Throwback Thursday! Nosferatu.

By | February 18, 2016

All I ever wanted was to appear as a character in an Medal of Honor: Allied Assault mod. That’s how my foray into #gamedev began. I had no idea at the time how difficult character modeling, texturing, rigging, and animating was! I picked up Paul Steed’s Modeling a Character in 3ds Max and went about recreating my likeness in pixels and triangles. Upon completion and emboldened by my success, I immediately graduated to underestimating the difficulty of creating an entire mod. Wising up meant teaming up; the second chapter of my #gamedev education would see me enlist with the Nosferatu mod team.

Led by a German I still only know as Ghostface, Nosferatu was built on the Quake engine and pitted Vampires against Slayers in online multiplayer modes. My job was to create and animate the characters. I had hoped my apprenticeship would elicit insight into modding and programming, or better yet, reciprocal work on my mod, DreamCasters’ Duel. Unfortunately I learned more about what not to do.

Some of Nosferatu’s problems stemmed from its unfortunate timing; it was conceived of in the Uzian Period of indie #gamedev. This was a time when unskinned weapon models ruled the modding world. Those who could cobble together an Uzi from two tubes and a pair of cubes bestrode this world like Colossi. Assets were so rare that you could, without exaggeration, trace any particular unattributed shotgun render to its original creator.

Digital sculpting didn’t exist. Pelt mapping didn’t exist. Render UVW Template didn’t exist. And so character modeling and  unwrapping/texturing, by virtue of their time consumption, were typically distinct disciplines. At Nosferatu, however, I was creating multiple characters (models, textures, animations, and all) unassisted, while working on DCD, with no time to learn modding.

In short order Nosferatu seemed comprised solely of weapon models and forum squabbling. By 2006 I had single handedly beat the Nosferatu team in the Mod of the Year rankings. The win validated the decision to go “full time” with DreamCasters’ Duel and Nosferatu soon became a fading memory.

Sometimes learning what not to do is as valuable as learning what to do. In this respect, Nosferatu was a valuable learning experience. I also made some friends! And as the second chapter in my #gamedev education closed, the third chapter was already underway…

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2 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday! Nosferatu.

  1. Drew

    I always put off learning 3d because I thought it would be tedious. I was an illustrator, and 3d seemed like something I wouldn’t enjoy. A couple years ago, when I was working on my first game prototype, I started checking out 3d a bit more because I was finding 2d to be a bit tedious to get the look I desired in the game.

    When I found out about things like digital sculpting, my whole opinion on 3d changed. The workflow to creating characters and whatnot was a lot different than what I originally expected.

    Now, I do nearly all of my work in 3d unless it is an illustration or icon or something. Even though I’ve only been doing 3d for a couple years, I’ve made quite a bit of progress.

    I use Modo, Zbrush, and Substance Painter as my main 3d tools, along with Photoshop and Corel Painter for 2d stuff.

  2. admin Post author

    Once upon a time 3d modeling was tedious! Box modeling in Max was awful. Zbrush was a game changer, I only wish I’d learned it sooner. I hope to learn Substance soon. But yeah, along with Unity and home mocap software like iPiSoft, I credit Zbrush with reinventing #gamedev workflow. If you haven’t already, checkout the Autohotkeys Freebie Friday post!


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