Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /homepages/45/d160344728/htdocs/pgymwp/wp-content/plugins/paged-comments/paged-comments.php on line 31
Sam | PencilGym.com

Author Archive

quoting from a MaximumPC Column writer,

PC Gaming is not dead, as much as it’s debated about…and the best Game of The Year 2010 was not Starcraft II, or Black Ops, or Civ 5. The best Game of the Year was Minecraft, and it’s not even finished yet. It proves that the indie model of small teams, low budgets, cheap prices, word-of-mouth, and startling creativity is once again the true center of PC gaming.

Minecraft is providing bulks of inspiration for Indie developers world wide. It’s simple “dated” graphics, sandbox style game, wide accessibility, has become a global cultural phenomenon in as little as a year.

Yes, it proves, a lot, for game development, we need fresh new creative ideas, and having insane rendering methods like parallex bump mapping or specular models make no impact on the project’s success. “Gaming on the Cloud” is also the next true frontier. Steam is doing it, Facebook social games has it, and mobile gaming from iOS and Android markets. Minecraft is a game on the cloud, all you need is a web connection, a “$100 netbook”, and you can hook up with the millions of players from around the world..or still enjoy it offline.

“why make a game to cater to your target audience? why not make a game that I myself would want to play? and then cross your fingers that everyone else out there wants to play it too?”
- Mojang Specifications

Comments No Comments »

“You, are the controller.”

taking a breather off work and was watching youtube videos and a new Xbox Kinect commercial came on, for the Kinect game Kinectimals.

i am no way taking sides on any company or ripping on anything here, but I felt I share how I still felt about motion gaming, which has been the latest fad in all things Gaming, after mobile gaming (like on the iPhone and Androids).

Really…rolling around, playing dead and throwing myself down on the floor infront of all my friends like a clown.. , that’s what Kinectimals brings us.

“call me old fashion”…but what i took away from my $3000 History of Gaming class, is that games from the very beginning of time, has been the interactivity between us and a subject or object..and, you need something physical to interact with. At the end of the day, we need a controller. Like the “Greek Gods playing bowling”, it was still a ball of a rock being pushed down a pathway to make it collide with several other rocks further down ahead. How we interacted with the ball in that few moments determines the follow through and the result, the ball has weight, gravity, physical real world forces that we make our bodies react to and overcome and “steer” to for achieving our goal.

As primitive as gaming roots get, like when we go out camping, and find a stone. We skip the rock over water and see who gets the most skips over. That rock we hold in our hand, is still something tangible and physical and has all laws of physics applied to it. Without any of that, how would we have been able to get the 4th or 5th skip over that water?

Motion gaming is the same. That is why Nintendo’s Wii motion gaming is so successful and makes all sense. At the end of the day, we need something real to interact with. You can’t just, game in the air. Baseball is swinging a bat to a ball, I can’t fake that with a motion camera like the Kinect. The bat has weight, it lets me understand what and how I should swing it. The Nintendo Wii’s Wiimote can replicate that physical weight of a bat in our hands, which boils down to still having a game controller. Microsoft’s Kinect can’t do that, it will have to take gaming in to an entirely new realm to create games catered especially for that kind of “virtual” gaming.

Gaming was defined by the 1983 NES Game controller. Ever since it debut, this pose of our two hands holding this object in our hands with thumbs on a few buttons has stood the test of time right up to today with the Playstation 3 Dual Shock wireless controllers. And noone can take that away from us, we love our controllers. Touch sensitive gaming still boils down to something we touch and feel…still like a controller.

Again, this was not a dissing of any form of motion gaming. In fact, I can’t wait for the day where gaming does reach that new realm…except with everything released thus far, I don’t feel contented to say it is the New Gaming.

Microsoft’s Kinect technology is amazing. The electronic gadget is actually like it’s alive, watching us, listening to us, and responding to us. Phenomenal. Kicking back to watch a movie is as literal as it gets with the Kinect. “Play”, “Pause”, “Next scene”, all done without a controller, with our voice, and in our couch. Awesome. I’m not surprised really soon I could be like, “bring me a beer!” and I’ll have one in my hand, without ever leaving my seat.

But for gaming…really…Pac-man..Donkey Kong.. Doom… Duke Nukem… Wolfenstein.. Half life.. Halo…Call of Duty… Modern Warfare…Gears of War..nah..no Kinection with that.

Read on about Game Controllers, and it’s fascinating history: http://gadgets.softpedia.com/news/History-of-the-Game-Controller-2737-01.html

Comments 1 Comment »

ok so i had to write something about this…everyone’s talking about it, and i just can’t take my mind of it and its bothering me texturing work!

Basically, the recently launch “Kinect” system for the Xbox360 has been met with literally, love-or-hate comments from all over. From what i’ve read up, it looks pretty much like it comes down to the “gamers” (50 million people) and “the rest of the world” (60 billion people)..where gamers all rip on the motion-controller system, and the rest of whatever makes up the rest of the world says it’s the best thing they have ever seen. The “rest of the world” is what all their marketing targetted, and is what caused the instant-sell-outs around the world. Reviews from a gaming perspective have been all negative and dreadful.


The Kinect is a motion-controller, where it watches your movements and translates it into game actions, essentially making it “you are the controller”.

My thoughts? I’ll pass thanks.

I’ve looked at all kinds of reviews from IGN, Gametrailers, Kotaku, CNET, all our standard big-name reviewers, and me personally find it seriously dumb to have someone play a game, without holding or wielding anything physical. Games from the very beginning demanded us to use some kind of physical controller, a joystick and buttons to push…today we have our wireless controllers on the PS3 and Xbox, and the likes of the Wii and DS. Why take that away? Who thought that would be a great idea to “drive a car” with nothing to hold on to? and then perform all kinds of flips and stunts..@_@

i think, the fact that there’s literally nothing physical to interact with makes it utterly hard to kinect with. Play pingpong with no paddle, wield a sword without a handle(?), fire a gun without a trigger,…really?

So as far as gaming goes, Kinect fails to connect. And i join the rest on this side of the bridge, to say i hope the games all fail for Kinect, and they decide to pull the plug for it.


as a breakthrough in technology, and the actual peripheral itself, i think it’s hands-down awesome. Voice command, total no need for a remote controller to watch movies, browse the net, shop online, it’s ability to recognize people of all shapes and color and lighting, it’s sooo awesome. i love it. love. it.

will i get one? not anytime soon.

where do you guys think Kinect is going? D: good or bad?

Comments 3 Comments »

yep. Ilomilo has been released today, for Windows 7 Phones. Plus, it’s free!

i’ve been following this game for the longest time, ever since i first saw their debut trailer! Developed at Southend Interactive, and published (i think!) by Microsoft Game Studios, “Ilomilo” is a unique puzzle platformer type of game, with an equally unique art style!

really wishing now i had a windows phone.. lol.
those of you that have a w7phone, this is one title well worth checking out!

gorgeous art direction, game mechanics, and really light hearted music to accompany it..all love!

an XBox Live Arcade release is on the way as well!

Comments No Comments »

lol i digg this game simply for their characters. :D

simple but still an interesting game concept…not a mechanic we havn’t seen before though.

Comments 2 Comments »

ok..wow. its like the only word in my puny vocab that i know to describe how…wow.. i was when i saw their new trailer.

FINally…anything with Gordon Freeman in my book = win. and this short film project, is pushing everything in that sense to the max. I absolutely appreciate all the effort they’re taking in creating this short film.

i only hope, and hoping really hard, it does not end up like the other 250 “half-life 2 Source Mods” which ended production before completion.. (yeah back when Half-life 2 made its debut and with it’s all new Source engine, mod teams were springing up like .. sprouts, promising all sorts of insane, awesome, mods based of City 17, Gordon Freeman, & Half life 2..only to end up with majority of the teams just disbanding their projects half way).

Beyond Black Mesa” has received superb reception, winning several Indie-film awards and getting into all kinds of magazines and buzz on the web. Definitely well worth the time to check their work out!!

I’m personally a huge, wait no, epic…yeah.. epic(!) … fan of the Half-life series. I feel all our games today, owe it to the original Half-life which debut back in 1998. It was Valve’s Half-life that changed games to what they have evolved into today. And it was Half-life 2 that raised the bar for our industry, yet again… from all standpoints, technical, artistic, storytelling, real time animation, rendering, materials, etc.

Enjoy, Beyond Black Mesa.

Comments 2 Comments »

happened to see this piece of art in one of the forums, belonged to one of the users there with a strong sense of design and color..
although, im not 100% sure this artwork belongs to that user or issit just something that was taken from the web as well.

but i love it! it’s awesomeeee. so dope!

do u know what this is? :D
im actually gonna go make a few of my own now too hahas..

Comments No Comments »

so Wikipedia, the all famous ”internet dictionary/encyclopedia” we are all guilty of using for our deeply-thought-out “end of semester Research Papers”, is currently seeking donations to “sustain and continue support” the site/project, keep the project free of Advertisements, etc.

according to this humble Appeal from the Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales, a good 380million people use wikipedia in one way or another, every month. Wikipedia is a community driven site, unlike Youtube or Gametrailers.com or Google, which are maintained and managed by corporate folks in offices and such…which is why they are looking for donations!

check out the Wiki Appeal if you havnt done so! :D


Comments No Comments »

wooh..so today decided to take a break from all the UVlayout/texturing and personal other project ive been working on…fired up a short game of the new “Medal of Honor” online multiplayer. Also decided to try out my new iPod Touch’s Video recording abilities..so here’s the video of my play session! :D

turns out i ended up getting a few really great rolls and kill streaks…epic game! and the break only lasted like..barely half hour lol..then it was back to work!

and omg the environments have insane amounts of details..from rubble, rocks, debris, tires, crates, with bump mapping and specular and everything…omgomgomg alll kinds of tiny details everywhereeee driving my senses nutss.

anyways, enjoy watching me get eaten and eating up others too :]!!

Comments 3 Comments »

woot.. came across this indie too, another one to track!
another Unity game, looking promising, i especially digg the environments :D

it’s all about epic mountains and waterfalls and hovering sky gardens ^^!

being developed by Wild Games Studios, slated for release only at the end of next year (end 2011).. =l
i wonder how big the team actually is..some pretty sweet environment work..ilikeilike.
gotta keep notes on this title! be sure to give it a look see :D

preview trailer can be found at the studio’s game site: http://www.dhailasadventures.com/

Comments No Comments »

was looking over my portfolio and work and how to reorganize it best, when i decided to just randomly search the web for my old but favorite personal work i did for a counter-strike map…entitled “shotgun_base”. (here’s the link to my record of the work)

and it was really emotional(?) and very inspiring to me when i found a couple cs game servers actually running the map at that very moment…5 years later and people were still actually playing on my level! it brought back so many memories and it was very gratifying to watch them play on the level, and seeing how gameplay continued to unfold with the level’s design. i had joined the most packed server, with 11 players on each team for a total of 22, it was a blast to watch them play and comment about their experience!

i wish i could have recorded an in-game video of it in action, but blast my pc having slight issues and very low on disk space..so the next best thing i did was to take some photos!!

it’s little things like this that keeps me motivated to continue pursuing my passion and dream of being involved in game production in one way or another..

“photos” from today’s trip: ^_^

Comments 2 Comments »

i just don’t get it…Minecraft has been nothing but absolute  success. It has become the latest viral bloggers craze, every site has something about Minecraft.

just what about this 1-man-developed “game” is so intriguing that has millions worldwide addicted?

i decided to give the game a whirl on my own finally, the free version “Classic” is readily available for play in any web browser. In this free version, players simply join a multiplayer game with other people, and build anything they can conjure up in their imaginations, with 1×1 cubes. It’s like Kindergarten and Building Blocks all over again. And that’s it.

the world loves that.

apparently as you can see from this Statistics chart available at the main website.

Last 24 Hours: 7280 Sales.

at €9.95 a piece, or about $16USD a piece, thats already $116,480USD. For just the past 24hours. And because it’s managed, updated, monitored, developed, debugged, all by 1 person, all that money goes straight to him. No publisher to split it with.

what gives? @___@
share your thoughts, why do you play it?

Comments 1 Comment »

epic short…are you freakin’ kidding me..!

guess which part is real, and what is digital :D

watch first, then check out the “making of” after…

Comments 1 Comment »

here’s my “article pull out” for october…if you like what you read here, be sure to check out gdmag.com and subscribe!

this is a small interview with a student game development team over at the Art Institute of Las Vegas, Broken Mind Games.

they discuss the plus points of the Unity engine (which they used for their student game project “Fig”) and why they chose it over Unreal Editor. and i too totally appreciate Unity for it’s amaziiing ability to show new changes we make in the game real time, without the need to recompile the dam thing over and over again just to see our new outcomes…makes me recall the nights i spent waiting literally for my level to recompile in Valve’s Hammer editor to test out new lighting and gameplay flow in the level..”building new leaf…0…10…20…30…40..etc” sigh…Unity FTW!

they also talk about how team chemistry is extremely important…! doing activities with teammates outside of work is key! organizing simple, casual get-togethers to relax, play games, have fun, and most importantly, break down any ice between members! As the team in the article responded, work in the studio became significantly better once everyone bonded..teams would chat between disciplines and offer stronger and better feedback, contributing to an overall better end game!

in the past managing my own online communities, i always emphasized teamwork and encouraged the members to open up and look for positive ways to respond to one another (maybe now that i’ve grown up as an artist, the term used better would be “constructive criticism”?)…it’s “innate” in me to want everyone getting along with each other! :D

anyways, i strongly encourage you guys here to read through this article, it hits many heart points! (?)

Comments 5 Comments »

found this the other day, thought i put it here for “safe keeping” and my own reference..
i’m guessing this is somewhat the average poly budget we get when we work on any next-gen game..
key to note is that part about it being mostly dictated by what the game is planning to have on-screen at any one time.

below discusses tri-count:

From UDN: ______________________________________________

Typical Content Specifications

Here are the guidelines we’re using in building content for our next Unreal Engine 3 based game.


For every major character and static mesh asset, we build two versions of the geometry: a renderable mesh with unique UV coordinates, and a detail mesh containing only geometry. We run the two meshes through the Unreal Engine 3 preprocessing tool and generate a high-res normal map for the renderable mesh, based on analyzing all of the geometry in the detail mesh.

* Renderable Mesh: We build renderable meshes with 3,000-12,000 triangles, based on the expectation of 5-20 visible characters in a game scene.
* Detail Mesh: We build 1-8 million triangle detail meshes for typical characters. This is quite sufficient for generating 1-2 normal maps of resolution 2048×2048 per character.
* Bones: The highest LOD version of our characters typically have 100-200 bones, and include articulated faces, hands, and fingers.

Normal Maps & Texture maps

We are authoring most character and world normal maps and texture maps at 2048×2048 resolution. We feel this is a good target for games running on mid-range PC’s in the 2006 timeframe. Next-generation consoles may require reducing texture resolution by 2X, and low-end PC’s up to 4X, depending on texture count and scene complexity. Environments
Typical environments contain 1000-5000 total renderable objects, including static meshes and skeletal meshes. For reasonable performance on current 3D cards, we aim to keep the number of visible objects in any given scene to 300-1000 visible objects. Our larger scenes typically peak at 500,000 to 1,500,000 rendered triangles. Lights

There are no hardcoded limits on light counts, but for performance we try to limit the number of large-radius lights affecting large scenes to 2-5, as each light/object interaction pair is costly due to the engine’s high-precision per-pixel lighting and shadowing pipeline. Low-radius lights used for highlights and detail lighting on specific objects are significantly less costly than lights affecting the full scene.

and below here i believe they’re talking in polys:

Polygons counts for some of the Half-Life 2 characters:

* Soldiers: 4682
* Police: 3852
* Resistance: 4976
* Zombie: 4290
* Helicopter: 6415
* Strider: 6444
* Alyx: 8323

There are no fixed rules in determining how many polygons you use in your model, or how much texture resolution you’ll use in your materials. There are upper limits of engine capability, (10,000 polygons/model, 17,433 vertices and 2048 texture size) but these aren’t usually going to be what you’re shooting for. You’ll need to consider how many of the character, vehicle, or prop you’re making will be on screen. If you’d like dozens of them on screen at any given time, you’ll have a different budget than if you’d only like to see one of them ever on screen at a time. With humanoid characters, especially for multiplayer use, you shouldn’t need to go over 4000 polygons to get a character that has enough detail to accurately describe the form, bend properly at the joints, and have enough edges to light properly. Of course you can have more than that, but with normal mapping, and high res textures, you shouldn’t really need to.

read on for more over at CGTalk.com =)

Comments 2 Comments »