So, by the grace of someone/thing more powerful than myself, the internet got installed yesterday. Its an odd feeling being cut off from the internet like that. Its one thing for it to happen while you are at home in the states, you just call up friends and go hang out; but here its not quite so easy. The same thing can be done here but you lose your support system when you lose the internet here. Its pretty hard to cope with that. Regardless its certainly doable.
I mentioned last time that I am forgoing the table project in favor of an Ikea desk. However that does not mean that I dont want to tackle a large project, its just going to be less — messy, and done in much smaller segments. I picked up a book on iOS programming, it seems very good so far! I want to be able to create apps that are not bound by a single operating system. Granted that is a very long term goal. First things first, I just want to get through this book. I am on Chapter 6 at the moment, learning to create our own view classes. I know this isn’t nearly as ambitious a goal as I should have at the moment but I am also tackling it with Chinese lessons and a full time job.
So I must apologize for the communication blackout over the past week. I moved into a new apartment that has no internet yet so until the modem is installed my updates will be sparse. As far as the desk idea goes I don’t have enough space to get a project like that done with any sort of precision or speed so I went ahead and bought a desk and chair from Ikea. Ikea in China is insane, there has to be at least a couple thousand people in that building all at the same time. It’s like a sea of Asians. Its also very amusing because I am at least six inches taller than everyone there. Regardless, my break ended and I am now back to work. I will update again soon.
So this week is the Chinese National Holiday, it coincides with the autumn moon festival. What that boils down to is that I get a week off from work and finally have time to do a bit of exploring in Beijing. Time to do all of the things I normally dont have time for. A friend told me that Wal Mart and Ikea are totally different here compared to their American counterparts so I figured I would go check them out since I have been meaning to pick up a few things from them anyway. This is also a good chance to look around for all of the things I will need for my desk project. I have found cheap power tools in some shops here in town but I have no seen a single piece of raw wood for sale anywhere which concerns me. Hard to make a wood desk without wood. I also want to take the chance to see the forbidden city while I have some time to really explore it.
One of the great things about living in China is that everything is dirt cheap (except apartments, but that is another matter). So with that in mind you can try new things without a huge financial backlash if you mess up. Okie dokie, so the reason I bring this up is because I want to try my hand at wood working. I am moving into my new apartment a couple days from now. We managed to negotiate some furniture into the deal but at first it will have a certain Spartan sensibility to it. Several of the rooms have absolutely no furniture at all. I want to start by making a desk, something clean and minimal. However I also want it to be sizable and be sturdy enough to take on whatever crazy projects I come up with. I started looking around and stumbled across a father and son who took on the chalenge of making a version of the desk seen here. I like their version MUCH more than the original. Though now I have stumbled into the challenge of finding the tools and materials to make such a desk. Several years ago I loved working with more traditional media and while I still have no inspiration to work with paint yet I would like to do something that will get me away from the computer some.
I have tried several times to make a blog and it never seems to stick, I just never seem to find the niche that keeps me interested. This time I am going to try it in a slightly more broad approach. This will be about just about anything and everything that happens to me in China. Sounds odd but to give it some vague direction I am going to keep this focused on crazy cultural experiences and since I am a Tech Artist I will toss in cool projects I am working on. A couple of caveats, my grammer is terrible so I would ask you to excuse that and I say projects but that will not be limited to tech artisty shenanigans (I love to build stuff and cook, among other things). A goal would be something like: “A journal of my adventures and an instruction manual for any projects I work on.”
First I suppose I should give you some context to this whole thing, assuming someone actually is reading this. So I have been in Beijing for about 3 months now. I got hired on by Mindwalk Studios as a Technical Artist straight out of college and just now got to the part of my journey where I decided to stay for the long haul. Given that I am literally on the other side of the world that was no small decision. I decided to stay for several reasons not least of which is my need to learn new things (yeah its cheesy and lame). China offered me the opportunity to learn a whole new language, experience new food, new culture, and meet new people. I also was getting bored with America so when Mindwalk offered me a job in China I couldn’t really say no.
I have been helping an MFA friend of mine work on his thesis. We have been creating physical gaming experiences that involve linking sound to velocity so the volume and pitch change based on the velocity. Velocity is just a start, you can do this with almost any quantitative property.
Okay, summer is over and school is back in full swing; the first thing on my agenda was to find Project Enigma’s pulse. I got the original team together as well as the new members I had gathered since last spring, showed them the coherent story (thank you Harald), and gave them a pep talk. Through that we came up with a new identity and a newly kindled passion for this project. Enigma is being rebuilt from the ground up with an entirely new focus. I am now playing Director and Producer in addition to all of my other roles in this game. We are currently working to get unified concept art out so our modelers can being building our new environment. The scope of Enigma is much much smaller than before and is much more focused. Quality over quantity is our mantra. We will very soon have a website up and running that will record our progress and give credit where credit is due to the people who have so completely earned it.
A month or so ago the guys at Tech-Artists.org (TAO) started a thread to have the community come up with a creed for Technical Artists. While I think it is a perfect way to describe the way a Technical Artist should operate I also think that it should be something that everyone in the Game Industry should pay more attention to.