be totally extendable also so devs can adapt it to fit their pipeline better.

I finished up the day by attending a round-table discussion for lead artists. They talked about all the lead artist issues like scheduling, dealing with artists that are slow, how to reward people that are good, what to do with artists that want to do one thing but are really good at something else, etc. It was cool to hear.

Friday I'll be giving a presentation about shaders together with Neil Hazzard from Autodesk. That will be fun!


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