|Laying the foundation work; I actually put in a good number of those floorboards!|
|Two other guys and I put the roof section together; they brought in a crane a few days later so we could actually put it on the building|
|Mostly done, minus some glass panels and the roof; it's roughly 4,000 square feet and last I heard, they were planning on parking a BMW in the middle of it!|
To jump back for a minute, I did actually manage to finish my DigitalTutors character rigging project before adorning a hardhat and toolbelt. For anyone that hasn't at least taken a look at DT, I would highly recommend it. Learning about rigging in my college courses, I quickly decided it wasn't for me. Taking another look at it now after having a bit more knowledge with the program and how it works, DT really made rigging a much more pleasant experience with some pretty decent results! I'm really wanting to try rigging some other character models on my own and thankfully my friend is lending me a couple of his 3D characters for that very purpose. I haven't started anything just yet (looking to get that going after I get back from PAX) but it's definitely something I'm looking forward to!
I am very happy to say that I was able to spend an evening with some of my good friends from college that I haven't seen in a few months; It's easy to lose scope of things as well as let relationships fall by the wayside and these are some that I am doing my best to maintain. It was good to catch up with those guys and I honestly hope to work with them down the road or if nothing else, keep them in my life.
On the gaming side of things, my list has slowly progressed; I finally finished Far Cry, Duke Nukem Forever, and From Dust. Far Cry was a good game that I am glad I finally got around to although I will say it definitely had a strong B-Horror Movie vibe to it, for better or worse (personally, I'm a fan of Sam Raimi and the likes). Duke wasn't nearly as bad as some were making it out to be; I don't believe it lived to it's original expectations at all but it was still a decent romp a bygone era in gaming. My biggest problem with it is that it seemed there was a vast amount of empty space; for a man that kicks ass and chews bubblegum, he did a lot more chewing than kicking. It wasn't bad for a bargain bin pick-up but I will say that I don't regret skipping the pre-order. From Dust was another really enjoyable game I am happy to have played; it was one of the many tempting deals from Steam's Summer Sale. The overall gameplay was entertaining and addictive as you literally sculpt the world as you see fit. Towards the end, it did seem like the villagers were a little reluctant to travel perfectly save landbridges to their next goal in favor of making a beeline to the nearest deadly pool of water or bubbling river of lava. I reached a point where I was sure that these poor creatures were simply not supposed to succeed in the grand scheme of the world; sure they had homo habilis beat in terms of technology but I'm sure even he avoided giant pockets of steaming death.
For the current state of my gaming log, I've recently been diving into both Darksiders II and The Witcher. I really loved the first Darksiders and still consider it a lost gem in terms of art style, character animation, and gameplay; from my short time with the sequel, it is destined to be another favorite of mine aside from one nagging thing: the facial animation. I've brought this up before on THQ's forum as well as the gaming forum Raptr.com but it looks to me as if the NPCs' facial animation actually took a step backward from it's predecessor. Granted, I know that these conversations a running in-engine and not pre-rendered but the NPCs have all the expression of a wooden doll; their mouthshapes vary little more between open and closed with no emotive distinction, the eyes are dead in their sockets with not so much as single eye dart or change in direction, and the eyebrows stay plastered in one spot at all times. It might sound like I'm really harping on this but this very aspect was also what drew me to the original. There were devious smiles, accurate lipsyncs, and overall more emotive faces on the characters that made me want to watch them rather than just read the subtitles to get the gist of things. Take this video below from the first game in which War meets the demon Samael (sorry for any minor spoilers).
Now have a look at this conversation between Death and Thane (around 0:49)
Like I said, I do realize that the earlier video was something animated in it's entirety beforehand and rendered using the in-game engine whereas the Thane conversation is running in-engine, it's just a tad disheartening to me. Other than that, I am honestly enjoying my time with the game; the world is dripping with style, the sound design is amazing, the platforming and combat are fun and addictive, and the loot-system is a very welcome addition.
The Witcher. I've only spent a few hours in the boots of the white-haired monster-hunter named Geralt but his world is an ensnaring one. Everything from crafting potions and adding to your bestiary to slaying the monsters and saving the townspeople (for a modest charge, of course) is rewarding and addictive, to say the least. The game's world has a strong sense of logic which is strangely refreshing; to harvest certain ingredients from a slain beast, the player must research the beast beforehand in order to learn what is truly valuable and what is just entrails. It might seem tedious to some but it makes sense to me and at the moment, I'm enjoying the change in pace.
With that last bit being said, I'm afraid that is all I have for the time being. My wife and I are finishing packing our bags for our long roadtrip ahead and looking forward to the journey as well as the destination itself. I hope PAX is as much fun and memorable of an experience as GDC was and I'll be sure to share my tale when I get the chance!