Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


3D Realisation- Ideas (16/10/11)

So after my last lesson on 3D Realisation (last blog) I had gone away with full understanding of my field on work which would be 3d environment artist and I had picked my chosen 3d artist of Tor Frick. From this I had to go away and gather some research so that I could give myself a good idea what I might be doing my 3D Model on. So what I did was go onto Tor Frick’s website to gather some inspiration for my work. Although I still do not have a reply from him when I emailed him I believe that I can learn a lot just from looking and studying his work in detail.

So the ideas I was grasping from this video was originally a tomb entrance, I could do the “Data core” which is his idea and shape/layout in UDK but do it in a sort of mythological style with statues and gargoyles, with encryptions on the walls and a really ancient carved out stone look to it. So that was the vision, a tomb/lair entrance in a ancient texture. So I did a really quick sketch of this when pitching my ideas to Paul, it had the same layout as Tor Frick’s Data core but with a cut out segment of the wall so that when I model it you can see the inside of the model in both the digital and physical form. So although Paul liked the idea he told me “try not to run before you can walk” which basically meant that I was setting the bar too high for my first ever 3d model, we all want to make an amazing 25 story skyscraper with amazing detail but for a beginner 3d artist such as myself it just isn’t possible in the time frame we have for this brief as well as maintaining with other briefs. It would also take hours and hours to render what I had described which would be an issue due to limited lesson time.

The plan of action from that was to cut it down, I still wanted to focus my work on the style of the Data core and do the ancient stone carved lair with lava streams and amazing carvings. So in the Data core main circular room you have the centre pillar with all the electronics on them including what looks like Hal 5000 from 2001: Space Odyssey.#1datacore1 So this centre pillar I pictured myself doing a statue with a slightly damaged and aged surface to represent the scale of the history behind it, but I thought that wasn’t enough and I didn’t want to do the same old dragon carved in stone but I still wanted a winged animal to perch over the top of the statue. These are my ideas on the winged animal:

  • Eagle
  • Griffin
  • Dragon
  • Dragonfly (Dinosaur age massive one)
  • pterodactyl




INDIA dragonfly


Each of these ideas would be very striking on top of this stone carved statue, but something was drawing me to the eagle maybe due to how majestic it looks with its wings arched at landing just like the picture, Even though a griffin does have an eagles head which is definitely striking I do still want to have a sense of realism to my work and with a griffin being a mythological creature I am going to focus on the eagle. I am currently in progress of sketching an eagle and I also have watched a few videos on how to mould a eagle out of clay for when it comes round to doing the physical model.

Overall im pleased with my design focus for 3D and the Eagle Statue could be a fantastic thing to put in my portfolio if I put the time and effort in to add the detail to the statue. Currently now its at the pure research and ideas stage so I haven’t actually had the chance to explore and test any 3d modelling programs yet so im just sketching my ideas and resourcing my physical clay so when we do begin to use the software im all set in research and planning.


3D Realisation- 3D Focus (9/10/11)

In this session I had to present my 3 3D artists (Tor Frick, Christopher Radsby and Paul Pepera see 3D Realisation- Artists Research for more information on them) to Gareth and Paul my tutors in 3D, I opened up by showing them everything about my 3d artists and what they have done just so they were clear on that my artists met the given task of 2 shipped games. Once I had explained to them about my leniency towards Tor Frick being my chosen sole artist to focus my design on it went down very well, they did suggest originally that I should check him out but by confirming he was my favourite pleased them as they both enjoy the work of Tor Frick. Whilst explaining my ideas of how I would adapt his work into my own, I mentioned I would like to be a level design because I like how the environments and all the visual of a level looks. This immediately caused a problem as then I was shown what a level designer was, a level designer is the person who makes the level as the basic shapes and terrain no textures at all just plain blocks. The 3d artist is the person who puts the visuals onto what they have been given with level design. So by learning this I quickly decided its definitely 3d environment artist I am looking towards doing for this brief.

“Level design is really about planning the flow of the level, making decisions about gameplay, and laying out challenges for the player to overcome. Level design as a discipline starts with written plans and drawn schematics before firing up a level editing tool.

“Pure” level design is embodied by a workflow called “white-boxing” where the level designer places blank (not necessarily white, anymore than blueprints have to be blue) geometry in the scene to establish scale and structure, places all the dynamic items and enemies around the scene, and then environment artists go through and replace all the stand-in geometry with polished assets.” – jhocking.


This is level design.

So from finding out my misunderstanding of 3d environment artist and 3d level designer I focused on what I was going to do with my work. Then I was sent on my way by my tutors as I needed to now focus on what I was going to be designing for my brief. I had thought up a few ideas from going into extensive research on Tor Frick, but wasn’t sure if I was thinking too big for my first ever 3d task. So until next week it was pure design focus for me. I was also told that I would need to produce a physical model for whatever I was going to be designing in 3d, and that there were multiple ways of going about it: clay, cardboard, paper etc. I have no experience of modelling things apart from with Lego bricks as a child so this will be a learning curve for me im sure. Regardless of that my ideas will not be toned down just because I may struggle on the physical side of modelling.


3D Realisation- Artists Research (2/10/13)

After being handed a brief on 3D Realisation which was for us to make a physical and programmed model of a 3d item of our choice, but to do this we had to research the world of gaming to find some inspiration for our work, but these artists had to have at least 2 shipped games so not just any random freelancer.

So beginning the research most of the students found it difficult to find anyone as most of us typed in the game we liked and then 3d designer e.g. Dead Space 3d designer, this did not work most of the time as either they were not on the internet for some reason of they had LinkedIn and we had to personally know them to see their profile. So I had an idea to search credits of a game for the 3d designers in the game, obviously there was multiple but mainly I searched the leader of the group as surely he has the most experience in the field. This lead to my first artist Christoffer Radsby, he has been doing environmental 3d design for many years with big titles such as: Motorstorm: Apocalypse, Far Cry 3, Wipeout 2048 and most recently still in production Tom Clancy’s: The Division.

Radsby FarCry3 Level

That is just one example of his work (image: go check his website out for more on his portfolio the freelance environments are also very beautiful.

So with one down I still had 2 artists still to find. With finding Christoffer Radsby it was leaning me towards doing the environment side of 3D design, I have always appreciated the environments of most games as the first thing I do is look at what’s around me rather than the gameplay as I want to feel immersed in the game as if im there or im the character. So after much a struggle trying to find the 3d artist for dead space that’s actually online I came across someone else, Paul Pepera.

Paul Pepera is a 3d game artist and his shipped titles include the massive game Halo 4, Section 8 and Red Orchestra 2. He is currently working at Valve so most likely he has some AAA titles yet to add to that list of shipped games. Here is one of his rendered models.

Paul Pepera Mechanical 3D

As you can see this is rendered to that of a very high quality, this is very good work in 3d art and takes a lot of skill and time to create something as high quality as this. So with Paul Pepera it gave me a different option other than environments which would be the objects or machines of a game such as a escape pod or a robotic arm, all things like this are key to a game as the prime objective is to make it believable and feel real as well as other important things.

With 2 artists down I still needed one and my personal preference was still to doing a 3d environment for my work, so after much searching I came across a 3d artist called Tor Frick, his shipped games include Far Cry 3, Gears of War 3 and Bullet storm. But his work was amazing the attention to detail and high quality of his work was to me astonishing being just a starter student. My tutors also approved of the work of Tor Frick a lot which indicated to me that if I was to pick environments he was the one I would focus on. Here is a video on one of his spare time 3d builds:

He build that for fun in his own spare time in UDK using 69000 triangles in just over a week, amazing. This completely launched me into the world of being a 3d environment artist for my brief. And after not much debate with myself I chose to pick Tor Frick as the 1 3d artist I would base my work on and study further, I have contacted him to try get some words of wisdom but he is yet to reply.

3 artists:

I was very pleased with my final 3 artists as they all had amazing work and shipped titles to their name but due to having a personal interest in the 3d environments of games I chose Tor Frick to base my work on. The Datacore video I just showed you is what I will base my work on but I need to tailor it to my own vision which will take some planning and consideration.