Wednesday, 18 November 2009

It's taken a little longer...

It's taken a little longer than I thought it would to move the blog to my website. So in the mean time I will still be using this.

After having my request to change to webdesign rejected i've had a very short time to get my ideas reformed so I can make an animation in time.

I've been thinking long and hard about how to protray a message about piracy in a video game environment. Aside from somekind of machinima, which I don't believe would count as own work in this case, their really isn't any way of getting the message across without the aid of characters to relate to. I put this down to a terribly thought out idea that was, in my opinion, developed as far as "a good idea for an AV brief, all the 3D guys can just do the same but animate it" train of thought.

I've decided to bite the bullet and ignore that animation has nothing to do with 2/3 of the virtual environments pathway I did last year and just get on with it. Due to the time restrictions and my absolute hate for rigging models I've decided to create the my animation in the style of a Bupa advert.

I will use simple geometry shapes and give them character though objects such as glasses, headphones, hats, etc... these objects will also act as a way of showing where the simple shaped characters are looking. I will use simple block colours to follow the theme.

To represent the emotional content that people are getting from products I will have explosions of life coming from their products. Much like in recent Fanta adverts:

Sunday, 8 November 2009

New Site :D

I've moved to a new site. Come check it out:

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Simulated Client Project - First Ideas

I've been thinking about how to send my message across about media piracy. My first idea is to have a little girl skipping down a road which then tranforms into an apocalyptic landscape around her. There will be a voice over describing the danger to media industries that piracy creates.

For a visual representation of how I imagine the transformation to look please watch the video below from a game called Lucidity. About 40seconds in to the 1minute mark is where you will find the transition.

As for the asthetic look of the apocalyptic world i'm trying to create i'll be aiming for what was protrayed in the animated film by Shane Acker called 9. Here's a picture:

Moving Blog Soon

I'm moving my blog to a website that i'm creating. Links will be posted here and on the reflective journal index.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Visualisation Walk-Through

Here's a short fly-though of my visualisation project.

Second Year Visualisation Project from Jay Jackson-Hicks on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


As I said in a previous post I've done a truly horrific job at my time management and I've spent the last week living off ridiculous amounts of coffee and a hand full of hours sleep.

Here's an update on my Visualisation project. It's of a train station. I was inspired by Robs project. He chose to make a skate park because that's one of his passions. I thought about what one of my recent passions was and I started thinking about a computer game called Left 4 Dead. It's basically a game which takes place in a work undergoing a zombie apocalypse. There are many areas such as hospitals and Airports which lay in ruin after attacks. I decided to base my project on this theme.

Here's a screen shot of the scene untextured.

Animation Scene - Corrior

Corridor - Aniamtion Year 2 from Jay Jackson-Hicks on Vimeo.

This is one of the scenes I've made for my animation. I was going for a cross between the hallways in the first battle of Star Wars: A New Hope and the corriors on the main spaceship from Wall-e.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Biped Animation

I've modeled one of my characters with Biped Bones. Although this is a fast way of generating an animation for a simple human like character I'm not finding it flexable enough so I'm going to continue to animate with my custom bones version.

Clarc Animation - 3D Studio Max Biped Bone Test from Jay Jackson-Hicks on Vimeo.

My aim is to have the character Clarc walk like Dog from Half Life 2 when he's excited or moving fast:

The character Clarc is a lifing robot so he will also be able to walk on just his feet when carrying heavy loads.

Clarc Animation

Here's a screen shot of Clarc with his Biped bones in:

Well i've done it again...

Like everytime before I've left things with one project to the last miniute after concentraiting all my efforts on another project (aka my UT Map). I have untill wednesday to get my animation done and it's going to be alot of work. Currently I have two areas for my characters to interact with almost complete. I'm confident that I'll produce work good enough to hand in and host a video online.

I think once I hand the project in I'll still put more work into it over the summer holidays. I've spent quite a bit of time into character development and I really like what I've come up with. I think my charcaters are well established and have great personalities. I just hope that I can put this across well enough with the time I have left.

All this being said I'm really very proud of how my Unreal Tournament map has turned out and I think it's some of the best work I've ever done. I've had a few focus groups of hardcore gamers play it now and I've had great responces. Also personally I really love playing it, being a quite hardcore gamer myself I find the flow and pacing of the level works also all the areas seem to have equal usage instead of just one area which everyone fights for controll over.

Well I should get back to work on my animation. I'm quite sure my animation will be to a good standard. I'm just ashamed of myself for not giving it more time. I'm really sure that if I had another week to work on it I could make something truely amazing.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Unreal Tournament 2004 Map Complete

I finally got it finished and i'm really proud of how it turned out. Here's a video of me playing it against adpet dificulty bots.

My Unreal Tournament 2004 Map from Jay Jackson-Hicks on Vimeo.

DM-Spectrum - Who said UT3 was just gray?

A new custom map was made for Unreal Tournament 3, and it has a great twist. The rooms are pitch black and the only way you can find other players is by the trail of light they leave behind them as they move across the map.

DM-Spectrum from Matthew Bradley on Vimeo.

For more infomation I recommend you check out the artical on Kotaku.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Unreal Tournament Map

I'm almost done with my map now. There is just a tiny bit of texturing to do and apart from that all I have to do is bot paths and lighting. I've placed all the static meshes I think I'll need.

Here are a few screen shots I took awhile back. Some rooms have been improved since they were taken.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Animation Trouble

I've been working on my animation recently and i've run into some trouble with the arms.

This is a picture of the hand when it is straight, all the joints are perfectly round and how they are ment to be.

Once i try rotating the joints though they warp and strech.

This problem is starting to concern me as I remade the hand once already to try and fix this problem.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Level Design - A walkthrough of my map so far

I haven't posted in a while so I thought I'd upload a video of my level design so far.

At the moment I'm just using working textures and lights to create. Once I'm satasfied with the layout I will be adding static meshes, atmospheric lighting and relevant textures.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Trousers Hindering My Progress!

Just switched out of trousers into PJ bottoms and I've been flying through my work. I remember a conversation I had with Will about the benefit of working in new media, "we get to sit at home in our jammies, with a nice cup of tea and a duvet just coding html and css..."

I'm feeling so cocky about my progress since getting into my PJs that i've taken a break from my essay to write this. Doctors have the right idea, they just wear scrubs which a basically PJs and they're wicked sick at saving peoples lives.

We should all take notice of how productive the world is when comfortable. As a society we're evolved past trousers. Sure we needed them back in the days before decent heating in building and occasional bear attacks. I propose a remodeling of our society to exclude the need for trousers and bring the era of PJs.

Although that might be a society of Jack Wills and A&F douche bags running around in there baggy jammies, white framed bug sun glasses, iPod nanos and flip flops talking about how far back up there heads they make there quiffs as they rush to nandos to mack on the hunniez.

I guess no society will ever be perfect :(

Allocating Time

Well I'm quite a way through my essay and I'm confident on being to a good standard by the time i send it into the dropbox. I'm just annoyed at myself for once again leaving my work to what feels like the last minute. Ideally thinking about it now I would have had Jools look through a draft as I'm not very confident with my writing skills, but I suppose that's just a bit more knowledge I'll have for the next reflective critique on practitioner based networking and the critical practise my development should emulate to parallel my career with that of an influence.

I'm really looking forward to this Easter holiday that's coming up. I see it as the opportunity I need to focus on my work. This may seem like an odd thing to say considering it's my "holiday break" but here's the circumstances that are shaping this break to be the most productive thing to happen to me since redbull and foosh mixers.

Because I live in the far off land, where the oggies grow on trees, also known as Cornwall, I have to find my own way home rather than most people who have there parents pick them up. This means I'm required to travel for nine hours across two trains and a coach, which limits the amount of stuff I can bring back. I'm only going to be able to take my laptop and a rucksack full of dirty clothes back with me.

My laptop it's self is just capable of running UTEd2k4 and 3DSM (although I wouldn't trust it to render my work). This means that I will be forced to spend my time being productive with these two programs rather than spending my time off dicking about on my very fast, very sexeh PC.
4gig of RAM
GeForce 280GTX
3.16ghz processor

Overall I'm looking forward to being productive. Here's a check list I hope to finish by the time I get back to Nottingham, or as I like to call it THE DISTRACTION FACTORY!

Finish 3D character's and Rigging for animation
Finish 3D sets for animation
Story board for animation
UT2k4ED tutorials on lifts, portals, weapon placement, etc... completed
UT2k4map completed
UT2k4map textures to be near completion
Visualisation project started with mock sketches
Gamer Society Tournament organised
Gamer Society Source server up and running
Gamer Society Steam community refresher
Gamer Society event for Clifton members
Mock up for new blog layout, including images ready for use.

That's quite a list, and I'm sure I'll have more to add to it once I give it a good thinking over.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

What do you do with 100 sheep, alot of LED lights and too much time?

Simple you do what anyone would do when they're bored. Play pong.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

First UT '04 Editor Done

I've been playing around in Unreal Editor for a while now but I just decied to be productive and follow a tutorial. Here's some ingame pictures:

All things considered it went quite smoothly and I enjoyed it. Alot of it seemed to be quite calculated sized boxes that you subtract into rooms, etc... I think I'm going to need to redo my level ideas on graph paper to make fitting it all together easier.


I Recently finished a game called Beyond Good and Evil which is a gritty platformer like Jak and Daxter (2&3). I enjoyed the game quite a bit and found that a sequal is being made and I found this trailer:

I know this is just a trailer and not actual game graphics, but I found it intresting how the graphics for this game have been updated.

Beyond Good & Evil (2003)

Beyond Good & Evil 2 (Trailer 2008)

Unreal Editor Hates Me and I Feel The Same

Granted I'm very new to this program, but i've been having problems at every turn. When I tried to create my own map I was unable to move the cubes I made, and now I'm trying a tutorial and I'm getting a texture error. I even tried saving the texture package in a diffrent folder and retexturing, but I get the same error:

UT2004 Build UT2004_Build_[2005-11-23_16.22]

OS: Windows NT 6.0 (Build: 6001)
CPU: GenuineIntel PentiumPro-class processor @ 3167 MHz with 2047MB RAM
Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 (7824)

Failed to enter Autoplay.ut2?NumBots=0: Can't find file for package 'Chapter3saved_tex'

History: UGameEngine::Init <- InitEngine <- FMallocWindows::Free

I geuss I'll just keep trying to figure it out.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Project 2 Arcitechtual Visualisation II

I went trolling though some old pictures of when I went to Morrocco. Some of the pictures I took when in Marakesh would could be used for inspiration.

Project 2 Arcitectual Visualisation

I've decided to recreate the asthetic of a city from a computer game called Jak & Daxter 2. I like the exagerated extrusions from buildings giving it a characturesk look but with an overall futeristic slum feel.

Concept art from the game.

The arcitechure also seems to be based on medevil persian towns.

Pictures done by Bob Rafei for Jak and Daxter 2.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Visualistaion - Architecture

After doing some research into Art Nouveau I stumbled across a site with bizarre buildings.

I like the fact that these buildings exist. They are shining examples of how some successful businesses still have a heart and artistic flare. It's reassuring that even in these hectic times of commercialism and corporaisation there will still be artistic uniqueness.

The link for the pictures is here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Animation - Set Creation

I've recently started building the set for my animation. I've haven't added the lighting or most of the textures yet but hopefully you'll get an idea of what it's all about.

There is alot more to come but I thought I'd show my inital ideas.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Yankee Gal

I stumbled across this video and really liked the use of lighting and sound.

Yankee Gal from Yankee Team on Vimeo.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Tiny Robots... EVERYWHERE!

I've been thinking about my animation project a lot recently and I've come up with the idea of two robots who are docking workers sorting out packages to be taken on spaceships. I'm thinking the two robots will be very different in size. The smaller one will look like Gir from Invader Zim, where as the taller will be more like the robot from the film Iron Giant.

I started making the smaller of the robots just to work with the bones tool again in 3DSM. So far it's been okay although I haven't tried any animation with it yet. This is a just my first attempt so it's still very basic.

The reason why I chose robots (apart from the obvious that they're kickin' rad) is because this will mean I won't have to do any voice acting which can be very time consuming. Instead I can synthesize there own language to drive the plot. This will also mean people will understand it no matter what language they speak, which I took under consideration as I've recently been watching a lot of Spanish animation.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Starting UT Map Building

I found a site which is quite good for good for beginers. The link is here.

I'm just making a note of it here so I can find it on diffrent computers. Also it might hopefully help out some peers.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Unreal Tournament Map

For the next two terms I will be working on my very own custom (UT) Unreal Tournament Multi-player Map (level). I was quite happy when I was told this because I feel I have a lot of knowledge of this type of FPS (First Person Shooter). The key to all great FPS maps is game pace and balance.

I'm going to stick the the conventional style of Unreal Tournament which is very fast pace. Because of this fast play style there are significant differences between levels in UT and Counter Strike: Source for example.

In this picture you can see the spawn point of one of the games more powerful weapons. The risk of getting this weapon is that it is surrounded by bio waste which does damage to you when you stand in it. This creates risk to achieve a benefit. You could get knocked into the bio waste by enemy fire on the way there and there is only one route out as well which means any enemy's will know which direction you have to go to get out. The same can be see in the picture below.

In this picture there is the most powerful armor upgrade in game, but again you must risk jumping onto a small platform which is surrounded by bio waste.

Because of the fast pace and splash damage most guns in this game have cover has to be more obvious and easy to use. Rather than having small walls in which to crouch behind (which encourages camping, thus breaking the speed of the game) cover is large and obvious. These blocks in the middle of the corridor can be easily jumped behind to break an enemy's line of sight (LoS) and therefore only leave you vunerable from splash damage.

Also the majoirty of times you will use cover is because of an enemy having an advantage over you. This can be from an enemy having more health than you or them having a weapon that is most powerful at a range but not upclose. By hiding behind boxes like these you're forcing you opponient to come closer which can take away there advantage.