When I was a senior in highschool, and was preparing for college, my heart was still set on somehow learning this computer graphics stuff. I managed to convince my parents that I needed a computer for college and it'd be a big help to get it early so that I could get the hang of it. I got this HUGE CRT 21" screen monitor that must have weighed 100 pounds and my first PC, which might've been something like a Pentium 2 400 mhz or something with a whopping 256 mb of RAM! All for the low low price of around $4k. Yeah, that was nuts.
Anyway, I started doing research... not into colleges or anything like that, but into finding 3D graphics programs! I finally managed to find a free demo version of a program called Bryce3D.
It was primarily known for being good at generating height maps and landscapes. I started fiddling with it and started playing with creating shapes and shaders. Nothing complicated in the slightest. I'm talking about merely plopping down cubes, tori, spheres, etc. and making simple scenes with them. I couldn't save my files and when I rendered an image, it would render the image through a scan line and at the last second add a huge watermark all over the image. I got around this by taking a quick screen shot of the rendered image just before it hit 100% and saving my own jpg images that way.
Long story short, and to kinda get this narrative back on track, after a couple months of dabbling with Bryce3D, I made a few (very) simple scenes that I was proud of and made a rudimentary website where I posted them up.
Don't ask me how, but somehow, someone found them, noticed that I had mentioned that I was going to be moving to Arizona for college, and contacted me about the possibility of a job.
So, right out of the gate, I was getting interest and I was on cloud 9! Turns out that he was a headhunter and there was a small startup software company in Arizona that was looking for cheap talent. It wasn't games, but it was working with 3D, so I was excited!
I recently read a blog by a designer who worked at Bioware for 10 years. He left that studio and wrote a blog post detailing his time through each of those years he worked there. I found it very interesting and, while I can't claim to be equally as interesting, I thought I might write some posts about my career to accomplish a couple of goals:
1) Just to remember. I haven't really thought about those times much and it'll be nice to have a written "diary" of those times to remind me in the future.
2) In the hopes that others may find my story half as interesting as I found the story I read.
I don't know how frequent I'll be updating my posts, but I'm hoping at least once a week, but maybe I'll get on a tare and it'll be every other day or something. I dunno. I hope you guys find them interesting!
I suppose I should start at the beginning and detail my experiences even getting started in the game industry. I know lots of people out there are students and enthusiasts who are still looking to get their foot in the door, so to speak.
I knew I wanted to be an artist at an early age. I remember writing and drawing my own comics and giving them to my friends in grade school. I had a dozen or so different comic book super heroes and another dozen villains I would circulate. Some of my favorites had names like Bullet Clip, Infinite, The Protectorate, and Blaster.
I remember a conversation with my dad when he asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I enthusiastically informed him that I would be pursuing a career in comic books as an illustrator! He warned me that that would be pretty difficult, but he was encouraging about it.
Then it happened. When I was 12 or 13 years old, Jurassic Park came out and I, like many others my age, was completely blown away! My mind was completely blown by the sheer amazement of what I was seeing on the screen and the unbelievable realism that these computer graphics were bringing to the table.
Afterward, with my limited means (no computer or internet), I searched for every scrap of info I could on how those dinosaurs came to be! I resolved then and there that I would switch my focus from comic book illustrations to computer graphics!
I knew what I wanted to be, but had no idea how to do it.