Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Dan Rutter

Dan and Vicki RutterTrain2Game radio got the pleasure of speaking to Dan Rutter about his new studio him and his wife have started, Turret Studios. They have a great game idea and a lot of ambition to get it done.

You can listen to part one of the radio interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1181723-train2game-student-dan-rutter-talks-to-mark1

and part two here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1181705-train2game-student-dan-rutter-talks-to-mark2

Or read the transcript below:

Hello my name is Dan, I am on the Art and Animation course and I live in Teddington.

Hi Dan, how you doing?
I’m fine Mark, how are you?

I’m great thank you buddy! So, tell me a bit about yourself. What’s your story and the past experiences that have shaped your life?
OK, I went to university studying Model Making for TV and Film. I came out of that with a degree, I’ve ended up working in the model making field, I’ve done some stuff for film and TV. I then moved in to Architecture but through all of that games have been a massive passion of mine and my wife. So I looked at the Train2Game course, applied in May 2 years ago now I think it was. Entered the Game Jam competition in November where we came in the top three, ended up going to the Gadget Show Live in April where we had some pretty good success. I mean, we didn’t win but it was a fantastic experience and I met loads of great people! I’ve been plodding on with the course since then and new year, new resolutions and new goals, decided to branch out and do something different this year.

Yeah and what was that?
My Wife and I have started our own company, Turret Studios, aiming to make apps for iOS and Android platforms using the Unity 4 engine.

Is it just Unity that you’re going to be using?
At the moment yes as it is the only engine we can find that enables you to make apps for iOS and Android, giving us as large a spread of the market as possible. We obviously loved using the Unreal Engine during the Game Jam but at the moment it only supports iOS. Whether the Unreal 4 engine will be any different, and I really hope it is because I do really enjoy using that.

Yeah, so what are you working on at the minute? If you can say
Yeah, we can. Our first game is called Digital Dojo and it’s kind of cross between Pokémon and Top Trumps. It’s a collectible type of game, the idea is you go around and scan the bar-code of an object and those numbers, from a pool of robot pieces, will generate a robot which you can level up and customize and then you can challenge your friends through Facebook and if you win you get points so you can upgrade your robot further.

That sounds quite fun!
Good!

I would be interested in that one. So is it just you and your wife working on it or have you got other people as well?
At the moment it’s just myself and my wife. I have a coder friend who goes by the name of Wurley who is giving some of his spare time to help work it out which is good, but we will be looking at trying to get some other students involved if possible. We actually have two competitions that we are going to launch, one is to design a robot character for the game and the other is to design an environment for them to fight in. All the details will be up on our website and you can download templates to sketch over the top of or Photoshop files with layers if you want to work digitally and then we will put them up on our website and let people do a poll so they vote for their favourites and hopefully those designs will end up in the game.

Very nice and what’s the website?
It’s http://www.turret-studios.com

Are you a registered company yet or are you still looking in to that?
Nope, we are a registered company. That paper work has been done.

You are?
Yup, so what I have recently done now is I have switched from full time work and have gone back to Free lancing as a Model Maker. So at the minute I am doing a lot of work for other companies just doing some technical drawings and laser cutting drawings just to bring in some cash that way, which enables us in to putting as much time as possible in to this to get it up and running.

Very nice and have you seen the new forum section that has gone up as well?
I had a browse around last night, I haven’t had a good rummage but I have noticed there have been a few changes.

Yeah like there is a new student studio section that you can apply for it and its only student studios that can post on that to get advice and get people talking, so that’s where you can put things like your competition.
That sounds fantastic! I’ll be doing that straight after this.

Excellent! So did you and your wife meet through gaming or was that something before?
My wife and I met at University. I was doing Model Making and she was doing Furniture and Applied Products but we soon found we were sat in front of the Playstation 2 back then playing SSX and all kinds of games which was quite good fun. We even had Little Big Planet wedding toppers at our wedding and our wedding cupcakes had Marshmallow space invaders on the top, so that’s how heavy in to games we are.

That sounds beautiful! That sounds like the kind of wedding I would like.
It was pretty awesome. Our favour boxes had Marvel Superhero candy sticks and penny sweets in.

So is your wife more the arts type like you or does she do other things as well?
She is very good with her Admin and things. She works in a job where she isn’t doing what she wants to do but it brings in money. In terms of the company and how she fits in to things, at the moment she is looking at learning coding, so she’s got some books and signed up to some courses as a long term goal and in the short term she is running all of our social media, the website and keeping the books, making sure things balance.

Very nice, is she going to get in to Train2Game as well do you think?
It’s definitely an option. It’s just trying to get some things set up and sorted and then try and find time for her to do that. She works quite long hours and works every other Saturday and things like that. So we will be looking in to that

So finally, what is your greatest ambition?
At the moment my greatest ambition is just to get that first app out there, hopefully succesful and what I would really love is to be stood on the train, look over some ones shoulder and see them playing our game. I think that would be fantastic!

That’s a beautiful idea
It’s a great idea, it’s kind of the app equivalent of walking in to a shop and seeing it on a shelf.

Excellent. Well I wish you all the luck with everything Dan
Thank you very much

My pleasure and thank you very much for talking to us today!
No trouble at all, cheers!

Train2Game News: Blitz artists hosting ‘meet the experts’ web chat tonight

Leamington Spa studio Blitz will allow you to get an insight into the life of a games industry artist & animator when two of their team host a live webchat at 6:30pm this evening.

It’s the latest Blitz Games Studios’ ‘meet the experts’ sessions, which last month saw two programmers offering advice to aspiring game developers.  It provides a great opportunity for Train2Game students to get advice from industry professionals.

“Two of Blitz’s experienced artists from the company’s R&D and game development teams will be sharing their knowledge on a variety of topics aimed at aspiring newcomers to the industry as well as experienced artists looking to further their career in a new field or specialism.” reads the announcement from Blitz.

If you want to submit a question to the Blitz artists before the session begins at 6:30pm today, get in touch with them via email, Twitter or Facebook.

To take part in the web chat, visit the Blitz meet the experts website from 6pm this evening.

There’s more advice from industry professionals about getting into the games industry here on The Train2Game Blog.

Will you get involved in the web chat? What will you ask the Blitz artists?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Capcom launch Street Fighter 25th anniversary art tribute contest

Train2Game Art & Animation students have an opportunity to showcase their skills and potentially see their work used by Capcom in a contest launched to celebrate the upcoming 25th Anniversary of Street Fighter.

“Whether you’re a professional or a first-timer, your art is welcome. Throughout the year, we’ll be showcasing our favorite pieces, and we’ll even utilize some of them in our official 25th Anniversary celebration activities. It’s a great opportunity to have your work become a part of history!” read a post on the Street Fighter website.

The Street Fighter artwork can be a traditional pencil or paint piece, digital artwork, or even photography. Two themes Capcom are looking entrants to expand on are ‘Twenty Five years of history’ or ‘I am Street Fighter’  The pieces that the publisher likes the most will be used in their official Street Fighter 25th anniversary material.

Train2Game students wishing to enter the contest have until Friday 4th May to do so. All the information on how to submit work is here.

Will you enter the Street Fighter 25th anniversary art contest?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: PlanetSide 2 video shows design process for creating rifle scope

Train2Game Art & Animation students can get a great insight into the modelling process for weapons in PlanetSide 2, thanks to a video released by Sony Online Entertainment.

PlanetSide 2 senior artist Patrick Ho talks us through the construction of the NC Scope 4X in a time lapsed video.  You can watch below, right here on The Train2Game Blog.

Train2Game students can apply for a place in the upcoming PlanetSide 2 beta by visiting http://www.planetside2.com/. As previously reported by The Train2Game Blog, Sony Online Entertainment’s Creative Director Matt Higby says beta testing is crucial to the development of PlanetSide 2.

““For MMO games beta is critical. There is a lot we can do to test gameplay and mechanics in studio, but getting the massive scale needed to ensure the game really works requires getting real players in.” he said.

“It’s also critical to determine if our player progression curves are too punishing or too lenient, find exploits, balance issues and so on. Beta for us as a company is an incredibly critical phase of development.” the PlanetSide 2 creative director added.

Keep reading The Train2Game Blog, for the latest beta testing opportunities.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the time lapsed modelling video?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Darksiders II ‘Create a Weapon’ contest prize is your work in the game

Train2Game Art & Animation students have a chance to use their skills to create a weapon for Darksiders II, one that’ll be included within the game at launch. The competition is from THQ and runs on the Polycount forum.

“We are extremely happy to announce our latest contest – The Darksiders II ‘Create a Weapon’ Contest!”reads the announcement.

“For this contest you will be creating a Mace, Axe, or Hammer that would fit in the world of Darksiders. One entry from each category will be chosen to be included in the release of Darksiders II! — That’s right! Not in a future DLC release or a digital download of any sorts – the winning entries will be shipped with the game when it launches!”

Full details about the Darksiders II Create a Weapon Contest, which closes on Monday 26th March, can be found over at Polycount.

It surely provides a great opportunity not only for Train2Game Art & Animation students to show off their skills, but also see their work appear in a major title.

It wouldn’t be the first time Polycount users have seen their content used in a game, with a previous contest providing weapons and accessories for Team Fortress 2.

Will you enter the Darksiders II Create a Weapon Contest? What are your thoughts on THQ and Vigil Games allowing users to submit content?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Dead Space 2 artist offers advice on getting into the industry

Train2Game Art & Animation students who want to build in-game environments will be interested in this one, as EA Environment Artist Philip Simmons has offered advice on getting into that particular area.

Simmons can certainly be classed as an Environment Art expert, as he designed the environments for Dead Space 2. He told EA’s Breaking into the Industry that the best way to become an environment artist is to build your own worlds.

“The easiest way to become an Environment Artist is to be a World Builder. If you’re going through school, lots of schools will try to get you to be a Prop Artist, because props are the easiest things to turn around and make nice-looking.” said Simmons.

“The problem with that is that most prop work gets outsourced. Companies need people who can make entire spaces. And to get those jobs, you have to show that you can realize an environment in its entirety, concept it, build it, and handle it – all by yourself.” he added.

The full interview sees Simmons discuss other subjects including creating environments, how he got into the industry and his typical day at the office. It’s an interesting read for Train2Game students and you can find it on ea.com

EA previously published an interview Dead Space 2 game designer Brian Bartram in which he offered advice to game designers. Train2Game students can read that here.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Simmons advice? Are there any Train2Game Art & Animation students out there who want to be environment artists?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: EA]

Train2Game news: Concept art is “base of all gaming production” says Jagex Art Director

Train2Game Art & Animation students who find work in the industry will see their concept art become an essential base to the whole game development process.

That can be taken from comments made by Jagex Art Director Pascal Blanche in an interview with Develop Online. Cambridge based Jagex are the studio behind browser based MMO RuneScape.

“I saw the role of concept art growing up during all those years, and becoming the base of all gaming production. It has become essential for game design, art design and production design as well.” he replied about the evolution of concept art’s role in game development.

Blanche also said the role of a game artist has evolved.

“Most concept artists now are used to creating speed-paintings and thumbnails to get a rough idea pretty fast.” he said.

“The needs of the production to an extent created the hybrid artists they’ve now become. Some concept artists are even good at storyboarding or illustrations, using other tools to create better and faster results such as Sketchup and Zbrush.” Blanche added.

The full interview with the Jagex Art Director is here on Develop Online, and it makes an interesting read for Train2Game Artist & Animators. It’s also accompanied by some fantastic concept art.

Click here for more information about the Train2Game Art & Animation course.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Blanche’s comments? Is concept art the base game development?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]

Train2Game news: Lionhead provide advice to artists on getting ahead in the industry

Fable IIITrain2Game Art & Animation students should definitely read the latest article in Develop Online’s ‘New Year, New Job’ feature, as Lionhead Head of Art Paul McLaughlin gives tips on how to be a great artist in a game development studio.

His advice for artists is as follows, and it could be especially useful to Train2Game students who are currently on Train2Game industry experience placements.

• Turn up for work and be nice to people.
• Make your boss’s life easier, not harder.
• Take a deep interest in whatever you’re working on. Do your damnedest to understand the art/game direction.
• Find out what you’re good at that is useful to the team and try to excel in that area.
• Keep your skills honed. No matter how senior you are, you still need to show ‘potential’.
• Work with the production team. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and if you’re struggling then flag it early.
• Don’t let your ego get in the way of doing what’s required.

It’s excellent advice for Train2Game Artists, who along with all other Train2Game students should keep an eye on Develop Online’s jobs feature for more excellent advice from industry professionals.

For more great advice from Lionhead, Train2Game students should check out this Train2Game Blog post in which Peter Molyneux offers guidance about getting into the games industry. He also reveals that many Lionhead staff started their careers as QA Testers.

What are your thoughts on the advice from Lionhead?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop Online]

Train2Game news: Modern Warfare 3’s engine “is a Porsche”

Train2Game students will obviously be aware that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is likely to be the biggest selling game of the year.

The title, being worked on by three different studios, is likely to receive a heavy marketing push and be snapped up by millions of gamers.

However, some have commented that the Call of Duty engine hasn’t aged well. Speaking in an interview with CVG, Sledgehammer Games Glen Schofield responded to this criticism.

“Well I’ll tell you one thing, I’ve worked on a lot of engines over my lifetime and spent a lot of time putting graphics in to them and this thing is a Porsche,”

“And what I mean by that is that it is stream-lined, everything in it is perfectly freaking clean. You can tell it’s been worked on for years. It’s easy to upgrade.” said the Managaing Director of one of the three studios working on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

And Schofield argues that Modern Warfare 3 is a lot more detailed and a lot better looking that its predecessors.

“Modern Warfare 3’s levels now are so much bigger than the old ones because they go more vertically, they have a bigger footprint and on top of that, higher fidelity, more textures and a lot more detail” he said

“If you put Modern Warfare 2 next to Modern Warfare 3 you would see a huge difference. Look at all the character models, look at all the gun models, look at the reflections, look at the water.”

“There is so much that we’ve added, so when someone says ‘cut and paste’, I don’t even want to talk to them because they don’t know. They just don’t know. They have no idea.” added the Sledgehammer man.

Last week, the Train2Game reported that Schofield said tweaks to Modern Warfare 3’s game design mean it’s the “most accessible” Call of Duty yet.

Train2Game students can get a behind the scenes insight into development of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 here on the Train2Game blog.

What are your thoughts on the Call of Duty engine? Do you believe Modern Warfare 3 looks dated? And should the developer be responding to its critics?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: CVG]

Train2Game news: Team Fortress 2 community makes $2m from created items

Train2Game blog readers will have previously read that since the introduction item store to Team Fortress 2, community item creators have been earning money for their work.

Now a year on since the Mann. Co store was introduced, Valve has revealed that community item creators have collectively earned over $2 million from selling the items in the virtual store.

They’ve also introduced an update called ‘Steam Workshop’ that’ll make it easier for community item creators to test, share and get feedback on their weapons, hats and items.

“The ‘Mann Co. Store’ represents an important new direction for games and game makers,” said Valve co-founder and president Gabe Newell.

“By leveraging and extending the platform features of Steam, Team Fortress 2 has enabled a viable marketplace for independent content creators and significantly extended the gameplay experience in an incredibly short amount of time.”

Of course, this being Team Fortress 2, the Manniversary Update also sees the introduction of plenty of new hats. Train2Game students can find out about the modelling process behind Team Fortress 2 hats here on the Train2Game blog.

Team Fortress 2’s community tools could potentially allow Train2Game students to submit items to the game, make money and earn a reputation from their creation.

Valve have a reputation of being supportive of their community, and activity encourage modding using the Source SDK.

And in an interview with the Train2Game blog last month, Valve’s Chet Faliszek told us that modding is a really good way to get into the games industry.

“It’s a really good way for someone to get noticed because it shows that you’re able” he said.

“Normally modders have to work as a team and that’s important, and they also have to be able to finish something and that’s really important. So those two things together are a really good way to demonstrate that you’re ready to work in the industry.”

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the Mann Co. Store? Is it a good way for game developers to get noticed?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra]