So it's been a few months since I last made a post, but that's because life has been really busy!

At the end of March I graduated from Full Sail University as the Valedictorian of my class.  It was an incredible honor to also be picked as the "Advanced Achiever" of my class, an award given to a single member of the graduating class voted to be the one most likely to succeed in their career.

About a week after graduating I got hired at Disney Junction Point Studios as an Environment artist to work on Epic Mickey 2.

I have since moved to Austin, Texas and have been very busy with the crunch hours at the studio.  I haven't really been able to tackle on any personal work simply due to the very long hours, but I have been doodling and doing what I can to keep my mind creative.

I might touch up and compile a bunch of these concept sketches in a single post in the near future.

Life Update

Classes are wrapping up for me and I've been juggling time around quite a bit this past month.  I got to attend GDC and it was incredible to get to talk to so many artists and meet so many people in such a short amount of time.

I was inspired to start working from the moment I got back home.  So what I decided to do was to work on something that could be used on a game that is currently out.  I have played League of Legends since the start of their beta a few years ago.  Their art-style has always caught my eye so I decided to work on something to fit within their world.

The area around the Dragon enemy always felt a bit empty to me, so I decided to work on a little environment to house him.  I figured Roman-ish ruins would fit the theme so I started working by figuring out the perspective and laying out some blockout structures:

Blockout on left, League of Legends screenshot on right

After that I tried to see how things could work on the center area.  I've been keeping up with the use of paintovers to do this type of concepting and it's been incredibly handy.  Here is what I came up with after a bit of working:

So once I had an idea of how to go about the center I then went back to Photoshop and did some more work trying to figure out how to go about the lighting and overall colors:

Once that was done I was able to go back into Maya and hammer out the assets.  After a couple days I moved on to UDK to set up my scene.  I'm still working on the overall scene, as well as the individual assets but here is where I am currently with it:

WIP inside UDK

And here is an unlit version of the same shot:

I've been putting a heavy focus on making sure things are always low-res and as low poly as possible especially since I've been aiming to have it be as true to the League of Legends specs as possible.  here is an atlas of all the textures currently used in my scene:

Dragon Ruins

This past milestone we did awesome with Pirates Vs Pirates again.  As far as project and design goes, we added the two new enemy types into the game and they really fit right in without having to adjust almost anything of their design.  Overall we also tweaked the gameplay of the game and it simply continues to feel better and better with each iteration.

In the end having the split focus between the game project and our portfolio class didn't end up being all that terrible, although I will say that having the artists be physically absent for half the team meetings did cause some gaps in communication and at times I felt a bit disconnected.  It really wasn't anything that prevented me from performing, it just took a bit to get back in the swing of the project.

My first task this month was to create the enemy ship.  I wanted it to resemble the player's ship but also have a unique silhouette as it came straight at you.  The textures still need some tweaking but here is where I am at the moment:

I almost feel like I should add some more spikes, and for next month I will tweak this model for the Blue Sail (bomber) ships.

The silhouette of the cannon wasn't strong enough in it's first iteration, especially from the player perspective.  It was hard to see the cannon poking out of the ship so it got a major upgrade in it's size.  Here's the comparison of the two:

New silhouette of cannons
And lastly the player ship got some more love.  I wanted to add shadows and a metal grate to the texture to make the deck more interesting.  I had to tweak the way I did the beams that added elevation change because it was clipping through the player's feet.  Since we don't have any fancy tech to support steps I decided to put them into the texture instead of having the geometry create the difference.  I still need to go back and add some more damage to the floor, as well as bake in the shadows of the placed props (crates and whatnot)

New wheel!

Floor, now completely flat!

I'm very excited to be going into this last month of production.  There are a lot of little things I want to push in my models and textures, as well as enforce that extra level of polish for the other artist's assets.  As a team we aren't rushing to catch up to our deadlines and that couldn't be more perfect - we have the time to focus on making things extra awesome instead of having to cut corners due to time.  Overall it's going to be a very fun month!

Check out the gameplay of the video here!  Next month I'll have another gameplay video as well as a link to download the final version, so you too will be able to fully experience the awesomness of Pirates Vs Pirates!

Pirates Vs Pirates Production Month 2

About the Blog

Gallery of current works by Kenneth Kozan, Game Artist.