APRIL.08.2017

Time for a blog update! Almost a year since the last update... to be fair I started about 5 posts that are sitting as drafts. Who knows, maybe this will become another draft. *long sigh*

  

Let's start with the website. Updated! Tons of new work (we'll talk more about this later), a store page WHAT?!?!, restructured site layout, new banner, removing old work, consistent concept sheet layouts, sweeeet little link icons above, and the 3d modeling page still sits as a WIP. All in all not bad progress over a year-ish.

So "Mike, why are you doing this? if you're working 8 hours a day at Treyarch and then doing this much personal work, you're basically working two jobs?". Yep basically. I don't totally enjoy working so much, life gets unbalanced pretty quick, but I sleep well at night because I'm always tired. I can't talk about all the reasons I'm doing this just yet but we'll touch on it. So at my current job we don't get to post any work we do, and I've done hundreds of concepts there over the last couple years. There came a point in December when I started feeling irrelevant in the industry, becoming one of those artists nobody knows about. I watched as some of my other friends work was bringing them better gigs and building their reputation in the industry. Most of them have the advantage of being able to post their work. So that's the core of why I'm doing so much work. I won't be at Treyarch forever and I need to make sure that I have a well known reputation to fall back on. So 2014 portfolio is out the door and 2017 portfolio is coming in with a vengeance. Feels good, feels safer. Hopefully in the next few months I can talk about the other reasons because I think they're very important, and have helped me mature in my profession.


I spend a lot of time studying studio management, all the aspects of game development, film, story development and structures, and building a road map to follow when the time comes to dig in. Preparation meets opportunity, as always. Some of my buddies, hell lets plug them because their super amazing, at Gadget-Bot are working on their first game. Oh my god is it inspiring. Small team with huge ideas and most importantly a solid plan. Anyways watching their game develop has really put a fire under my ass and helped me refocus my goals. I want to get one, maybe two more AAA titles under my belt where I can really be in the project's trenches. A medium sized team where I can ask more questions and observe more aspects of game design. I really wish I was younger so I could justify working on more projects from other studios, see how everyone does it. I just hope I can gather enough information to build a successful project with as few obstacles as possible, and from my own first project I can fund more projects for the rest of my life. That's really what this is all about. Honest projects that are less built by the corporate world, and more built from a pure interest in humanity. We're at the dawn of humanity driven projects and I'm doing everything I can to be there as it rises.


Let's see what else. Oh yes the "Store" page. So I love the idea of hitting a shit ton of birds with one stone (not literally), and I've been treating all my work like that. Trying to multipurpose everything so a single image can update the portfolio, build some industry cred, create a bigger fall back net, and improve my skills. Then I realized there was another bird, the tutorial bird. I'd never hit tutorial bird but I knew he'd reinforce everything I was doing. So I'm throwing rocks at him now too. I need to give a little shout out to everyone that's gone and purchased things from my store, I'm super flattered you'd trust my instruction, and I genuinely hope the information is helpful for you. Thanks so much! Making these products has also helped me grow and develop new ideas and workflows, something I didn't realize would be so impactful. The tutorials will keep coming because of this.

   

So what's this low poly map thing above? This is my modular grid system in action. This is version 4, yeah 3 failures at this haha. It doesn't take long to start building things and then to discover some of your math isn't lining up. I did a bunch of studies and mathematics to get this thing working the way I need it to. A GDC talk on "Fallout 4's Modular Level Design" really gave me the extra information I needed. The goal is to have a system with enough diversity and flexibility but component based so that a small team can build relatively complex environments quickly. We're getting there.

I think that covers most of the important stuff. Thanks everyone for the support and also to my Instagram followers. We're approaching 1,600 right now, and I love you guys. I'm proud to say that the people who like the work I'm doing seem like just the coolest people. Just a lot of positive energy out there.

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