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Posts tagged ‘Artist’

22
Sep

More Ensemble Halo MMO concept art revealed

ensemble_studios_logo

Dylan Cole an artist who worked with Ensemble Studios on the cancelled Halo MMO has made some concept art and paintings available from the project on his website. The incredibly detailed images show what the game environments may have been like if the project saw the light of day and Ensemble was still with us. Take a look at this outstanding image showing what a Forerunner City may have looked like in game:

ENS_MPv01[1]

Incredible art

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And another showing a Halo City from a distance:

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If in game graphics were 1/5 as good as these outstanding art pieces the MMO would of been a marvel to play. It is a great travesty that executives at Microsoft pulled the plug on such a promising game. I recommend that everyone check out Dylan Cole’s website for more Halo MMO art plus more incredible pieces from his other projects:

http://www.dylancolestudio.com/

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27
Jul

Bart Tiongson shows off some incredible concept art

 Robot Blogs

In the today’s Robot Entertainment blog update artist Bart Tiongson shows off some awesome artwork for Halo Wars and other projects. Just how awesome is it? Pretty awesome! Halo Wars fans will be able to identify the early Brute Chieftain below!

Brute_Chieftain[1]

Check out some more on the official blog!

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26
Jun

Official Robot Entertainment blogs go live!

New Robot Website

The Robots at the spacepod like office in Plano have launched their official company blogs with Dave Pottinger and David Kubalak. Dave Pottinger shares with us his dream of having the Robot Entertainment logo in Lego form much like the Google logo shown below:

00-Google2[2]

It is infact a deadly serious project and Mr Pottinger has been spending his free time experimenting with Lego base boards to get them a suitable size for the Lego Robot logo – here he is, in action!

Lego Dave

One might wonder if Mr Pottinger spent too much of his childhood playing with Lego! It does seem like a fun project though and if Google can do it why not Robot? You can stand by for updates on this by following this website or by subscribing to the Robot Blog RSS feed.

In other non Lego news..

David Kubalak lifts the curtain on the faces behind Robot’s art team:

Art-Team-final[1]

Please note: The above picture may not accurately represent entire appearance!

You can click the image to enlarge and from left to right you will find:

Bryan Hehmann – Environment Artist, Nathan Stefan – Concept Artist, Gene Kohler (bottom) – Character Artist, Dion Hopkins – Visual Effects Artist, David Kubalak- Art Director, Charles Tinney (bottom) – Animator, Rob Walden – Hard Surface Modeler, Juan Martinez Technical Artist and Animator, Brad Crow (bottom) – Art Director, Paul Slusser – Environment Artist, Duane Santos – Hard Surface Modeler, Won Choi (bottom) – Concept Artist, Chris Moffitt – Character Artist, and Bart Tiongson – Concept Artist.

All of those people are Ex-Ensemblites! Its interesting to read about the individual roles each artists has. David Kubalak is the Art Director and has his own blog where you can find some of his artwork at: http://www.davidkubalak.blogspot.com/

Clearer Robot Art picture discovered!

You may remember a previous post where I mentioned Age Community were studying Robot Entertainment pictures closely for any hints on a new Age of Empires game. David Kubalak’s blog contains an image extract from a news article which shows a picture of Gene Kohler working on some textures. Check out the image below and be sure to enlarge!

Gene working on textures

Discussion on this can be found on the Age Community forums.

Further reading..

I encourage all fans to check out the Robot website to read the full blog posts from the two Robot Daves! Looking forward to seeing more posts from them soon!

Lets see how this Lego logo develops!!

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24
Jun

Halo Wars artists blog – how to make Halo look like Halo… without Bungie!

halowars

Paul Slusser talks today about how the artists at Ensemble tackled the prospect of creating art for an existing IP. The blog notes that it was not a simple copy and paste from Bungies art files and that Ensemble had to put alot of work in from scratch designing art models for units and buildings. A good read, you can find an extract and link to the blog below:

First thing we always do is start gathering as much reference material as we can find; downloading screenshots from the internet, getting marketing material from Microsoft, and the most obvious one, asking Bungie for all their art files. That last one seems like a no brainer right? After all we are both part of Microsoft and they own everything, right? Nope. As it turns out it’s really hard to get in contact with someone at another studio to provide assistance, when that company was behind schedule on their latest installment of Halo AND we had no idea about the negotiations they were having with Microsoft about becoming an independent studio again. It didn’t take long to realize that our concept department would be on their own in figuring out this art style.

The UNSC and Forerunner had to maintain the same geometry angles throughout their structures and vehicles while the Covenant had to maintain the same curvy organic look in theirs. The UNSC vehicles and Spartan armor all had a similar green metallic look that we tried to emulate with our materials. Using a similar Army green with a broad, gold, specular highlight worked really well for our camera distance and sun angle.

http://www.halowars.com/news/devblog/archive/2009/06/23/What-it-takes-to-make-Halo-Wars-art_2C00_-look-like-Halo_3F00_.aspx

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16
May

Halo Wars Maps and Environments

halowars

Is that 3v3 maps ahoy? No, sadly not though for all the fans out there in need of them I expect them to be announced in the future. The good news is you can now plan you tactics using the HaloWars.com skirmish map page! The page talks in detail about each map (starting with 3v3 map, Exile) from the designers point of view. You can see an enlarged image of each map to see exactly where points of interest are.

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You can find the Skirmish Maps page here.

In other news – Bryan Hehmann an Ex Ensemble Studios artist talks in technical detail about the way he approached Halo Wars environment development and the blog post helps give an insight into the way graphics detail had to be adjusted for game performance. You can find the blog post below or on HaloWars.com

While working on Halo Wars I focused on creating the initial environments used throughout the skirmish maps and scenarios.The early phases began with our concept artist to get the look and feel of each world and working with designers on how these would be a part of the overall storyline. Also, brainstorming with programmers for terrain tools and understanding aspects of the new game engine to develop something we had never achieved before. Here are three of the major steps I would go though in creating our environments, although there were many more along the way.

Texturing-

The first step of creating a world would start with the terrain textures. This process was a definite change from the work I had done on the previous Age games. Halo Wars was a totally new game engine and our blend system had much more flexibility. Less textures were needed but the end result was much more dynamic and even the normal map generation had improved greatly. The number one obstacle for creating terrain textures was the vast difference in hue/saturation and compression from the PC monitor to the Xbox 360. What you see was not what you got. In an RTS game there is a fine balance in the complexity of textures and how the game units will read once placed on them. You have to make sure they are just the right brightness and saturation that add to the game experience and not distract from it. This part of the process is my favorite, because I enjoy making textures. Other artists like to make fun of my image files for having dozens of layers but I know what they all do. When I need to change the color of a single rock on the texture or the length of a grass blade I know just where it is at… well most of the time ;)

Sculpting-

The second step was sculpting and using the tools to manipulate the new powerful terrain mesh for the game. Before our games only used displacement on the Y axis, in Halo Wars we could move terrain vertices in all axes. While this gave us more freedom to create overhangs and more complex canyons and mountain ranges it did add more time to the sculpting. This step took the longest in our schedule and sometimes was the most difficult. To help us with the initial roughing out of the map we used a terrain generator that would create a displacement map and give us a nice starting point. Now that we had a mountain range or canyon we would go in with the finer tools and add the detailed characteristics for that particular environment. There were limitations though, and with all the new complex sculpting and higher tessellation we had to be efficient and optimized for game performance.

Lighting-

Some of the final steps were tweaking the lighting to create the mood of the world. Lighting for RTS games can be an ongoing hair pulling ordeal. As an artist you want to have the most realistic, colorful and dramatic lighting. But also as a game developer you have to make sure people can tell what the hell is going on. Some units that appear smaller on the screen could come out looking unreadable black blobs if your sun direction, inclination, ambient light and shadow darkness settings were not correct. The big difference in an RTS and other genres of game lighting is trying to pull off a night time scene, we always want to do them, but have to pull back a little. Player color and unit recognition go out the door when you turn the sun off. Scenario 2 was probably the closest we did to a night time setting. I had to add a lot of local lights but that would hurt performance. Sometimes without anyone looking my artist instincts took over and I would add a few lights here and there to get it just right. Whether I created a bright and vivid mountain valley or a dark and cold wasteland, with the lighting done right, it pulled in the player that much more into our environments.

Artists, programmers and designers all played major roles in creating the Halo War environments from look, tools, layout and storyline. I feel these environments are some of the best in a console RTS that have been done.

Bryan “bimbosoup” Hehmann
Environment Artist

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