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The Closest Thing to an Island Escape

Well, Wix crashed and I lost half of the original blog post, so here we go again.

I am very VERY bled dry at the moment. I just wrapped up M.I.A (which drained the life out of me), I am graduating soon, I cannot find the time and inspiration to continue writing my novel, and after almost eleven years in the automotive trade, I am officially done with working as a mechanic. So, I came home from work on Friday after another crappy day (every day is a crappy day at the moment) wondering what I should make for my next gaming environment.

A year ago, I started modelling a bar scene based on the bowling alley that I used to work at. After re-visiting it now, I am shocked over the bad topology and high poly modelling that went into it (don't lie, you produced high poly assets when you started out as well). I didn't want to look at it any more. And I said that I was going to produce another apartment complex using the assets that I made in M.I.A, but I'm not feeling it any more. 70s roller disco? Yeah... nah. So I closed all of the programs, and was left looking at the picture of Seychelles that I set as my desktop wallpaper. Then it hit me: make my own tropical island!

I haven't had a holiday in over three years. The last time I took time off was when I spent three weeks vomiting my way through the Philippines during mid 2013. And when I ask for one week off at work, I get the "But we're gonna' get busy, and I can't find anyone else, and I need someone else to answer the phones, and and and and...". But when someone else asks for time off, I get "Sarah, I want you to drop out of uni! Someone wants to take a few weeks off!". So, I may not be able to go on holidays, but at least I can make my own virtual destination that I can escape to any time.

I downloaded Firewatch a month ago, but haven't gotten around to playing it until now. I pretty much spend the game wandering around, figuring out the best ways to model environments. OPTIMISE! OPTIMISE OPTIMISE OPTIMISE! It's a bit pitiful how M.I.A is a small apartment complex that can barely even run on my computer. Yet Friewatch is a massive forest environment with various trees, and grass, and shrubs, and such swaying in the breeze. And that runs fine on my computer. Using alpha maps for small aquatic plants, that grow around the river. Genius! You can't even notice it, unless you purposely figure out how they're made. And, oh, the hand-painted textures! Brilliant!

I haven't experimented with hand-painted textures much, so this is new to me. The tree in the image above isn't finished yet. I need to fix up the textures on the trunk. I told my friend Charbel about it, and he wants to help me as well. Charbi doesn't have much knowledge in 3D modelling. He used to work at post-production studios, but that was video manipulation. So he downloaded Blender, and is now trying to figure that out (I still don't know how to use Blender either). He can make small space-filler assets, like cups, and books. I won't let anyone else join the project, nor will I go around showcasing it. Sure, I'll post screen shots of it, and I'll let people wander around it, but it's too personal to let other people fuck everything up! Like in group projects. What started out as a beloved concept, has now evolved into an icon of anger and bitterness. I don't want to look at my island, and be reminded about hostility. Plus I really don't want to deal with that over-zealous person taking everything too serious. If we were working on a game that was to be released to public, sure. But not pet projects that I can chip away at whenever I get the chance.

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