Overdue Katabasis Update, and Now What

First of all, I apologize for this long-overdue update on the overdue Katabasis. I’m finally picking up steam on finishing up. Working on it exclusively for over a year, especially with how much time I was putting in at the end, kind of burnt me out on it, so I needed that break. I’m still having some really frustrating issues with lightmapping, which is the big holdup. I’m adding a few tweaks, but once I get the lightmaps worked out I’m calling it done. Not sure how soon that will be at this point. It’ll be done when it’s done, hopefully soon.

Besides that, I’ve also started working a new game with a screenwriter friend that I’m really excited about. We’re just starting to dig into it, so all I’ll say now is that you play as the first being in a creation myth in a virtual world. The visual style we’ll be using is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but couldn’t do for school. It’s kind of hard to describe, but basically it’ll be very computery looking. The one big barrier to me starting to work on it is the fact that I can’t use Maya. The plan is try actually selling this game, and a commercial license of Maya is about $4,000. Which means I’ll have to learn how to use Blender (which is a free open source modeling program). I’m sure I’ll be able to work just as well in Blender, but the sucky thing is that I have to learn an entirely new program with a much different interface, when I’m already proficient in a different one.

I’ve also started working some on a personal game project based on a dream I once had about trying to find a riddle (yes, trying to find, not trying to solve) on an island inhabited by a demon and a noble creature. So far I’ve just done some architectural sketches, and messed around some with writing a separate interactive fiction piece about the demon. I think I’m going to hold off on the game itself though, and just work on the interactive fiction here and there while focusing on the creation myth project. That should be a good project to start on with learning Blender since it’ll primarily be fairly simple environments, while the island game will have complex characters and props.

On a personal note, it’s a pretty interesting time for me right now. The few game studios around Denver aren’t hiring, and I have about another 8 months on my current lease, so I started working part-time at a hardware store. Supplemented by some freelance work, that should be enough to pay rent with enough time to dig into these projects. But the question is what I’m going to do after these 8 months. The idea is to apply to game studios outside of just Denver, which means I should probably focus more on creating portfolio pieces. But that’s not really what I want to do. The most exciting thing about being graduated is that I have total creative freedom, and I don’t want to be restricted again.

As sort of a compromise, I think I’m going to focus on building a solid animation reel (oriented to game studios), and work on the projects that I want to work on. Thinking about it, animation is definitely the job I’d be happiest with at a studio. Animation is inherently all about subtlety and creativity, which is what I am all about. Even if it’s just a rabbit running around in Skyrim, there’s a lot behind that, and to me that’s far more interesting than modeling environments that I would never have designed myself.

So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens. But in the short term, Katabasis: “soon.” And I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about soon now that I’m getting back into it.

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