Call for an enthusiastic modeller/ artist

Pedro

Admiral
I'm looking to work on rendering some wing commander ships as beautifully as possible in real time, I've already implemented a stupidly efficent DirectX9 renderer, and would like to eventually start playing with DX10.

But a graphics programmer is useless without a good artist. I was hoping someone would be willing to discuss with me exactly what they would want to see from a space scene rendering engine, what kind of material effects they'd like to apply and the like, to eventually produce a model or two to showcase the technology.

The rendering engine is very abstract in implementation and could be easily applied to a number of wing commander projects when the results warrant it. It would also be a nice way of presenting some animated space combat scenes, there is a full framework in place with music, input, rendering, shadows, models, so I'm sure a use or two could be found for the end result.
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
I'm not much of a modeller, but I do pretty good concept art, but before I commit to a project, I *have* to ask, whats in it for me?
 

Pedro

Admiral
Concept art isn't so important, I'm more keen to demo what the wing commander universe could look like on modern hardware, getting some really nice screenshots might turn a few heads.

Whats in it for you is what's in it for anyone doing any kind of fan work, contributing to the community. If you need personal reasons I'm doing it to keep on top of the latest graphics tech so I'm considered when my company needs a new engine, I can't speak to what your personal aims might be.

Projects like Saga could have a new rendering engine integrated. It's important to bare in mind I'm only looking for a couple of ships, not a whole project. Oh and a competant artist to bounce ideas off, definatley looking for a two way process.
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
Ok.. I might have come off a bit one-track-minded back there.. but it *sounds* like you are talking about a product you have plans to use commercially, and usually it is bad form to expect people to work for free on something you intend to profit from.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I don't see why you'd get that impression - Wing Commander ships, by virtue of being copyrighted material, would be a little tough to use commercially.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Indeed, I don't work for EA (briefly did, at Criterion, but its not a pleasant place to be). So Q is very much correct, major sueing time if I used them in one of my companies games. I'm going to be doing graphics in my own time for personal experience, so I thought it'd be nice to do it for the Wing Commander universe, something I love.

Just on a sidenote EA isn't nearly so bad as people claim, a number of my friends work there, happilly, Criterion works very isolated and has all kinds of associated tales.
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
hmm.. well in that case I am confused about what it is you have made. I was under the impression that render engines are universal and can be ported to anything.. not just showcasing wing commander ships. If it is a universal program then the rendering software could be used commmercially even if the content used to showcase it cannot.

my mistake. anyhow it sounds like you need a modeller more than an artist.
 

Pedro

Admiral
What I made was for my University dissertation, it was a 3 month project to create a shader based rendering engine, along the way it picked up little extras like animated models, GPU based shader effects and HDR support. Unfortunatley the end result was a room (basically a box with some pillars, the doom 3 editor may be easy to use but I'm still no artist) with a very angry crystal skull flying around it and the doom music playing in the background. You can shoot the patrolling skull with a plasma weapon, piss him off some more until he eventually explodes but its not very exciting; because I did everything to as close as industry standard as I was able it took a significant amount of time just getting the engine right.

Its a good engine, 99% of the code for the project was engine code. It will never be used commercially, I'm not self employed, and my company is absolutely one of the best where next-gen graphics are concerned; as proud of my project as I am, a graduate 3 month piece of work will not be integrated into their titles.

There is no opportunity for it commercially, but I would love to see how, with proper 2D and 3D artwork, it could represent the Wing Commander universe. I can see a number of possibilites, from augmenting open source engines, or even closed sourced ones we know enough about, to creating small downloadable cutscenes (modelling ship motion would take up no real space at all, and even scenes with animated characters can be stored in significantly less space than an video file). My personal favourite idea was to take it as far as a simulator, possibly even online, similarly to what HCl has done, but first of all what is needed is proof of concept to see if it is worth pursuing (or more importantly to convince people it is).
 

Maj.Striker

Swabbie
Banned
What kind of work are you looking for? Entirely new fighter/capital ship models? I think I could put together a few items for you if you were interested. What kind of format does your engine support? (.obj etc)
 

Pedro

Admiral
I'm looking for more traditional ships infact, WC3/4 era perhaps? The reason being that it would allow people to more easily see the comparison and recognise the benefits.

As far as model formats go, thats part of the reason I'd like a discussion, currently I've written my own MD5 loader, and can use .x files too.
I'd want to work with anisotropic light reflection models for the metalic surfaces, give a more mat feel to painted areas, specify areas the reflect the environment, maybe even make the cockpit refract light as it passes through. But those are just my ideas, what I'd like to do is find out, in an ideal world, exactly what you'd like to see as an artist on a fighter and a capship model. Mockups for how you'd like engine flames to appear would also be useful.
I don't work much with modelling packages, but since 3DS max etc have support for objects with multiple shader based materials creating the initial models in such a format would likely be the first step.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Quick sidenote: I'd probably avoid using human readable formats like obj again, they're fine for static models, but are slow to parse if the decision is made to add complex animated characters.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Hey Cheers CIC for advertising this! :)

Sorry I never released X-Type, there wasn't a lot of call for it and it was my first ever solo game project so I rather cringe at the thought of returning to the code (or indeed returning to anything written in Java ;)).

I could probably remake it in a flash (a flash, definately not in flash) though if ever there was any call.

Just to clarify however, whilst I am definately open minded to the possibility of creating a brand new engine, the most immediate use I see for this undertaking would be replacing the rendering interface for existing engines, or simple downloadable scenes. Creating a whole new engine is not an undertaking I feel I would be wise to attempt on my own, and I can't ask a large group of other people to commit such a large amoutn of time to such a project before there is some proof of the potential of such a project (as I did with Unkown Enemy all those years ago and look how the first attempt at that turned out).
A full blown engine would need A.I, decent mission scripting, ideally networking, and even basic things such as a more robust menu system than I've currently implemented for starters. Even physics, whilst I would advocate the use of an sdk for the task and the genre doesn't require anything too advanced there is still a considerable amount of work involved.
 

Milatry

Petty Officer
if you did some on the X-type game at least something to play with like some of the other games that were never finished but at least there is something to use that shows the work that was done and the way it could have gone had it been finished
 

Pedro

Admiral
Sorry Milatary I'm not quite sure what you're asking there.

However if you wanted to see X-Type up and running with the framework I have in place it'd probably only take me 3 weekends, tops, with 3D models and proper particle effects, heck it could be the first side scroller with HDR, for absolutely no reason. I rather fancy the idea because it is something I could realistically complete solo in a short time-frame, but if there's no call for it I won't.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Would you be able to control the ships? Either way, I'm sure there'd be people who'd like to see it in motion.
 

Milatry

Petty Officer
I can't talk for everyone but I think games like that are still fun I still play a game called Thunder Force for Sega Genesis and one thats still hot to me Sol Deace. So for me a game like that based on Wing Commander is a good thing and for you not understainding what i ment, I was saying that to many projects come up looking good makeing gamers what to play it but then they stop for some reason and not give the gamers at least what they have done to have some kind of fun with what they did its allmost seems like a big wast of time when they don't give up something on the project. Like the Homeworld mod it was never done but there is at least something of the project to play with and I don't know about anyone else but I have fun with it when i play it and as for the HDR thing I don't know if it would play on my old computer unless it's play like the pics of the game which look like they may play but if you what to do the game just to show gamers the HDR thing your working on thats on you.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Would you be able to control the ships? Either way, I'm sure there'd be people who'd like to see it in motion.


Assume you mean the 3d engine as X-Type wouldn't be much fun if you couldn't control the ship, but yes, player control with any input device you can imagine, heck even a Wii-mote. A.I. would be a problem, I could put other ships on a pre-set paths looking all pretty, but my knowledge in the field is limited to pathfinding algorithms; they wouldn't react to you; without help it'd be a considerable amount of research to put dogfighting in place.

Milatry: The engine is pretty scalable, its possible to even scale the quality of effects, dependent on the hardware (one of the reasons I've come to love the FX framework), but for something like that I'd probably just disable it on low-spec hardware.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I was literally asking, if you release your game as you were talking about, would the ships be controllable by people who download it or would it just be an automatic side scrolling tech demo?
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Great. Even if it's not very fleshed out, I think a lot of people would give it a try if you packaged it up for release.
 
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