As a birthday gift from a family member, I attended the Game On Expo in Melbourne. It was a pretty fun experience getting to check out gaming history, from the games that were before my time, to the current generation of games. It was also another excuse for me to play games.

I enjoyed looking over the GTA3 storyboards that were on display, as it was pretty interesting to see the concepts and stories behind some of the missions presented within the game.

The Machinima Cinema was also a great addition. Some of the shorts were weird, but interesting none-the-less.

It was a great gift to attend the expo, and a great way to start the day before work.

I recently attended the E-Games and Entertainment Expo in Melbourne (18th of November if my memory is correct) to marvel at all the cool games and electronics on offer.

I got there pretty early, so managed to get some gaming in the form of Resistance: Fall of Man, without any waiting whatsoever. I must say it is only my second time using a PS3 and that I was pretty bad at the game, but I managed to pull through and finish 3rd, after leading the match for the majority of the time. Some red flame-thrower type gun saved my behind I think. That was a bit of fun to start the morning off 😛

The general atmosphere there was entertaining… a lot of nerds, including my partner and myself. There was a guy dressed up as Cloud from FF7, a guy running about in a HAZE combat suit, and the ‘promotional’ scantily clad females (Sorry, no photos available).

I enjoyed getting early glimpses of upcoming games as well as being able to check out recently released games.

Uncharted and Mario Galaxy definitely looked like great games, and would definitely be purchased if I had those consoles. I had been following the development of Assassin’s Creed, so it was great to get an early look at it. Mass Effect was on display, but I sort of skipped over that mainly due to the awesome EB stuff-up that saw Mass Effect released way before it should have been, and that I had already been playing it for a couple of days (Brilliant game).

Overall, the event was pretty enjoyable even though I didn’t get a chance to obliterate everyone with my Call of Duty 4 multiplayer skills. There was only one thing there that bothered me and that was the giant inflatable Master Chief helmet that you could enter. They definitely had something hidden in there, but all entrances were sealed. I still have no idea of what exactly is concealed within Master Chief’s helmet.

I’ve been working on my 3d models lately for Unearth, and I always seem to have trouble when it comes to the UV layout. Somehow, I constantly get sidetracked looking for the ‘uber’ solution to making a UV map.

Well as usual I didn’t find any major solution, but I did manage to get a better workflow going, which resulted in a better UV map. The final map had a couple of visible seams, but overall I was happy with it compared to the time and results I have previously had.

After a very early start to the day I managed to make it to Free Play 07 at ACMI in Melbourne.

The first lecture was by Jonathan Blow, an independent game developer and creator of Braid.

He gave an extremely good lecture on how he has succeeded in creating quality games, emphasising many times that innovation and prototyping are key ingredients to creating an original and quality game. He suggested always creating a prototype of your idea before going full-steam ahead on the project, and wasting valuable time on a game that may not play out as expected.

A couple of hours later was the “Independent’s Day” session. This consisted of a panel of 3 speakers and the chair mainly discussing what makes a successful game.

The panel consisted of Jonathan Blow (Braid), Paul Callaghan (Programming Teacher at AIE/past game programmer), and Robert J Spencer (Chief Operating Officer at Interzone Entertainment).

The panel members discussed what they each believed were key factors for making a good game, and debated the use of innovative creation as opposed to making a rehashed game.

What the views boiled down to was that if you want to create a game that appeals to a large market sector, then re-makes with slightly new ingredients thrown in makes for a profitable meal. Going all-out and creating a very innovative game pushes boundaries and leads the way for quality spin-offs, but you are likely to only be catering to a niche market.

Both sessions I attended gave me new insights into game creation that may come in handy in the future. The works Jonathan Blow showed were extremely innovative and inspiring, especially Braid, which should be checked out by everyone.

For more information about the Free Play event, visit

I spent the last day understanding how to create grass for use in-game…it’s harder than it seems.

Anyway I eventually worked out how to implement the alpha texture properly so that grass cuts out nicely. This will hopefully be used as either a mesh or billboard in our Unearth game.

I then went and whipped up a quick scene in Maya to see how a few of the elements I have created so far work together. The Driller Robot in the background is thanks to our team’s other modeller, Bart.

This time I thought I would share a new trick I learnt in Adobe Photoshop CS3…the Slice Tool.

It seems this tool allows you to cut up a layout or image and then save those images out as separate files, which is good for webpage layouts. You can even save the html of it so that it saves the image positions to be viewed as a web page.

Another tool function to add to my knowledge database 🙂

So…I have been modelling a character for the game project I am working on, titled Unearth. It’s a difficult task, but somebody needs to do it 😉

I just reached the animating stage of the character a few days back, with very little trouble until it came to animation number two.

For some reason adding a keyframe after the end keyframe of the first animation was causing the first animation’s smoothness to stuff up. Many frustrating hours later I discover the Graph Editor. It seems all of the curvy curves were continuing on throughout the whole timeline…a little tweak here and there and my keying problem was fixed.

Just a small discovery I thought I would share.