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3 Dimensional Chat / 3AM - 3D Artist's Magazine

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Dan Silverman
17
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Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 18th Nov 2002 14:33
Hello,

I want to present an idea here and see how receptive people would be to it.

I currently use another 3D game engine called 3D GameStudio and have been using it for many years. By profession I own my own graphic studio and produce everything from book covers for novels, to web sites to actually creating real time 3D environments for my clients. Most recently I have been contracted to work on a MMPORPG (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game) creating levels and UI elements. These are my creditials so that you can better evaluate what I am about to explain.

As I have been using 3D GameStudio for years, I have noticed that many people using the suite are mostly in two catagories; hobbiests or progammers. Most are not graphic artists. These people tend to grasp the basic concepts of getting the code together, but get upset when their game "looks" bad (due to poor graphic design), runs slow (due to poor level design) or looks like everyone else's stuff (due to using the same textures off the web everyone else is using).

Because of this I began to envision a magazine from professionals that would explain such things as level design, texture design, UI design, etc. The magazine would be bi-monthly and would cover topics that are beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Because of the people that would be involved in producing it (other graphic professionals ... some of which work in the gaming industry) and the time involved to produce it, it would not be free. Because my desire is to help people in this area, the subscription rate would be low ... only $5 an issue. Magazines are planned to be released bi-monthly, so there would only be 6 magazines a year.

The magazine will be downloadable and we are planning on "protecting" it so it does not get distributed "freely". This may mean something as simple as a registration code will be sent with each payment or something like that.

The format has not been decided as yet, but we are leaning toward a PDF file or a HTML file. In either case, the magazine would be "packaged" to secure it. Also included would be (depending on the contents of any issue) example files, free textures, etc.

If I decide to do this (and right now I am heavily leaning in that direction) than the first issue will be slated for either mid-January or February of 2003. The magazine will lean toward users of 3D GameStudio, but MOST of the information will apply to DarkBASIC, DarkBASIC Pro, Blitz3D and even 3DRAD. For example, all of these need to use good textures .

I am posting this here to see what your thoughts are? Do you think this would be something that would interest any of you? What problems do you see with this? Just be honest with me and tell me what you think.

Thanks for your time!

Dan Silverman
Web2D3
www.web2d3.com
indi
17
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Joined: 26th Aug 2002
Location: Earth, Brisbane, Australia
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 02:09
Hi Dan,

I myself come from a arts perspective and did face these exact issues when trying to learn DB.

I had to take off a hat to learn another hat.

Its usually a rare thing to find an artist who is also a coder.

It appears that there is a correlation with coding and art in a sense that good coders are in the majority bad artists only in traditional senses like pencil oil etc..

And vice versa, good artists seem to find all the coding structure and law either
(a) too daunting as the docs are limited with verbose info for newbies.

(b) or they can manage it if they had experience in cdroms or 3d as there is more structure involved in these art strains.




What seems to be lacking in many places is actually how to go about setting up folders for a game like when u make a website you have a final data or www folder and a WIP or work in progress data so its easy to upload the final work.

In a game setup in this respect its not much different to creating a cdrom application and or a website.



It sounds like a good idea, but a community sample of replies will give you a good indication.

Dan Silverman
17
Years of Service
User Offline
Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 03:07
Hi Indi,

On the 3D GameStudio site I am getting great replies on this subject. On the BlitzBasic site I am getting only positive feedback, but not as much as on the 3D GameStudio site. Within DarkBASIC Pro I have not had as much interest as yet.

There seems to be enough interest among the 3D GameStudio people to warrent doing the magazine and so I will. As indicated above, this magazine's intention will be to "fill the gap" as it seems there is a lot of data for programming game specifics, but relatively few for graphical design in this arena. Oh, I know there are sites for Half-Life MODs, etc., but I am not talking about doing things like that.

For example, besides just learning how to create a tiling texture, why not tell a person about how much video memory a 512x512 texture will take as compared to a 256x256 texture? Why would an artist need to know this?

Well, when creating a level and needing a texture for some level geoemtry, the artist needs to evaluate the importance of that piece of geometry and determine what sort of texture to place on it. If it is a very important piece that will be more closely examined, then the artist might want to chose a larger texture. If it is something less seen (like the ceiling!) then the artist might chose a much smaller texture. The artist needs to be aware (to some degree) the video memory consumption of any texture and be able to make wise decisions when using textures in a level. If bad decisions are made the game will crawl as the FPS drops through the floor on your target platforms.

There are a lot of sites that can give you a texture creation tutorial, but how many of them cover more than that as it relates to the world of real time 3D?

This is the idea behind 3AM.

CD On CD
17
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Joined: 23rd Sep 2002
Location: United States
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 05:27
DAN:
Do you have an email address or is the one listed on the Web2d3 site correct? It kinda confused me with the different name there

United We (Still) Stand
Dan Silverman
17
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Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 06:14
CD On CD,

Yes, you can use the Web2D3 Email address. That is the Email to my graphic studio.

BTW - What did you mean when you said:

"It kinda confused me with the different name there"

My name here is Dan Silverman and my name there is Dan Silverman. So, I am kind of confused

Email: contact@web2d3.com

rapscaLLion
17
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Joined: 29th Aug 2002
Location: Canada
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 06:20
Hi
I would certainly encourage such a magazine, and would subscribe to it. But I do have a suggestion. Along with your $5 (Is that American BTW?) subscription fee, you could possibly have an exclusive forum, so that users of any programming language or otherwise can all get together in one community. There, in that "exclusive" community, they can read the magazine. If you just distribute it as HTML or PDF, any Joe Blow can find the password that some warezer posted, or he can use one of many password cracking utils, etc. My point is, it would probably be too easy to get into. My suggestion? Make a viewer of some type. It wouldn't be easy of course, but well worth it in my opinion.

On your point about interest: We rarely show great enthusiasm for posts posted by people who aren't known on the forums. This isn't because they aren't worth our attention or something like that, but most of the time, nothing comes of it. Not saying nothing will come out of your idea of course, just explaining and apoligizing for the lack of a warm welcome and some much needed enthousiasm

Alex Wanuch
aka rapscaLLion
Kousen Dev Progress >> Currently Working On Editors
Dan Silverman
17
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Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 06:44
You're right, I don't post here. I am a member of DBDN, though. Does that help .

As to protecting the magazine, I have been thinking about that. I can only hope it would so much in demand that people would even want to warez it .For now, there are a few options I can take.

Thanks for your kind words and your thoughts.

Shadow Robert
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Joined: 22nd Sep 2002
Location: Hertfordshire, England
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 09:20
Agree to Raps here... should be a forum where the users log on and then they're placed within a group to allow them access to veiw the magazine online - which requires a special veiwer plugin to decode the pages, that is piracy protected.

However on the whole idea of a 3D Art magazine, i'm still very sceptical about the benifits of the current ones on the market ... alot of people who write within them never seem to understand that if you explain step by step rather than the principals behind stuff people will simply copy what is down there and be lost when it comes to something remotely different - I believe that as well as the fact that like programming you can do well with practise but without that creative spark you can never hope to achieve what ultimatly alot of people believe they can do.
Which is create breath taking media just like the professionals - and what seems to be amiss for them is that alot of the time there are several professionals working on different aspects of the art, and they are oftenly combined efforts from very talented people.

I agree in teaching principals, but there is only so much that can be taught before it starts to rely on skill within a field.

My brother could teach me until he's blue in the face howto use the IF...ENDIF command, but if i never understand why it works the way it does - then there isn't much that can be done.

Artists are Artists and Programmers are Programmers ... if you wish to learn the other with skills in one it can't be done through a book, sorry but after almost 14years of programming I'm no better now than anyone here who has been doing programming in just DB for a matter of a year or two. It isn't just myself it is almost every other Artist/Programmer - and it is weird because they both have to be extremely ingenuitive and creative people, but we must both think along different lines which just don't mix

Anata aru kowagaru no watashi!
Dan Silverman
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Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 13:47
HI Raven Vegeta,

I will disagree with you to some degree, while agreeing with you all along .

Not all programmer types are non-artist types. Not all artist-types are non-programmers. I am a "non-programmer" because I love art and don't have the time to devote to programming. Recently I got frustrated with the level editor I was using to create real-time 3D content and went on a search for a better (legally used) one. I was unable to find what I needed. Most were old and out of date.

So, what option was left to me? I began to look for a programming solution to create my own level editor! Is this a tall order? Yes it is. But I am learning none the less. I found a language that seems sufficient for me (and checked it with a few programmer friends) and now, a few weeks later, have the skeleton of the Windows UI up and running (including the 4 views for editing ... which expand to full screen when double-clicked ... the texture view window, etc.). So, am I a programmer? No way! But I am learning ... slowly I am learning.

Along the way I have met programmers that are the same way. They want to learn to do SOME of the things that artists do, but don't know how. Despite talent, which I am a big believer in, training CAN do a lot. I've seen people who could not "draw a straight line" do decent work with proper training. Will these people ever become Piccasos? No, but they had more skill than when they started.

In any case, the magazine would not be geared toward the "pure" programmer at all, but the budding real time 3D artist. You have them among DarkBASIC, BlitzBASIC/3D and there are plenty of them with 3D GameStudio. In all camps it seems easy to get help with scripting or programming, but more difficult to get art related information.

I used to work for a multimedia company before owning my own studio. There was an important lesson I learned there. On any project we sometimes had programmers, artists and others involved to bring a project to completion. Before starting the project the assembled team would meet and discuss the project. Often the company tried to form a good working relationship between the artist and the programmer on the team. We would often carefully explain certain aspects of the project, from our perspectives, to each other.

So, as one of the artists, I would sometimes show a C++ programmer how 3D Studio MAX worked. This was a HUGE help to ME (yes, you heard me ... to ME). This made the C++ programmer realize what he could and could not ask from me (on a moments notice) and, more importantly, WHY.

The same worked on the opposite direction. I would sit with the programmer and they would explain certain things to me as well. I would then realize (to some degree) what I could and could not ask from the programmer do to certain limitations (be it time or practicality). Not only this, but we all learned to communicate with each other to include terms that are 'alien' to each. When you speak a bit of each other's language you can communicate much more easily.

So, 3AM (3D Artist's Magazine) would be heavily leaning toward helping the artist type among you to grow in his hobby or trade. At the same time, I feel 3AM would aid programmers in several ways by allowing them to learn the "tricks of the trade" that artists have to employ to achieve good looking 3D games that run well on the target platform.

In any case, maybe 3AM is not something for DarkBASIC people. I think it might be as I suspect there are more than programmers here. After all, I am here and I am one of those artist types.

Shadow Robert
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Location: Hertfordshire, England
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 17:44
not against the fact of programmer understanding art and artists understanding programming ... trust me everyday i'm in a team which needs this interaction.

The point here is the fact that most programmers at this level believe they can do EVERYTHING themselves, and giving them a magazine to justify this is you gotta admit like putting petrol on a bonfire

For people who oki, might not have talent but wish to do it and with tutors who are capable of teaching in an understanding way - yes they can becomes skilled, and as they do have the HEART atleast to want to do it as a living it allows them to think upon what they're being taught.
But most people don't, they want to do everything and they wanted to be able to do it yesterday.

People like that I tend to name Jack (no offense Dext ) and most of them i dislike, ESPCIALLY working with because quite frankly when challeneged with something remotely from what is textbook they become more useless than if i had a duck doing thier job

I mean recently I have been getting more and more into C++ and especially DirectX programming, as this is what the team here uses ... and althought I don't know howto program something exactly myself or if i tried would take me a good while - it means I can suggest things and try to lay them out in thier own terms.

I understand what your trying to acomplish and i understand your intensions are good - but to be honest it'll only reach mostly those who wish to become Jacks...

I'm still for the point of someone should grab a skill their good at and plod along with it, diversifying is killing the industry...
God so many games i've seen recently where you could applaude the skinners for their outstanding work, to have mesh from 3d artists which you'd just love to understand why the hell they got a job over the likes of people within Milkshape forums.
And games programming which would make you cry, just tofind out the team who did iteveryone is doin like 2 or three jobs completely unrelated!!

I think what would probably be better would just be to setup 3AM as an Artists Forum - somewhere which you can get professionals and talented hobbiests to mingle and give out help for all those newbies who would like it.
Would be free and open to all
And would also allow for people to sit down and suggest solutions to problems... a tutorial forum for those who wish to make articles about art

Anata aru kowagaru no watashi!
Shadow Robert
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Location: Hertfordshire, England
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 17:45
hehee... ya know what i relise here, us artists have a problem with short and to the point posts

Anata aru kowagaru no watashi!
Dan Silverman
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Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 18:10
Well, your last one was short and to the point. But I am sure mine won't be .

I hear you. And to a degree I will agree. Still, the "market" I want to hit with this magazine is there. My main audiance is with 3D GameStudio where there seems to be more of the artist/hobbiest types that want to learn the ins-and-outs of real time 3D graphical creation. This is the main thrust of 3AM. Some programmers or even "jacks" could also benefit from this sort of thing as well.

Even so, with the amount of effort I am planning to put into the magazine, I feel a forum alone would not due. I want to give people a readable, printable document that they can archive and refer to when needed. I want that document accompanied by a layout that will facilitate learning and sample files to help. Consider it a cheap form of E-Learning with tips by people involved in the industry (to some degree).

If the magazine does not fit your requirements ("your" here referes to whoever ... not just you, Raven Vegeta) then don't get it. There will be free sections available, so those unsure if the magazine will fit their needs can always take those and see.

Shadow Robert
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Joined: 22nd Sep 2002
Location: Hertfordshire, England
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 19:15
hehee... well i wish you alot of luck with it, just not to confident that the nitch market you feel is there, is really what it appears to be.

might just be me, but i've found when i like something that has been noted in the forums here that can help me later i download and save it
perhaps if it is in a layout would encourage learning, but then again never really seen the practicalities of learning from a book - as it takes a certain skill to teach from paper, only peeps i've actually found this to be true for.
One thing to be talented, another to be talented with words ... damn' the waffleing ways

if there was to be a mazagine, personally i'd want a hard copy - something tangeable. online stuff is oki, but you can really sit back and enjoy it. There is always printing, but mags have nice pages printed specially - its always in colour becuase the printers don't run outta those $40/time colour carts or even worse one freaking colour... (WHY IS IT ALWAYS CIYAN!!) and it can't be bound togther properly

i dunno - i guess i'll get back to my PCGUK and AmigaFormat now

Anata aru kowagaru no watashi!
Dan Silverman
17
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Joined: 18th Nov 2002
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Posted: 19th Nov 2002 19:46
Hey! Thanks for the comments! It's always good to think and to get persepectives.

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