S.F. Bay Studios is a small team focusing mostly on game development & assets. Our “Infinity Series” is dedicated to making PBR models with a heavy emphasis on Massive Texture Customization.
I’ve been making games for over 5 years now, and I have been producing character art for nearly three years. I do a lot of the texturing, and the Substance Designer integration, and I work with other artists to produce the models, animations, and more.
I thoroughly enjoy creating killer art and seeing the characters come to life, and I look forward to making more characters and games in the years to come for Unity, the iClone content community, and others.
Q: Please tell us a bit about your background and your work. When and why did you start working on 3D model design?
I completed my first game, The Barbarian (www.TheBarbarianGame.com) using art bought almost entirely online. It was great, because without that help, I wouldn’t have had art to work with! I was able to complete a full, 30+ hour long game and release it, without having to hire an artist.
All of that began when I saw “Indie Game the Movie” and I decided that while studying philosophy, I should try making games. It seemed fun — building fun games at home! I made a couple of small games and apps, using Unity, and although I didn’t have the strongest background in coding, I was able to learn enough to keep myself motivated and going forward.
Today, I realize how poor I was at coding, of course — I’m still not the best! But I’ve learned a lot along the way, and the entire time I had a blast.
Q: How long did you work on your first game? How and what difficulties did you go through during the production?
The Barbarian took about 2.5 years to make. Most of the time I was “full time” on it, though I did take some extended breaks when things got frustrating, and I was also taking philosophy classes on the side and helping with some family medical issues. I’m sure it would have taken much much less time had I been more skilled, as I often would re-write entire scripts.
One in particular is the “enemy” script, which controls all the enemy movement and attack logic. In the first version that was feature complete, it turned out, that it was super slow, and I could only have about 13 enemies on the screen before the frame rate would suffer. This was entirely my fault, of course, because I was using really really poor coding practices.
I learned a bit more, and redid the code, and after found that it was about 100x faster than previously! Unfortunately this wasn’t the only time that I did things incorrectly. Near the start of the production, I asked on forums about the best way to save the game data. The answer was “Player Prefs”. Technically, that is a way to save player data, but for my purposes, it was the wrong way to save the data. By the time I realized this, the game was already released and there was really no easy way to update it.
Now it’s to the point where I can’t update it anymore without starting from scratch, as the game, made with Unity 4, is not upgradable to Unity 5 or Unity 2017 — there are just too many issues with the code and the way I did things. So I learned a lot of valuable lessons through making a lot of mistakes.
Q: When and Why did you start working on game models? How did you start your content business?
After The Barbarian game was released, I started thinking about my next game, and I realized I wanted more characters that I couldn’t find online.
I also wanted to make sure all the characters matched aesthetically, and had realistic animations and sound effects. Finally, I realized that tools like Substance Designer made characters super customizable, and I wanted to have that control over the look and feel of my game’s population.
I took a chance and hired a modeler and an animator to make my first character, and continued to make more and more. Now I’ve begun to do all the texturing of the characters as well, after learning how to use Substance Painter. While I now have a full-time job working for a top games industry company, I continue to produce new characters and make progress on the next game I’d like to release.
Q: When working on your games, what software do you use? Any samples of your work?
Between the other artists I work with and myself, we use a lot of software. Mainly Maya and 3ds Max are used mostly for animation, and Maya/ZBrush for modeling.
For texturing, I use Substance Painter and Substance Designer, for creating some custom substances but also setting up a Designer graph for customizing the look and feel of the characters. I want the developers who use my work to be able to customize the look as much as possible, so that any single character isn’t stuck having the same look in every project.
Q: Besides creating games, what do you do in your leisure time? How do you light up the inspiration of content?
I don’t play too many games these days — I do enjoy Starcraft 2, casually, and Civilization 5. Aside from that, I will still load up some of the older games from when I was younger. Might and Magic VI is a favorite of mine, and the inspiration for my next game. I still enjoy NES and SNES games as well 🙂
I should say that my next game inspires which characters I want to create, though I also take requests when a lot of my fans and customers need something as well.
Q: What can the community expect from Infinite PBR in the future?
I learned a lot from working on The Barbarian. First and foremost, I learned that I have a lot to learn! So for my next game, a first person party based RPG similar to the “Might and Magic VI – VIII” games from the mid to late 90s, I plan to do a better job on the foundation. I’m working on some tools to help me build and maintain the class system required for a large scale RPG, as I’m quite aware that a large game can be so daunting that most never get finished. And I want to finish!
All the while, I plan on continuing the production of new characters and environments, adding to the library that I’ll use for my game, but also share with the community.
And of course, to continue creating high-quality PBR assets for the iClone Content Store and the community in general. 🙂
Reallusion Content Store: https://www.reallusion.com/contentstore/featureddeveloper/profile/#!/InfinitePBR/iClone