Wow. I haven’t updated this blog in a looong time, mostly since I’ve been busy with Legend of Grimrock so I haven’t had that much energy for other creative endeavors. But there have been a few things I should have written here about like another ludum dare game I made called Snow Globe Kerfuffle which I made in Flash so you can play it right in your browser! I’m pretty happy how the game turned out, much more so than with the Dystopian Future Underground City. Another noteworthy mention is that I opened up a Souncloud page so if you want updates on my music, you should follow me there since as we all have witnessed, the blog updates can be kinda sparse. Anyways, onto the topic at hand: I went to Barcelona and took a bunch of photos with my awesome new Olympus OM-D E-M5:
Download the game here! (Windows)
Phew! This weekend I participated in the Ludum Dare game development competition. It’s a competition where you have to create a game completely from scratch by yourself in a weekend. Or 48 hours to be exact, of which I used about a little over half. The competition was extremely demanding. Not only because there’s a ton of stuff that goes even into the simplest of games but because I’m not a very experienced programmer. When I’m programming, it totally feels like I could speak a foreign language but I only know the curse words. I can always get the point across but, for the most part, it’s not very elegant. Luckily my coding weapon of choice, LÖVE, proved to be a good one. It was very accessible for a novice programmer even though I had only installed the framework the day before!
Graphics and music, on the other hand, were pretty easy for me. Business as usual. It was fun doing all those little funky sprites and I even managed to make the music in less than an hour. Overall, I’m extremely pleased in the end product and I learned tons even though I hit a few walls during coding. There’s obviously a great number of flaws in a game like this but the only one that I have regrets of is the skill level. It’s bloody hard! Basically, EVERYTHING in the game kills you. I was aiming for Super Meat Boy or Trials HD style frustration/fun balance but I think the skill ramp is just too damn high and the deaths can be too unfair at times. If the walls would bounce you around when hitting them instead of killing you in a split second, it’d be much better. I tried to hack together pretty simple collisions for the level blocks but it didn’t work out really well so I just went with the simpler and more brutal model instead. Despite all this, the game CAN be fun if you just bear with it. Just be prepared to die a million times!
But hey! It’s a game! That I’ve manage to make completely by myself! In two days!! My previous game programming experience has been limited to one small prototype made in Processing that had maybe one tenth of “stuff” in it compared to this game so this has been a gigantic leap for me.
Lately I’ve been dabbling a little bit with Fontstruct. It’s a nice browser application for building your own fonts by laying blocks on a grid and it’s a perfect match for people like me who might want to fool around a little bit with typefaces without committing to the craft entirely by buying FontLab and sacrificing a basket of fruits on the altar of Helvetica.
Here’s a couple gimmicky fonts I created. You can download & abuse them by visiting my Fontstruct profile.
People seemed to like the first dissection so why not write more? I couldn’t figure out an answer for that question not involving any worm holes and time traveling so I suppose I’m mandated to write another one. If you’re interested in the idea behind the series, go and read the preface to the first dissection although I think it’s safer that I repeat the disclaimer that these are the methods and ideas I happen to work with and these writings are not intended to be technical manuals on how to do stuff. Instead, think of these more like an in-depth “making of” documentary that you might watch solely for its entertainment purpose but where you still might discover something useful. There’s a some sort of primitive fascination in discovering how things are made. Some of the methodology I use I have learned from others and some I have discovered by myself. I believe that all experienced photographers have followed a similar path so pick the stuff that plays with your strengths or eliminates your weaknesses.
I believe I may have skimmed over the appeal of black & white photography a little bit too hastily in the first article. To expand on the topic, I chose this photo because I think it’ll illustrate my some of my points pretty nicely and in addition I can talk about composition some more:
It is a photo I took in 2006 in New York. The place is Central Park at the Great Lawn, facing south towards downtown. So let’s go and pick the picture apart!
Recently a coworker of mine has been getting back into photography and I’ve spent some time advising him and talking about how I approach photography. When I started breaking down the thought processes and some of the post processing methods I’ve used, I realized it might be worth sharing. In this introspective post, which hopefully turns into a series if enough people find this information valuable, I take one of my photos and explore the thought processes behind it, how I shot the photo “on the field” and what did I do to it afterwards and for what purposes. This is not meant to be a step-by-step guide or a definite best approach to photography: I just try to share my approach to photography which happens to be comfortable for me. It might not work for you at all but at least I hope it will make for some interesting reading and prove that taking good photos is not an entirely random process. Whenever it is irrelevant, I will steer clear from purely technical aspects of photography, especially the gear, since there already is too much technology-wankery going on in the Internet regarding cameras. I also have to elaborate why I think whatever picture I pick is a good photograph and I hope that it is understood that I don’t mean to gloat. That being said, all my views are entirely subjective and it’s cool if you disagree with me on any of the points I present. Photography is hard to judge objectively and in this sense it really isn’t any different from any other forms of art. Which actually might be a pretty valid definition of art, by the way, but let’s not open that can of worms right now. ;)
Since this is first of its kind, I’d love to hear if there’s any feedback regarding the content or presentation of the article! Or if there are any questions that I left unanswered in the text.
For this first issue of Photo Dissection I picked this photo of some elderly people I shot in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 2006 (I shot the photograph, not the people… Just so that we’re clear) mostly for the convenient factor that I used this photo as an example in one of our discussions with the previously mentioned coworker earlier this week. It’s been a while already but I can remember the situation and the process behind this photo pretty clearly:
Of course this is just the final photo I ended up with but there’s a lot of things that you might not realize just by looking at the end result and that process of how I ended up with the final picture is the core of this article. So let’s dive in and see how I ended up with whatever that thing is that I ended up with… is! I love ugly sentences!
Another year, another Assembly demo party. I participated, rather expectedly, to graphics and fast graphics competitions. Although my graphics entry picture was used in a Nokia N900 real wild demo too (Derelict by Hedelmae), I didn’t specifically draw it for the demo. It just happened to suit the theme of a friend’s demo nicely so I gave it to them to use :)
The theme of this year’s fast graphics compo was “you’re holding it wrong” and the time limit was 1h 30min as usual. There were surprisingly few iPhone puns. The conspiracy theorists might wonder if Nokia’s role as a sponsor of the party had an effect on the selection of the theme! Hmm!! ;)
Anyways. In fast graphics, I placed third with my picture called “herp derp” and my “Komrade Kong” in the graphics competition came in second. I think I was the most frequent visitor to the stage this year with my three appearances since Hedelmae’s wild demo placed second as well.
Both of the pictures were drawn in Photoshop. This time around I actually spent pretty much the entirety of the time allowed for the fast graphics compo and I’m pretty pleased with the picture myself. “Komrade Kong” didn’t take much time either. I think it probably took around 8 hours total, spread over two days. I first wanted to draw a King Kong -style gorilla rampaging in a city, throwing a tram and stuff but after a little bit of sketching I realized I wanted to draw a squid as well so I had no other option but to submerge the gorilla! That way I also got rid of the pesky time consuming perspective drawing of the town too. The idea of the military uniform and the cigar was given to me by a friend, no doubt inspired by the great fictional movie in the Simpsons called: “Hail to the Chimp”. Or “Apina Pressana” as the delightful translation goes.
I’ve had my grandfather’s old Yashica A twin lens reflex camera laying around for a while now. It’s a nice camera. A little too nice actually since the medium format photos you can take with it are too high quality to be worth the hassle of developing the films for and scanning them not to mention the cumbersome filming process itself. If I want to work my ass off for my photos, the photos better look distinctive from any modern camera!
But hey, the Yashica has a lovely ground glass viewfinder that is peered from above and boy does it look trippy. It’s even got these extra guide line helpers in case if you want to use 35mm film instead of the square aspect ratio medium format film. Lots of grime and dust has also polluted the mirror and the glass of the viewfinder. Awesome artifacts. So I built this TtV (“through the viewfinder”) rig on it from cereal box cardboard and some black duct tape to mount my digital camera above the viewfinder. With the help of a few close up filters and a 50mm lens I can now shoot through the viewfinder with relative ease and end up with digital images that ooze of analog sex. Hot.
Sculptris is a free 3D sculpting program developed by an insane Swedish programmer. Even though obviously it isn’t quite as laden with features like Mudbox or ZBrush are, it’s already a pretty sweet tool. And most importantly, it fulfills the first rule of sculpting software: it’s loads of fun!
Here’s a severed male head floating in space that I modeled… But hey, at least it’s not bald this time!
Here’s some work from the last two nights: a duo of processing applets that scribble lines. Pretty exciting, huh?
Here’s a few images I created with a custom .pdf exporting versions of the programs: