Archive for August, 2009

August 24, 2009

Neo Shanghai Spy : Composition Sketches

As mentioned in the last post I made the foolish decision to join a contest that was already closed.  Seeing as I don’t have a lot to do these days though, I (after wasting most of the morning kibitzing and vacuuming the house) thought that I might as well finish the project if only for the experience.  I’ll probably go back to the costume design at some point, but for now I decided to do some quick compositional sketches to  figure out how I want to lay out my piece (ie where do I want the key elements like the woman, the bar, and the robot bartender).

Compositional sketches are also a fun way to loosen up when drawing, and you’ll notice my strokes get both looser and more confident as you move from sketch one to five.  I’m leaning towards sketches 3 and 4, but feel free to leave comments on which ones you like best.

August 23, 2009

Neo Shanghai Spy : Costume Design

I’m throwing myself into a bit of a creative frenzy these days, partly because my big project is done and a) I’m sick of the Victorian era and b) focusing on a specific style of artwork has led to the minor deterioration of my overall competency as an artist.  I just recently finished my entry for th ecomic-con contest, and while browsing the internet stumbled upon this contest at cgsociety called “Secret Agent”.  At first Iwas hesitantt o join becuse the deadline was so close  (September 10) and I didn’t have a proper concept but I remembered that I had painted two artworks before that could definitely used an overhaul, one of a female chinese secret agent in a qingpao and a sci fi girl with a cybernetic arm (I’d link you but I’m too lazy).  It’s a good experiment in seeing how far I’ve improved as an artist, and the verdict so far is I’ve improved substantially, but I’ve still go to a long way to go.

Anyway, a big part of concept art that doesn’t get talked about a lot is that you have to design clothes for your characters.  This is easy enough if you’re drawing modern characters or those that fit in a specific time period since you have easy access to reference material, but since my character is a mix of 1930s Shanghai and cybernetic future I have to find a way to mesh those two influences and make it work.  It’s a lot harder to do than most people think.  When it works it’s fantastic, but when it doesn’t …well, let’s jsut hope it does.  Clothes design is far from my expertise, and I’m finding it especially difficult to come up with something that looks good on the female form.  These are my first three attempts; standard qingpao with cybernetic arm, a more modern look with kungfu shoes, and a two piece qingpao with pearls and a princess leia-like bun.  The hair on these sketches are variations on the typical 1930’s style, and in future sketches I’ll probably play around with the hairstyles some more.

So, I just checked out the contest website and found out that the Image entries are only till August 8th, and the Video entries are til September 10th.  *facepalm*

August 20, 2009

Rodimus Prime final

This may be what I submit to the Comic con contest, apart from some more minor tweaking.  I chose to go with a graphic designed background instead of what will probably be a more common painted/draw background to make it look more like a comic book.  It ties in tot he comic con theme and…I just don’t have enough time to draw a proper background.  So there.

August 17, 2009

Rodimus Prime Orthographic Drawing

Finally finished my first orthographic drawing ever, based on my Rodimus Prime design.  The deadline for the contest is a week away and I’m starting to doubt I’ll finish it, but to have gotten this far was a good experience in and of itself, so I’m not complaining.  Next up is thumbnail sketches for the final pose.

Update: Edited the face and added some wheels based on feedback from ET, to make him look more like Rodimus than Hot Rod.  Also, looks like I needed to color the whole thing so I did just that and added a texture for good measure.

August 15, 2009

IGDA Kucha videos

So it’s a bit late, but I thought I’d post my presentation during the IGDA Kucha event two weeks ago, where I talked about why it was important to have a vibrant game developer community.  Apologies for the horrid audio and video, but we were recording this on digicams so you really can’t expect much.  You can also check out the other videos here.

August 10, 2009

Ayala Rail Transit

As I stated in an earlier blog, I do love to play city planner, and a confluence of thinking about railways and the Ayala TechnoHub inspired me to lay out a fictional rail transit line spanning from Quezon City to Manila.

To start things off, in my fictional world, the Ayala corporation would decide to run their own Rail transit for the sole purpose of supporting the young UP-Ayala Technohub.  They realized that companies were hesitant to set up shop there because the location was deemed too difficult for their employees to commute to everyday.  First they tried using shuttle buses from the nearest LRT-2 and MRT stations, namely SM North and Katipunan, but they figured what the hell, we’ve got money to burn so why not start a rail business?

And so the ART was brought to life through the combined efforts of the Ayala companies and city mayors (HA!).   Beginning in the Ever Gotesco Mall on Commonwealth Ave and stretching all the way to the Blumentritt LRT-1 station, which by the way is near the Blumentritt PNR (our original rail network, supposedly getting a revamp) station.  Along the way the train would stop at UP-Ayala technohub (obviously, but also this gives access to UP as well), Quezon Memorial Circle, SM North (for interchange with LRT-2), Amoranto Sports Complex (randomly saw it on google maps, thought it might be a good station), and Mabuhay Rotonda (for access to UST and nearby schools/colleges).  Not only would this rail network ease the burden of commuters coming all the way from fairview, it also connects the MRT and LRT-1 lines while at the same time providing easier access to one of Metro Manila’s few green lungs, The Quezon Memorial Circle.

I know it seems ridiculous that I just spent an hour of my day dreaming up a fictional rail network, but for whatever reason it gives me a great sense of faux accomplishment thinking up ideas like this.  Now if I could only figure out a way to get paid to do this, I’d be set for life.

In case you’re interested, a larger image of the map can be found here.

Update: According to my girlfriend a similar route was actually planned by Mitsubishi and Ayala during the Cory administration stretching from QC all the way to Laguna.  Unfortunately, probably due to the usual politicking, it never happened.

August 8, 2009

Manila Comic Convention starts today (but we’ll be there tomorrow)


So, IGDA and GDAP were asked to do a short panel on the games industry by the organizers of the MCC, which we were quite happy to oblige.  We get VIP passes, which I think basically entails we get in for free, and nothing much more than that.  Our panel will be on Sunday, 12-1pm, feel free to attend if you’re at the con!

August 5, 2009

Rodimus Prime sketches

Been really looking forward to taking time to draw/do anything not work orIGDA related, so it was nice to draw these Rodimus Prime sketches for the comic con contest.  The way things are going I kind of doubt I’ll ever be done with this, but it’s something to push me into drawing non-work related stuff at least.

August 2, 2009

The Case for Building a Vibrant Game Development Community

I was downing a San miguel Strong Ice at 11am yesterday, trying to fight the urge to throw a panic attack.  I’m not normally lke this, and even my closest friends are surprised to find out that I have a very deep seated fear of public speaking.  I can’t explain how I can be overly verbose in a small, casual setting (ie 2-4 people at a table) then scared like a deer in headlights the minutes 10 or more eyes set upon me simultaneously, but that’s just the way it is.  Of course, the IGDA Kucha turned out well enough, and so did my presentation at the end, regardless of the fact that I was using index cards and still managing to flub some lines.

Anyway, for those unable to attend the event, I’ve posted my presentation here and my notes for each slide below, since it wouldn’t make much sense without them.  Videos will be up soon, but in the meantime this ought to be good enough.

Update: For all you tl:dr types, the videos are up!

Slide 1:This is not the image of a man who gives a shit about anything. So, why do I care? Why did I volunteer to be the chapter coordinator of IGDA Manila? I certainly didn’t do it for the fame or fortune, so what’s in it for me?

Slide 2:I take personal offense knowing that this is the face that Philippine society shows to the world. I don’t want to be represented by a lecherous middle aged man who makes millions singing and gyrating to horrible songs. I want the world to know we’re better than that.

Slide 3:Chip Tsao called us a nation of servants. Was he wrong? Yes. Does that stereotype still exist? Yes. Stereotypes only change when people actively prove them to be wrong, something I hope to accomplish by nurturing the local game development community.

Slide 4:So at this point you’re saying, so what? What do I care? It’s a fair question, so in the next few slides I thought I’d go over some of the reasons why supporting IGDA is actually in your own self interest.

Slide 5:A few of you are here today to learn from your fellow game developers, but the rest of you, you’re only here for the free food and drinks. It’s okay, I’m one of you. I have tupperware in the back to take leftovers home. That’s a pro tip for all you freeloaders out there.

Slide 6:So, how do we get BETTER food and drinks and an even larger venue? The answer is numbers. Companies are always looking to expand their market and mindshare. But they want to reach as many people as possible, so the more of us there are, the more willing they’ll be to open their sponsorship wallets.

Slide 7:All the artists in the house know just how awesome and expensive Wacom tablets are. This intuos 4 costs between 16 to nearly 30 thousand pesos, depending on the size. Now what if I told you it would be possible to get a discount on this hardware?

Slide 8:Ynzal recently had a 40% off promo on Photoshop, but only certain organizations were entitled to it. GDAP, the Game Developers Association of the Philippines, was one of them. So imagine the kinds of discounts we could get on games, software, hardware, if only we come together as an organization.

Slide 9:That’s a picture of the 12 foot orc statue in front of Blizzard’s office. How many of you dreamed of working at a Blizzard, an EA, an Ubisoft, a Square Enix? the people who make the games that you love to play? What would it take for them to set up studios here?

Slide 10:Well, companies that are interested in opening up offshore studios will usually measure two factors: How easy is it to do business in that country AND, is there a large enough talent pool of developers for them to hire? How does the Philippines compare against other countries in these aspects?

Slide 11:Doing business in the Philippines is about as efficient as the rube goldberg machine seen here. You’re forced to jump through all sorts of hoops and bribe government officials if you want anything done in time. Unfortunately, this is something we just can’t do anything about.

Slide12:What we CAN do however, is to grow a vibrant game developer community, like this one in Austin. An active IGDA chapter is proof to a company that there is a talent pool for them to hire from, and it can help offset the the difficulty of putting up a business here.

Slide 13:Remember the other slide that said the Philippines was 140th in a list of countries in which you can do business? Singapore’s number 1. However, companies found out that Singapore’s talent pool wasn’t deep enough, which is why you’ll find many foreigners, Filipinos included, working in these companies.

Slide 14:Now assuming we manage to convince studios to set up here, it’ll be much easier to convince organizers to hold game their development conferences in Manila. That way we won’t have to fly all the way to Singapore to listen to industry luminaries like Cevat yerlin, Peter Molyneux, Hideo Kojima, maybe even Miyamoto.

Slide15:The existence of all these companies also creates an informal knowledge cluster where developers can exchange ideas and learn from each other to make even better games. These knowledge clusters are also the breeding grounds for our own future game design geniuses, some of whom may be in this very room right now.

Slide 16:OK, so, I’ve talked about why I care about IGDA, and why it’s in your own self interest to support it. But the truth is that this goes far beyond you and me. By supporting IGDA, we can actually help make our country a better place.

Slide 17:Economist Richard Florida has written a series of bestselling books with one basic theory: Each country has a creative class, and this creative class is the driving for its economic development, pushing the country forward through sheer creative energy. We’re a part of that creative class.

Slide 18:And so are all these other sectors, representing fashion, music, web design, comics, animation, and yes, even cosplaying. They’re all a part of the creative class, and a part of increasing our economic output and making us a player on the world stage.

Slide 19:For comparison, Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh, which is ranked 110th in ease of doing business. But I did a google search on Dhaka cosplayers and came up empty, and by that measure I think we’re far ahead of them in terms of having a thriving creative class.

Slide 20:I’d like to leave you with this thought. What we do matters. By showing up at IGDA events and participating in the forums you’re doing 3 things: making me happy, satisfying your own self interests, and helping out your country. And since all you really have to do is give some of your time, I think that’s a pretty good deal.