Monday, 31 October 2011

A Brief History Of Time.....For Games : Part 2

The 1980s and 1990s brought some amazing advancements in games and technology, and it also saw the home entertainment consoles explode into our homes.

The 1980s and 1990s brought along some major titles from many genres. Gone was the arcade style games, in with action adventure, role playing, beat 'em up, platformers, racing, real time strategy, simulation and many many more genres.

Arguably the most prominent title from the 1980s was Pac-Man (released 1980), not only did it bring addictive game play, it also popularised the first video game character which anybody will recognise. Many inspiring games originated from the 1980s. Major titles like The Legend of Zelda , Dragon warrior (which is now more known by the title Dragon Quest), Metroid, Metal Gear, Final Fantasy and Street Fighter are just some of the titles which are still alive today and are still getting sequels (Final Fantasy has gone the step further and had 15 sequels, along with many spin-offs).

The 1980s had many consoles to the decade as well games. The commodore 64 was released in 1982, one of the most popular gaming computers in the USA, it gained its popularity as it was marketed and priced aggressively. This was followed very closely by the ZX Spectrum, which gained mass popularity in Europe.

The third generation of consoles released in the 1980s was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Sega Master System. Both are 8 bit machines. Even though the Sega Master System technically had the advantage over the NES, it failed to outdo the NES's market share in Japan and America. The release of both these consoles saw the change of the old style joysticks, paddles and keypads to the recognisable game pad.

The 1990s was a greatly innovative decade in terms of technology. Graphics made a move from raster to 3D. It was also the decade we saw the rise of FPS, real time strategy and MMO's. We also start to see some more familiar game series starting in the 90's. Such as SimCity, Silent Hill, Command and Conquer, Starcraft and Resident Evil, Quake and Ago of Empire, just to name a few.

The major consoles we saw this decade was a range of 16,32 and 64 bit, these were the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) SNK Neo-Geo, Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, Ninntendo 64 and the massively popular Sony Playstation.

Stay Classy...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Brief History Of Time.....For Games : Part 1

Games have come along way from the 50's. From the little dot representing a tennis ball being bounced around the screen on an oscilloscope to the protagonist of the next AAA title boasting 10,000's triangles along with 2048 texture maps running around a beautiful environment . But without that little dot on the oscilloscope we wouldn’t have the amazing games we have today.

The first “game” ever made was far from being complex, it was something a tad more basic (it didn’t even have a score for goodness sake!). Enter Tennis for 2. A basic side on view tennis game, played through an oscilloscope, yes, an oscilloscope. The goal of this game was to bounce the tennis ball to the other side of the court over the net, setting the trajectory by an input device. Tennis for 2 was created by an American physicist/nuclear researcher at the Brookhaven National Laboratory , William A. Higinbotham in 1958 to entertain people as they visited the laboratory.

4 years later in 1962 brought us the first fully interactive video game, Spacewar. Developed by a group of university friends at MIT, those were; Wayne Witanen, Martin Graetz and Steve Russell. In Spacewar two spaceships (creatively named the wedge and the needle, reflecting how each ship is crudely rendered in the game) compete against each other with limited fuel supplies while battling against each other in a missle duel. Spacewar was a massive hit at MIT's annual science open house, infact it became such a popular game they had to develop a scoring system to limit the players time with it.

In 1966, Ralph Baer, a German born inventor and engineer, also known as “The Father of Video Games” work along with Bob Tremblay and Bob Solomon to produce and demonstrate a system that allows spots to be moved around on a tv screen. The following year, 1967, Ralph Baer worked with Bill Harrison to build a multi game system, the world first console you could say, it was dubbed the Home TV Game (….how creatively named). Late 1968 they demonstrated Home TV Game, showing off its ability to play severalgames, like ping-pong, volleyball, handball, hockey and even a few shooting games used with the worlds first light gun, also developed by Ralph Baer.
Along with the accolade “The Father of Video Games” he has also won several awards, such as the National Medal of Technology for inventing the home console for video games and also creating the video game industry.

In 1971 Nolan Bushnell, an American engineer and entrepreneur who later founded Atari saw the commercial potential of video games so he set out to produce an arcade version of MITs popular spacewar. Despite the space aged looking machine it didn’t sell as well as he would like. Despite this setback, a year later he formed Atari which went on to create quite possible the most popular game ever, Pong. But more about that next week.

Stay Classy....

Monday, 10 October 2011

About Me

Hey, my name is Dan Hargreaves, a 22 year old student currently living and studying in Leicester. I was born and raised in a small town called Swindon which is a nice place to live, but lacks the lifestyle and culture of a city such as Leicester.

I have always been into design & art. From messing around with Lego as a child to create grand blocky cathedrals to making short cartoon animations in my mid teens with flash. Around the age of 18 I picked up 3ds max where I would create *very* basic models. After a few good months following online tutorials I started to make 3D models suitable for games. Years passed and at the age of 21 my skills in game art became good enough to work with a small indie team ( ) as the character artist where i spent roughly 8 months with the team working on “Conquest:Hadrian's Divide”. Sadly the team became very disorganised and our goals weren’t being reached at all so I left the team. This left my motivation for game art dwindling but the passion was still there.

I decided the best thing I could do to get my motivation back was surround my self with other aspiring artist, this lead me onto the research for a degree. After many weeks of research I had my eyes on DMU, as they have the most up to date game art course in the country, as well as being skillset accredited. So I applied with my new up to date portfolio ( ), and got accepted. Over the 3 years with this course I hope to iron out any work flow issues I have picked up as a self taught artist as well as honing my traditional art skills to become a competent character artist in the future.

For a long time ive had my eyes on working at Relentless as they are based in Brighton which is a beautiful city. Plus they are known for very rarely crunching for milestones, making for a more pleasant work life. Unfortunately they don’t have any art position going at the moment. So ill list another:

Below is a vacancy for a senior character artist at a new SEGA studio based in Dorridge:


• Spearhead the character pipeline satisfying the Lead Artist, Animators, programmers and designers
• Produce character art assets that meet the requirements of the projects style and detail
• Work with the producer to formulate the production schedule
• Manage any outsourcing requirements for the character


• Self driven individual with good organisation skills
• Able to work well in a team while standing out as an individual
• Amiable and willing to follow art direction and carry it out but with the objective of adding their expertise to the subject
• A good communicator and keen ideas person


• 4+ Years experience with 3DS Max and Photoshop, Zbrush/Mudox
• 2 + Shipped titles on PS3 or 360
• Excellent modelling and texturing abilities delivering performance and quality
• Excellent human anatomy knowledge supported by good drawing skills
• Able to develop custom character rigs
• Able to maximise the use of bespoke tools by using a natural sense of trial and error
• Knowledge of current generation shader capabilities 

As this example is for a senior position it requires a lot of experience for the role i.e. 2 + Shipped titles on PS3 or 360, which is something that only comes with experience while working in the industry, ive picked it as its the only character artist position I could find as it is a highly competitive role. The skills I have already attained and the knowledge I will pick up throughout this degree will make this goal more achievable. To get to this stage I need excellent human anatomy knowledge and drawing skills, which at the moment are my weakest points, so it is vital I improve in this area.

Stay Classy.....