Friday, July 24, 2009

Jumpstart MMO is now LIVE!!!

Live! It's Live! It's Live I tell ya! Ahhahahahhahahhahaa! Huge news came to KA yesterday, our MMO at went live. We've been working towards this goal for some time now, lots of energy and talent and long hours went into making this happen! I am stoked!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Career Update

My company has been real busy lately. In the last year we have launched a full virtual world. We have steered from retail and have gone online with our sights on console and hand held. - virtual world

Our target group are kids age 3-8 possibly up to age 10. This game is where kids can be fully immersed in a virtual world full of games, adventure, and fun and it is customizable! Family safe. That is one thing I have always enjoyed about working at Knowledge Adventure. I know that the work I produce actually benefits kids, the adventures usually contain learning content (Math, reading, science, etc) or they learn morals. I am not making games with violent or sexual content and, at the end of the day, I am actually very proud of that.

Besides, I prefer animating cartoon characters than trying to duplicate real human life.

We also finally released Blaster DS. This handheld was on hold for nearly a year! I worked on the 3D Character animations. So anytime you see a character on screen, I animated it. Real neat game which has a little nod to retro spaceship games like asteroids and invadors.

Retails at $19.99 I believe.

My life updated

I am not very good, apparently, at these blogging/social networking/twitter/broadcasting life sites. I seems it has been 2 years since I have updated this blog. Tons has happened. I cannot go into every detail without writing a novel so instead I will give the broad overview. Married Bethany on October 8th, 2007 (had the spiffiest lookin groomsmen) and in February 2008, went into a long period of 'tightening my belt' to erase debt. Proud to say that as of the first of this month Bethany and I had successfully paid off nearly $30,000 in credit card and automotive debt.

Now before you celebrate with me I must add that in the bliss of erasing such debt, Bethany and I decide to counter such debt with one of such enormity that it has popped a few gray hairs on my head. We are currently in Escrow for a 4 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage 1307 sqft condo in Newbury Park. Now, I am also extremely excited about this huge chapter in mine and Bethany's life together, but it is a huge undertaking.

I mean, we have been living with Bethany's parents since February 2008, whose generosity and sacrifice have made all of this possible. They are the reason we were able to pay off the debt and even think about buying a place of our own.

The place needs some TLC, and I am surprisingly anxious to do the work.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Jumpstart World Second Grade Campfire Video

Here is the final video for the campfire song series for Second Grade. Notice the characters are growing up. That's one of the selling points for these titles. In this video I also modeled and textured the hollow body guitar that Frankie is jamming on. Actually, I modeled and textured all the instruments for all the campfire videos. Nearly forgot about that, heh.

Once again, I was responsible for animating Frankie and Elenor. However, in this video I was also given the task of animating CJ. Seth was pulled away on other tasks during most of the production of this video so I was given CJ until he returned. I ended up animating CJ up to about the 60% mark where the video blacks out and then goes to a close up of Elenor singing.

Jumpstart World First Grade

Here's the first grade edition to the campfire songs. In this one I was still in charge of animating Frankie and Elenor. My collegue Seth Reek animated Pierre (Panda) and CJ (the frog). Tim Jones animated Kisha (Tiger), Hops (Rabbit), and CJ singing at the beginning.

This video was a bit easier since alot of the campfire environment and set up was done in Kindergarten. Plus the rigs (with the exception of Frankie) were updated to the wire controllers making it easier to pose and animate. I was given the job of TD (Technical Director) for the first and second grade titles. Actually I was given it in Kindergarten but was forced to rig the old school way for consistency.

Jumpstart World Kindergarten Campfire Video

This was a video I worked on for Jumpstart World Kindergarten. It was part of a series of "Campfire Song" videos that were intended to be used as marketing vids to be played in stores. This idea got canned and instead the videos were just placed in hidden areas within the game. Kids who care to look may eventually find them as kind of "easter eggs".

Anyways, First thing I did for this particular video was I wrote an expression to randomize the brightness of the light that represented the fire. This gave the effect of flickering fire. Yay!

The modeling of the backgrounds were done by the environment team here. Character Models were done by Tim Jones. He also did most of the storyboarding and setting up the camera work for these videos. Seth Reek designed all the characters and animated CJ (Frog) and Pierre (Panda).

My job during production was to animate the Dog (Frankie) and the elephant (Elenor). Now just a little note on how difficult it is to animate here. First off, all the campfire videos were animated at 15 frames per second which makes it difficult to get any of the really nice subtle motions or and subtleties in the facial animations that you can get at 30 fps or even 60 fps. Just to put this in perspective for some of you readers that dont work in the industry, most films and tv programs run at either 24 fps or 29.98 or 30 fps.

Secondly, the rigs for Kindergarten were done by an old school 3D artist and used mostly selection handles and locators for the rig. This is pretty much only slightly different from physically grabbing the bones themselves and animating. Plus it made for very difficult times trying to set key poses. I ended up creating character sets to aid in this process and set up various MEL scripts to do alot of the selecting for me.

Third, we had the deadline of a week to setup, concept, animate, and render these videos with 3 guys working on them and they requested film quality animations. At 15 fps and having 3 days to animate 2-3 minutes of animation (1800-2700 frames) the three of us animators pretty much said "Well, you get what you pay for." Paying not in money but in frame count and time restriction. But we three animators are pretty determined to do the best we can and I think we busted out some pretty great animations considering the constraints.